We just spent two hours at a Chinese medicine clinic in the city of Wuxi getting beaten to a pulp on our backs, legs, head, face and feet while watching Chinese soap operas on the TV. In China, there’s not much mercy to be given: there is a lot of formality and politeness, and respecting of your elders and kow-towing to ancestors and all that, but when it comes to traffic, getting on elevators and subways, and getting your body massaged, there’s no politeness involved – no soft music and rose petals and effluraging of the muscles. It was genuinely one of the best massages I’ve ever had.
We joined a tour group that my father found through my aunt, a $99 all-expenses paid trip for Chinese non-citizens from the US, Canada and Australia. For a whole week we’re touring through the major cities around Shanghai which are famous for being picturesque, and so far each one gets better than the next. It was through this tour we were able to arrange for the massages, though if you are traveling alone you could inquire with your hotel to set you up at one that is not going to try to sell you a bunch of oriental medicines as well. We started from the world-class city lights of Shanghai to the beautiful city of Hangzhou famous for its West Lake with pagoda vistas and cherry blossoms, to Nanjing with its rock gardens, Purple Mountain and ancient city wall, to Wuxi with its giant new Buddhist temple and the enormous metal Buddha standing in the hills. Before this, Jon and I jetted down to the glamorous and rising star city of Guangzhou where we became the country folk, craning our necks to look at the tall, space-age buildings forming the new skyline. Like Beijing and Shanghai, and much of China, the cities are building so fast with some of the tallest, most elaborate and forward-thinking designs in buildings that there’s no question that China will become the most advanced and powerful country in the world, within our lifetimes.
Jon is antsy for his computer back so I will sign off. Til later!