Friday night, we (Alyssa, Brandon, and I) went with Jack, Lotus, Jane Lemon, and Vivi to the roller rink in Sunny Block. The rink was on the second floor of the building. It was sort of in an open area. I have pictures to show what I am talking about. I was siked about going skating. To be quite frank, I haven’t been roller skating since junior high school, so that was about 15 years ago (ßthis really confirms I’m old). I learned the Chinese do not care who the fastest skater is, but who is the most talented. With that being said, most of the skaters were skating backwards. They were doing all kind of tricks too. As for me, I was trying not to fall on my behind, and you’ll be happy to know I didn’t fall (YES!!!). I noticed that Chinese guys are very comfortable with their sexuality. I am not saying this in a bad way (or I don’t think I am), but they hold other guys hands like its normal. Well, maybe normal for them, but not to us. If we see guys holding hands, we automatically assume they are partners. But, they think it is okay here. Side note: In class, I have noticed guys sitting in between guys legs. While walking around campus, we see guys together on mopeds. End side note. It’s is really hard to tell if a Chinese guy is gay or straight. Not that I have a problem with it or that I am looking for a guy, but it was an interesting observation. And, I wanted to share. Girls are do the same things, but it’s not as awkward for women to do it.
After we were tired of skating, we started a game of pool. While waiting for my turn, I was overlooking the patio, and I noticed a big crowd. Come to find out, this crowd was gathering so a guy could profess his love for a girl. In other words, he wanted her to be his girlfriend. He had his friends lighting candles in the shape of a heart and their initials. After the candles were lit, he got down on one knee, and began spilling his heart. She said yes, they kissed, he gave her flowers, and they ran off. All to be his girlfriend. They were teenagers, and I would guess around 18 years old. I didn’t get all of this for my proposal for marriage. Geesh! Pandy needs to step his game up! Lol. If you’re thinking how I know it was a girlfriend/boyfriend proposal and not the real thing, I’ll tell you. Lotus asked one of the friends. I watched the proposal, but I didn’t understand a lick of what they were saying.
By Saturday morning, I was extremely sore from skating. I was not looking forward to climbing a mountain, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I sucked it up, and dressed in the most comfortable clothes I could find in my cabinet closet. Dr. Cheng, Dr. Walker, Alyssa, Brandon, and myself met up with the group of students -- Jack, Lotus, Anthony, Alex, Lightning, Vivi, Tina, Alberto, and Vivian-- and made our way to the mountain. It wasn’t very far at all, a twenty-minute bus ride. After the bus, we had to walk another twenty minutes because there were too many of us to take a cab. We finally made it to the mountain, and I have plenty of pictures to lead you through the experience. It took us about two hours to climb the mountain, and about an hour and a half to climb back down. It was almost as hard going down as it was going up. The first half consisted of stairs, but the second half was everything but stairs. We had sections of mud, rocks, and other various pathways. A lot of it was very slippery, and it wasn’t raining. I couldn’t imagine doing the climb on a rainy day. Many locals climb the mountain for fresh water. I have pictures of men walking in slacks and dress shoes to fetch water. My heart felt for them and their struggle.
Toward the top of the mountain, we found a ‘Men’s Gym.’ There was a section where they men would work out and play cards. After going up a little further, we found the ‘Wive’s Club.’ They were picnicking and making wine. They insisted we try the wine, but I didn’t like it very much. Dr. Walker seemed to enjoy it. Finally, we made it to the top, and we took lots of pics with the view as the backdrop. Now I can say I climbed a mountain in China à check that off my bucket list. Here is a list of highlights: 1) one of the students climbed the mountain in heels, 2) we had a few people fall down, 3) Alyssa almost slipped off the side of the mountain and Dr. Cheng saved her, and 4) the boys (Brandon, Alex, Alberto, and Lightning) almost got lost because they decided to go off path. I thought climbing the mountain would be entertaining enough, but the hot spring had many stories awaiting.
At the bottom of the trail was the hot spring, where we headed to relax. Now, what seemed like a great idea in theory was a very scarring experience. In plain words, I saw both professors without a shirt and one in a Speedo. I had nightmares that night lol. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but very entertaining to say the least. Above, I mentioned the Chinese are very comfortable with their sexuality. Well, the locker rooms for the hot spring confirmed this theory. Let’s just say, I saw a lot of tits and bushes. Every which way we turned, there was another one. I couldn’t believe it. There were no shower curtains or doors anywhere to protect your ‘privacy.’ Well, I am comfortable with my body, but there was no way in h-e-double hockey sticks that I was taking off my clothes in front of all of these women. Alyssa felt the same way. So, we found the restroom to change in, which was located outside of the locker room. I told you there was not one place in this locker room with doors or curtains. We changed in the restroom and made our way to the hot spring. After our encounter, I was curious to find out about Brandon’s. Haha. To no surprise, he had a very similar experience. His comment may not be appropriate for my site, but I would love to share if you are curious.
Other than relaxing in hot water, the hot spring had a section with very small fish. You were allowed to place the bottom half of your body in the water, and the fish would eat your dead skin. I am very ticklish, so I was hesitant about putting my feet in. Matter of fact that was all I put in. I was too afraid to put my bottom half in. As I expected, they tickled my feet, and it was okay. What was funnier was a story Dr. Cheng told us a few days prior. He had a chance the visit the hot spring on one of his off days. He didn’t read the sign about only the bottom half of the body, so he dipped his entire body in the fish water. Smh. He was relieved he had ‘tight trunks’ on, so they wouldn’t be able to access that ‘private area.’ This man never seizes to amaze me. His stories get better every day.
After the hot spring and before heading home, we decided to get dinner. Every restaurants we walked passed had fish in tanks. I don’t know how I would feel about picking which fish I would like for dinner. That would gross me out that the fish was just alive. We stopped at a place recommended by one of Jack’s professors. Supposedly, they are a really good pork dish, but our group seemed to think otherwise. They thought it was the nastiest dish every. Thank God I didn’t try it. I lose my appetite so easily with nasty food. On the other hand, Dr. Cheng ordered a really good eggplant dish for us. I am not sure how it was cooked, but it was the best eggplant I’ve ever had. A little greasy, but very good. He also ordered an egg and melon dish, which is very popular for Indians to eat. The eggs were great, but the melon was the worst piece of fruit I have ever tasted; it was so bitter. I took a drink to wash the taste, but that didn’t work. I stuffed a bunch of white rice in my mouth just to get the taste out. I am not sure how anyone could eat that. Brandon, Alyssa, and Lotus all felt the same way. Who decides to eat the entire dish? Dr. Cheng. Once he found out we didn’t like it, he devoured the dish. Guess we all have different taste buds.
I have plenty of stories, but I am out of time. I have been keeping a bulleted list of everything that has been going on so I do not forget to blog about it. I will definitely post within the next week. Until then, peace!