Day 3 started off like any other, a banquet of food for breakfast then off to work. Each day there is a different ‘obstacle’ to overcome when getting a taxi to work. Today’s problem was the taxi driver really really not wanting to take us. After he was hailed by the doorman, we showed him the instructions we have written to get to work. It is important to remember at this point that we are within 2ks of work and can get their by just driving in a straight line. When we tried to get into the cab, he would drive forward a little bit so we would miss the door handle. This was all happening while he and the hotel staff were having what seemed to be a shouting match. We get in, only to realise he wants us out so we got out and he drove off.
So the employee calls over another staff member who speaks English more fluently. He sees the instructions and instantly understands where we are trying to go. He then walks off and comes back with the same taxi that didn’t want to take us. We get in and he continues this argument but eventually gives up. The English speaking man who helped us wrote down the number of the taxi and gave it to us. Why? I don’t know. The taxi driver when exiting the driveway, turned in the opposite but thanks to j-streets communication skills got him the right way. We nearly died in this u-turn, but I haven’t gotten around to my post talking about traffic here yet. So apparently here they don’t have street numbers to identify buildings, and instead just use local landmarks to describe locations.
Lunch today was a bit more ordinary, 7-Eleven food, though I was thankful for having a local show us as even simple tasks here are so difficult with absolutely 0 communication skills. The food sold there is quite different to ours by a large margin (the food here actually tastes nice), I had some chicken (it’s my default assumption for everything I eat) and spicy veggies.
Work was fun, we lost power again so it was a good opportunity to play some table tennis. I don’t consider myself good, but when playing against the locals I feel like a two-year-old trying to solve algebra. The delay (latency) when using the computer takes a bit of adjustment, but I am slowly getting use to it. Two of my new friends offered to take me out to get a foot massage after work. j-street and dj-Marksman both had other plans so it was up to me to represent team Australia.
Now I must say I was a bit apprehensive, the first night we were here we walked past a massage parlor which I pointed out, which started many jokes by the locals about ‘being single’ and ‘beautiful girls’… The place we went to had a very nice decor, we decided to get the 2 hour foot + Chinese massage package that costs less than a quarter of anything similar in Oz. Three ladies walk in with buckets of hot water which you place your feet in while you get a light shoulder rub. You also get unlimited green tea to enjoy during the whole process. Once your back is done and feet well soaked, you get a very thorough foot massage.
This whole time the masseurs and my companions were all talking, and I understood nothing. It is a surreal situation, especially when you know that most of the conversation is about you. They tried to guess my age, but all thought I was younger than what I am, I guess that opinion of me is universal. My friend explained that Sichuan women are typically open and assertive due to a long history of being considered equal to men. I didn’t want to ask what the rest of the conversation was, for fear it would break my fragile ego.
Back to the massage, as I was getting pressure points pushed into my feet, it was explained that each point corresponds to an organ, and if pain is felt it indicates a sickness there. Luckily for me nothing hurt 🙂 . After the foot massage we move into a room with massage tables. The massage was very firm and I would describe like a cross between a Swiss and a Thai massage. Afterwards, we went searching for some dinner, while walking I felt like I was a drift on a soft cloud.
As the guys shouted me the massage, I shouted dinner. To start of we had sugar tomatoes, which sounded totally odd but was surprisingly tasty. I think the sugar brings out the tomato taste while turning it into a sort of desert. We then had spicy noodles. I had a choice between baby, normal or extreme hotness, I went for normal as so far nothing has really been as hot as I have heard it should be, but I think we have been getting the ‘western’ level of spicy. The noodles were really yummy, and not too spicy so next time I am going to get the highest. Later came face/head of pork (there was some disagreement about which one) which also was great. I don’t think I have tried a dish I haven’t liked.
Afterwards I got a taxi back to the hotel and wrote up these blog posts. Now I have some work to do but I am hoping it won’t take too long so I can finally catchup on some sleep. I was woken up this morning by a gigantic crash outside the hotel, which I haven’t figured out what may have caused it yet.