Friday, May 7, 2010
it is Saturday morning right now- all my other posts were written at night but last night we got home very late so I just went to sleep. Ok so yesterday we started off the day by going to the National palace museum. It was really cool. We got there just in time for the English tour, and if it wasn't for this tour the museum would not have been half as good. Our tour guide was a lady named Serena and she did a really good job showing us a bunch of different stuff from the different dynasties and telling us the stories that went a long with them. Apparently the Mona Lisa of the National palace museum is the Jade Cabbage. This jade cabbage was a cabbage made out of jade... who would have guessed. The reason it is so special is because it is made from the shiny jade that the people didn't really like much before and it uses the natural color changes in the stone to their advantage because the top leafy part of the cabbage is a more green jade and the base/stem part is a white jade. When she was showing us the cabbage she told us that this was the dowry of a girl who was married to the emperor. Her and her sister were both married to the emperor and the cabbage was the dowry of the least favorite of the two wives. The other wife and this emperor ended up being killed because the mother of the emperor didn't like how he was running things and the favorite wife was really supportive of him and his ideas of restructuring the government, or something like that. We also saw some really cool ivory sculptures. They were AMAZING! There was this one that was all these balls inside of other balls that could spin and move freely of one another. I don't really know how to describe it but it was really intricate and must have taken forever to make, and it was made out of one tusk. The tour ended up being about 2 hours but it was awesome and I would have had no idea that I was supposed to look at the jade cabbage or that all the characters written all over most of the pieces were added later by one of the emperors who really liked poetry and would have people carve a poem he had written about his favorite art works into them. After the museum we walked around the gift shop and then waited for the bus. We took the bus back to the train station and walked around there and found some food. We had some goutie (aka pot stickers) that were pretty tasty we had some regular ones and some spicy ones and I didn't really like the spicy ones too much. We then walked around down to a night market, but it was only about 2 so it wasn't open yet. We thought we might wait until it opened so we sat and people watched for a bit (we totally saw a couple break up or have a fight or something). After a while Jon called Lloyd and he said he wanted to take us to a different night market and to get massages. Jon and I decided to go home and take a nap so that we wouldn't be tired for the night market and the massages. When Lloyd got home from work we got up and went to the night market. He got us some dinner- some fried big round meat filled wanton-type things. They were pretty good, but I realized that eating makes me the most nervous because I'm trying to eat stuff that I have never eaten before and I'm trying to do it with chopsticks. I'm not too bad with chopsticks, but it is still nerve wracking. He also got us this egg thing with some pink sauce on top which I didn't think was very good. After that we walked around the night market and I bought some earrings and Jon got two pairs of shorts. I have no haggling skills in this language and Jon's are pretty bad so luckily we had Lloyd to help us talk the sales people down a bit. At this night market they have very famous chicken soup that Lloyd says makes girls very healthy. I wasn't hungry but he got some and let me try. I got some of the broth and it was super hot and burned my mouth; it was very bitter and oily and made me wonder if this was what drinking motor oil would be like. Don't worry I was very polite and told him it was good and I told him I felt very healthy. He did say that they think bitter things are good for you, so it wasn't just me that thought the soup was bitter. After the night market we came back to his house and talked to his family a bit ( and by talked to his family I mean Jon and Lloyd talked to his family and I smiled and nodded). We then moved our stuff out of the room we had been staying in to a different room because some of the family was going to be sleeping in that room. After that it was about midnight and Lloyd didn't think this was too late for 2 hour massages, so we walked across the street to the massage place. We started out the massages by getting our feet washed and scrubbed with slices of limes. I think this was one of my favorite parts. It smelled good and the water was warm and it was just overall awesomeness. After that we went and changed into some loose fitting pajama-type clothes. This whole time I have pretty much no idea what is going on because I don't speak Chinese. We all went into a room with three mats on the floor so we each had our own mat and lady that would be doing the massage. I was very glad that we would all be right next to each other and I would have some one to translate if needed. The massage was pretty awesome there were some parts of it that hurt but the lady probably spent about an hour massaging my legs and feet and this felt really nice. I realized that my right ankle is still not as flexible as the other from the time that I sprained it really bad over a year and a half ago. After my legs she massaged my arms and then I rolled over and she massaged my back and neck. The neck part hurt way bad because I'm always really sore in my neck. After two hours we were done and I was ready to sleep, not only because it was 2 in the morning but because I had just been massaged like crazy and was pretty much jello now. We walked over the the Family mart (this is a little convenience store kind of like the one that would be at a gas station in the US) because Lloyd wanted to take some money out of the ATM so we took some out too. After this we walked home and I went straight to sleep. This morning I woke up and showered and Jon says that Lloyd's family probably thinks I'm really weird because they people here always shower at night and never shower in the morning. I don't mind being a weird American because today my hair has looked the best it has since I got here because I didn't sleep on it when it was wet. We are about to leave for Lloyd's brothers wedding. I'll make sure to write about what it was like.