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Day 28 - Changsha to Zhangjiajie

semi-overcast 25 °C

Wednesday, August 22

The morning was cool and I went on a walk, to see if there was some coffee to be had in one of the numerous coffee shops we had spotted the night before, but alas, they were all closed... how depressing! I continued my quest around the block, while observing the activities and sights of the area...locals on the backstreets of Changsha buying breakfast on their way to their morning activities, grandparents feeding their grand-children on the sidewalks sporting huge smiles on their faces, parents walking their children to a variety of activities, wiring strung all over the place to power the permanent and the temporary shops, etc... The activities would resemble most any city around the world with the exception of the cultural differences.

I finally found a bakery and after selecting some food from the bins, I proceeded to the counter and stumbled my way through the purchase of coffee. I told the cashier I wanted " coffee", which she understood, but then she wanted to know what type. I proceeded to repeat the word coffee and point at the top of the list but I could tell that my ' chinglish ' wasn't working. Fortunately the owner was sitting at a nearby table and he must have told her to give me a plain cup of coffee because that is what I got.

As I sat in the Western-style bakery, eating a bacon-wrapped croissant and a long, twisted, donut, while drinking a fresh cup of coffee and watching people go through their daily activities, I considered some of their stories...ladies in stilettos and fancy dresses, most likely going to work...girls wearing tee-shirts with misspelled english captions on them...a little boy eating a pretzel looking at the strange looking foreigner in the bakery. Each had their own story and they weren't so different from any one else's...people just taking life one day at a time...some might even be reading a blog of other peoples activities! There is so much to see in this world and we can't possibly see or experience it all on our own and yet with the marvels of technology we can share our experiences!

As I was sitting, watching the bustle of people going past the bakery window, Jeremy came in. He had followed a similar route to mine in an effort to find me when he saw the shop and knowing that it was one that I might go into, he looked into the window only to see me drinking my coffee. He ordered a capuccino and joined me.

We left at noon since we only had a four hour drive to our next destination. The drive was uneventful and only marked by a phone call from Nicole's mother asking us if we were ' OK '. Apparently, the storm from the previous evening had been quite severe in Nanning and the subsequent flooding had caused traffic jams.

After checking into the hotel in Zhangjiajie we went to a foot massage parlour and had our feet, arms, legs and back massaged for 90 minutes costing $100 RMB (~ $17 ). I typically do not get massages but it was cheap, interesting and very relaxing.

For supper, Jeremy had pork and Nicole and I shared a meal of fresh fish, selected from a tank in the restaurant. I don't know what kind of fish it was, a local fish of some sort, but it was very spicy and tasty.

Tomorrow we have tickets for the Glass Skywalk on Tianmen mountain. I am looking forward to it.

P.S. Tomorrow is Nicole's birthday. She requested 1 minute of "resistance free" tickling of Jeremy for her birthday. He said " no deal "!

Posted by hammr 05:27 Archived in China

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In case Nicole doesn't read her emails, please pass on birthday wishes from her "Canadian parents". Since you are 12 hours ahead of us, we are sending this a day ahead.
Happy Birthday Nicole. You can step on Uncle Ralf's feet and pretend they are mine.

by Jurgen and Marilyn Hamm

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