It was a busy day today. Starting off we went to go see the world's largest LED screen, which covers a shopping area in Wuzhen. Unfortunately, it wasn't on, because the shopping area isn't very active during the day during summer. After this, we went to a silk factory to learn how silk is collected, strung, and used. I knew that silk worms were used in the process, but I had no idea that they were baked while in their cocooning phase of life to harvest the silk. I was shocked to find out how thin a single strand of silk is, and how many cocoons go into each article of clothing or bedding (It's roughly 8 strands of silk per human hair, and hundreds if not thousands of cocoons per article).
It was about a three hour bus ride to Hangzhou, and once we got there we got straight to a shopping street. There wasn't much different here, but we were told that a storm was rolling in. When I was in Hong Kong last year, I was told that rain is generally pretty short in China, maybe 10-20 minutes when it actually does fall. I'm sure this only applies to some areas, but I wasn't too worried about the rain. About half an hour into shopping, it started raining pretty noticeably, and maybe 5-10 minutes after that it started to pour down. From here, Danny, Josh, and I took shelter in a McDonalds. Shop owners in general seemed to be very welcoming to anyone seeking shelter from the pouring rain. It seemed very foreign to me to run from the rain, normally I would just walk around outside with an umbrella if I had one. But people here almost seemed afraid of the rain, everyone ran quickly to the nearest shelter, used umbrellas, and even ponchos if they had them. The rain passed quickly, and as soon as it was over, street shops opened back up and everyone was outside wandering between the shops like nothing had happened.
Shortly after shopping, we went to dinner, to be followed by going to an amusement park. Here we went to a ' haunted house' and various rooms of mirrors or angled floors. The haunted house didn't have any live actors like it would in the US, but people who came out of it still seemed scared. Going through it though, I found that I only flinched when something fell from the ceiling and almost landed on my head. There weren't as many shocking moments as I was expecting, but it seemed to rely on an eerie feeling to scare people.
We next went to a show. The choreography was beautiful, and it used a very interesting mix of projected images, backlit screens, and dancers. It was mostly a dancing show, and not acrobatics, but it was very elegant and smooth.
We got back to the hotel at around 10, and most people turned in for bed. I had heard from a previous student that he got a massage and hot cupping therapy at this hotel to help with some back problems he had. I also have back problems, so I was eagerly waiting to get here to try it out. I will edit this post later about how it was.
[update] So first thing's first... I feel really bad about not knowing enough Chinese. My ability to communicate is very minimal, so I wasn't able to talk to the masseuse giving me my massage. The only thing I could do was offer her the remote and have her choose something she wanted to watch, to which she responded with something I couldn't understand but still chose something to watch. The massage was good, not too different than what I've had before. The thing that was really different was the hot cupping. I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that it used heat and vacuuming to suck on where the orb is placed. It didn't hurt, it stung a little initially for a few of them. I think it's interesting that some of the orbs did more sucking than others, I don't understand why. My back does feel better, and it only cost $20 for over an hour and a half of work. In the US this would have cost well over $100.
I feel like massage is a lot more prevalent in China. There seems to be massage parlors just about everywhere we go, and a lot of people seem to get them. It's different than in the US where it is almost exclusively a luxury to get a massage or spa treatment.
Here are some photos:
Rain rain go away
Paul sharing his poncho to make a makeshift umbrella