Day 12 - Blind Massage

Friday, February 19th, 2016
Smog Level: All 3 Mountains

Ah, yes, the rumored "blind people who are employed as masseuses" in China. Apparently, it’s true - some of them do work as masseuses. Better yet, I’ll be getting one today for ¥66 / $13 .50 CAD for an hour. At this rate, I’m going to get one every week once the money starts rolling in. They’re not the super pampery massages, mind you, but the deep tissue, therapeutic, elbow-in-the-back, want-to-cry-out-in-tortured-contempt ones. Hurt so good.

My roommate still isn't back from his vacation, but he’s been helping me over the wechat messenger app. It’s kind of like whatsapp meets Facebook meets a banking app. You can send people money over it, your current location, or even get discounts at stores for sharing stuff. It’s surprisingly integrated and the west barely seems to know what it is. Anyway, he told me that there was a Walmart near our apartment. Turns out, it's right beside the Massage building.
Fridge Selection in the Mall Across the Street
The massage staff were amazed by my shoes, joking that they couldn’t belong to a human. I don’t mind, as it’s even a novelty in Canada. If you have any back or neck problems - and I think we all have a mild case of it from our laptops and phones - get one of these massages. It was amazing. Everything I expected it to be. While I said it was 66 RMB, that’s with a coupon. Normally it’s ~95, but you can get a discount by buying a prepaid card. With a certain amount of money loaded onto it.

Broken Vase Art
The Walmart is fairly small by Walmart standards. It has three floors, with the main floor and B1 are both groceries/liquor, each is about half the size of a standard grocery store. And that's exactly what those two floors are: medium grocery stores. Didn’t look at the last floor, however. After grabbing some groceries, we took a nap.

There’s a gym nearby, and they claim that we can’t get a trial day. Lets test that theory, shall we? Upon ariving with gym clothes, they give us a tour and let us try it out. Moral: try to get what you want, even if they tell you you can't. This is one of the cheapest gyms we could find, but that's still require ¥3600/~$740 CAD for an entire year, which is roughly $762 CAD at time of writing. They throw in a free month, which works out to ~$58 a month. Still about 1.5x more expensive than the more expensive gyms in Canada, but I see it as a worthwhile expense. Traveling and gaining weight seem to go hand-in-hand from relayed and personal experience.

The gym was... alright. I was adjusting one of the weights and the knob came off in my hand, which I screwed back on. They only have ONE standard bench press, which is unheard of, but at least they make up for it by also having a decline and an incline bench. They also have lots of classes, which you can’t opt out of for a cheaper membership. Upside: I’ll get to learn some latin dance moves if I decide to go here.

Mean Beans and Badass Bread
I’ve been thinking about the cultural differences. It honestly doesn’t feel all that different from any other big city, aside from some of the architecture and smog. The people are just as friendly as anywhere, it all depends if you’re friendly to them. The customer service seems slightly less friendly on average than North America, and sometimes you’ll see people outright drop garbage where they stand. People don’t speak any slower, even when you look visibly confused. It can be frustrating, but, hey, it'll force me to practice the phrase “speak slower, please.” (qǐng shuō dé màn yīdiǎn) [ching shoo-oh duh mahn yee-dee-awn]

As for Chinese people being more “rude,” as a common stereotype I’ve heard, I think that’s ethnocentric - viewing their culture through our culture’s lens. It seems like saying “excuse me,” and “please” are both less required, though they do say “thank you” a lot. It seems like saying the former words are bonuses, but not required. You’re more polite if you use them, but not necessarily impolite if you don’t bother. While in Canada, if you don’t say them, then you’re rude. But, in a way, that makes them meaningless, doesn’t it?

Think about Valentine’s day. If you don’t do anything for Valentines day, that’s a negative. You lose by not playing. If you do something for Valentine's day, it’s almost neutral because it’s so expected. Due to the expectation, it’s forced - it’s not a choice, thereby rendering the gesture pointless. If you were to do the same amount of effort that’s expected on Valentine's day, but displace it by, say, a month, then you’d be a hero. It would be huge bonus because you did it unprompted. You did it because you actually wanted to and there was no obligation. This is how I’m looking at the manners of Canadians (expected; Valentine’s day) vs Chinese (not expected; regular day).

Vegetable-Infused Wonton Dumpings
Tomorrow’s Luke’s birthday, so we’ll be getting genuine Chinese Hotpot!

Words of the day:
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Never - cóng bù [tsong boo]
Rarely - hěn shǎu dè [Hn shau dh]
Frequently - jīng cháng [jing chong]
Always - yì zhí [yee jur]
But - Dànshì [dahn shuh]

Editing Music: 

Teenager Pie
Ball Park Music

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