Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Saturday Out

More of living the local experience. We were to take a couple of buses and travel to at temple up north of Shijazhuang. I’m all for the local experience, but it would surely be good once in a while to have lesser locals around us when we’re doing this. Standing for a couple of hours in a bunch of buses was not only local for me, but pretty much native.

Why kill only a few? Women bus drivers...

Totally local: Lucy in charge!
Carlos emphasizing that he paid 2 Yuans

New experience for the Indian and Sri Lankan?? Nah..

I showed Duli the concept of concurrent Seat Utilization of 2.0. He promptly made his way to the front of the bus to implement this learning.
The local flavor kept becoming more and more local. This bus actually took us to the wrong temple. But hey, where temples are concerned, who can argue with destiny?   


The temple was lovely. I feel less guilty about using Chinese goods in India now, knowing better how much more important India’s export to China seems to be.

Me with the 'made in India but used extensively in China goods'

Temple from within

Huge prayer hall.

We took pictures… a million of them as this was really a good photo-op. The quiet surroundings, the peaceful atmosphere, the great and simple food (the quickest food ever ordered/served to China 13 in recorded history… hey, you eat it or you walk!).

Fast food... really really fast.
I was not letting go of an opportunity to get my ‘fortune told’ by an authentic Chinese fortune-teller who didn’t need to crack open a cookie to read out my fortune. While most folks did not agree with me, I treated this also as part of the ‘local’ experience.

There was a bundled service of face-reading and hand-reading at a deal price special offer. I bit. Not that I regret it much, but I’ve not had a grown up man stare at me the way this gentleman did and I’ve also been out of practice of having my hand held. Assuming nothing was lost in Lucy’s translation, here are the highlights:
  • I have a big nose so I’m going to be rich
  • I have big eyes of a lovely color so I’m going to be rich
  • I have a big forehead so apparently I’m intelligent (Hey… heard of a receding hairline, anyone??)
  • Something about my upper lip that I didn’t quite catch. Still all good.
  • My hand mounds are plump and red so I’m going to be rich and famous
  • I have a great personality (obviously from his perspective anyone who decides to spend money on fortune telling would have a good personality, right?)
  • Good life, good money... good everything.

non romantic eye-lock

Strangely there were no implementation timelines shared for getting rich and famous and moviestar-ish.

When I insisted that at least one third of the 15 Yuan be accounted against ‘areas of improvement’ he advised me to look after what I ate or drank. I was worried for around 20 mins by which time Duli had also been given the same advice. This made sense…. The fortune teller must have been that weirdly dressed punk on the bar-stool next to ours in the night club Duli and I were in last night. Bingo!

Emily and Andrea also got their fortune told and somehow I think there was more of hand-reading than face-reading going on there!! Men grow old, never grow up!!

My prophecy that the fortuneteller was going to get richer by 60 Yuan was the only thing distinctly true.

It happened to be Sue’s birthday and somehow she wasn’t getting any gift from us (yeah.. we cheapsters!). Actually we, alongwith Lucy, decided to take Sue out to the Great Commodities Wholesale Market right after the temple visit, where Sue could have bought anything she pleased for herself. Can a young lady ask for a better gift? 

Sue: Not a day over 18!
 Turns out yes… she could have and should have. The Great Commodities Wholesale Market was exactly what its name suggested. While Sue could have indeed bought a deal on 20 plastic buckets, or 200 pens, or a dozen water jugs, or toasters/ovens/air-conditioners, or even a special deal on scooters (buy four and get the fifth free), she chose to remember this birthday as gift-less instead. And a purchase-less day it was for everyone else too. A little bit of saving grace was the tea shopping about which I would write later.

I did some impulse shopping for my wife too but got into a sticky situation while checking the size of t-shirt on the sales-girl’s back (yes, yes, that was all there was to it! It was not lingerie!). The hanger got caught in her hair bun and it took 4 of her colleagues fifteen minutes to get it out somehow (this trip is going to have a lot of hanger stories apparently).

Being asked for QQ again! Need to get one ASAP

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