Monday, May 25, 2009

Elaine & Emily - Guest Blogging Post #1

Hi folks! Elaine and Emily hailing here on Wichmann blog duty.

We arrived Sunday night after an exciting visit to Xiamen’s quarantine office at the airport. We had our temperature taken three times—twice on the plane, and then on the ground. We now have swine-flu-free certifications so we don’t have to undergo any further screening. It was wonderful to find Tina and Mark waiting outside. They whisked us away to the Wichmann B&B, and appropriately had wine-flu medicine ready which we happily consumed on their back deck. After one bottle of wine was turned into three, we were off to bed.

Yesterday was a tough day… We woke up at a leisurely pace, coffee in our PJs, then to breakfast at 11am. Feeling the need to remember our travel backgrounds, we did an impromptu hotel inspection at the Marco Polo – we highly recommend this hotel. We then met with Grace, Tina’s travel agent, and secured our tour itineraries for the Yunnan.

Then it was off to the material market – I giant complex with shop upon shop of fabric. Since Elaine hasn’t yet experienced the Xiamen tailor, we picked out fabric for her, and will report back on seven shirts we ordered at the tailor’s.

Since Elaine is a foot massage virgin, we headed to Xiamen Hua Yi Guan. We were setup in a room with three lounge chairs and wooden buckets of scalding tea to soak our air-travel-weary feet in. Three masseuses worked our necks, shoulders and arms as our feet steeped. We then underwent the Chinese foot massage experience which Elaine describes as “a complete and perfect mix of rapture and torture.” If there’s pain, they’ll poke it. We felt wonderful afterward and walked a half mile on our new feet back to Tina and Mark’s hood to get manicures and pedicures for $7 USD.

The jet lag was setting in a little. Nothing a bottle of wine couldn’t help! We also ate these delicious berries that Tina bought us. We’re not sure of the name, but the berries are a perfect combination of a raspberry and a cherry. Yum!

Elaine had her first dinner at a dim sum restaurant. I could tell she’d been fearing the food because I had her worried we would be eating pigeon. Much to her relief, dinner was pork and shrimp dumplings, scallion pancakes, and baoxi, which is steamed bread with pork inside -- a favorite of mine and Tina’s. After dinner, we wound up the evening with a pitcher of margaritas.

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