Friday, May 23, 2008

Guest Blog #6 - Mark's Parents

Ok, so my folks are doing a great job of e-mailing from their trip and we will just continue to post them for your enjoyment...

First, we need to mention the great food at this hotel. It is a Prime Hotel. Breakfast is included every morning. They have about 12 major dishes plus a dozen fruits and a dozen breaded rolls etc. I had pancakes and watermelon. Margaret had eggs made to order.

There are many foreigners and tour groups. Today our tour guide, Amy picked us up at 9:00.The weather was again warm and sunny. First we went to Tiananmen Square. It was huge. Then we went to the Forbidden City. Very interesting but again huge. Amy did a super job for just the two of us again. She took us through a emperor wedding sections that showed their garments etc. Then just before the garden, some guy pulls her away so we get a private showing of this really old expensive looking furniture. Oh, we could order any of it and they would custom make it and ship it to us. I didn't even ask how much the shipping would be.As we exited out the back of the Forbidden City three more guys came up to Amy and handed her a card. I asked what they were trying to sell us. But, alas they were hitting on her. She is 23 and unmarried. I asked if they were interested in her because of her looks or her job. She laughed, they were all only interested because of her job. She said her mother would kill her if she ever called one back.Next we went to the Xishiku church. It was closed, opens at 2:00. So we went to the Temple of Heaven next. Beautiful gardens and setting. The three tiered temple was the highest building and the emperor would go twice a year and pray for good harvest in the fall and for rain in the spring.
Then we went for lunch, very nice Chinese food. First there was this huge bowl of yucky noodle soup. Oh, the foods come out in the order that they are done. Then the plate of rice, followed by some stringy looking spinach type stuff. Then came a beef dish, which mostly was fried dough squares the shape of ice cubes. And finally a peanut chicken dish that I liked yesterday. I ate the beef, chicken, peanuts and rice.Margaret said she liked all of it, but 90% of the soup, rice, spinach and fried dough remained.Next we went to see the church. Amy asked Margaret to be the tour guide since she had only been to this church once when she was 8 years old. It was a Catholic church. Margaret tried but I think she failed her tour guide test on a Catholic church. We, meaning I, declined to have Amy take us to a dance/opera show.
We got back to the hotel at 3:00.Tonite, we braved the environment and took a taxi @ 13 RMB to a electronic store named Buy Now. I think that all the little booths inside are like a flea market. We needed to buy a faster battery charger. What fun. A Salesman from the very first booth asked what we were looking for. They finally figured out what we were asking for with the help of 3 other people. He shows us one that charged 2 AA batteries in 13 hours. Only 2500. They punch this into a calculator. Then he punched in 750. We think that number was RMB, where 700 RMB is about $100.00. We just said no.We then tried to say we wanted one to charge faster. This took a little doing. I kept drawing a wrist watch on my wrist. Finally, our sales clerk says oh yes and then ran off, "You wait here, I go get." About 5 minutes he comes back with two different four AA battery chargers. Margaret figures out one is just 220, which is what everything here is, and the other is 100-240 and charges in four hours. It comes with 4 new Ni-Cad batteries. Nice. Then we ask how much and he punches in 550. We shake our head. He punches in 450, then asks us to punch in what we want to pay. I punch in 300. He has to get his boss, she just shakes her head but then punches in 350 and signs with her hands bottom price. We bought it.
We then were going to take a cab to Outback. Yea, Margaret thought it was close by. We get in a cab and show him the Chinese name. Sorry, he says. We walked, it was about 6 city blocks. I had ribs. Margaret had steak and sweet potato. We both had Caesar salads. Fantastic. 286 RMB. We then got a taxi. He took the long way back @ 22 RMB, we think, but the city lights were great.

Till Tomorrow, Charlie

P.S. Since this tour ended up being a "private" one, we have no other visitors/foreigners to talk to. We never would have been comfortable with the bargaining or the taxi ride if we had not been to Mark and Tina's first.

1 comment:

Flo said...

HI Maraget and Charlie, Mark and Tina.
I would encourage you to go to an acrobatic dance show - the athleticism and artistry are spellbinding!
You've triggered many a fond memory-
P.S. any 2008 Olympics Tshirts or headbands around?