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Three Towns, One Boat Ride

Popularity 2Viewed 5123 times 2016-7-6 10:05 |System category:Life

As I said in the last post, our first stop was in Yi Chang. We stayed in a business hotel not far from the bus station. The room was serviceable but not remarkable. One thing that did stand out was the concessions available in each room. There were travel towels, bowls of noodles, bottles of water and tea, some cakes and yes, even condoms.

You might know about the process of checking into and out of hotels. Upon check in you pay a deposit, usually 100Yuan. Upon checkout, the desk clerk radios up to the maid assigned to that floor, requesting a room inspection. Once the maid informs the desk clerk the condition of the room is acceptable, you receive your cash deposit back. In the case where concessions are provided, the maid will radio if anything has been consumed and the appropriate amount will be deducted from your deposit. No need to worry about being cheated: the price for each concession is listed on a chart on the wall of your room. You know up front what you will pay and, to be perfectly fair, these concessions are cheap.

So, this room in this business hotel had concessions that we had no need for. We were packed for everything and besides, we were going out for barbecue. That yummy Yi Chang barbecue that I sampled the first time I went there. Yes, it was just as good as the last time I had it. Why can’t they make barbecue like this in Wuhan?

We didn’t dally in Yi Chang. Our goal was to ride a ferry up the river for about 4 hours to get to Feng Jie. We did have to spend the night and we did take time to have a nice bowl of Re Gan Mian, my favorite breakfast noodle. Bearing in mind that each portion is cooked and served separately, Gary insisted I take the first bowl because he was worried about my ability to eat fast enough with chopsticks. His fears proved groundless as he was the last one done. We teased him all day about that.

We also dared each other to fall asleep. The first one to fall asleep had his/her picture taken, usually while their head flopped unflatteringly on someone’s shoulder with a string of drool dangling. As no one wanted their sleeping face posted on the Internet – we all use WeChat, we did our best to not doze. Gary was the first victim. He was photographed deeply asleep, snoring even. I shouldn’t have laughed at him so hard: he caught me asleep and posted a very funny but unflattering picture of me on his microblog. After that, no matter how sleepy I got I did not go to sleep while we were on any of the buses.

Feng Jie was delightful! A beautiful town set in rolling foothills by the river, with tree lined boulevards and friendly locals. Being as I was the only foreigner there, Gary attributed the extra portions of noodles and dumplings we were served to my presence: I was quite the object of curiosity seeing as not many foreigners even venture to that town. The restaurant owner helped us get a cab after telling us of a good hotel to stay at. He even told the taxi driver which hotel to take us to.

This hotel was nicer than the hotel in Yi Chang. The rooms, although small, had a certain charm to them and the bathroom came equipped with a Western toilet – a rarity in such a remote town. We enjoyed hot pot for dinner that night. The next day we went to the giant crater. I would like to write a separate entry about that excursion. So let’s skip over it for now and we’ll go on to the next town.

I wish I could remember the name of it! Unfortunately, with the guys making all of the arrangements and I having forgotten to bring a notebook will have to leave you clueless as to the name of it.

Very strange hotel we stayed at. First, I have to tell you I learned something about hotels in China. Only some hotels are permitted to admit foreigners as guests. If an unlicensed hotel welcomes a foreigner they have to pay a fine of 10,000Yuan. It is not a matter of whether anyone will turn them in, because every person must show their identification upon registering for their room, just as elsewhere in the world. So, when there is a copy of a foreigner passport at a non-licensed hotel, they’re busted and they have to pay. And this is something else I learned from Gary.

This hotel did not have card keys. In fact, we did not get keys to our rooms at all. When we went out for dinner we locked our rooms but then had to ask the front desk to unlock them for us again upon our return. Haven’t seen that type of hotel in a long time. Have you? Nevertheless it was a place to lay our heads. I wouldn’t recommend walking barefoot because the floor was so dirty, and previous guests had put their cigarettes out on the wall instead of in the ashtray. The bathroom had the likeness of a naked woman on the wall, artfully posed, and a Western style toilet. Unfortunately they turned the hot water off at 9PM, so I didn’t get a hot shower that day.

Funny how, on this trip, we went from no-star hotels in tiny villages to a 4-star hotel in Chong Qing. I had a room to myself and the guys shared. My heart and body did not cry or complain about the privacy or the luxury at all. After all the backwoods-ing, it was nice to relax in a full sized tub. Unfortunately, after climbing out of the bath, I found the tub stopper stuck. I had to call the guys for help. Instead of translating the note I intended to leave room service to tell them about the problem, Gary plunged his arm into my dirty bath water and got the stopper out himself.

Nothing solidifies friendship like plunging your arm into your friend’s dirty bath water. But then, by the time we reached Chong Qing, we were thick as thieves; the very best of friends. 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report arabchinalover 2016-7-8 13:38
that is an awesome description of your trip . besides , was there ant toothbrush and toothpaste ? i have vistied many places in china recently and somehotels dont provide such things anymore . when i asked why , they said : for evironment protection .
Reply Report voice_cd 2016-7-8 16:48
Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted it.
Reply Report teamkrejados 2016-7-9 09:43
voice_cd: Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted it.
Thank you! Wish you a beautiful day!
Reply Report teamkrejados 2016-7-9 09:45
arabchinalover: that is an awesome description of your trip . besides , was there ant toothbrush and toothpaste ? i have vistied many places in china recently and som ...
I've not yet encountered that. However, being as I always pack my essentials, I've not had need of provided toiletries. I just with these hotels would provide a wash cloth or bath poof!
(Secret: I've made use of the provided shoe polishing mitts as a washrag. They work pretty well!   )
Reply Report arabchinalover 2016-7-9 13:43
teamkrejados: I've not yet encountered that. However, being as I always pack my essentials, I've not had need of provided toiletries. I just with these hotels would ...
hahahah , i didnt imagin that the provided shoe polishing mitts could be so verstile ! so intelligent ! anyway , packing your own essentials is a smart idea

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  • 2014-04-01 2017-9-24 17:21

    wonderful depiction

  • The 'Face' Effect 2017-8-17 16:51

    In the USA blacks demand all people of other races to call them "African American" Yet they call each other the"N" word everyday.Maybe they should folllow the law. Respect is earned and can not be foreced on you by any law.

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