Friday, October 31, 2008

Xiamen Markets and other Fun - Guest Blogger

Well today is a new day, Tina and I are off to Tai Chi. Mark's working from home and will be looking after DOD (our dear ol' Dad) this morning. Since the day is off to a slow start for dad, he was curious for about breakfast. Since Wichmann B&B doesn't include breakfast he wasn't sure where his morning 'grub' was coming from. Luckily, he brought groceries for Tina and Mark from Canada.

Tai Chi is a wonderfully slow excercise. It is energizing and meditative. Tai Chi has the ability to strengthen muscles you never knew you had. Flexibility is also a benefit. Tai Chi is a total mind, body and spirit excercise and it a lifelong endeavour. It is especially invigorating when done outside in nature. We finished and headed back to the apartment.

We gathered our belongings and headed for lunch and a small 'walk'. Tina and Mark took us back to the local market and walk through the different alleys. A total culture shock. When you have done these alleys you really didn't know whether to feel guilty or sad. An unbelievable way of life! The alleys are wide enough for only 1 person, so single file we go. These people have a very simple life and poor. The real ironic part is -when you look up you see the new highrises. According to Tina and Mark, eventually these old sections of town are being slowly demolished to make way for the new. Part of our alley tour gave Dad a real eye opener. Dad and Mark went down their own 'special' alley. In other words, the women would be 'cramping their style.' As we were going through the alleys we couldn't help but laugh. We met up with the men and heard their story. Let just say, they (according the them) were lucky to get out in one piece! Ya, Ya,.............

Next came our shopping, I did manage to pick a small Samsonite for $40, thanks to Mark and he's bartering. The price of the case started at 480RMB and ended up at 280RMB. Just divide the amount by 7 to give you the dollars.

We arrived back at the apartment and Tina made up be real quiet as not to disturb Mark. So that's what we did. Our next stop was for a foot massage. Dad was so excited. This time around it was painful. My guy hit all the right spots. He must have found all the tense /stress spots. Wow! It hurt. The funny thing about a foot massage here in China is the masseuse also works on the your back. Boy that was even more painful! My masseuse found all the right spots, again.... I thought for sure I was going to fall off my chair. Oddly, the discomfort I had to endure was gone in no time when he was finished. Now it was time to head home.

We arrived again at the apartment, so we could pickup Mark for dinner when he was finished his work. Again, Tina told us to keep quiet as Mark was working. So we waited. We didn't want to disturb him, so we were quiet as as mouse. We waited. Basically, we just relaxed again. Not me, I am told to write this blog. So like a good sister I did. Now, it was time to get Mark and go for dinner. If you know Tina and Mark's place its not that big. Its a 2 bedroom apartment. Really nice and really, really spacious. It must be, since Tina couldn't find Mark. She didn't realize he was gone. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? Anyway, we headed out for dinner.

A local restaurant called 'Good Taste'. Quite an interesting meal. In the middle of your table is a gas burner. The idea of the meal is to order assorted dishes to cook. The pot has a basic stock - ours was fish and from there you add your own indgredients. Tina ordered for us, which also included live prawns. The prawns are added to your boiling pot. I just didn't have the heart. One thing about China, all their food is fresh. I mean alive and kickin'. For me, it would take some getting use to. We have been lucky, we really enjoyed the food. There really is no alternative. It seems any Western type food will cost you more and Tina and Mark wouldn't take us there anyway.

We loved the food, and went back to the apartment to retire for the evening.

(As a side note, I had told Tina that I would most likely be heading out in the afternoon to visit a vendor for work. I did also send a text message to her, while they were being quiet waiting, telling her to just go out and eat without me - I think she just wanted to enjoy her family being quiet.... I did manage to finish and come home by 19:00 so that I could enjoy more family time.)

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