Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Killing Time in Zhangjiajie.


We had the afternoon to ourselves so we killed time wandering the streets of downtown Zhangjiajie which is just about a fifteen minute walk from our hotel. Returning from Tianzi Mountain Reserve, Lee and the driver dropped us near a bank as Mal needed to withdraw more money from the ATM machine.

After Mal got her yuan, we went in search of a place to have lunch.  Walking the streets, I felt like we were definitely in an area that catered more to tourists than locals.  There were quite a few boutiques selling clothes and bakeries and cafes that catered to Western tastes.


We found a nice place and as always, the ordering duties were left up to Yim and Sal.  We ended up with a dish of marinated firm tofu, two veggies and a pork dish.  After weeks of eating spicy food, the food in Hunan is definitely a welcome change!

Stir fried zucchini with bean sprouts

Slices of the marinated, firm tofu.

Crispy duck.

Eggplant stir fried with Chinese long bean.


After lunch we strolled the streets and as often happens, we came upon street food vendors dishing up items that looked more delectable than what we had just eaten though spicy food seems to also be very popular here!  I think the next time I come back to China, I'm going to look at staying in Airbnb apartments so I can actually buy stuff from the markets rather than just drooling over the stuff!



Sadly, usually at the tail end of a trip, I've had enough of taking photos so I barely took any on our walk.  Here are a few of the shots I took as we walked the streets.







Empty yogurt containers.  Cute!

By late afternoon, I was ready to head back to the hotel but the gals still wanted to hang around town so I went back on my own.  Before I left them, we agreed on a time and place to meet back up for dinner.  I then bid them goodbye.

On my way back to the hotel, I passed a local restaurant.  Out front, the staff were doing a warm up routine, presumably to *loosen up* before the nightly dinner service would begin.


It was quite entertaining!


Dinner was back at the very same restaurant that we had eaten lunch at.  We enjoyed that meal so we were all okay to have a repeat visit.  Tonight, we dined on dumplings....,


....a pork dish that was a specialty of the house.  We saw quite a few diners ordering this so we decided it must be good.


The last dish in our dinner meal trifecta was stir fried bracken.  This was my favorite dish of all three and I was happy to just eat spoonfuls of this with my bowl of plain white rice.


After dinner, we took a slow stroll back to the hotel.  Along the way, Sal  bought more fruit.



We then passed a massage place and somehow, we managed to convince Mal and Sal to get a foot massage.  We had a lot of good laughs here thanks to Mal :-)


The whole thing started with a neck and upper back massage.



Then, came the leg and foot massage.  Sal had been through this before so she knew exactly what she was in for but the experience was an entirely new one for Mal.




Mal was definitely the star of the comedy.  We all had a hard time keeping a straight face though just watching Sal breaking out in a giggle was infectious.


Even the masseuse had his share of fun, toying with Mal, showing her how he could easily make her wince in pain by just pressing his index finger on the right spot on her leg.  Giggle.


Of course, there was the adorable Mal squeak.  I told Mal that her legs would feel so much better after the massage but of course, she jokingly complained that she had no muscles left after the guy had worked them over!



As I wrap up this posting, I'm washed over by a wave of sadness as tonight is my last night not only in China but with Mal.  She has been a wonderful roommate and I will truly miss her!  I'm just glad I was able to capture a small bit of her essence on video.  Someday, I hope we'll do another trip together!

Time to repack my suitcase so signing off!

Goodnight from Zhangjiajie!