I went exploring this weekend, some of it was on my own and some with a couple of friends. On Saturday, I visited the mall with a couple of friends and we went our separate ways to do some shopping. I noticed that as I went into some of the higher end stores, the employees seemed to follow close behind and bother with their sales pitch. I felt a pat on my back and turned around to see a store worker holding a nice blouse in her hand. She was motioning me to admire it and potentially purchase the item. I felt uncomfortable as I did not want to buy it and felt the heat of her presence while I was trying to view other items. I decided it was best to avoid the small boutiques and head right into the other larger stores, where the employees did not seem to care whether you bought something or not. Near the center of the mall I saw a large runway surrounded by curtains, music, and stuffed animals. It was a fashion show with models dressed in traditional looking Chinese dresses. Their makeup and hair looked lovely although the models backstage seemed to be taking naps when they could. The show went on all day with small breaks in-between. After our day of shopping we found a pizza hut and I was definitely pleased to be eating pizza again.
On Sunday, I walked through the Xixi wetlands once again with my pal Caleb. During our walk we noticed a young man in straw hat riding a dirty, old bike. As the young man grew closer, we noticed it was our UIS companion Lee! He had found an abandoned bike somewhere on the path and took it for a spin. It was pretty hilarious to randomly run into him. The three of us made our way to the area of shopping centers within the Xixi wetland park. We eventually separated to venture out on our own path and sight see. I met up with Caleb, inside of the mall and we made our way over to the visitor center where we stumbled upon an adorable stray cat. The cat nearly bit my dress but was rather affectionate and vocal. We eventually said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel. Later that night, I went off by myself to a spa about 20 minutes away that my friend recommended. I have never in my life been to a spa so I figured, why not try one out in China? The smell of incense hit my nose as I entered the building. I was greeted by smiling faces and taken into a small room. There, I was presented with tea and watermelon and was instructed to shower before calling for my masseuse. The massage was 90 minutes long and I felt the most relaxed I’ve ever felt. I’m pretty sure I dozed off a couple times. I’m happy to say that my first spa experience was in China!