Published: April 1st 2012March 27th 2012
The day before my birthday, Elyse told me that she had planned a surprise for me and that we would be going out on our bikes at 3:30. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and was looking forward to spending some time with her and not working on any business related matters. It was a warm, sunny day and it finally seemed as if Spring was here to stay. We rode for 20 or so minutes, before we arrived at our destination. She booked us a couples massages at a nice Spa. Elyse had already been to this place two weeks prior with a friend, but it was my first time.
We entered a room with two massage tables, a private bath with a deep, wooden soaking tub and separate shower. It smelled like lavender and soothing music was playing in the background. We changed into a pair of fantastic disposable underwear, put on the robes that were given to us and got under the sheets on the massage tables. We enjoyed a nice oil back and neck message for 30 minutes. Afterwards, we got dressed and were served some type of flower tea.
From there we headed across the street for an early dinner. One of my favorite places to eat out is at a place called Grandma’s Kitchen. It offers a lot of good food and isn’t ridiculous in terms of the prices. On the way home we cut through the wetlands park which is full of touristy restaurants that we never eat at since the prices are of the ridiculous variety. For example a cup of coffee will run you around 7 USD, a “salad” at one establishment which consists of boiled, hot, oily lettuce costs around 4 USD. So needless to say we avoid these places to eat.
On my actual birthday, Elyse had to teach 4 afternoon classes and 3 night classes so we planned on going out on Thursday evening. Some of our teacher friends don’t work on Fridays so we could all go out and enjoy a night on the town. On my birthday I only had 2 afternoon classes and I planned on showing a movie. Elyse left for class early so she could go to the store and get some butter for some cookies we would bake later that night. When I
showed up to class I expected the Chinese version of Happy Birthday but what I didn’t expect was a few confetti cannons that blasted in my ears as I walked in the door. Elyse was in the back of the room and lit candles to a birthday cake while the students sang happy birthday. I guess some of the kids didn’t see the cake when they came in and freaked out when they knew we’d be eating cake. Keep in mind that these students are 18 – 20 years old. It was pretty funny. I severed all the students cake after Elyse cut the cake, and left the rest in the English Teacher’s office for some of the other teachers. We watched the latest Ice Age movie. That night Elyse baked me some cookies and I made ice cream cookie sandwiches. I’d been craving fresh baked cookies for a while so it was a special treat.
On Thursday, we meet for dinner at a place near our home. I invited some other foreign teachers from our last school and a two other Chinese friends. My buddy Mike and I couldn’t decide what to eat so we suggested
that we split a cheeseburger and wiener schnitzel. Mike called it being food bros and said he was okay with the plan. The waitress took our orders, well half the table and then walked away. Chinaisn’t known for their service.
I called to have her come back and finish taking the orders of everyone else. The cheeseburger was the first to come out and the waitress placed it in front of Elyse, despite the fact that she ordered Chicken curry; like I saidChina’s not really known for service. The cheeseburger actually consisted of two separate burgers so it was a great deal. Everyone else got their food and we realized that Colin was served our wiener schnitzel instead of his fish and chips, which never came. Mike and I decided to play it safe and just order a second cheeseburger.
After dinner, we went to a bar, Burton Coffee, which recently opened up in a new office building complex. It was much more reminiscent of a western style bar and the place was packed with international students fromZhejiangUniversity. We stayed for a few hours and got our fair share of drinks in us before
we got in a cab and headed home. It ended up being a great way to celebrate and we all decided that we would return again sometime soon.
There are more photos below