Humen is not so good for shopping

Trying to finish blogging about my China trip before I forget all about it!

I didn’t take too many photos on Day 3 because it was more of the same: Eating and shopping in Humen.

Tried on the funny hat I bought in Zhuhai.

Sheylara

Sheylara

Minou, Elyxia and Sheylara

Sheylara

After adjusting the hat this way and that, trying different hairstyles, I finally decided that it looked too silly, so I didn’t wear it out.

Which was just as well. When we stepped outside, we dicovered that the temperature had risen and it wasn’t as cold as it was the previous day.

We had breakfast at a Chinese cafe, which turned out disappointing.

cafe

We ordered you tiao, which was nice enough to begin with, but started tasting of ammonia after a while!! Seriously.

You tiao

The Goonfather took it to the counter and asked them why, and they actually replied that it’s supposed to be like that, and you’re supposed to leave it out for a while for the ammonia taste to disappear.

But it’s the opposite of what they said. It tasted okay for five minutes and then it was inedible after that.

In any case, since when is you tiao supposed to taste like ammonia at any time at all?!

It was so foul it made us sick even to smell it.

(LOL. The Goonfather just wallked past my PC and saw the photo and said, “What is that?! Is it the disgusting ammonia you tiao??!)

The other things we tried were pretty mediocre.

Xiao long bao

Pulut hitam

Shopping after breakfast!

We came across a little corner in a car park with a few kiddy carnival rides. It was quite weird.

carnival

It’s always interesting to see sights overseas that you think weird but which locals find absolutely normal.

Like, all cab drivers in China are encased in little cages to deter mugging.

cage

I don’t know about you but I find it a little dehumanising.

Here’s one of the malls we shopped at.

Mall

Mall

Humen is supposedly a fashion wholesale city, which was why we went there (since I’ve visited Shenzhen before).

Indeed, there is a lot of shopping and it’s very cheap if you know how to bargain. But a large percentage of wares is quite old-fashioned, so we didn’t buy much.

I LOVE THE BOOTS THOUGH.

I could have bought a hundred pairs of boots if not for luggage allowance and lack of time.

The problem is that most shoe stores are little spaces where they can’t keep stock, so if you want something in your size, they’d have to send a runner off to the warehouse to grab it. It takes about 20 minutes each time.

And you have to settle on a price (or even promise to buy it) before they’d send the runner. And if the shoe comes back and you try it on and decide you don’t want it after all, they’ll make you feel guilty for not buying it.

It’s a huge pain in the ass!

(Not all stores are like that, though. Some are pretty patient and pleasant.)

I didn’t buy many things in Humen because of all that. We had originally planned to stay in Humen for another day, but decided to bugger off to Shenzhen the next day.

Our day ended at a restaurant called Zhu Du Ji (literally “pig stomach chicken”), which is a steamboat restaurant featuring a pig stomach with chicken soup base, which I suppose sounds pretty gross if you’re not Chinese.

The soup is really quite tasty!

Pig stomach chicken

I might have mentioned this before but I will mention it again.

The Chinese are crazy! (In China, I mean.)

It was the tail end of winter and the weather had turned considerably warm (like a warmish aircon room in Singapore) and yet many people were still dressed in warm clothes and long sleeves.

Chinese restaurant

EVEN IN A STEAMBOAT RESTAURANT INDOORS.

I was feeling warm and almost sweating even before we started eating, and yet there were people who had been eating for ages wearing thick, fur-lined jackets.

CRAZY.

Another quirk: All plates and cutlery come vacuum-sealed. (Except we probably don’t call chopsticks and spoons cutlery but I don’t know what to call them.)

Cutlery

This is supposed to be a show of hygiene.

They also give you a pot of hot tea and a big empty bowl, and you’re supposed to wash your bowl and cutlery with the tea, emptying the “dirty” tea water into the big bowl.

You don’t have to wash the plate because it’s for putting bones and unwanted food scraps.

It’s very troublesome!

Okay, end of Day 3! I took a photo of the hotel toothbrush cos it looks so posh I can’t stand it!

Toothbrush

(Here’s the post I talked about the posh Humen hotel if you haven’t read it.)

I brought one toothbrush home! Hehe!

Living it up in Humen

Our second day in China consisted of eating, shopping and travelling from Zhuhai to Humen by car.

One could fall in love with China if you knew the places to go to!

Our day started off at the hotel cafe for breakfast.

Hotel cafe

It wasn’t a good choice because the food was rather blah, but it was raining outside and VERY COLD and we (the girls) didn’t feel brave enough to venture out in search of food.

Plain cheese pizza

French toast

Beef noodles

Back to the hotel room to pack after breakfast!

Hotel room

The Goonfather

Unker

(Although it seems like we were doing everything but pack.)

We had a few hours to shop in Zhuhai before having to make the trip to Humen. There’s this huge shopping centre, just beside the border to Macau, which has pretty decent stuff. We left our luggages at the hotel and went shopping.

Shopping!

Shopping!

Shopping!

The mall is huge! Minou and I kept getting lost! We tried to shop systemically so we didn’t miss any spots but it was impossible. (The guys were off doing their own thing.)

There’s a bus stop inside the mall. Heheh.

Bus stop

Shortly after, Elyxia flew over from Hong Kong to join us for part of our holiday.

Sheylara, Minou, Elyxia

We had a snack of roast goose, char siew pau, soup and vegetables before leaving for Humen. Well, it was supposed to be a snack until someone went to order so much food.

Roast goose

The food was quite lousy, though. Strike two!

You can find private “taxis” for rent on the streets. They will take you to other cities/towns for a fee.

There was this guy who was so insistent on getting our business that he followed us for, like, 100 metres as we walked down the street, while the Goonfather bargained with him.

It was finally settled and we told him we’d call him when we needed him. I think we got it at S$72 (RMB350) for a 1.5-hour ride.

While waiting for our vehicle:

Sheylara

Unker Kell and the Goonfather

We kinda got conned. The guy told us he would get us a 7-seater. (There were five of us + the driver.) We ended up getting a small, beat-up, 5-seater sedan.

The Goonfather didn’t feel like bargaining for another hundred metres so we endured being squashed for more than an hour.

Squashed in car

Squashed in car

Along the way, we saw this abandoned structure where someone had spray-painted his grievances for the world to see.

Street grievance

“Grant me justice,” it says, “Give me back my company and properties.”

I don’t understand the line on the right. Anyone knows?

It was dark by the time we arrived at Humen.

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE THE HOTEL IN HUMEN!!! <3 <3 <3

It’s so cheap, S$34 per person per night for twin-sharing, yet looks so grand and majestic!

It’s called Oriental Glory Hotel (东方锦河大酒店). Ironically, the lobby is decorated with Victorian-inspired chairs.

Grand hotel chair

Grand hotel chairs

Oriental Glory Hotel

Sheylara

Inside the elevator:

Sheylara

Oriental Glory Hotel

Oriental Glory Hotel

Oriental Glory Hotel

The room is nice and spacious, and the bed very comfortable!

The only dodgy thing is the blinds covering the glass wall between the bathroom and the bedroom. It’s kinda broken and doesn’t cover very well, lol.

Oriental Glory Hotel

Oriental Glory Hotel

What I really love about China hotels is that they all provide free wi-fi. The only downside is that their sockets are different from ours so we need to use an adapter. But the hotels provide them so it’s not so bad.

This hotel even has PCs in every room.

Oriental Glory Hotel

Of course, the other big downside, as we all know, is that you can’t access Facebook, Twitter and Plurk in China. T_T

The Goonfather then took us to the shopping district in Humen for a quick tour before dinner. It’s full of shopping centres, many of them specialised centres. At night, the shopping comes out into the streets, too!

Shopping in Humen

Shopping in Humen

Shopping in Humen

Shopping in Humen

Shopping in Humen

Shopping in Humen

Shopping in Humen

Shopping in Humen

Shopping in Humen

Dinner was perfect. No strike three!

Dinner in Humen

Almost everything was good!!!

They have flavoured Tsingtao beer, about eight different flavours. I tried the grape beer, which is quite nice! It tastes sort of like if you mix F&N Grape with beer. Haha.

Dinner in Humen

A cold cucumber dish. It was so good we ordered another plate near the end of dinner!

Dinner in Humen

Another crowd favourite, a fatty beef dish cooked with salt and pepper:

Dinner in Humen

Baby lobsters marinated with peppercorn oil:

Dinner in Humen

This was really hard to eat cos there’s so little meat. But tasty!

Dinner in Humen

The only thing I didn’t like that meal: Man tou with condensed milk. The bun is tough and the condensed milk tastes like White Rabbit Candy.

Dinner in Humen

Oops, I forgot what this dish is. Some chicken thing. Very good. And very spicy:

Dinner in Humen

(Most of the dishes were spicy.)

Corn with pine nuts:

Dinner in Humen

Mala fish:

Dinner in Humen

I was only okay with it until I discovered the huge bunches of giant tau gehs inside. I didn’t take a photo of the bunches cos I was busy eating them up, but here are a few strings… all that was left by the time I was done and remembered to take a photo. =P

Dinner in Humen

Hmm… I forgot to take a photo of the mutton satay (Chinese-style). I hope we’ll have a chance to go back to Humen again because I love the food!

We went to a foot spa after dinner. There were seven of us by then (two more friends joined us from China) and we got an eight-pax room.

This is the spa where the receptionists wear red Cinderella-style ball gowns. They didn’t allow me to take photos, though. Sad.

The Goonfather said it’s because the girls are ashamed of working in massage parlours and don’t want to be seen.

Foot spa

I LOVE THE FOOT SPAS IN CHINA.

While soaking your feet, they massage your body. Then they massage your feet. Then they massage the rest of your body. (It’s all dry massage with clothes on, except the feet.) Very, very nice! And you can just add hours on the spot so they’ll massage you for as long as you like.

It costs about $8 an hour.

The girls are really sweet and friendly, chatting and joking and giggling with each other and with us all night. It turned out to be a really fun social activity.

I was originally planning to blog while having my feet massaged. The Goonfather didn’t tell me they also massage the rest of your body, so I ended up not being able to blog at all, duh.

I even took a cab from our dinner place back to our hotel to get my netbook while the guys were finishing their beers, then cabbed to the spa to meet them.

DUH WASTE MY TIME.

By the time we returned to our hotel, it was, like, 2 or 3 am, and I only had a few hours of sleep left, so NO BLOGGING.

That’s the trouble with holidays. Never enough time!

Zhuhai, a scary place!

Gosh, it’s almost 2 am. I’m so sleepy but I must blog something!

Sheylara in Zhuhai

Am now in a very obiang (old-fashioned in a bad way) hotel in Zhuhai.

Zhuhai (“Pearl Sea”) is a province in China at the border of Macau. In fact, we walked over from Macau and will be staying here for a night before moving on to Humen for shopping.

We flew to Macau first because it’s cheaper or something like that. I’m not sure. The Goonfather planned the trip and the rest of us just follow.

Anyway, some photos of the obiang hotel! (It’s called Jin Ye – Golden Leaf Hotel.)

Hotel

Hotel

Hotel

Hotel

Our room costs RMB230, which is S$47. Pretty decent, lol.

Hotel

Hotel

The city is kinda scary. It’s dirty and old-fashioned and every time you walk past an eating place or pub, someone will walk up to you to persuade you to patronise them.

Some of them are very aggressive.

There are also beggars on the streets, mostly old people but we also saw two young kids, maybe five years old, a boy and a girl.

They followed us about 80 metres or so, persuading us in monotones to give them money.

Zhuhai

Sheylara in Zhuhai

Zhuhai

Zhuhai

Zhuhai

Zhuhai

It was kinda strange seeing people buy and sell vegetables at 8 pm. But they’re all over the place.

The food here is nice. But I’ll talk about the food when I’m back in Singapore. It’s now almost 3 am.

Lots more to talk about but I’d better sleep. I need to wake up in about four hours’ time!

Very tired!

And sad because I can’t get on Facebook and Twitter and Plurk and MSN. All the proxies didn’t work. =(

The shopping had better be worth it! There’s some nice stuff in the mall near our hotel but the stuff in the streets are really obiang.

But we won’t be shopping here much. Taking a cab to Humen (a factory city near Shenzhen) after breakfast.

NEED TO SLEEP NOW OMG.

Bye!