Day 135: Chengyang, China

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April 11th 2010
Published: April 11th 2010
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Day 135: Sunday, April 11th, 2010.
Chengyang, China.

Sing along with me, "Who needs sleep? Never gonna get it. Who needs sleep? Baby what's that for?..." Ugh. So, started to fall asleep and then I woke up about 10 minutes later with my legs itching like crazy. Threw off the very heavy duvet cover and pulled up my PJ pants but couldn't see any bug bites or rashes on my legs and the itching was already subsiding. Weird. Put the duvet back on and about 10 minutes later, same thing. The duvet smelled clean, so I don't think it's bed bugs (especially since I don't see bites), so I don't know if I'm getting too hot because it is a very heavy duvet. Problem with sleeping without the duvet is that it gets pretty cold here and night. So, I gave up and put on a layer of clothes over my PJ's and slept on the top sheet (and to add to the fun, we're sleeping on box springs, not mattresses- soooo comfy.) About 20 minutes later I woke up freezing, so I tossed the duvet on and hoped for the best. 2 hours later, woke up itching- so I kicked off the duvet and lather, rinse, repeat. Around 3 am, a rooster right outside decided the sun was going to be up any minute, so he started doing his thing from then on. I want to find him and snap his neck. If Rene Zellweger can do it, so can I. Not a good nights sleep.

At 9:30 am, we met up with our local guide, Tim, and he gave us a nice leisurely walk around the 5 towns that make up Chengyang (one of which is called "Da Village", I'm pretty sure Da Bears live there.) Many breathtaking sights. Each village has a drum tower that they use to call everyone to the square for an emergency (such as a fire which, since most everything is made out of old wood here, is a huge risk.) There was a market today so we wandered around those streets but I didn't have the urge to buy a pig. We walked across one covered bridge and there were some monks there asking for money for the upkeep of the bridge. I gave them $1 (US money is widely accepted over here). After we got out of the bridge, Ling told me that the guys weren't really monks and that they would keep some of the money. Well, in one way that was good news because I thought the one guy was really cute and I was worried that I was attracted to a monk (he looked like Chow Yun Fat during his "Crouching Tiger" days!)

Towards the end of our walk, we stopped at a tea house and had a unique cup of tea. It had puffed rice floating in it (tasted like Cheerios) . So, next time you have Cheerios, pour sweetened hot tea over them instead of milk. It was pretty good actually. We then walked across the Wind and Rain Bridge and headed back to our hotel. We had a light lunch at the restaurant on top of the hotel, then crashed for an hour because at 3:30 pm we were going to a Cultural show.

We get to the town plaza at 3:30 pm and we were instantly surrounded by older ladies who wanted us to buy trinkets. These poor women have spent so much of their life in the field (and without proper nutrition) that they are permanent bent over. One was truly stuck in a 90 degree angle. Since Intrepid stresses that we give back to the local communities, I bought 4 of their little trinkets which were tassels (like you would hang from a graduation cap, not the kind you'd hang from a nipple). They were about $1 each, but going to a good cause. I thought if I bought those 4 everyone would leave me alone, seeing that I had the collection. Nope, apparently that just pointed out that I was a sucker with more money. So, I learned how to say "No Thank You" (sounds like "Boo How Shay Shay") in a very polite way but then I had to run away because they kept approaching.

The performance began and about 8 girls and 8 guys danced, sang, and played very interesting instruments for us. Then they approached us and offered us a shot of some kind of alcohol. Knowing my dislike of alcohol, Ling had warned me about this ahead of time and told me to fake sipping it so that they wouldn't be insulted. It was a bit like communion (or at least from what I've seen on TV). One guy followed them and took a picture of each of us drinking and later sold us the print. It was a neat shot, so I paid for that too. There, I've supported, BOO HOW SHAY SHAY!!!!! Then the performers tried to get various audience people to dance and that's where I definitely put my foot down- no dancing for me. So they danced with some other and at the end, they surprised one girl by grabbing her and having 6 guys toss her into the air and catch her. Can't imagine the damage that would have been caused to all if I had been that girl.

After the show, myself, Judy and Rita want to walk around some more so we strike out on our own. We just wandered down some paths and pretty soon found ourselves on paths that we had taken that morning. It was a nice walk, about an hour, but it was very humid so we were all drenched by the time we got back to the hotel. Dick was trying to teach Ling how to play Bridge and the rest of us headed upstairs and I finally figured out which tap to turn to get a hot shower. However, I then had to get back into dirty clothes. I reallllllly need to do laundry. I fear I smell like a hostel. No laundry service until Yangshou (3 days from now) and there is only so much sink washing will help.

Dinner was at the hotel and the braised spare ribs were so good that i ordered them again tonight and wasn't disappointed. Then, after chatting for a bit, it was off to the room to "pack down". We are going to drop our big bags off at a storage room tomorrow and carry our little backpacks on a 40 minute uphill hike to our next "hotel". I have a feeling it'll be beautiful, but also a little slice of Hell in its own way. We shall see. The upside is that I found a site that let's me watch movies over here so I've now caught Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. Oddly enough, this tiny little town has Internet in each of the rooms. Christmas and Kwanza!

Additional photos below
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11th April 2010

Pig for Dinner
Yummy Pig Picture! Do you think Sarah and John would serve that at the wedding reception? Probably not since one of them is a vegetarian!
11th April 2010

They better! I already shipped that baby home!! ;)
23rd April 2010

The food probably tastes nothing like our "rainbow restaurant" glad you are finding food that your stomach likes!!!
28th April 2010

:) Not sure if my stomach "likes" the food but at least everyone else is running to the bathroom too, so misery loves company :) And yes, VERY different than Rainbow- I miss Sesame Chicken though! xo.

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