Breakfast was super yummy!! It's included with our room at both hotels and there is lots to choose from for each of us. The fruit is so fresh and there are lots of choices on the buffet. You'll notice that the only thing about Dad's breakfast this morning was that he started to eat it with chopsticks. They didn't last long but made for a good pic.
After breakfast we headed out on our Amazing Race adventure! We're back and had a ton of fun together!! Our adventure began at the bank. When you go in, a security guard prints a ticket for you and then you sit and wait your turn. The wait was about half an hour and during that time we were both entertained and we did some entertaining too! Norma and I are still giddy (probably to a total of about 7 hours sleep each in the past two nights) so when the computer kept calling out 'Twinkle Bunny' it had us in hysterics! It was a long stream of Chinese words and then would end with 'Twinkle Bunny.' It probably happened about 6 times in the time we were waiting and every single time we cracked up! Heh....doesn't take much to entertain us!
We entertained a young girl who was sitting there as Robert had out his Chinese phrase book and was trying to count. We could tell she was listening as she'd grin at some of his pronunciations. We started talking with her and enjoyed getting to know her a little and trying out our very limited Chinese! It was fun and helped to pass the time.
After leaving the bank our guide Sarah hailed a couple of taxis for us and we were headed to the subway station. Unfortunately there is more than one entrance to the station and Robert and Bonnie's taxi left them at another entrance and we didn't end up seeing them again for a few hours. Lesson learned....Squish into one taxi or be more specific about final drop off destination!
The subway was fun and we were pleased that we navigated it so easily. Most things were similar but one difference was that our belongings all had to be x-rayed before we could enter the platform. Not such a bad idea! We did really well in the subway until we hit a crowded transfer station and about 30 people crowded in to an already full car! We were pushed and shoved but held our ground and then just laughed when we crawled our way out of the crowd at the next station. Won't be taking Hannah on the subway, that's for sure!!
When we got to the silk market, the fun began! First, we had to cross about 10 lanes of traffic. You need to know that here a pedestrian has the very least rights when it comes to the roadways. We made it across in little bits and found ourselves laughing again when we'd be in the middle of 10 lanes of traffic with 5 going each direction at a good clip and us standing there wondering when we might be able to venture the rest of the way across. We made it and had stories to tell.
Our first stop was at a McDonald's to use the facilities and that's where the title of this post comes from. Going back to early in the morning, Dad realized that he'd forgotten to bring any white socks so that was his goal item to purchase today. Fast forward to noon when we're in MCDONALD's and the ladies have gone off to use the restroom. As per normal, the ladies are lined up out the door....unless you wanted that squatty potty and that one was free for the taking. Given a choice, each of us decided to wait. We eventually made it in and upon exiting we all started to laugh!! There was dad, sitting at a table in McDonald's....buying SOCKS!!! A lady had approached him and said, 'For you sir....very good price! Only for you sir! Here...SOCKS!' LOL....yes, she had a bag of socks and was trying to sell him Nike socks. Genuine Nike I'm sure! ;o) She started out at about 60 yuan ($10 CDN) for 3 pairs of socks. Nope...he wasn't paying that. She said, 'OK sir...60 yuan for these' and added another pair!! He still didn't budge. By this time we'd joined him and were enjoying the fun. You can imagine our surprise when here's dad, sitting in McDonald's, bartering for socks!! In the end she sold him about a dozen pairs of socks for 60 yuan and he's set for the rest of our trip and then some. Want to make us laugh today? Just mention dad's McSocks and we all burst in to laughter!!
We went to the silk market after that and each had our turn at bartering. Fun!!! Mom, Norma and I each purchased some souvenirs. Shopping in the market is an experience unlike any other!! Each and every stall has gals standing on the outside doing their best to get you to come check out what they have to offer. They call to you, show you things, put things in your hands and should you show the least amount of interest they call after you, pull your arm to get you to come back and can put on the saddest faces if you don't look at their wares.
The normal way to barter is by calculator. They punch in the number and the first one we're supposed to punch in back is 10% of their price! Wow!! They look at you with shock, tell you you're crazy and then they punch in another number lower than their original one. It goes back and forth, back and forth. If you can eventually reach a price you both agree on you've made a deal and all is well. If you can't reach an agreeable price you begin to walk away and they will normally follow you, call out to you and often grab your arm attempting to pull you back to their stall. It's fun but a lot of work too! I bartered with one gal for a silk dress for Hannah for almost 20 mins. I didn't 'need' it so walked away a few times but she kept pulling me back and coming down in price. The first price she quoted me for 1 little dress was 925 yuan ($154 CDN!!!) and in the end I paid 65 yuan or about $10. Not sure what I 'should' be willing to pay for a 100% silk Chinese dress. Anybody know? Also, can you buy them for less money that are not 100% silk? Want to get good deals but also don't want to rip people off. 2 different ladies today told me I was a tough bargainer. Heh...guess that's because I'm willing to walk away if we can't reach a price I'm willing to pay. Bartering is a hoot but may require a nap afterwards after all the work of agreeing on prices!
We decided to grab a snack at McDonald's before tackling the subway home. As we were approaching the restaurant we were all asking Dad if this was a lunch visit, or was it time to buy more McSocks? :o)
When we got back to the hotel Norma and I decided it was time for some pampering. I won't have much time for this come Monday so we quite enjoyed ourselves. She had an amazing massage and I opted for a Milk Foot Bath and Foot Massage. Ahhhhh!! What a treat for my feet and legs after sitting so much yesterday!
We're in the process of repacking our suitcases right now as the ones staying in Beijing need to be downstairs at 8:30 tonight to go into storage. After repacking it will be supper time. Going to venture out to a restaurant down the street. We're told there are pictures and English words on the menu so hopefully all will be well and we'll order what we can eat.
Thanks for reading this far. I know it's a lot but I want to document as many of the details of this trip as possible. This is our China Travel Journal so I want to capture the details for later.
Less than 48 hours to Hannah!!! Tomorrow's schedule is breakfast, leave for airport at 8:30am, fly to Changsha and check in to the Dolton Hotel. This time tomorrow night I'll be in Hannah's province!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So very, very close!!!