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Hello and good day,
Last night I took a most uneventful night bus from Xiamen to Shenzhen, China. It was filled with highs and lows like trying to close a cab door and having my shades run over. Those shades were bought for a staggering $15 at the Vancouver Airport and all throughout Asia, guys would wear them and take photos. They would ask if they were “real” when they were unbranded. It was comical, RIP.
Met an old dude who spoke no English, we hung out with limited conversation until he helped me know when my bus had come. We were like buddies, we even watched each others BAGS! I got on and got the middle row, top bunk, under the A/C, great. Middle rows are narrower and this one was shorter. Quarter way through when I woke up, I realized my camera was gone, I freaked out. Then I saw it ~7 feet below on the ground, once again, great. At this time I noticed that the bathroom appeared to be venting out the massive vent directly above me, great.
I also noticed there was a spare seat, I took it. Turns out it was some ladies who opted for the floor, you snooze you lose, literally. Arrived at like ~7am and wandered around until I found the station. I hijacked the Shangri La’s wifi and drank 5 cups of McDonald’s Coffee. McD’s is like a safe haven, not many pikers there as it is close to western prices. Just people with no clue what nutritional value means.
Found finding a room a hassle. Tried a few places, even marched near where I was last time I was here, I wanted wifi, decent and under 200RMB. I could get a shi~thole for 100RMB but I’m a gentleman and I had a market to attend to. Many wanted ~250-300. I was giving up hope when I saw this girl who looked like she spoke English. Within 1 minute of speaking a tout came… You know those guys who flog you stuff? I was desperate and felt like rolling the dice, so I did. I went with him, he brought me to a NICE place for 200, I saw they had a room for 135 but it had no internet. He then motioned (as he spoke no English) that he knew one for 180 and punched it on his phone. I followed.
We went around the corner to a MOST DERELICT building but I followed him in… We then proceeded to none other than the 13th floor in an elevator that reminded me of the book 1984, the one Winston would never get into. We got there and went into a room. The room is a bit of a sh~t hole but pefect for me. If I met a girl, I’d be embarrassed to bring her here and even more so to tell her I’m paying ~$30US+ a night for it but whatever. That said, the internet worked and then a lengthy process of them taking my passport info followed.
I had a room, it had internet, I was happy. If I had not unpacked most of my stuff as I always do to find something as I never have any sense of where anything is, I’d move tomorrow but that is not the case so I probably won’t.It is a weird place that you’d never find on your own and I’m definitely the only Westerner but part of traveling is expanding your comfort zone. I will note the door is like cardboard and anyone could kick it down, not sure why I even bothered putting the chain lash on.
I got anxious and out of smokes so decided to go eat some soup. Now, if you order soup in these places, I RECOMMEND PORK OR BEEF. Why? You know what you’re getting and the bones are big so you won’t have any. I got the soup and it had brownish cabbage and chicken parts. Like they took an axe and just cut this thing into a million pieces so each time you eat one, you had to remove bits with your hands. I maybe got 1/10th the chicken I had hoped for (shakes fist!)
After wards I proceeded to the Luohu Commercial Shopping Mall in search of some shades… I bought nothing but cue-tips (a word which I couldn’t remember for a few hours today) and some toothpaste, went for a smoke as I was “overwhelmed, tired and indecisive”. As I was hanging out I saw this lady pass by, I recognized her. I obviously approached her in more of a walk behind “Hey, were you in Vietnam”. Oh yes, I do know her.
She asked if I could wait 10 minutes, I said sure. I sat next to an old gent maybe 75 who was sleeping on a bench in between smokes and dressed in pajamas, to my right were some most emo Asians. Sure enough 10 minutes later she arrived with a guy carrying a massive bag. This small lady had “GONE TO TOWN” and bought egregious quantities of purses, designer no doubt.
If you go to these places, tell them the quality is CRAP and they will probably dig further back for “better ones”. Most people will pay the same price for a crappier version so they make a bigger margin. Remember how I mentioned a week or so ago “why sell $7 shoes for $50 when you can sell $3 shoes!?” Anyways, I took her bag containing the bags and went with her for round two.
She bought boatloads of stuff and I carried it, happily might I add as I had nothing better to do so why not enjoy the company of an attractive lady from London? Turns out the best way to bargain is have a lady be somewhat interested and then show it to you. You’re the grumpy “I don’t give a sh!t, let’s get out of here” guy with her. She will show it, you say “how much”, they say “great price for you” you pump in ~50% or so of what they put in, do the whole up down game once so you raise just slightly she counters and you keep your bid the same. Worked always, that or make an outlandish opening offer and say “take it over leave it, we gotta go”.
Do remember, they will NOT take an offer they don’t bank coin on, ever. Also remember they can get another one as easy as they got this one. I met these girls in Hoi An, shortly after getting released from the hospital. They were lost and I was drugged on pain killers, I showed them a decent place to stay and then ran into them again and gave them more info, crazy how you THEN run into them later? I was at a taxi stand and they were being harassed by taxi dudes. Lesson learned? If you want to talk to someone, go talk to them! You never know when you may or may not see them again. Today would have been boring but instead it was quite eventful. How many people do you think you could have spoken to, didn’t and then if you had seen them again and had a good time?
Suffice to say moods are contagious and I who buys nothing but hotels, smokes, booze and food copped some shades, 3 sweaters, pashmina scarfs for the ladies in my life and even a classy/ pimp darwin leather toiletry bag for like $90. Back home we’re looking at well, we aren’t as I wouldn’t have purchased any of them.
She went on her way and I came home. It was raining and my room was dark, dingy and depressing. I went for a stroll to a local dinner and was greeted by an English speaking gent, PERFECT. The menu had photos and looked great while being reasonably priced, it also had a fav of mine, beef and broccoli. It was pouring and this was the closest restaurant, I thought this is too good to be true. That is when stuff got weird.
Sitting a few tables over was this dude who was wearing white pants, a blue burlap blazer, a fishing vest underneath and a most horrific wig with white drew carey glasses. He became obsessed with talking to me and about “Canada” like he was some kinda ambassador. Everyone knew he was a looney bin. He asked where I was staying, how he was looking for a room, if I could show him. Everyone was rolling their eyes like “this guy is weird and drunk” and kinda motioned to see if I wanted to move. I stayed firmly where I was and lite a smoke, moving to other side of restaurant would be rude, something I am not.
He asked all sorts of weird questions then if I was married, I knew where this was going. I told him no but i had a gf, always works when you’re a solo dude traveling. Then he was like can you show me to hotel, obviously I did not give him mine and told him I was busy which wasn’t a lie. I was busy smoking a cigarette and then going to my room to do nothing. Oh yeah, he looked like he stole his wig from the dresser of Elton John after a 1 night stand or something, weird people, really weird dude. Arguably weirdest but definitely top 5 on this trip.
The meal was delicious and the market was melting up, the largest meltup I’ve ever seen in my entire life. THE PERFECT opportunity to get out of some losers and free up cash. I traded like a mad man on meth for 1 hour, executing something like 15 trades, never been so decisive in my entire life. I need sleep, big time.
P.S: See those buttons below, you should give them a try, seriously.