My trip is so close to being over. The date is 12-26-2011.
Today started the same; I was up at 7, but I’d slept late last night. Trouble sleeping after the shower, especially with all the thinking I was doing. The plan was to go to a local park and look at the two towers, one of wood, and the other inside made of rock, and then go silk shopping with the moms after lunch. Hanshin left late for work, and we took a taxi to her mom’s apartment to get the spare key of the jeep, and then another to get to Hanshin’s workplace. We picked up the jeep, calling Hanshin to let him know we took it and would pick him up later, and went to the Tower In Tower park. We should have been able to get in free, as Shuyan is a local, but upon seeing me, they charged not only the entrance fee for the tower, but also the fee to enter the park. Shuyan chalked it up as charity for the maintenance. It was a beautiful park, and there were a good number of people walking around, and even some practicing/learning some sort of martial arts.
After leaving, we headed to MIL’s house for lunch, and taking a video of her cooking is what filled the memory card on the camera. I had to rely on Shuyan for photos for the rest of the day before I could upload everything onto my computer later. As it was just us ladies, I showed them how I wrapped my scarf and they loved watching my hands work so ‘professionally,’ as they put it. Lots of practice makes it easy!
The mothers wanted to take me silk scarf shopping, so we went to a super shady area (that apparently has the best silk in the region) and walked around. I wanted to buy myself a Chinese dress, but they didn’t fit me at all. I might be small, but my figure is definitely not Chinese 🙂 The entire shopping experience was awkward for me because the mothers wouldn’t let me buy anything!! I did find several scarves (for my mother, as I wear rectangular scarves and she wears squares) but felt shy of getting anything more.
After spending lots of money and feeling guilty, we bought sweet potatoes to snack on. MIL forgot my name and called me “Musica,” which set us all into fits of laughter. Shuyan’s mom corrected her, and also told her of my nickname “Sachima” while laughing. We then went to Thai Lake, which is super polluted with lots of yellow, green, and black things and algae growing on all the rocks on the edge. The lake has the large Buddha on the other side, but it was much too far to see. The pollution came from a factory in the North, and as the wind blows South, it all came to this end. We walked around and saw a girl taking modeling pictures (the moms said why would you take pictures of her when we have a foreigner [me] who’s much better looking) and a couple taking pre-wedding pictures (the girl’s dress was bad and she had a huge flower in her hair, while the guy looked weird in his shiny silver suit.. all observations by the mothers). We also saw tubs of the crabs we ate the other night at dinner, including last night.
We then went and picked up Hanshin from work, he dropped something off to some workmates working on the street, and headed back to MIL’s apartment. Guy in the Hat called at around 4 to check our schedules, and asked if he could come over that night. We hung out at the apartment and I took a few pictures with his parents before we walked (minus Hanshin’s dad) to a local restaurant for dinner. Our original choice was closed, so we went to one just down the street. We got a semi-private room and enjoyed the food there. This was the first time I was served pumpkin in China, and it was delicious! Hanshin’s aunt came a bit late and laughed over the stories from the day (particularly MIL forgetting my name).
Kung Fu Panda Man called us earlier in the day, asking us to come visit him and his wife. The poor man has been trying to get us to visit for the past week, and something always happens where our schedules clash. Today was his lucky day! After dinner, we went straight to visit Kung Fu Panda Man in his apartment, which is in the same complex as Shuyan and Hanshin. We went in and it was a really nice place; they were really excited to see me and immediately brought me the first cup of coffee I’ve had in China. He excitedly showed me several DVDs before deciding to play Captain America for me. They thought that I was from Kuwait or Saudi Arabia (something along those lines) and were really surprised to hear that I was from America and possibly a bit disappointed. When I come back to China, I’m going to be sure to act like royalty for at least a day just to make people happy, haha. They gave us lots of things to munch on, such as a fish and beef snack, Ferrero Rochers, sunflower seeds, cashews, oranges, green tea, and some coconut covered ginger candy that was absolutely terrible. His wife laughed at him for offering that to us as she said even Chinese people don’t like it! The poor man was so excited, and he loved that I remembered his daughter from the wedding (and that I didn’t hold his intoxicated state against him, haha).
We stayed there long enough to watch about half of Captain America. Now those of you who know me know that I zone out when watching TV/movies, which is why I don’t watch either very often. I felt SO RUDE while there because I was watching the movie instead of socializing, and I hope that they didn’t take me as being rude or disrespectful. I’ll have to go back to China just to give a proper visit 😉
We went back to Shuyan and Hanshin’s apartment, and soon after, Guy in the Hat came over. We all hung out for about an hour and made plans to meet up again tomorrow for ice cream (they’ve discovered my Kryptonite), as it would be my last day in Huzhou before leaving for Shanghai. He left around 10 to walk home, and we all got ready for bed. I still can’t believe how quickly my time here has passed!