Monday, September 29, 2014

Shaxi: Around the Town

September 3, 2014
Wednesday, we set off for Shaxi. It was about a 2.5 hour bus ride there and we had a homestay at the Li Family in Xia Ke Village. Shaxi is an agricultural town, so if you think of 乡下 kind of lifestyle. You can see the sewage throughout the town and there's lots of crops everywhere.
Kind of a shabby room for the seven of us. I mean it does its job, but not what I was expecting. Though, given the environment, it is expected. I'm thankful that the Li Family has Western toilets.

We got settled in for about 15 minutes before heading out for lunch. We had a guide who brought us around. It was about a 20 minute walk into town.


I was kind of annoyed with having to wear my boots because we were strongly, strongly advised not to wear flip flops or the like, but the roads didn't seem too bad and I didn't care about getting it dusty or slightly muddy so I just changed into flip flops.

After lunch, we walked around Shaxi for a bit and I tried this rice drink (1.5¥) and it was pretty good.

We continued to tour the town some more, looking at local street food and checking out the buildings.
To: 小倩
(Xiao Qian, I hope that by the time you see these words, you are together with your beloved)
Woman making carvings. Was tempted to buy a fan-shaped one, but didn't think I should hoard so much.
This dog followed us around for a bit and when he(?) saw us getting friendly with other dogs, it would BARK at them sooo much. 
Had some free time, but ended up going back to the Li Family. 
The roads in Shaxi were generally like this, think very village-style
Dinner was buffet style, so no pics. But we saw a lot of locals getting this noodle bowl, so we were able to try that as well.

Since this post is already pretty long with lots of photos, I'll end it here ^^;; Until next time!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Etude House Incident

Yesterday, I went to the Etude House at West Nanjing Road (南京东路). It was probably the worst experience I've ever had, but given that I never had an AWFUL shopping incident, I think.

Basically, I couldn't find the color of what I wanted so I tried to flag down an employee, but they made eye contact and walked away. After looking through all the products on the shelf and not being able to find it, I tried to actually approach a sales associate. There was like... 7 or 8 of them at the cash register and only one customer was checking out, so even a while after that customer finished, they just loitered around that area and chatted. Which is really stupid because the store was full of customers and ALL the employees were gathered in that corner. It kind of got annoying because I'm like staring them down, but they're too engrossed in their own thing. To prove that they're definitely not busy, this one employee kept going back and forth to a mirror to fix her makeup.

So anyways, I approached them and said I needed help. They looked at me, then looked away and continued their chattering. Wtf?! Wanted to just put the shit down and leave by then cuz they definitely did not deserve my business there >_> But I just stuck it out because if I didn't get it from this store I'd have to go to another location which is just inconvenient for me D: So I asked them again for help and the manager told a girl to help me. 

Got my thing and went to checkout. My total was 77元 and I repeated it back to make sure because I thought one of my items was 18元 and the other 29元, so it definitely didn't add up, but it was just because I misheard it earlier. So they told me to look at the screen for the total. So as I getting my credit card and one of the girls standing there was just like "seven seven" in English, so I'm not sure if it was just mockery or what? Because her tone sounded like that and also I've been speaking to them in Chinese, so at the very least I would think I know my numbers. But because I was speaking English with a friend, they knew I was a foreigner for sure. It's also the fact that the total was right in my face on the screen, so I don't understand why it was necessary for her to do that. 

I don't know how much shipping would cost, but apparently the same product I bought costs $2 on the official site vs 48元 (~$8) so WTF ripped off!! But then shipping might be super expensive, so not sure. Also I might've bought the wrong kind, but I didn't see any other ones at the store.

Anyways, bottom line is...never shopping in that particular Etude House again. They're just rude and inattentive. 

Ascending the Mountains; Jade Dragon Snow Mountain & Blue Moon Valley

September 2, 2014
We took the bus in the morning to watch Impressions of Lijiang (印象丽江), which was an hour long. To be honest, I had no idea what was going on 80% of the time, but for some reason I really liked it and would definitely recommend it.
It was amazing watching hundreds of actors/actresses, and seeing all the costumes and props. They did a scene with lovers killing themselves at the Jade Mountain and in the end they got to be together, and that was my favorite scene :X It was very touching.
After the show, we had lunch at a buffet called Snow Mountain (?). The food was okay, but I liked the noodles. Finished the entire plate of food :X 
Walked a bit to get to the cable cars and it was super nature-y but it's soo much prettier after ascending.
Went up cable cars to go up the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山). At this point, my heart was beating really quickly whenever I had to walk a bit, most likely because of the altitude. We were given cans of oxygen before we came here.

Half of the group decided to hike, and the other half (including me) decided to take the carts to go on this other trail that was...err more like just a place to see and walk around but not hike. It was raining at this point and kept getting harder so I kind of regret not wearing my rain boots or flip flops D: But it did go away after about an hour.

They had these cool wish charms that I wanted to buy but the shop was already closed by the time I finished my walk through the trail :\

When we descended the mountain, we visited Blue Moon Valley (蓝月谷) and it was sooo pretty.
The water was naturally a turquoise color because of the copper in the lake, and if you got closer to it, you can see that it is actually really clear as well. My camera died by this point and it was so pretty here too :'( Luckily, by the end of the day everything did clear up so we were able to see the peak of the mountain.

When we got back, we had dinner in the same place we did the night before, coincidentally. But it was a lot yummier this time because we actually ordered proper hot dishes.
We went out to look for Puer tea because I looooved the ones that they made for us at the hotel. I split half of the 饼茶 because I wasn't sure if I would actually drink it that much. It is a specialty of Yunnan, but sadly I couldn't find the exact one that the hotel has. It's supposed to taste better with age, too. We sat at the tea shop tasting the different ones, 80¥, 150¥, and 220¥. The first one was bitterish and very tea-like...the one we had went down very, very smoothly and didn't really taste like tea at all. The last two, we couldn't really tell a difference in taste, so we just bought the 150¥ because it was cheaper :P

Next was looking for the sunflower seed cookies! The path that we took was through where all the bars it was kind of annoying having promoters all up in my face and even worse when they start touching you or grabbing you >:(

Lijiang at night

When we got to the store, it was really weird because when I went to the store, I asked a woman for them and she was like they're not called 瓜子饼 they're xxxx. Then I forgot what she told me it was, so I asked another woman what they were called and she was just like, they're 瓜子饼. D: It was only 6¥ for a box. 

Stopped by a shop and bought this for 99.90¥. It's sterling silver and I like the concept though I didn't like that the rings were trying to knockoff the Cartier design and while writing this, I looked it up just to see if it was a knockoff in general and turns out it is of the Love Necklace D: 

Walked around the city even more. I went back to the scarf shop that I bought from the day before and I was able to get another one for 25¥ this time >< Bahh. I think it's still a bit overpriced though, because I think I can get it for maybe 20¥ in the shops further out from the popular streets. 

While walking around, we actually ran into a bar fight and it was scary when I was pulled away from it. You could hear things being thrown around and breaking, and while some people gathered to watch, others were running away and the shop across from it even started closing its downs. When it calmed down a bit more, we quickly passed by and I saw that one of the men was bleeding a bit on the head.

Hehe I finally had a chance to go through all my photos so hopefully I get to the rest of the Yunnan posts soon. Until next time!