Sep
09
2008

A Spell of Rain in Yangshuo, China

bya Gabrielle at 9:41 AM

One of the afternoons we were in Yangshuo, a quick storm rolled through.  We could see the bands of rain coming through the mountains before it actually got to us.  It was ever so beautiful, and afterward a big rainbow appeared.  We were lucky not to have a lot of rain the week we were there.  This particular storm only lasted about 15 minutes, and then all was back to normal – hot and humid.

In the video, we are standing on the balcony of our hostel.  Yes, that was our view every day for a week.  It was so awesome waking up to that every day.  If you ever manage to go to Yangshuo, you should stay where we did – Riverside Retreat.  You can click here for more details about the hostel/hotel.  It truly was a wonderful place, and the staff was simply amazing.  They were very helpful.

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Sep
05
2008

Once Upon a Time in China Part 8: The Story of the Accidental Emergency

bya Gabrielle at 3:53 PM

I can’t believe I have never told the story of when Phil and I stayed in the super fancy, 5 star hotel right next to our apartment in Fuyang. You can click to see the picture of the hotel here.  The outside doesn’t look that great, but the inside looked really nice.  I can’t remember if I took pictures of the room, but I know I have a brochure of the hotel somewhere.  I’ll try to find it.

Phil and I couldn’t decide what to get each other for Christmas, so we decided to treat ourselves to our first ever 5 star hotel – South China Hotel Fuyang.  We walked past it nearly everyday and got sick and tired of dreaming what it would be like to stay there.  So, about a week before Christmas, we walked into the lobby to find out how much money we would have to burn through to enjoy ourselves.  Apparently, several weeks prior to this, we had been at the same bar with the lady behind the desk.  She remembered us, and decided to drop our room charge in half.  We couldn’t decided if we wanted the regular room or the suite for a few more dollars until she let us see what latter looked like.  We had seen the other one several weeks earlier, when Tim’s(another teacher) parents came and stayed there.

As soon as we walked through the door we were wowed.  It was huge. It had two bathrooms. The one with the bath tub was almost as big as the bedroom – the room not the tub.  :)  The bed was equally as huge and super soft.  In addition to that there was another large room with a couch and a table – the kind you eat at.  It was sorta like a living room, and I think there may have been a TV(there was another TV in our bedroom.)   I guess it was your typical suite layout, but since I had never seen one before, it looked super awesome.

The room ended up costing us 870 RMB – at the time that was about $108 – not bad for a night in a five star hotel suite.  Without the discount it would have cost us 1500 RMB – more than I would have paid to sleep in a bed anywhere, even if I could take a bath for 24 hours.  And that leads me into what this story is all about.

A week later we showed back up at the hotel and were given our respective keys.  The first thing either one of us wanted to do was take advantage of the huge garden tub.  Our apartment didn’t have a tub, just a shower, so it had been nearly 3 months since we had had a nice American bath.  When you don’t have access to a tub, you really start to miss them.  Our shower was pretty kick ass though.  It was a sauna/shower, and had it worked 100% like it was supposed to, we would have had jets of water coming out of the walls to clean us.  We never could figure out how to get them to work though.  :(

Well, anyway, Phil and I were standing in the bathroom, taking in everything it had to offer us.  There were all sorts of bath related items that you could use for a price, of course, big lush towels, heat lamps, and a button.

We both looked at it, curious as to what it did.  There was no sign or anything.  It was just a button, sitting pretty as it pleased in the wall, next to the bath tub.

“Should I push it?” Phil asked.

“I dunno.  We don’t know what it does.” I replied.  I saw Phil’s eyes grow wide with wonder and excitement.

Phil has a history with buttons.  In a DnD game that I dragged him to a long time ago, he decided in his inebriated state of mind, that it would be a good idea to push the button that read 13, when we all clearly knew that pushing a button would make a monster appear.  Number one had made some stupid kobold appear and we killed it in all but two seconds flat.  Anyone should have been able to understand that pushing a higher number would make an even larger monster appear, but Phil didn’t care.  He wanted excitement.  So, he pushed it, and the biggest, meanest, ugliest, most difficult creature to kill appeared.  We ran for our lives, and barely survived.

Phil doesn’t play with us anymore.

So, yeah, Phil was standing in the bathroom, staring at the button.  For a brief second he was five years old again. I could tell by the way his eyes were glowing and twitching – like he had found the mother load of mischief .  Oh, he was going to push that button.

And that is exactly what he did.  With his index finger he stabbed the button.

There was silence for a moment and then I started to think that maybe it is like our light switch in the hallway back in our apartment.  Maybe it doesn’t do it’s job anymore.  And then there is a voice.  An English voice.  Talking to us in our five star hotel bathroom. In China.  In Fuyang.  Where 9 times out of 10, people can’t understand what the hell I’m saying. And vice versa.  But I understand this.

“Gentleman, are you in trouble?” (I can’t remember exactly what he said.  I just remember it sounding awkward.)

I looked at Phil and Phil looked at me.

“Oh, we are fine,” Phil said

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, we are fine. Just accidentally pushed the button.”  (Accidentally my ass.)

“Ok. Have a good evening.”

“Thanks, you too.”

As soon as the voice was gone, Phil and I bust out laughing.

Apparently, Phil had pushed the emergency button.  It made total since afterwards, but you still would think that an emergency button would have emergency written somewhere on or near it.  Hey, at least they didn’t come barging into our bathroom.  I can only imagine what kind of comedy would have ensued if they had.

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