Last week our company worked Monday through Sunday – due to the QingMing Festival, which required us to miss work this Monday through Wednesday. The 7 day work week left me worn out, so come Monday I set out to find a decent place to get a massage. A small place, called YuanMei, where they offered a package deal, 1hr foot & 1hr body massage. Everything, down to the tea & white fungus, was perfect…it was exactly what I needed! [white fungus is an ancient traditional chinese medicine, good for the lungs and skin]
Yesterday, my boss invited me to his country house along with his wife & Chris. It’s located in the Songjiang District, about an hour or so outside of the city. When I heard country, I thought old villages, small housing, lots of land – I was a little off. Yes, there is a lot of land, however, it’s occupied by lavish villas & country clubs. I felt as though I was driving through Disney’s resorts – you know, how each resort has a different style & theme – that’s how this area is. One section looks rustic italian, another looks modern, etc. My boss’s house is apart of a country club community – the golf course might as well be his backyard! It has beautiful landscape & gorgeous design.
Last evening they took us to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town. It’s a touristy site, but we arrived later & avoided the crowds. It’s a small town that has done well to preserve its traditional architecture. Water runs throughout, hence being named “water town”, & boat tours are offered, though we did not take one. The river is lined with the homes & restaurants of families that still live there. It was neat to see, especially at night when all the lights flicker & reflect in the water. We ate at a tiny restaurant along the water – not sure what all I ate, but I do know the snails were good!
Once back home, we split a bottle of wine, watched a movie, & called it an early night.
Today, my boss & his wife had golf plans with friends, so Chris & I ventured out into the town. It is such a drastic change leaving the country club into the small town – dilapidated housing, empty store fronts, etc. We decided to climb the Tianma Mountain, which they call “Pegasus Mountain”. At the top, there is the Huzhu Tower, which leans a considerable amount & it is surrounded by old temples. From there we could see the town & the city far away – this mountain is said to be the highest “hill” in Shanghai.
Today is QingMing, or “Tomb Sweeping” day – a day where people honor the deceased – so there were many families on the mountain lighting candles & fires of some sort. It was neat to see. We spent a good hour or so walking around since it was such a beautiful day.
On our way down, a family approached me & I thought they wanted me to take their picture, however, they wanted to take a picture with me! I was slightly embarrassed & very confused as to why…& no sooner did that family leave, another came over & did the same thing – as if they had never seen an American before! We headed down the mountain & hung out on some swings in the middle.
Some of the Chinese phrases I learned came in handy when a young girl approached me, asking something – I asked her if she spoke English [Chinese phrase #1], which she replied “a little” [Chinese phrase #2], & then proceeded to keep asking me things in Chinese…so, I had to just say “I don’t know” [Chinese phrase #3]. I think the only thing she knew in English was “Buh-bye” as that is what she yelled to me when I left!
We walked back to our boss’s house, walked around the country club for a little, & I soaked up some sun in the backyard until we had to leave.
Now, I only have two days of work to get through before the weekend!
To view more photos, visit my album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2805228377427.2115784.1460160047&type=1