Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 8 – Yangshuo: Fuli, not a top spot…

Rosabelle woke up close to 9am whilst me, ever over-sensitive to sounds/noises, kept pushing away my murderous instincts to kill that darned bird downstairs and thus woke up early in the process… She kept sleeping on my pillow in the night and if not for having to sniffle (and sneezed mucous), she might have continued sleeping. Oh dear… might have been the rain from last night’s Liu Sanjie show. But it obviously did not dampen her spirits and harassing of dearest Simon as they waited outside the rooms for us to go down together.

Today, we were headed for another village, Fuli, with a history stretching back some 1300 years to the Tang dynasty. It sure looks like a town that time has forgotten… maybe it was the gloomy, wet weather (and I had to carry Rosabelle unless we went into shops), or maybe it was the soil/cement/bricks lying around the roads as they were rightly doing repair works to the roads and/or buildings, but the whole place looked rather depressing to me.
I know Mum didn’t really like the place, thinking the whole town rather decrepit, and the shops selling antiques/paintings/calligraphy were all old and having dusty wares. We didn’t see any fan painting in action, though it’s the number one fan painting town in China, and there was actually a temple of goddess Mazu, protector of the sea. However, this old lady was harassing my brother from the start and insisted we donate some money to their whatever elderly fund or something, which we of course rejected. So when we stepped into the temple, she basically shooed us out. Now, if she had waited for us to go into the temple before asking for admission fees, we would not have minded paying, but nope, old lady, you gotta learn some manners before people are willing to part with their moolah, no matter how little it is!

We then walked on where the guys (Boa, Simon, and my brother) went down the slopes to walk on a path as we waved to them from upstairs.
Rosabelle kept calling out to the water buffalos, willing them to answer her, perhaps…
My brother was really keen on a piece of calligraphy with the words山水, and ended up paying RMB1,800 for it – I don’t really know how to assess its worth but he thinks it’s quite a find. Simon and Rosabelle got to each choose a small painting to take away for free, so they got a panda and a cat respectively (but they are so dusty my mum ended up leaving it behind in the hotel room, and me, I have it stashed away in a corner of the cupboard at home). It’s really a small town so we headed back after seeing their ‘bus depot’ of sorts, with a canteen where loads of people were eating lunch, not us of course!
This is their school, and my brother reminded Simon how lucky he is to attend a clean, well-equipped school in Singapore.
After that, we headed back into town to have lunch at Le Votre close to 2pm. My brother was calling China Eastern to confirm their flights and apparently, only my parents and Simon are on the later flight whilst he and Boa are on the original morning flight. Obviously, that got him quite pissed and after quite a bit of scolding/complaining/hassling, they finally got back to him that evening and managed to get them on the same flight. Sheesh… luckily he confirmed in advance…

Next stop was Jianshan Temple, where our independent girl was adamant in making her way up the many flights of steps herself. Atta girl! In the main praying hall, there were lighted candles marking each donor’s token, and Rosabelle started her 祝你生日快乐spiel again, haha!
For kicks, my brother and Simon each 求签 and had their fortunes told by a monk. For Simon, he said that he’s a clever child, but too 好胜 and afraid to lose. He also said it’s best if he advanced his interests, and in future, work elsewhere from his birthplace where he will find many benefactors. He also said he must never injure/leave a scar on his forehead or he will have health problems (and that he could see he was a picky eater, haha).

As for my brother, he said my brother should be a manager (erm… does he look like a farmer?), and his matters of the marriage are most troubling for my parents. The monk advised he has to marry late, or he will have at least two marriages, and that our parents will have two operations, and for them to be very aware of dangers in the house and on the road. Luckily my mum has had a few operations already, so we’re safe, phew!

Next came the weird part where the monk gave his name and asked my brother if he was sincere in making donations (from upwards of RMB3,800 and they accept cards, I’m not kidding, he actually said that). It was funny how he kept saying, ‘捐款都是志愿的,你有没有诚意捐款?有没有?有没有?', aiyo! Obviously we didn’t, and moved on… Mum said she was teaching Rosabelle to pray and she kowtowed and thumped her head quite a few times onto the floor cushion – how pious…

We then went back to the hotel room where she slept from 5:30pm for about 1.5 hours, woken up by my brother’s call as he excitedly told me he had his flight time changed successfully, sheesh! And so we had a late dinner at 9pm, again at Pure Lotus, our third time there…

When we were all done, just my mum and I brought Rosabelle and Simon out as Boa and my brother stayed on to finish their wine. Since Rosabelle was such a good girl, and did not ask once to buy anything from the stalls (unlike Simon, who gets attracted to the most tacky of knick-knacks, and has no idea how much they cost, i.e. the value of money), I decided to get a wired bicycle for her. It was RMB15 at first asking, so I asked for RMB20 for two, and the shop keeper immediately agreed, making me regret almost immediately as I really should have bargained harder. Anyway, it would go well with the small doll my brother got for her. I also bought some pens with clay dolls on top, and some local snacks for the Choons.

Isn’t she such a doll…
Next was sweet treats for the kids as I offered to buy ice cream for them. Rosabelle kept wanting to eat Simon’s strawberry-flavored one, and even reminded me not to drop the ice cream on my pants (as I did when I shared a cone from Ikea just a week back), heh!
As we were walking back, Rosabelle heard the music outside a bar and stood outside to dance when my brother came from the side and scopped her up, giving my mum the fright of her life as she thought a stranger had carried her up, haha!

All the walking around must have her tired, as in Mum’s hotel room, she spotted and grabbed the bread meant for breakfast on the table and finished up a whole slice. It was a late last night in Yangshuo as we went to bed close to 1am (and I had packed up as she played in Simon’s room).

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