After being criticized by one of my friends for not doing enough “girly” things (more on that topic later), I was practically forced to agree to have a foot massage. Me! The girl who has only ever bought nail polish once (and it was black) and thinks that having more than one purse is rather wasteful.
So I made the Epic Journey once again to 滨海 (Binhai, duh), which took almost an hour longer than it should have. Why? Because I’m an idiot.
Lesson learned: if you’ve waited more than 20 minutes, and your bus still hasn’t shown up, maybe you should ask somebody what’s up. Instead of that, though, I foolishly believed that patience was a virtue and waited 45 minutes for a bus that doesn’t stop there. So then I asked one of the bus drivers lounging around whether bus 706 actually existed in real life, and he pointed to another bus stop, about 50 feet away, on the other side of a building. Ahhhh. That would do it.
It’s remarkable how much easier it is to get on the right bus when you’re at the right bus stop. So after a 30 minute bus ride with no announcements or anything indicating what the stops were, I used my Powers of Deduction to determine that the stop for the light rail station was probably the one next to… a big train track that looked like light rail. Yes, things were going well!
Then about 45 minutes on the train, standing room only. Very comfortable. Then a 3.7 minute taxi ride, then, finally, FOOT MASSAGE.
For those of you who have never had one, here’s the lowdown: foot soak, the application of some kind of foot jelly, then a guy or gal squeezing and jabbing and generally mistreating your feet for an hour. But really, except for the moments of agonizing pain (“You must have digestive problems,” he said… yeah, my feet and stomach are related, sure), it was quite nice. This was followed by an all-too-brief back massage that wandered down to the buttocksal region, but I was totally cool with (in future: butt massage? That’s probably illegal in most states… not sure about China.) All of this, with weird Chinese snacks and tea and at least 15 cable channels to surf at pleasure, for 75 RMB each (less than $12). Legit.
Here’s my cool Chinese friend getting her feets soaked.
Tea. It’s pretty intense.
At this point, I had to hurry back to Tianjin for my next appointment: wyld movie party at girl-I-just-met’s sweet downtown apartment! So I took the light rail all the way to the end, got really confused when two maps said two different things. But at this point of the day, I had learned my lesson. Don’t know how to get somewhere? Just ask a Chinese person. There’s like, 1.3 billion of them. So, I managed to hop on the right bus to 滨江道 (Binjiang Dao) and the general vicinity of my new friend’s crib.
… At which point, I had no idea where to go. But four phone calls later, I rather miraculously ended up at the correct huge skyscraper, waited an age and a half for the elevator, and got up to the 44th floor. A floor that no Chinese person wants to live on, because the number 44 sounds too much like “sisi,” or “death death.” Heavy stuff. Gratefully, absolutely zero (that I know of) death death occurred during my stay on the 44th floor.
At that point, it became a flurry of green curry, convenience store runs, buying way too much beer and $3 bottles of wine, snacks, meeting new people, one ridiculous movie after the other, passing out, etc etc.
So no creepy Chinese men this weekend. And no phone numbers that I have to systematically ignore from now on! A major accomplishment.