Day 19 - Tuesday June 17, 2008

I laughed when I saw this "manikin" in the pic below - it was the first of many more manikins I saw in the shopping malls of China. Michael's students "always" hold up the 2 fingers for peace when taking a photo. It seems like such a 60's thing to do.

Today, it was nicer out and warmer in Kaifeng (the day before it rained a bit). In the morning after breakfast we went for a walk.

We'd walk along the street and every once in a while there'd be a little doorway like this that led into the back of the stores - into the neighbourhoods where people in the city lived.

I thought this was interesting - these guys were sitting on top of this

My whole 3 weeks in China - in cities of China - this is the only instrument I saw being played on the street.

I think this was supposed to be a huge empty square with a sculpture in the middle of it, but looks like it's as good a place as any to store your "stuff".

I bought a really nice tea thermos in one of these shops - it was made of glass and had two layers so it wasn't too hot to the touch when you had hot tea in it. It had a stainless steel lid and I used it a lot in China. Then after I got home, I took it along when I went to the International Tattoo in Halifax - and accidentally dropped it on the cement floor - whaaa.

Walking up to this area I wondered what all that lovely green hanging stuff was - could it be vines?

Yes! Plastic vines.

Then in the afternoon, I went up to the 9th floor of the hotel for a massage (Korean type, it said) and I really enjoyed the overall experience ... but first I had to undress in front of 3 women and then have a shower in front of them (yikes) and they wanted me to wash my face too, so they gave me soap and when my makeup was off they looked shocked and worried as though they had done something wrong to me. I calmed them as best I could - while naked in front of them (that’s a new one for me - at least they were looking at my face now!)
Note: no pics from this event.

The girl who did the massage was pretty rough at times, but gentle too and when I turned onto my front she put many hot towels on my back and then a piece of rubbery material, and then she got on top of me and “walked” around on me on her hands and knees! She also put my feet in hot towels and plastic bags so they were toasty the whole time - nice. (I got to wear my underwear and some pyjamas during the message - but of course took the top off my back before the hot towels).

It’s a real challenge trying to do stuff in China on my own, without knowing the language. They had someone there with me who spoke a few words of English (she was 19) but she was also very shy. I could understand a few of her English words, but I could not make her understand me. So we just made hand motions until enough was understood.

So at least I experienced one full body massage in China.

I thought this was a cute store - I couldn't read the signage, I know they sold cooked duck, but it's so cute, it looks to me like they might sell something like toys for kids, like stuffed ducks.

This was the "Guild Hall" for the rich merchants. We didn't go into it though.

Above and below was a kindergarten type of place that had a gated entrance.

That's grass/weeds growing on the tiled roofs.

I didn't take a good close up pic of these, but below the fans on the second shelf are really old looking remotes - they look like they've survived an earthquake - totally full of dust and dirt. Anyone want to buy one?

New fangled rickshaws.

Another historic temple of sorts that we didn't go into.

This evening Michael and I looked around at places to eat (Kaifeng is famous for it’s food) (see pics in the next posting) but in the end we walked into a MacDonald’s (you've got to be kidding!) because we were too shy to communicate - and Michael was really in the mood for a hamburger, fries and coke. I got some fries and when we went on the street, I gave in and I bought a round piece of roasted bread - a pita sort of thing that they cut open and stuff with all kinds of food type “things”. But I had mine plain - hot and freshly baked in some dark hole of the stainless steel cooking cart (see pic). It was really good - lightly spiced with sesame seeds in it.

Above you see the famous "gathering of the food sellers" that happens every night - everyone (or family) has their own little cooking cart where they make their own specialty foods. Many of them make the same foods, but I guess you develop your favourites - like "MacDonald's". Now, please understand we went to MacDonald's but it's definitely not our favourite, or a common activity for us.

After it got dark, Michael took pictures of the night food market and I'll post some of those next.

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