This is my last day in Huzhou! Today started a bit late (12-27-2011). We had lunch plans with MIL and grandmother, but Shuyan and I took a taxi to the local shopping center/bazaar, first to get a cell phone cover and then to look at things for myself. Shuyan called Hanshin to ask about a good price, and he said to call Guy in the Hat instead (remember how he had to buy Crazy Girl a phone cover?), so she did. He too called someone else, and they all said that around 120Y would be a good price. We got her the cover and almost bought a 120Y flash disk, but I for some reason couldn’t compute the math and believed it to be too expensive (120Y would be approximately $15, and for some reason my mind would not accept that as a good price for a 16GB flash disk). We left the electronics and accessories area and walked to the shopping center where I first bought the tights. We walked around for a bit and I bought a few pairs of earrings for myself and my sister.
When we arrived for lunch, MIL and grandmother had already eaten, so we waited for a few minutes while they made some fresh rice before eating. We told them of buying some earrings for me, and I showed them the starfish earrings I had on. I took some pictures with grandmother and MIL before we left to look for wedding gift boxes for candy to give as wedding favors for Shuyan’s co-workers. Grandmother also gave us a lot of bars of sticky rice that would be cut into sticky rice balls to be eaten with soup or other food to be shared with Shuyan’s family.
We then went to the local mall via a bus (much higher class than the shopping center) to look for the size of a coat for Hanshin that his company planned to pay for (either NorthStar or Columbian). While the two of them were looking, I looked at some of the gorgeous ornate carvings and figurines offered in the mall. Another thing I noticed throughout the mall (which was entirely heated) was that lots of old men sat on nearly every available bench/chair, drinking tea, sleeping, talking, playing cards, looking at people, etc, all to save electricity in their homes. Good for them! Once they figured out which coat was right, we left the mall. MIL took a bus back to her apartment and Shuyan and I walked back to the electronics center to buy the USB as I’d finally realized how stupid my mental math was, with a little help (and a lot of laughter) from Shuyan 🙂
We walked back to MIL’s apartment and saw the Jeep, meaning Hanshin was already there. We came in and Shuyan’s mom was also there, and she had lots of gifts for me to take home. Hanshin’s father was also there, but he did not join us for dinner. Hanshin fell asleep, as did Shuyan and I, and we enjoyed our naps before leaving around 4:30. We went to the restaurant that was closed the night before due to a lack of electricity. Hanshin’s aunt came to join us once again and we ate plenty. I tried the stinky tofu for the third time and Shuyan recorded my terrible bravery (and laughed again at my expense, of course). For you curious folks: third time was definitely not the charm, and I still didn’t like it 🙂 After dinner, we walked back to MIL’s apartment. Shuyan’s mom and Hanshin’s aunt left on their own, and I said my last goodbye’s to them before I left. We went up to the apartment just to quickly gather our things, and then I also said goodbye to Hanshin’s parents.
We picked up Guy in the Hat in front of his complex and made our way to the local shopping center (that has a Dairy Queen, mmmmm). I took pictures and video of the water fountain that changed color due to lights and the lit blue Christmas tree (finally.. several days late!) before walking through an older and decorated street filled with lots of food vendors. We stopped in a large Catholic church and listened for a few minutes to the service in Chinese. The congregants were very happy when we entered, but we left after a few minutes as A. I couldn’t understand, and B. there were still 45 minutes left in the sermon. Back on the street, we saw someone creating designs (animals and shapes) out of sugar. The guys offered to buy me one, but I said that it would be a waste because I couldn’t eat it, and then they said it was meant to be licked once or twice and that’s it! Crazy 🙂
We then walked back to Dairy Queen and ordered our ice cream. I managed to pay for everyone before Shuyan could. I don’t think the guys knew entirely what was going on, but I was glad that I at least got to pay for something in China 🙂 I got an Oreo Blizzard (what I usually get in America) to see if there would a difference in taste, but it was deliciously the same. Shuyan got a green tea with almonds, Hanshin a cake flavored ice cream, and Guy in the Hat got blueberry with cashews. I am super jealous of the blueberry ice cream: my first stop at a Dairy Queen in America showed that they don’t carry that flavor. My heart is broken! I loved that the cups wrote “served upside down or it’s free” in several languages, and they were amazed that I was able to identify all of the languages. One of the languages was Arabic, and when I read it to them they couldn’t believe it!
Several people in the restaurant tried to take my picture; I’m sure a few of them succeeded. One group stared at me outright when I came in and were giggly shocked when I said “nhi hao” and kept laughing, pointing, smiling, and waving. As they were holding cameras, I asked if they would like a picture and they all quickly averted their eyes, haha. It still didn’t stop them from surreptitiously taking a couple. I’d love to hear their stories behind the photos!
We walked back to the car, going underground to escape some of the cold. Guy in the Hat mentioned that his company built the underground subway (but that they didn’t do a good job, as there was a leak), and Hanshin mentioned that his company provided all of the electricity, setting up a little competition. Guy in the Hat then showed a building that his company was renovating, and I teased Hanshin about not doing the electricity, but he said his company had done it long ago so he was fine. This went on for a while, with both guys laughing and claiming their company was better. Men are the same everywhere 🙂
On the drive back to the apartment, I was a little sad to see that the temple at the top of the mountain was not lit. It had been lit post sunset every night, and I’d wanted one last view. Alas, it was not to be! I’ll have to return to visit the temple once again. When we got back to the apartment, the guys went down to wash the Jeep for our trip to Shanghai tomorrow. I went to my room and started trying to get my things together and chatted with Shuyan. I came out with the laptop with the intent to upload the rest of the pictures and videos, as well as to copy all of Shuyan’s pictures. I was working on that when the guys came back in, and quickly finished with my pictures before getting her USB to transfer everything of hers onto my laptop. I then came and sat next to her and transferred all of the videos and pictures of mine that were relevant to her onto her USB.
We hung out for a bit, watching a lousy basketball game and talking. Again, I surprised the guys by knowing what I was talking about in relation to the game. Guy in the Hat left once again around 10, and we said goodbye. Shuyan then told me we were planning to leave around 9 in the morning, so I went and tried to finish all of my packing. It’s crazy; I don’t know how things can multiply in my suitcase when most of the things that took up space (gifts) were gone! In my state of “I have to get everything packed RIGHT NOW” I fell asleep in my clothes. Typical me 🙂