David and Elizabeth have left
Trip Start Feb 08, 2005
10Trip End Jan 19, 2006
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Aussino is a recently opened wine bar stocked with foreign wines and an increasing range of foreign manufactured produce such as CHEESE (cheddar, edam, mozzerlla and others) - reasonable price - tortillas and olives. Their canned spaghetti sauce, mayo and tinned tuna is also available in Walmart for cheaper. But Aussino is not just a place to buy wine, oh no, upstairs there's a lounge which has things like carpets and sofas that are not-too-squidgy-not-too-hard and good service. I left before midnight coz working the next day but I know the others - around 10 of them I think - partied hard well into the night. There are photos, but only on Snappy, the Irish girls' trusty see n snap camera.
Veggie restaurant, Lian Hua - is a buddhist restaurant on Haibin Lu, it is excellent food. The food is credibly meat in taste, texture, smell and look, but it isn't. Great piece of mind therefore. You can eat full for 20rmb, the more people the better, of course, because then more dishes. The bird's basket with sweet n sour sauce is it's most famous dish. My foreign friends also really like the Peking duck. I love the mushroom soup. If you can't read Chinese, there are set meals for 2-many people, just choose the relevant number. Mmm is so good. The only bad thing is it usually takes at least 5 waitresses to take an order for two people. One to take the order and 6 to stand around gawping.
Ah yes, and while on the subject of food, hotpot. Hotpot is often eaten at home in winter because it's fresh, extremely convenient, and hot. At home it's a hotplate with a dish of soup on top. Go buy what you want to boil, make your dipping sauce (rely heavily on garlic) - start cooking. Fantastic communal meal. Meat, sea food, veg, it all goes in and you watch it boil and pick out what you want. Officially hotpot is a northern/central thing, but it's popular here in the way Chinese, Indian or Thai is in England. Well, China is bigger than Europe.
So, a big meal out with a lot of friends or sometimes for a date, although this is a far better event with lots of people, can go to hotpot. Actually hotpot is most like Indian. After a big night out, people will go and eat hotpot, they're about the only restaurants open all night. The equivalent of a kebab is bbq, found on the street anywhere. Anyway, hotpot. Yes I already explained the basics except in the Sichuan restaurants - I think Hunan and Northern restaurants (yes, it's all different food) also have them - you get spicy soup, oh my word yes it's spicy. Luckily yingyang dishes can be provided which means you get half spicy half not, or you can have majority one. It's all very clever. But the spicy stuff is fantastic. I really love hotpot.
Right final review, foot massage. The Chinese really know a lot about massage, it's used all the time in medicine, and also many places are 'men only' (grr), but there are plenty more that are open to anyone who just wants to relax in a non-dodgy sense. My foot is still not great but yesterday I went to this massage and it when the lad had finished, I could hardly feel any weakness in my foot at all! Foot massages usually cost about 30rmb, body ones around 100rmb. The Chinese approach to the body being holistic, you don't just get your feet massaged, it's your legs, oh and your back as well, oh and don't forget the arms too. Good enough for me! They last about 1hr - you know I always forget to time it so I don't know.
Last night there were 9 of us so we were sat in a big room with 9 chairs. They're big armchairs, it's great. Actually usually I don't enthuse about them as much as other foreigners do, but last night cured my foot.
Also common are hair washes at hairdressers' - that includes a head and neck massage, you don't have to get your hair cut (usually 20rmb).