It’s Going Down….

So, I had one thing I had to do before Everest, well, two, I guess. I really didn’t want to get sick either. But, I managed to avoid strep throat, the office stomach flu, and whatever cold Brian caught earlier this week. So, what do I do to ring in the seven day count down?  Go for a run in my new trail shoes, of course.  And what else would I do while doing that other than crash. Pretty hard. And skid…my friend told me she heard it, but thought the noise was me catching myself. My right leg was covered in dust from the skid….took a chunk out of my left hand….and rolled my left ankle (I’m pretty sure that’s what caused the fall).  I heard it pop on the way down, but once it was over, I seemed to be in one piece.  At least enough to hike myself up and out of there, and back to the car.  That’s the thing about trail running… can cut the route short, but there’s really no way back unless you walk. And it’s generally just as far to keep going or turn around.

So, ouch…not how I wanted to spend the week before my trip.   I run that trail all the time….of course I would crash today. Ugh….I’d take being chased by a turkey again….

It’s actually not too bad….only a little bigger than a golf ball….and it doesn’t hurt too bad if I just stay off it.  Cause I’m good at that, and do t have anything else to do….

In other news, I spent the week with one of our counterparts from Japan.  I’d met him when I traveled there two years  ago, so it was cool to see him again.  I also really enjoyed learning from him as much as I enjoyed showing him what we do in stores here.

Alright…off to dinner with some friends….if I can navigate the stairs….haha…

Until next time.

Three Weeks and Counting….

I realized today that we have three weeks until we leave for Nepal…crazy.  And it feels like it’s so much closer now than when it was four weeks away.  haha…I’m sure next week, when it’s down to two, it will feel even closer.  Second to last prep hike tomorrow….eeek!  Crazy….

We got the final trip email yesterday, so that may be why it feels closer too.  It looks like there will be eleven of us in the group, plus the staff from REI.  They’re going to pick us up from the airport, which will be nice.  Less to figure out is always good.  Of course, they’re going to identify us by our REI t-shirts, which they ran out of in my size.  Good news, they’re sending me a bag…bad news, I’ll get lost at the airport. Haha…we also have luggage tags, so I should be good.  But,  knowing my luck, who knows.

It also looked like our carry-ons might not count toward the 30 lb weight limit, which, if that’s the case, will be a huge relief.  Not that I want to bring a ton of stuff, but 30 lbs is not a lot and once I add in contacts, contact solution, medicine, first aid kit, etc, etc, I feel like it’s going to add up quickly.  As long as I can bring enough snacks to quell my ‘im always hungry’ appetite, everything will be ok.  haha…I emailed them to confirm, so we’ll see what happens.

I spent a few hours today running through the headlands.  I added a trip down to muir beach into what has become my normal route through pirates cove.  Time wise, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I felt like I was walking a lot more, but I was only a few seconds/mile off of my pace from last week.  Looking at my splits, I think my time through pirates cover was a lot faster than I was last week and the week before.  Hopefully that means I’m getting stronger and will continue to do so.  I’m trying hard to build some distance before the trip – who knows what I’ll lose or gain while trekking for days on end, but we’re looking at a 50k (classic me, right?) a month after we get back, so want to at least give myself a shot at it.

However, crawling out of muir beach was as awful as I remember it.  Not as bad on the way down as it was during North Face, but the way up was pretty rough.  Probably not as rough as North Face, since I was only at mile five or so instead of mile 16.  Of course, as I’m crawling my way up the crazy hills, I come upon paw prints…giant paw prints.  Sweet…I was hoping I could get mauled by a mountain lion today…but, after a nice trip down miwok cutoff, I was back to my car.  Which was in a really good parking spot….complete with the satisfaction that the car in front of me blocked traffic for several minutes to wait for someone to pull out, yet, I ended up with the best spot and didnt hold up traffic.

Other than that, Game of Thrones starts tomorrow!  Yay!  We’ve been waiting for quite some time for that….like, since the end of last season.  haha.

Until next time…

Weekend Adventures

Oh, what a weekend….maybe the most adventurous in awhile. A lot of fun, but not the most restful…haha.

Saturday, I did my last long run before the north face marathon. And, I might be in trouble (I only made it to 15 miles…maybe 15), but it’s such an adventure every time I’m out there.  Saturday I had planned to run to the lighthouse, back to the car, and then do another loop in a different direction. But, I couldn’t figure out how to run to the lighthouse…why would the trail be labeled on the map?  So, I went a different route, and ended up finding one of the trails on the race course, so I ran Alta until it ended, and then all the way to the starting end. And, found several places where the trail went off state land and onto private land. Which you were allowed to cross, as long as you stayed on the path, kept your dog on a leash, and cleaned up after your dog. The benefit to running through the trailhead was that there was a map, so I figured out how I would get back to the car…what fun is simply going back the way you came?

So I planned a new route…Alta to the end, pick up SCA, then the costal trail back to the visitor’s center.  Then I could assess the distance and decide if I needed another loop on one of the closer trails. Of course, nothing goes according to plan….especially when it comes to trail running. So I’m running along, feeling great, enjoying the awesome views of the SCA trail (single lane trail on the side of a mountain), when I see it…….

A kitty….a rather large, muscular, kitty. Crossing the trail and running up the hill. Too big to be a bob cat….which leaves one option. Yup, definitely a mountain lion. And, as I later found out, there is one living in that area, and they’re warning pets and small children to stay away….

Good times. Luckily, I had plan B – there was another trail a bit back that would take me to the trail I started on that morning, thus taking me back to my car. So, I backtracked. And got back…but then it was cold, and I was stiff, and it was windy. I got back to the visitor’s center and actually went inside, and….it’s pretty cool. Half store and half museum, lots of cool stuff to look at. And a good place to thaw out. Of course, then I didn’t want to run anymore….but I made myself walk a few miles to get them and some more time in. Saw the hostel and the art center…cool to see, but still cold, so I called it a day. Despite the race….I decided that I was doing it (and trail running) to have fun. So, I’m going to have fun…have an adventure…and hopefully finish. If not, well I’m the first to admit that I probably bit off more than I could chew with this. And I’m still up for next year….50 miles would be cool, right??

We had a somewhat low key night….friends over for dinner….cookie baking….sent a pizza back for the first time in my life. Let me back up, we ordered pizza from Paxtis, the only place that delivers to us…not the first time, and probably not the last. We get the pizza an hour later….and one of them looks like it’s been tipped over. The other, well, it looks like its been kicked down a few flights of stairs. So, I call them…not sure what I’m hoping to get, because this has never happened before. They were very nice, and offered to bring us new pizza. An hour later, we had decent looking pizza to eat. Great customer service. And lunch for the rest of the week.

Today we went on another hike, to further break in our boots for Everest. I took Brian and one of our friends on the trail I ran a few weeks ago. Great views of the bridge, and of course we went off the main trail and found a bunch of bunkers in the hillside. Some connected underground. Sadly, they were all covered in graffiti and full of garbage. But, still really cool to see. I love the headlands…so much cool stuff to see.  I also ran into one of my former classmates…cool to see him too.

I can’t believe the weekend is almost over…and I’m back to the craziness. Is it December yet?  Really, is it mid December yet?  Then school will be over too. I can’t wait for graduation. Really, I can’t wait for Black Friday. I definitely had nightmares both nights this weekend….that I hadn’t set the alarm, and was late for work/to deal with whatever crazy had come up now. Just like I used to dream about new flow and inventory when I was an assistant manager in college…glad to see some things never change. Haha….it will all be over soon.

Until next time….over and out.

Every day is an adventure

So I am blogging from the rooftop bar at my hotel in Beijing.  Im not going lie, it is amazing, and I will be forever thankful that I’ve been able to be here.  Today, I am the only one up here, yesterday, it was packed.  There is a bar tender, who’s speed of service is slower than molasses, but he doesn’t seem to mind that I sit up here and plan the rest of my adventure and blog, and eat my emperor’s fine sandwich and fries.  Should I be eating local food?  Probably, but I am hungry and this sounded good.  Its some sort of club sandwich meets BLT, which means I can make a chicken sandwich and a ham and cheese sandwich.  Plus, I had local food for lunch, which was actually pretty similar to western Chinese food, but more about that later.  Back to this fabulous bar….really the fabulous hotel and bar.

I found the hotel by reading about the bar on this site,31489,1850076_1850078_1849769,00.html.  Once I realized it was pretty much in the middle of everything I wanted to see, I decided to stay here if it wasn’t too expensive.  Luckily it wasn’t….well, the exchange rate has shifted a bit, so not as cheap as it once was.  But, it is amazing.  I have a bunch of photos…will post once I can get back on facebook.  If you read the article, it says to come up here during sunset and that there are infamous rice alcohol mixed drinks.  It’s true.  The view is pretty freaking amazing, and there is an entire menu of signature mixed drinks.  I’ve made it my mission to try all of them before I leave – unless I KNOW there’s something in it I don’t like.

The hotel its self is really cool – ultra modern plopped in the middle of Chinese history.  Tiananmen square and the Forbidden City are moments away…it didn’t take long to get there on today’s bike tour, but more about that later.  The rooms are named after emperors and empresses, rather than having actual room numbers.  I am staying in Wu Ze Tian….an empress of some sort.  I don’t know much about her, but there is a book in my room about all of them, so I plan to check that out later.  There is wireless – first hotel I’ve stayed in to have it, so I can check my email and receive whatsapp messages on my phone without getting nasty texts from AT&T.  And the room, well, it looks like something out of the Jetsons.  Again, I have pictures and will post once I can access facebook.  But, it’s got green couches meet tables meet the bed…and the bathroom is a capsule thing behind it all.  It also has the weird card thing that Sanya and my previous Beijing hotel had, but I’m beginning to realize that’s common place.  My only complaint is that the doors are really thin, and my room is next to the maids closet, so it gets loud really early.

So, today…I had scheduled a bike tour.  And I think maybe I was spoiled by Tokyo.  Anyone reading this…if you are in Tokyo, or are going to Tokyo, do the bike tour.  It is amazing.  It’s a small company, off the beaten path, and the two guides are fantastic.  It’s also a group tour, which adds to the fun.  This one was an individual tour – I couldn’t find a group one.  But, whatever, the idea of riding a bike all over Beijing was just as appealing as riding all over Tokyo.  And, the guide was picking me up at the hotel, so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost.  But, it was so different….

It started out fine, we rode to the forbidden city and he took a couple of pictures so I could prove I was there.  Then we rode over to Tiananmen Square, but he had no qualms about letting me almost get hit by a bus….and yelled at by a bunch of people waiting to get on the bus.  Good times especially with the heavy bike.  So we looked at the square, but didn’t really stop there, or at the forbidden city.  He asked me if lunch at 11 was fine, and I was like sure (it was about 10).  Then we stopped and he said he was going to get water.   And came back with green tea….yes, cause that’s exactly what I want  while cycling in the 90 degree heat.  But, it wasn’t that hot, and I was doing ok, so whatever.  We rode around some more, and then went to lunch…it couldn’t have been more than 10:30…ok, I guess that’s fine.  I didn’t really have breakfast, so I guess this works.  I had several plates of food placed in front of me…traditional Chinese meets US Chinese, I guess.  It was ok…some sort of chicken dish, fried rice, random veggie thing, soup, all ordered for me…and then whatever potato and meat dishes he ordered.  He had me try the potato thing before he would tell me what it was – after I ate it, he was like, its potato…I was like, really?  All that drama over potato?  They asked me what I wanted to drink, and I said water, so I got a glass as big as my hand sideways.  Cause that’s like, one gulp…I asked for more, and they were like, well, that’s 5 yuan.  Which is probably less than a dollar, but really, had I taken them up on their offer for beer, it would have been more, and definitely a bigger glass.  So we’re eating lunch, and out comes the bottle of 90 proof alcohol from his bag….really??

After lunch, he took me back to the hotel, and went to return the bikes.  Later I would find out he rented them from a shop around the corner….what kind of bike tour company doesn’t have bikes….

We met again a little after noon and a driver took us to the summer palace.   On the way there, the guide was all like, I would like to show you around tomorrow for free….yeah….ummm….I have plans tomorrow.  I have to meet someone for a school project.  Really, its not until Wednesday, but what does he know…so we go to the palace, and it was actually pretty cool to see – other than the 90 proof alcohol made another appearance.  Lots of photos….we took a boat to one of the islands, and then walked to meet the driver.  I started thinking, maybe it wasn’t so bad after all….

Then we went to a tea tasting, which was actually pretty cool, despite the obvious tourist trap.  It was interesting to learn about some of the different teas, and what they do…and what the figurines we bought at the great wall are actually meant to do.

After the tea tasting came the foot massage, I was really looking forward to a few minutes without the guide talking at me….or anyone talking at me.  It sounded like heaven.  Unfortunately, we arrive at this place that looks normal at first, but then goes downhill from there.  Once you pass the entryway, its like a hospital.  Kid you not, they show me to a room called ‘Surgical Prep’.  There were a couple of pretend comfy chairs, but everything else, including the décor made it look like a doctor’s office.  And then one came in…and hes talking to me like a doctor…and im wondering where I am and what alternate universe ive stepped into.  More importantly ,im wondering when hes going to go away.  So he’s telling me about the facility and how its bilingual and who knows what else…I really don’t care.  And he’s like we do preventative stuff…do you want your pulse checked?  And im like, NO…..and hes like, yeah, you look like an athlete…ewwww…..before he left, he was like, make sure you tip the girl 20-30 RMB….this was the second time this was brought up….and tipping isn’t customary here…..tourist trap much?  And really what do they do?  Take us all to the sketchy hospital and hope they can get someone to buy into long term care?  Everyone coming off the elevator was western, so seems like a faulty business plan to me.

After that, we end up at this Kung Fu thing….another tourist trap it seems.  He kept asking me all day if I knew anything about kung fu or did it or anything like that, and I was like, no.  And in the back of my mind thinking, I don’t want to go to Kung Fu.  I know I didn’t sign up for that.  I thought maybe I was out if once we were done with the foot massage since it was already 4, and the email I had said I’d be back at the hotel at 4:30.  No such luck…and to make it more fun, he was like, well, it doesn’t start until 5:30, so we can hang out here.  Ummmm….no.  That means I get back to the hotel really late…and I have dinner plans at 6.  And I am not hanging out with you for an hour and a half.  So he’s like, we’ll you paid for Kung Fu…and im like, im pretty sure I didn’t….please just take me to the hotel.  So he calls the office….and they confirm, that no, in fact, I did not pay for Kung Fu.  So we go back to the hotel.  On the way hes like, my friend has an office near your hotel…maybe we can go for a walk after your dinner plans.  Ummm…yeah, we’re going out….sorry, its not going to happen.  Adios…good bye, nice knowing you….

Ugh…my skin was crawling for quite some time.  But, nothing some time at the rooftop bar cant solve.

Tomorrow, hopefully a run to the temple of heaven, duck for lunch, and hutongs.

Until next time….

A place called Wuhan

Oh what would I do without travel adventures.  Checking out of the hotel was much more complicated than it needed to be…back to the 1000 yuan deposit.  So I charged lunch once, and then there’s hotel fees, so the total bill was 143 yuan.  Fine.  Can I pay that?  No, you want my card…fine.  Great…but, why are you charging more?  And do I get credit for the amount I didn’t spend. Of course, she can’t confirm anything, keeps telling me it’s my bill and all I’ve signed is something for an additional charge.  So she grabs the girl next to her and she’s at least able to explain that they’ve charged the new amount and I will get credit for the old amount.  Fantastic…now that we’ve sorted that out….

I go out to get a cab.  The bellhop asks me where I’m going and I say the airport.  He proceeds to ask me additional questions in Chinese.  I just look at him….so he tries again.  Yup, still don’t understand you.  Then he’s like, domestic or international.  Ah, something I understand.  So I get in the cab and tell the driver where to take me.  After all that with the bellhop, I don’t think he ever communicated with the driver.  The driver takes me to the airport for 15 yuan…yup, was definitely swindled by the non-taxi driver.  Then he proceeds to pop the trunk and sit there.  Ok, apparently I’ll be getting my own suitcase.

The airport is interesting – of course all the check-in counters look the same, so I have to go to a general counter to attempt to ask where to check in.  That was actually easier than I thought it would be, she brought up the flights to Beijing on a computer, I picked mine out and was on my way.

I could only find one restaurant in the airport, despite seeing the signs for KFC.  I would totally eat KFC right now.  But all I could find was ‘the lucky shamrock’ or something like that.  And it was….well…lucky for them, theyre the only restaurant here.  My choices – steak and French fries, lamb and French fries, steak tips and French fries, chicken wings and French fries.  Great… I end up with chicken wings and fries.  Which they drown in catsup, and the chicken wings were so fried, I don’t think there was meat on them.  And of course there aren’t any napkins.  And, extremely thirsty, I ask for water….yup, none of that either.

Ok…is there some reason the lady across from me cant cover her mouth when she coughs?  Moving on…

On my hunt for a bottle of water, I notice that there are massage chairs all over the airport, kind of like slot machines in vegas.  Interesting, and slightly gross.

Alright, Beijing bound, thank god.  And my jeans are still wet….

And then….i get on the plane, and some guy has taken my seat so he can sit with his family.  Fine, whatever, hes taken my aisle seat and given me a window seat.  Which, actually, im fine with.  I like the window…I have my own space, I can sleep against the window, im good to go.  Other than it’s further back, but whatever.  I remember a conversation with my father about how the back of the plane is the safest place to sit, so im good with that too.

And somehow, despite the relaxing, restful, five days ive had, I fall asleep.  Only to wake up to an announcement about turbulence.  Fine, whatever, ive survived that before.  Then another announcement followed shortly after that….i think the first two versions were in mandarin and Cantonese, so of course I don’t understand…I can just read the mild panic on the faces of those around me.  Ok….whatever is coming isn’t good.  And then they get to the broken English….’the plane is experiencing difficulties, so we will be emergency landing in wuhan’.

Great, awesome…this is what I always hoped for….and then we hit turbulence on the long landing approach.  Somehow, I was eerily calm, and could just think, well, im not going to know what happens until it does.  Is my seatbelt tight (like liam neason in whatever movie Jaime and I watched last weekend with the plane crashing), I can pull my legs up, and brace myself against the seat in front of me.  Ive got this….or something.

And then we land…worst runway landing ever, but we made it.  So I thought maybe we’d get off the plane.  Or not so much.  I guess they decided to fix it with us on it.  I have pictures of them fixing the wing right outside my window….awesome, I totally could have had a front row seat to whatever was going to go wrong in the air….i have photos…will post once I get back on facebook.

The whole experience was about 2 hours….and really one of the most humbling yet.  I know people have been stuck on US tarmacs and runways for much longer, but really, when youre stuck in a plane, with 170+ people who you don’t understand, and don’t understand you, and its hot (think bikram yoga), and your only source of information is the gauge of people’s emotions around you….it’s totally different, and totally humbling.

And of course, my phone only half worked, but I was able to text Brian and let him know what happened, and say I love you, and text Jaime and let her know I would be late.  Jaime offered to have someone find out what was going on via phone, but I was pretty sure there was no information to be had, other than that I was hot, sweaty, and hungry in the back corner of a plane.

Luckily, they did feed us dinner…or unluckily….choices – rice and chicken or something and noodles….i asked again, and they said – rice and chicken, and I was like, yes, that’s fine. It smells disgusting….im kind of sad I ate my first granola bar when we landed and my last when I was on the phone with Jaime 20 minutes ago…

And it was, disgusting….i didn’t really have any chicken – the lady next to me was lucky – she had a bunch.  I had rice and nasty veggies marinated in some sauce.  So gross, but I was so hungry.

And they continue making announcements….some translated, some not.  At some point, I started ignoring them and just reading the people around me.  Then the lady next to me looked out the window and was like, it’s raining…and I was like, yes, yes it is.  You speak English.  Yay!  She asked where I was from, and I her.  She had been on vacation with her husband and lived in Beijing.  She asked if I had come here to travel, I said yes, for that and school.  Then there was another announcement…I looked at her and she said….we’re leaving in 10 minutes.  They never bothered to translate that to English.  Later when I saw her at baggage claim, she waved to me, and I waved back.  Short and sweet, but with limited language skills, I had made a friend.

And then I went to take a cab to the hotel…an actual cab this time.  Jaime had one of her DM’s tell the driver where to go in Chinese, so all should have been well.  Until he took me to some random hotel, and….somehow, I was pretty sure this wasn’t correct.  Of course he’s talking at me in Chinese, and im like, I really have no idea….so I call them and we try again.  And he’s still talking/yelling at me in Chinese…and im like, yeah, whatever…the plane didn’t kill me, keep it coming.  So then he calls the hotel….and then pulls up to some random people on the street to ask for directions…eventually we get there, and id survived adventure number 2 of the day.

The hotel was actually quite accommodating….secondary check in was far easier than I thought it might be.  Someone took my bags up, and then I came down for some food…really my first food of the day….so excited…only to find the restaurant closed.  After I found that out, I must have looked like I was going to cry, because the manager came out and was like, you just checked in, right?  And I was like, yes, yes I did.  So she told me I could have a meat, cheese, and bread plate, or a salad.  I opted for the meat, cheese, and bread plate, along with some wine, and all was right with the world.  I had survived adventure number 3 of the day.

And then I get a text – ‘we should find somewhere to get foot massages’.  Yes, yes we should…that, that sounds like heaven right now.

Ghost Town

First of all, this whole blogging thing is much more difficult when the internet isn’t easily accessible.
Sanya has been….interesting.  It isn’t the beach destination I’m accustomed to, the one we found in Puerto Rico, or Hawaii, or where ever else we’ve been.  Not that I was expecting it to be, but I guess on some level that did form my expectations.
But, I’m in a different country, a different place, so why wouldn’t it be different.  Why wouldn’t I need to put the key card to my room in the slot by the door in order to use the lights or the fan.  Makes perfect sense, right?  Let’s back-up….
So I arrive at the airport…and theres some random guy trying to shove me down the escalator….really??  cause today hasn’t been enough of an adventure already?  Apparently he needed to go first, what do I know….then I’m pretty sure he was trying to take photos of me…really?  Dude, you picked the wrong person.  I am the queen of evading those who want to take my picture – Kristie, if you are reading this, think Universal Studios or Disney or where ever we were.
The next thing I notice is that it’s hot….like really hot and my clothes are sticking to me.  And where is my suitcase.  Of course its like the last one out…but thank god its here.  So I gather my stuff and get my passport and ticket ready to leave baggage claim.  Yes, they check that at every turn here.  The guy in Japan actually opened all of my stuff.  I’m surprised China wasn’t more difficult to get into.
So I escape the airport and step into the heat.  And here I thought it was hot before.  I find a sign for the taxis and start to head in that direction….but, my bag is apprehended by some random non-taxi driver, probably the ones that SFO tells you to steer clear of.  He asks where I’m going, and I say the taxi line, pointing to the area where you’d wait for a taxi.  He tells me he is a taxi….somehow I doubt that, and am quite pissed with myself for letting him get a hold of my bag.  But, I’m also thinking, maybe that’s how they do things here.  He looks at the address and wants it in Chinese, cause there’s no English here….and I’m like, that’s it…do you know where it is?  And he’s like yes, 100 yuan….awesome…congrats, ive just been swindled.  But, I guess if it’s taken me this long, maybe I’ve done ok.
So I end up in a bright red G6 with what I’m pretty sure is a bottle of alcohol attached to the dashboard.  Is this really happening?  I wish I had been brave enough to take a picture.  After about a minute ride, we make a u-turn into the hotel….yup, ive been swindled.  Annoying, but glad that’s the worst that’s happened.  Of course he gives me a card so I can call him if I want to go anywhere while im here.  Riiight…like I’ll be leaving the resort.
So I go to check in and apparently need to leave a 1000 yuan deposit.  I’m slightly annoyed, as I’ve already pre-paid, but whatever.  1000 yuan is like $158.  But I’m annoyed, and I’ve already been swindled today, so I make sure to keep the receipt.  However, remember the deposit.
I get quite the tour of the resort while trying to find my room, it resembles a small vegas hotel, or maybe medium sized.  Finally someone walks me to the room….apparently on a different 5th floor than I visited the first time.  I come in, and its hot…and im…a hot mess.  Hungry (I think the last time I really ate was brunch the day before), tired, sick of traveling, and my room over looks….a construction site….awesome.  I cant wait to sit out there and read.  Slow, deep breaths, I can figure this out.  Something to do…spa…that works.  So I schedule a massage and then leave in search of food.  And, im the only one here….there may have been one other person in the restaurant.  But really, that’s it.  So weird.  So, they ask me if I want to charge my lunch to the room.  Ummm….ok, that’s what we typically do, so I do it.
I think I went back to the room after that and just read the kindle.  I don’t really remember, since its been a few days, but that’s pretty much been my MO.  And it was raining.  Then came the spa.  90 minutes of pure bliss….I asked for 90, then 60, then they had me down for 90, and I guess if I’m not spending money at the pool bar, I might as well spend it at the spa.  Of course, they give me the thing to charge it to my room.  So I do so, cause I think that’s how it works.  Oh wait….not so much.  I end up on the phone with the desk or the manager or someone, cause no one speaks English.  Really, I just want to pay….can I pay here?  They don’t know….no one knows.  Finally, I get a supervisor that at least understands enough to tell me that I can pay in the spa.  Fine, done.  I guess the 1000 yuan deposit is incase I trash the place.
After that I tried the Chinese restaurant for dinner.  It was ok…a couple of screaming kids and me at a table for 8….nothing like that to make you feel lonely.  And the food was definitely family style.  Also awesome when there’s only one of you.  But, I tried it.  It was ok….food was good.  After that, I was excited to go hide in the bubble that was my room.  But I really wanted some wine to enjoy while I sat and read on my balcony over the construction site….
So I walk all over….a place this big has to have a store where one can get a bottle of wine, right?  Or not.  I end up having to call room service.  And ask for red wine…and theyre like…huh?  What?  We bring you menu.  Cause, why wouldn’t there be a menu in the room…far too easy.  So some poor soul brings a menu up…and takes my order down.  And then brings the wine back up.  Cause this is efficient.
Tuesday brought more rain….so, wine and reading it was, along with a spa appointment at 6.  Foot massage this time.  It was nice…other than the white wine/red wine debacle.  But, we figured it out.  The morning was nice enough to go out and swim in the lanes they have set up, until I realized that there were frogs and snails living in the pool…and a small pool of massage fish that you could pay to sit in.  ewwww…..frogs and snails living in the regular pool most likely meant no chlorine and no shield between me and the man spitting in the other end of the pool…yup, time to get out.  And of course, laying by the pool bar wasn’t really an option…unless youre fond of tecate, water, or coke.  But, I had to give them enough time to clean my room, since the only way to get my two drinkable bottles of water was to let the maid come in.  grrr…so I sat in the hot tub for a bit.
Wednesday was more of the same….a quick swim in the morning before anyone else was awake…lunch, and falling asleep reading.  And lots of thinking.  Lots….looking for, I don’t know what….but hopefully I’ll find it soon.  Then came my adventure with the hot stone massage. Interesting, and I would do it again, despite the bruises im sure I have.  And the wine adventure….four tries tonight…and Tuesday….le sigh….why is it so difficult?
And then today….I was going to send my laundry to the service here, but the thought of dealing with them was exhausting, so I decided to wash it on my own.  Great idea, until I realized it’s so damn humid, its not going to dry.  Hopefully all day and all night will be enough time.  Then I realized it was the first and only sunny day I’ve had here, so I scurried out to the pool, only to sit there for an hour with the rumblings of thunder in the background.  And then the storm blew in…and I’m pretty sure that there are more people working here than staying here as they all ran out to lock the place down.  So crazy.  So, lunch time an then reading time, and then I sat outside for a little longer, before my final visit to the spa.  Not before I spent an hour wandering trying to find water since they hadn’t managed to make up my room yet.  None at the fitness center, despite the vending machine….crazy to think it might be there, right?  Finally found some at the pool “bar”.  Crazy enough, I got burned in the hour or so I spent outside…only me.  Then spa visit, dinner, and chill time.  they actually got the wine order correct this time…and I was able to order it over the phone.  Go figure.
So tomorrow I move on….i hope to go for a run in the morning, maybe see the beach for the first time before I leave.  But, I’ve found out I’m way more into cities and exploring them than setting foot off the resort here.  The resort is enough of an adventure, thank you.  It’s…it’s safe, but there is a gross lump of soap or something in the shower…and the nasty flip flops the maid keeps leaving by my bed that have obviously been worn, and the dirty on the bed spread, and the dead roach in the hall….and….the frogs and snails in the pool…yeah, im good with city life.
I’m excited to see Beijing and to see Jaime again…it will be so nice to have someone to talk to, and to do my school meeting that came up out of nowhere, despite having nothing to wear.  However, I’m somewhat sad, as Beijing is my final destination on my adventure to Asia.  But, I’ve learned so much, and know nothing will replace the time I’ve spent here.
Overall, it’s been relaxing, but I’m not so sad to see it go, other than it meaning I’m that much closer to the end of this, but not sure that’s a bad thing.  Relaxing with a book, a porch, and some wine is much more fun with someone else.  I’m still amazed that there really aren’t that many people here – there was a band playing at one of the restaurants tonight, and literally no one was there.  Until a couple dining in the restaurant I was in walked out there.  So weird.  Makes me wonder how much I’ve missed by not leaving the resort (and how much additional $$ I’ve had to spend due to resort prices).
So, here’s to my final destination in Asia.  Here’s to my clothes drying tonight.  Here’s to another amazing time, to more exploring, and continuing to find whatever it is that I’m looking for.