We started today with an amazing breakfast! Buffet style again, but this time there were lots of dumplings-and they were to die for! Each filled with bean paste or a filling much like an egg roll.  Which reminds me…we haven’t seen one single egg roll yet-or chow mien. or chicken balls. OR sweet and sour sauce.   I think we have been tricked all these years.  Chinese food in Canada is NOTHING like Chinese Chinese food.  Its MUCH better.

After one last walk in the garden at our hotel we headed to the bus for a trip to a silk factory. Now, I had anticipated buying silk pajamas, maybe some scarves….. but I did not expect to get sold so quickly on new silk bedding. They explained the entire silk process-from worm to thread… and then explained that the bedding we slept in last night was entirely silk. From the mattress cover to the duvet. Now I had no idea it was silk – so we’re not talking creepy guy silk sheets. This is just a cooling and heavy duvet and cover-it was amazing. Best sleep I’ve had in a long time. When we walked in and saw the prices, we were all “take us to your finest keychains……”.  But once we knew it was he bedding we slept in last night we were all “Call the bank. Sell the house. We’re gettin this freakin bedding.”  And we did. The kicker is they make it almost impossible for you to refuse! They explain that the government has made special arrangements with the airlines and they allow you to bring the box with the bedding in it in ADDITION to your allotted 2 bags per person baggage allowance. I mean Come on!! AND DUTY FREE!!! How can we say no! So we both came away with duvets, duvet covers, sheets, mattress covers, 4 large silk filled pillows AND a hard topped piece of luggage which they throw in if you’re “one of first 15 callers”. We basically said “shut up and take my money” .

We had lunch after what we will refer to as “the silk remortgage situation” from now on.  It was buffet style this time and it was really good-with lots of western food thrown in like French fries and onion rings 🙂

Then it was a drive to the grand Buddha. I did some painting during the 1 hour drive and enjoyed nice cold beer from the on board fridge.  The Grand Buddha is basically Buddha Disney in China. It is a 108.5 meter tall bronze statue that sits on a hill and has been surrounded by temples and gardens with a water show presented every 2 hours for 15 minutes.  There are 218 steps that lead up to the base of the statue-and yes-we climbed them.  I don’t think Buddha would have been happy about the fat white girl huffing and puffing and cursing under her breath about how she should have taken all the clothes off the treadmill and prepared for this vacation-but-it is what it is.  He. Is. Gigantic.  The view from the top is  beautiful, but honestly the view from the base is even more incredible.  He looks to big to be real-one hand palm in front of him facing front and one downward-also palm front.  His head is tilted downward looking at all his adoring worshipers-and there were many-bowing and praying.  After a few tense moments of wondering if Nicole was going to let us take the tram back to the bus, (first rule of vacation: Nicole tells us what to do. We like it this way.) she did! (we must have been well behaved!).

Another beer and we were on our way to shop again! This time it was on a pretty tourist street in Wuxi (pronounced woo-zee). This is another city that has canals everywhere with traditional houses lined along its banks.  The shopping area was very upscale-real brand name stores and it looked like most of the clothing stores were measure and make.   It was a very nice area-but again-I’ve hit the wall. I mean HARD.  Walking zombie. We shopped for a bit, bought a few milk glass dishes, and were on our way to the hotel for the night.

Now the interesting thing I’ve found about the 13 hour jet lag is this: I’m starving in the morning. Like-eat the hind quarters off a dead donkey hungry (which is good since that’s served most mornings-insert bah dum dum here).  So the breakfast meal is always welcomed. But lunch and dinner are more of a-“oh…. is it time to eat?”.   But not today!!!! We are all STARVING by dinner.  I’m thinking our jet lag is beginning to subside. So the talk all the way back to the hotel is a debate about tiredness weighed against hunger-we were planning to get our fist hotpot tonight.  So after getting our room upgrade all straightened out (such snobs)- we set out for dinner.  How hard can it be? We’ll just walk around a strange city on the other side of the earth where we can’t speak or read the language, and find our way to a restaurant where we will find an English speaking waiter, order off the menu and feel safe knowing we’re not eating cat or owl brains or Muskrat snout. Right???

OR we’ll wander the streets disoriented for about an hour and end up crying at K-ref-C.  Picture the joy on our adorable western faces when we walked in and smelled the familiar chicken.  It was different from our local KFC, the chicken tasted almost the same, but everything came with the choice of rice or -the unpopular choice- of French fries . Also each meal came with mashed potatoes and gravy and a creme brûlée desert tart.  The price for 2 HUGE chicken burgers, 2 huge fries, 2 pieces of chicken, 2 mashed potatoes and gravy containers, 2 creme brûlées and 2 soft drinks was approx 100 yuan which is $20 Canadian.  Cheap and easy.  And we have wine, rum and beer back in our hotel room-so we were happy campers. We walked back to our rooms and ate and drank and contemplated all the countries we’ve eaten K-ref-C in and counted all our ailments.  Gary’s feet are swollen and hurting, Chris’s head is peeling from a burn on the first day, I’m getting quite a cough, and Nicole’s feet are FILTHY. Like I’m not sure what she’s been doing-but we’re in China girl.  Clean those things up before someone decides to cut them off and use them in a stew.

Off to bed-tomorrow should be a lighter day.  We travel via bus for 3 hours in the afternoon 🙂 Bus SLEEP! Sweet sweet bus sleep.