Week Four: 2017.10.8

Having a weeklong holiday* in your first month is pretty nice, but I didn’t know ahead of time so I wasn’t able to get a hotel or train ticket to see another part of the country. But with the arrival of my new mattress on Saturday, I’ve been enjoying sleeping and sleeping late. Which is a good thing, because I’ve had a cold most of the week and didn’t feel like doing too much anyway. I’ve read a few books (in the comfort of my new mattress) and also have finally been able to watch TV. My coworker neighbor T put some of his downloaded movies and TV shows onto a USB for me. I’ve now watched The Karate Kid three times! (The new one, with Jackie Chan in China).

I did go out a few times though, since I had to buy food. Once, when I stopped to check out Lazhu Mountain, and another time with T, who took me to a new grocery that has a very small imports section and I was able to buy Kelloggs corn flakes. The specialty store across the street was closed unfortunately. They have cheese.

Lazhu from ROngheI also walked back to the shopping area across from the main entrance to look for Vitamin C at the pharmacy there. They didn’t have any, but I saw the guys from the barbershop having tea in front of their place (they have a little table set up with hot water, cups, and a teapot) and asked them how much they’d charge to cut my hair. They gave me a couple of prices and were eager to have a customer (they weren’t busy, which is why they were all outside drinking tea). They tried to usher me inside, but I was already tired from shopping (and my cold), so I told them tomorrow. That was Friday.

haircutSo, yesterday morning, I got up, showered, ate cornflakes, and then walked to the barbershop. It’s further than Nancheng, the grocery store just past Lazhu Mountain. When I arrived, they greeted me and had me sit down, and brought me a cup of hot water (more on that later). Then they didn’t seem to know what to do with me. I’m still on lesson 2 of my Chinese language app, and their English was about the same. Finally, one of the stylists came over with his phone and used Google Translate to ask me what I wanted done. (I’d been making scissor motions with my hand). Once we got that straight, he typed in a large number. Fortunately I’d been warned about ‘bargaining’ by Carol, and using the low price I’d been quoted the day before, I got him to reduce the cost considerably. I probably still overpaid, but it was less than $30 which is half of what I pay back in STL.

shampooThe cashier/trainee kept taking photos (maybe I was their first foreigner) so I got him to share them with me. I got the name of my stylist: ‘Small Army’- he kept saying it into the Google Translate app! I finally got him to say it in Chinese for me: Xiao Jun. He was extremely gentle – I barely knew he was doing anything, though I could see him snipping away and bits of hair falling. Interestingly, he washed my hair twice – once before the haircut and again afterwards before blowdrying it. And the shampoo station was relaxing, with no crunched neck like you get in the US. I think he may have done a better haircut than my regular stylist…….sorry Debbie!

 

* Commonly referred to as ‘Golden Week’, the National Holiday (that’s what they call it) is the first week of October, with the Mid-Autumn Festival (think moon cakes) thrown in. It’s a BIG holiday in China because it celebrates the anniversary of the People’s Republic.

 

#robinSTL  #bloggingabroad

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