People to People Technical Communications Professional Delegation to China—Day 7

I was up before the alarm and wake-up call again today. I logged in, and since there was no response from Kevin M., and since I’m the impatient person that I am, I forwarded a copy of the note I’d sent to him yesterday asking him to post my entries, to both my friend Casey and my friend Kevin R., both of whom are also LJers, so would know how to post for me.

I was just afraid that since I only had Kevin M.’s work e-mail and had sent my request to it, that he might not see it until Monday, and I didn’t want to wait yet another two days to get that stuff posted.

Another huge breakfast buffet at this hotel, and as in the Swissotel in Beijing, containing both western breakfast choices as well as Asian. Let’s see. Today, I chose two pieces of toast, two hard-boiled eggs—of which I ate the yoke of only one, two slices of bacon, one inch-long sausage link, and a waffle.

Along with my coffee, I chose watermelon juice, would you believe, which was good, but not as cold as I wanted. I supplemented all that with a fruit plate consisting of fresh cantaloupe, pineapple, and of course, watermelon. That watermelon was cold, and most delicious.

I ate with James, Kathleen, and Konrad. At one point, a woman approached our table, nodded at my “Grammar Police” t-shirt, and asked, “Are you an English teacher?”

I explained that I was a technical editor, and she said, “Well, I’m an English teacher and I could use one of those shirts to keep my kids in line.”

Today was our Li River cruise, our only cultural day here in Guilin, and not unlike our first cultural day in Beijing, it was totally foggy with the added attraction of rain. To that end, our 3.5-hour cruise didn’t yield the beautiful pictures like you see at the website advertising the river cruise, but here’s a sample of some of them:

At one point on our ride, these guys pulled up to the side of our boat and latched onto it, as you can see here:

Then they got up on that very narrow ledge of the boat, and proceeded to try and sell their wares from the other side of the glass:

Debbie Davy ended up buying that purple amethyst from them. They wanted 200 Yuan, but she offered them 100 Yuan, which they promptly snatched up. They rode the boat quite a long ways down the river with us, I mean in terms of them having to get back up to where they came from, that is.

Hey, I got an idea. Let’s pay beaucoup bucks to take a cruise down the Li River in China and then do this the whole way:

What could be more expensive than that? Why, taking the children along, of course:

And, of course no river boat cruise, no river boat cruise of mine at least, would be complete without capturing one or two amusing signs.

The only thing better than warm beef tips is just plain warm tips:

And this gem of a conversion thermometer. Evidently it converts Centigrade, to well, Centigrade:

[This is an inside joke for technical communicators.] And now for an excellent example of that ancient, much loved, rhetorical device—the ordered list:

Among the limited alcoholic selections on the river cruise, Snake Wine was to be found:

Once off the boat, we had about 40 minutes in this little shopping area, where the vendors absolutely hounded everyone to death. This one little woman, she couldn’t have been much over four-feet tall kept tugging at everyone’s clothes begging for money. At one point, she rubbed my stomach like a Buddha belly, with the obvious message being, “You’re not starving.” Not a good way to win friends and influence people.

It was raining a little more than a steady drizzle and every other person walking around there tried to sell us an “unblella.” I found this pronunciation very interesting, and they all did it, including our local guide.

I ended up buying that same bottle that I’d earmarked back at that place near our hotel for 280 Yuan, when I saw it here for 68 Yuan.

“I’ll give you 50 Yuan for it,” I said.

“That’s too low,” the lady said, “I’ll give it for 60 Yuan.” Ten dollars instead of the forty dollars back by the hotel. Yay.

I’ve been itching to buy some post cards, too, and the standard price for all of them has been 10 for 10 Yuan, which is about $1.50. I picked up a pack and asked the guy how much, and he said, “25 Yuan.”

“I’ll take two packs for 20 Yuan,” I said, and he immediately said, “Okay.” Who’s feeling sorry for whom here with a 150% markup (at least) on these goods?

We stopped at a local village on the way back to the hotel, which was a very, very interesting stop. We went inside a local person’s home, where it was immediately and profoundly obvious to all of us how lucky we are. Here’s a shot of one of the rooms, all of which were just open to the outside.

There were a couple of corn fields in this village, and as you can see by the surroundings, it really was a beautiful, beautiful place. I can just imagine it in the bright sunshine.

Here’s a kumquat bush:

And walking a little ways further into the village, we came across this bride and groom getting some professional photographs taken. I know she was cold, in addition to being wet.

All in all, an idyllic little village.

On the drive back to the hotel, some folks made plans to meet for dinner. Tan (pronounced Tahn) made some recommendations of nearby restaurants—all Chinese, of course.

I just tuned out everyone, because there was no doubt in my mind that I was heading right to the McDonalds or Pizza Hut in the center of the city. And that’s exactly what I did. Western food night, thank you very much.

Before I left, of course I checked my e-mail, and was delighted to read that Casey had taken care of my blog entries. Thank you so much, my friend!!!

While I was walking to the city center, at least three, if not four or five, people (all women, but one) approached my obvious white self with hairy legs exposed by shorts, and said, “Massage, mister? Massage?” And then one of them added an extra word…

Now, whenever the two words massage and sex are mentioned in the same sentence, something’s up.

Thinking about how I hate my feet or body flab kneaded, I thought, “You are barking up the wrong tree, lady—in more ways than one.”

I got the “#1 Big Mac Meal” for about $3.40. Good price. The place was teeming with young people.

Since I’d looped around a different way than the direct route from our hotel to the city center where the McDonalds was, I wasn’t sure how to get back. I asked the young boy who had sold me my food, and was now cleaning the tables right around me, “Do you speak English?”

“Yes, a little bit,” he said with a smile.

“Can you tell me which way is back toward the Sheraton?”

“Uh, we don’t have a Sheraton in Guilin,” he said.

“Yes, I’m staying there,” I said. “It faces the lake.”

This couple sitting next to me overheard me asking, and the guy of the couple, who was adorable (another Swede or Norse type man), gave me directions in a totally sexy accent.

Back at my room, I devised this very long blog entry, and I’m tired.

I’m now only one afternoon and evening behind, and that’s Friday, the day we visited with CRD in the morning, and then the Forbidden City in the afternoon. I’m both pissed and putting it off, because I typed a good portion of what’s missing and must have saved over it or lost it somehow.

I absolutely hate having to recreate stuff. I keep doing searches on my laptop in hopes of finding the text somewhere.

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