I am so glad I decided to split this week into 2 posts. If I had waited and put it all in one it would have been a novel! This is still going to be long though, so maybe you should grab a cup of tea and a blanket and settle in to read. There is a lot to write about this week, it just feels like so much happened. Jesse still had to work during the day, but he had Saturday off so we ended up doing lots of sightseeing. I’ll pick up right where I left off, Wednesday evening.
After spending much of the day blogging, relaxing and surfing the web I finally decided I needed to do something! So around 1:30 I went downstairs and went swimming in the pool for the first time. I had been kind of hesitant because you have to wear a swim cap in the indoor pool, and I look a little silly in it. I swam for about 45 minutes, and in the end it was silly that I was ever hesitant. Everyone was wearing a swim cap and everyone looked silly! The pool was cool but not too cold and I was able to swim some laps and do my own mini-water-aerobics workout. Good times.
That evening we did go out to dinner with Mandy and Michelle. I am so thankful that we have them here. They’re lots of fun and it’s so so so nice having someone that speaks the language. We can go anywhere we want and try new restaurants without worrying about the language barrier. We went to a Japanese restaurant that they called a buffet. But it wasn’t the kind of buffet that I picture when you say buffet. You sit at a table and order from a menu. It is all you can eat, but it’s served just the way a regular restaurant is served. I am sure that cuts down a LOT on waste and you don’t have to worry about icky people handling all of the food. (Funny side note, did your mom ever tell you to eat all of your dinner because there are starving children in China? Well this restaurant actually had a note at the table reminding people to not waste food — because there are starving children in China) We ordered sushi, sashimi, other cooked seafood, beef tongue (Jesse liked, I did not) and more vegetables. My favorite was the garlic. I saw “Fried Garlic” on the menu and I was totally intrigued. The waitress looked a little shocked when we ordered, so I expected it to be really strong. But it tasted just like roasted garlic, which is always good in my book.
Thursday was another day of keeping myself busy at the hotel. I’m getting pretty good at making myself look busy during the day. I have a schedule where I eat breakfast, then I grab the computer from the room and head to the lounge where I “work” for an hour or two. After “work” I head down to the fitness center and work out. Then a little relaxing before getting ready for Jesse to get back to the hotel. Not the most productive time of my life, but it’s something.
For dinner we went to InCity Mall for noodles at a semi-fast food restaurant. It was the first time Jesse had gone there by himself (read – no translator) so it was interesting. He had Mandy write out his usual order and we attempted to just order two of those. We ended up with one of his usual order and another mystery dish. I preferred his usual order, noodles in a spicy broth with beef. The other order came with a plate of….stuff. And the broth was sort of plain. My kind husband let me eat the usual order and he had the mystery bowl.
I need to take a little side step for a moment. While attempting to eat my bowl of noodles (in broth) with a tiny spoon and a set of chopsticks I had an audience. You see, when I go out in China, I’m kind of a one woman parade. I think I’ve seen 3 other blondes in the 2 weeks I have been here. So people often stare, take pictures and point and tell their children to look. It doesn’t really bother me most of the time, I am an oddity here, but when I’m attempting to eat I’d like to be able to step down off of my elephant and just eat without the audience.
Back to the regularly scheduled programing, on Friday it was hot, humid, rainy, and gloomy outside. I had no interest in going out to explore. It even took a lot of self prompting and motivation to go downstairs to work out. But by the time Jesse got back to the hotel I was ready to get out of the room. We went downstairs to the Submarine, a bar, and met a few of his American coworkers. After a few drinks I told Jesse I NEEDED dinner. He rounded up the guys and we headed to the Japanese restaurant in the hotel. Dinner was OK. My stomach was a little upset so I didn’t really want to eat any of the sashimi. I did enjoy my rice. Right down to the very last little grain!
Saturday was a BIG sight-seeing day. Mandy and Michelle met us at the hotel at 10:30 and we got going right away. Our mission for the day was Tiger Hill, which is a 3 acre area where you work your way up a hill passing one amazing piece of history after another. But first we had to buy hats, and man did we look good in our hats 🙂 I took so many pictures that my camera battery died right when we reached the top. Thank goodness for iPhones! After exploring all of the sites (look at more pictures here) we did a little shopping. It seems like there are always “convienently” located shops just as you exit the big tourist sites…. Hmmm. After shopping we were all starving so we stopped for lunch. We had the best cold pasta salad, it had rice noodles, cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and edamame. I am definitely going to try to recreate that when I get home. We also ordered cheesy shrimp. So not traditional Chinese food but so very very good. I miss cheese.
Touring, shopping, eating and hunting for a taxi in 90+ degrees with high humidity, it’s not surprising we were beat. It seemed fitting to go back to the hotel for a little swim. And the pool felt so nice. Later for dinner we went to restaurant that serves “porridge”. To me it tasted more like chicken and rice soup. I am also officially over chicken bones. It tasted great, but I just do not like having to fish a bone out of my mouth every other bite. So thankful for boneless skinless chicken breast back in the states. Before the porridge we had some sort of mushroom dish made with little bites of pork and lots of celery. That was amazing and possibly my favorite dish yet!
You still with me? I promise I’m almost finished, finally on Sunday!
Sunday morning we slept in. When we finally forced ourselves out of bed at 11:15 it was too late for breakfast at the hotel. Jesse wanted some familiar fare so we headed to a mall where we thought they had a Burger King. The mall was INSANE. So many people. Lines everywhere. No Burger King to be found. A line out the door at Pizza Hut and KFC. Then we spotted a Dunkin Donuts. Could it be true? It was and it was delicious, even if it wasn’t an exact match for American Dunkin Donuts. Then we decided to head to another mall because at this point Jesse had told himself that he was going to get a burger and he couldn’t go back to the hotel without one! Finding a taxi was impossible. Like I said, it was insane there. We finally settled on a two person motorized scooter taxi thing. We paid way too much for that ride, but to not be standing in the heat trying to get a taxi for one more minute, it was worth it.
Later, two of Jesse’s Chinese coworkers, Ben and Bohan, wanted to take us out. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant on GuanXian street. After dinner they took us to another area for shopping. I believe the area we went to is known as Old Town. It was really really neat. Shop after shop of silks, knick knacks, beads, and other traditional Chinese symbols for good luck. I did a just a little bit (yeah right!) of shopping. But I can’t share what I bought because I did a little gift shopping! 😉
So that’s that. Week two in a very large nutshell. You can view more of my pictures here. In the world of recipes, next up I plan to post a really delicious broccoli slaw quiche so stay tuned. Thank you for reading!