Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
42Trip End Ongoing
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Peter and I separated for the first time two weeks ago when I took a trip to the Quanyan Hot Springs with my friend/house cleaner/colleague, Axia. We left on a Friday after school and drove north to Zhongshang to meet up with some of her friends and family to soak in the pools and spend the night. Not only was I the only non-Chinese person in the group, I was the only one at the whole resort. I was also the only one in a bikini too, talk about awkward. The resort was incredibly beautiful. We arrived after dark and the whole place was lit up with colored lighting. Around 50 different hot spring pools, large and small, were spread out around the lush, landscaped property. Most were heated to about 40 degrees Celsius, but there were also cold pools to jump into. They are built out of stones so the setting looks very natural. Each one has a different purpose; some are scented with mint and others with different Chinese healing herbs. There are waterfalls and massage jets, dry saunas, wet saunas, and saunas filled with buckets of salt that you can use a a scrub. You can get a massage outdoors on a heated marble slab or get buried in hot rocks. We sat in milk baths, coffee baths, and wine baths. It was incredibly relaxing.
Then there was the sleeping situation. When we arrived we put all of our stuff into a locker in the women's locker room and put on our bathing suits
Around 9:30 we were far away from the locker rooms when Axia led us into a changing room on the other side of the property, and we took off our bathing suits to change back into a dry pair of the lovely orange outfits. I was a little confused and asked what we were doing and was told that we were going into sleep. Not back to the locker room? To our cell phones, my jammies, my toothbrush? Nope. Straight into another building to find a "bed". The "beds" turned out to be large recliners, each equipped with their own small TV, and lined up side-by-side in a room that fit about 70 of them. I knew it was going to be a long night, and it was. The Chinese appear to have no consideration for their noise level and people streamed in and out of the room all night long looking for beds
I had another adventure the next weekend, a ladies-only shopping trip to Guangzhou. This is the capital city of the region that we live in, Guangdong, and about a two hour drive away. We went for the purpose of visiting a fabric market and the pearl market, as well as just some good, old-fashioned shopping. The pearl market was crazy! Picture a mall, 6 stories tall, selling nothing but jewelry. It is mostly a wholesale warehouse, but anyone can go there to get the best deals on white pearls, black pearls, silver, and many other types of stones. After two hours there I was completely dizzy with all of the options, or maybe it was the thick pollution and cigarette smoke in the air
Work has been rewarding, but also exhausting. While I was shopping away in Guangzhou, Peter was on a trip with some of the students to a sports activity day at a nearby QSI school in Shenzhen. This involved a ferry and a bus ride to get to the all day event. Peter's students all went home with a medal that day. Two of the girls came in second place in the badminton tournament, a boy was third in the spelling bee, and the others won second place in the soccer tournament. We also had a Walk-a-Thon to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross, parent-teacher conferences, and a Learning Expo Night. It has been busy! Last Friday I got a new student, a little boy from Japan that only speaks about a dozen words in English. With only two months left in the year, what do I do with that?!? He is very sweet though, and I can already tell that he is very smart.
Our first visitors are also here, Steve and Patti Hoover!! Yay!! We just got back from a long weekend trip to the Guangxi region so look for the story and pictures soon. Mom, Dean and Sis are next!! Can't wait!
Lots of love,
M & P