Friday, October 31, 2008

Our 10th Trip to China

I decided I had to put a number on this trip so I can better keep track. Each time we go, a workshop is involved, but then we travel elsewhere and after awhile, the places that are linked start to blur. Judith has been a couple more trips than I, but this is our 10th together.

Most of time we first fly to Beijing, where one can look out the airplane window during the flight and brush up on their foreign policy by seeing Russia, and spend at least one night there before flying elsewhere. Beijing was our primary destination this time. We were put up in the Longxi Hotspring Resort 35 miles south of the center of town and we are then driven a short distance away to the government’s correctional academy for Judith’s workshop presentation. Here is a picture of the lobby of the resort.

The windows in the back look out upon the various hot springs and swimming pools. This is a place where you only see Chinese people. Apparently this is not on the foreign tourist route.

In the late afternoon and early evening we enjoy the various hot pools of water filled with a wide variety of herbs that promise to keep various parts of your body, mind and soul healthy. And they had a salt bed which consists of sea water salt crystals a little smaller than the size of dice. You sit or lay back in the salt so that impurities can be soaked out. I had fun making salt angels. After showering off, we then tried about 6-7 other pools of varied temperature although always warm to hot. No photos were allowed to be taken though.

We met some Chinese business men in the pools who spoke English. They said the resort was very popular in the winter time as a place to warm up and relax. There are also some pools outside and the place is lighted creatively. The evening temperature in October starts to drop and it starts to feel like a hot tub after a day of skiing.

The highlight for me were the pools with the turkey fish (not piranha) that nibbled your skin, removing dead skin. There were two different pools. One had smaller fish which we try first and then the pool with the somewhat larger fish. My earlier post shows the fish pretty well.

Well, the fish really, really liked me. I started out with just the feet and shins but gradually eased into the pool, keeping my head out of the water, and they were all over me. I found it to be highly stimulating and enjoyable. And when I graduated to the larger fish pool, even more so.

The first day at the academy, we met our host General Lee and posed for official photos as is the custom. The most important person is always in the middle flanked in rank outwardly. I could not help noticing that the General wore his Mao jacket the first day. The woman on the right is Professor Geri Donenberg who came as a guest speaker from UIC. And of course, the always reliable Professor Charles Wood from the University of Nebraska is next to the General. Later at lunch we are joined by our interpreter, David, who was really good. We are almost always given a private room of which there are usually many at any good restaurant Our host arranged for us to visit the Beijing Wildlife Park just a little further south. It was a glorious fall day and we saw many different animals and birds. At the resort there is a beautiful and challenging golf course. I passed up the opportunity reluctantly. Maybe next time.

Here are a few of the highlights of our wildlife park outing.

We got in this caged truck where we fed ruminants some carrots. And they had some meat outside the cage for the big cats, although they never seemed to eager when the food was presented. They knew they would get it so why get excited.

The next day we are off to Guiling.


GETkristiLOVE said...

Was that a Coke in your hands? It's hard to find Coca Lite in China, huh?!

Not sure about the whole fish thing... it's still kind of creepy.

Dad E said...

Its not the same thing, but image a feather being run over a sensitive part of your body and you feel a tingle. I was tingling like feeling a very small electric current washing over me.

We did find more Coke Lite on this trip, but not in the middle of wildlife park.