Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pingxiang--Test Run to Friendship Pass--6/23

After another noodle soup breakfast topped off with a hot mango drink, I caught the bus no.2 with the hotel staff confirmation that the Chinese script the Immigration official gave me meant "Friendship Pass". The bus was standing room only and while standing there, I saw a script map painted over the rear door of the bus with the third to the last stop that matched my script. I pointed to my script and the bus map to the woman standing next to me and she indicated that she would let me know when to get off.

When I got off with four other passengers we were swarmed by moto taxi drivers with helmets for them and not for us. One of the passengers indicated that I should get on for a ride to Friendship Pass. I indicated to the nearest driver "how much"? He showed me five digits---5 RMB--so off we went through some beautiful country scenery for about 3 kms.

Since this is also a tourist attraction, they charge an admission fee from 40 RMB on down. I did not have to pay any fee since I am 70 years old. I guess they revere the "elderly" here as well as other places---the Great Wall Fee was half price for me.
Here is the Chinese Immigration office I will pass through tomorrow since I will be legal to enter Vietnam. The Vietnam Immigration office is another 600 meter walk. This is one of the most beautiful border crossings I have seen.

I visited the old Mountain Zuobi Fort whle there after a very steep stair climb.
By the time I returned, I was ready for another local dinner from my favorite chef. Armed with my Lonely Planet language guide for eating, I ordered beef with vegetables. This turned out to be a real winner. This time the beef was just tender beef slices with no bones or fat or gristle, and was cooked with lots of garlic pieces, lemon grass, ginger, and bean sprouts. Apparently I got some additional vegetables which were bok choy loaded with garlic. It was such a good meal and the best one I have had in China and cost just 57 RMB including a large beer and tea.


They like to show that the dishware is sterilized, just don't look to closely in the kitchen. I almost fell because of the greasy slippery floor when I was taking pictures of my dinner set up.



I was only able to eat half of the bok choy. Hao chu!

After dinner, I returned to the hotel and checked out the Spa. I signed up for the 90 minute special for 268 RMB which sounded expensive compared to the ones I had in other places, but I had no idea what was involved since still no one spoke English.

I got to the room and there was a bed, flat screen TV, a wood tub, shower, toilet. When the massage girl showed up, she was wearing a very short and low cut "military" uniform and high heels. She motioned me undress and lay face down on the bed. She covered me with a towel and massaged for a while while the wooden tub lined with thin plastic was being filled. Once filled, she had me get in the scented tub and she proceeded to scrub me all over with those scratchy gloves. She scrapped all of my dead skin off and then some.

As I got out of the tub, she toweled me off and then motioned me back to the bed for the oil massage portion of the spa treatment. Along with the oil, she began using hot rocks, at first on her hands to heat up the oil she applied to me. Sometimes she vigorously repeately rubbed me heating up my skin from the friction. When she thought the rocks were cool enough she rubbed them directly on me.

When she turned me over I saw for the first time that there was a ceiling mirror that gave me a different angle of her at work.

This was one of the most thorough massages I have ever had and the ones in Beijing pale in comparison. Not only that, she would not accept any tips so the total cost was less than $45 USD.

A great way to end my forced stay here in Pingxiang.



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