Friday, September 18, 2009

Sept 18 - I AM IN CHINA!!

I woke up with all the activity at 7:30 and was feeling better. I tried to find something I could eat and ended up eating some slightly sweet bread I had with me. The Chinese countryside is really pretty. There are a lot of farms and the train followed along a river for awhile, and I took some nice pictures. But, it's hard to take pictures from the train because the windows are so filthy. The Russian trains were much cleaner. To get the good pictures, I opened the window and stuck my head out.
I found the nice Norwegian couple and I decided to share a cab with them to see if I could also share their hotel room and split the cost. Taxis are dirt cheap here. We drove for probably 15-20 min and it was 19 Yuan, which is about $3! They charge 2 yuan per kilometer and none for waiting time (like in NYC).

It's also more of a pedestrian friendly city. There are separate lanes for bikes - and there are a lot of bikes! There are regular bikes, electric bikes, motorized bikes, mopeds, rickshaws... masses of them.And when they need to cross lanes of traffic, or a bus or taxi comes into their lane to stop they just deftly steer around it. If a bike is coming too close to a car, or if the car needs to turn across the bike lane, the car just beeps the horn. The bikes do the same for pedestrians. It seems to be an efficient system, as I have seen some crazy antics - bikes going against traffic down the middle of the street and pedestrians standing in front of an oncoming bus - and haven't seen any accidents yet.

At the hotel it turned out I couldn't share their room because it only had two small beds and no room for a rollaway. I had been planning on staying in a hostel that was 65 yuan ($10) and to get my own hotel room was 198 yuan ($30) but I was so exhausted I just stayed there for one night. There was a little bit of a fiasco in getting a non-smoking room - or rather, a room that didn't reek of smoke. See, there is no such thing as non-smoking in China, except perhaps at a 5-star hotel. I had to sniff 4 rooms before finding one that had enough room deodorizer sprayed to mask the smoke smell. The Norwegian couple had a 'no smoking' sign in their room and I tried showing it to the hotel staff, but it didn't seem to do much good. Later, my friends told me they read the sign more closely and it only says 'no smoking IN BED!' I can't believe they have to have a sign for that!

I went to take a shower and the shower curtain had so much mold on it I showered without it and let the floor get soaking wet. There was a drain in it so I figured it wasn't that bad.

We went to eat and just kind of picked the first one that looked good and like it would have an English menu. It had some of the items in broken English and lots of pictures. I still had a bad stomach so I tried to order mild food. That's very difficult in China! I ordered broccoli and scallion pancakes and a soup that looked like just broth and vegetables. Yeah, pictures can be deceiving! The soup turned out to be seafood and the only thing I recognized was shrimp. Luckily the Norwegians were hungry and adventurous eaters and the tried the soup. The described one of the things in it as 'fish chewing gum'!

I barely ate and I had to hit the toilet again. This was a nice restaurant in a nice looking hotel, so I was surprised to find a squat toilet. Let's just say a squat toilet is not what you want when you
have TD. But I learned that some squat toilets are very fancy. This one had an automatic flush! We now call these 'fancy shit holes'. Lol

My new friends decided to walk around a bit as it was only 6:30, but I wasn't feeling good so I went back to the hotel. Since I'd had the TD for 2 days now, I started taking antibiotics. I fell asleep at 7:30 and they stopped by at 8:00 to make plans for us to get together on Sunday. After they left I went back to sleep but woke up 3 hours later with another raging TD episode. This is when I decided it was time for the stronger antibiotics!

1 comment:

Jen said...

That 'food' looks nasty!