Chinese bath & sauna

31 08 2011

[I wrote most of this post yesterday night but then after an auto-save (!) the post was blank! All lost.. restarted now..]

Jinjingyuan Leisure ClubYesterday night I went to take a bath and sauna in the place not too far from home, close to 明珠广场, called Jinjingyuan Leisure Club (金经源, Jīnjīngyuán). The location is perfect: the company bus end stop is basically the same place! It is well served with buses to my home, until about 9-10pm and after that the taxi rides is basically the base charge, 8RMB.

For the base price of 49RMB one gets showers, hot water bath, cold water smaller one, sauna, a Japanese style washing area (in the male “water” area.. the female one is a bit more essential, with showers and sauna only); in the common area there is a not bad buffet (4 servings of 1 hour, in the morning and night, and 2 hours for lunch and dinner) with even entertainment during dinner (3 girls dancing, some singers changing from time to time, some other comedians or different shows); for relaxing 2 areas: one with sort of beds, with pillow and blanket, a very quiet zone where I also spent the night once, and one with comfortable 1 seat reclining couch with a TV with headphones for each couch (all Chinese channels, of course, but CCTV5 for sport is always good!).

All of this at 49RMB (validity of 15 hours at the same price), but this month is actually discounted to 39RMB and no extra fees if you spend the night there (usually is 15RMB more for the night on a bed couch and breakfast buffet).

Not bad uhm?

The prices and offer of massages are also not bad: 潘蕾and I took a full body massage, and then the total price, with all the same stuff included, is based only on the massage price. For more basic massage, like foot massage, the cost adds to the bath, but it is still affordable (to be tried when my ankle feels better!).

The main reason I go there now is anyway the sauna. I was really missing that from Norway and the one in this bath is actually not bad. Not as good as Trondheim saunas, but acceptable! 😉 The sauna is anyway quite big, nice wood walls and good oven with the proper stones and a water faucet that I use often for adding water.. hot damp..

Unfortunately yesterday night I had company in the sauna (when usually I am completely alone): 2 typical Chinese business man decide to join the laowai.

[Note for the not residents: places like this bath are common alternatives to hotels for business men traveling often. For a good price you get a place to sleep, to clean yourself, to get a massage if you want, and is some other places, more dodgy than this one, to get girls as well.. This bath is used by several families with children, but I am not surprised if some of the rooms at the third floor, usually used for more private massage, sometimes become even more.. private ones! 😉 This is China!]

Anyway, of the 2 men, the skinny one managed to stay inside for about 20 seconds, then ran out to fresh air.. the fat one complimented me for the hair on my chest (! body language.. easy to understand! unless he liked my boobs!) and then.. peed on one wall, luckily not on the oven or the seats..

Not necessary to say that my sauna time was over!

Another good example of what foreigners (only???) consider “slightly” impolite, and at the same time how Chinese people often do not really give a ***k about others around them.. as when they drive!

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY One of the Chinese worker has been impressed by me combing my hairs and after I was done, cleaning the comb from my fallen hairs using a piece of paper and throwing then all away in the garbage. So impressed he called over another colleague and, again ,with body language he made me understand that the laowai was actually very good! Chinese people attending this kind of bath are, often, a bit more rough and less.. “refined” or interested about the society good living.. as the sauna example above showed..


31 08 2011

Just got an email of flickr from an extremely interesting martial art contact, signed Meru Fumoto, specialized in bojutsu, but with an extensive knowledge of different arts and life!

Such a pleasure reading his words, especially in these days when I’m fighting with my joints to get them back in shape for Aikido practice:

Hi Andy
I thought I was a busy person. You leave me for dead man! You are not only obsessed with travel, food, Iaido, Aikido ….you are obsessed with life. Bloody fantastic. I’m 68, my oldest Bojutsu student is 73 and we are all obsessed and out to prove that we can still give life a fucking good kick in the guts.

Wednesday Bojutsu

Mel sensei (on the right)

I am indeed obsessed.. mainly with frustration now for not being able to practice, except in my mind.. but I know that I will be soon back on the mats and hopefully able to manage several sessions without troubles!

Good luck to me and to all martial art obsessed lovers.. my dear aiki-freaks friends included!!

Traditional Chinese Medicine

30 08 2011

TCM in HefeiAfter several days of “Western” medicine prescribed by the doctor that gave me the  diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, I went again with 潘蕾 to the Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM), 中医 (zhōng yī), hospital in Hefei.

This is, like post offices, banks, etc., one of those places where you need a Chinese speaker in order to interact with the doctors there. And even with a reasonable good translator like her, many of the concepts and things these doctors talk about are not easy at all to translate into English.

It was a long time I wanted to visit again such a hospital. I went once in Beijing but there I did only acupuncture and cupping. This time I was more curious about the medicine part. In the center of Hefei, extremely close to the last stop of bus 901, there is a TCM hospital. If you don’t know it is there, you would walk pass it, without notice anything special.

But once you step in, I think it’s the incredible mix of different smells that capture you at once. Hospitals always smell of disinfectant. And disease. And old people. Generally an awful mix! The traditional hospital smell is a mix of herbs, spices, and other typical scents one can find usually in a grocery shop! Read the rest of this entry »

Healthy lunch

29 08 2011

Time to start losing some weight, to relive my poor knees and joints from the stress of carrying me around..
healthy lunch

Skipped the common lunch box at work, and this week I will focus more on fruit/vegetables.. hoping in better regularity also for my stomach, for improving the weight elimination process 😛

Too long time without practice, and now it’s September and I got plans, serious one, to put my @$$ back on the mats. I need Aikido and at the end of October the will also be Endo sensei in Shanghai..

Also I want to meet my friends in Hangzhou, Wuhan and ShangHai (2 dojos!) especially: I know, I know, I would have a great time with them even without practice, but I would suffer too much just sitting and watching their sessions..

Some healthier, lighter and easier to digest food, less sugar and some home practice, maybe sauna.. I have to get back some condition before 2 important months..

Curiosity and privacy

26 08 2011

These post belongs to the new category, called Chinese myths, where I will comment on some stuff that for us, Western people, are a typical expected trademark for Asians. Now, this is only from my own limited personal experience!!! Very possible I will change my mind with after more time here, and I will of course appreciate comments from real Chinese or laowais that have lived in China longer than me!!

Knowing that China is one of the last existing communist states, it is common to extend the thought of lack of private property to the lack of privacy. OK, nowadays it is a little too obsolete saying that there is not private property in China: the process of privatization started in late 70s and it’s continuing on its road, made of experience and mistakes, as any development requires!

On the other hand, personal privacy in general is a concept a little unknown for Chinese people even if you would read several do’s/dont’s in your Chinese grammar about how to respect privacy in general. Given the amount of people that in this industrialization and development phase push toward the cities leaving behind the huge open spaces of the countryside, the personal space decreased drastically! Historically Chinese have always been collective society looking for group affiliation. Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese autumn!

25 08 2011

Yesterday the sun step out from the clouds and the sky took again some blue color, ok, more white-blue, pushing the black clouds a bit more on the side.

Here the summer, that never really started this year, has already left space to autumn. Last year I got to the end of July without using at home AC, but I remember some colossal sweating nights when the fan was far from enough to give relief. And at the beginning of August it became impossible to avoid using AC at home as well.

This year, since a couple of days ago, I stopped using the electric fan in the nights and started again using a blanket for sleeping!! OK, it’s not Norwegian winter temperatures, but during the night it goes down to 20 degrees C or less, and during the day not higher than 26-27 degrees C. Very different from 40 degrees C in several Italian cities or the stable 35++ C in most of Chinese ones usually during this period!

This year, a bit all over China, from north to south, east to west, rain, clouds and under the average temperatures are characterizing this period.

So the past days we had several thunder storms (always an enjoyable show) and heavy rains, the kind that sudden explode from the sky with drops as big as a fist.. and even running 50 meters to get inside, one ends up soaking wet!!

typical stormy night

wonderful lightning

caught in the storm

caught in the storm

But yesterday the sun found its way again through the clouds.. even if today it went back to hide behind them..

and the sun was back..

the sun looks at your from window

and the sun was back..

reflex in the windows

Watching Udinese – Arsenal..

25 08 2011

..thanks to Sopcast and CCTV5 🙂

Go Udinese!!!!

Forget all the “big names”.. there are still teams with a heart!

But is the heart enough against Arsenal history?

Hope so (18 minutes first half, still 0-0, Arsenal qualified)

32′: di Natale, what a player!! And the goalkeeper made a double block that saved the results (Arsenal did not deserved and the referee is a moron!!! English lover moron!)

34′: di Natale asked for change.. bad sign for Udinese.. the best forward with such a wonderful heart..

38’… GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!! ANTONIO DI NATALE!!!!! of course!!! Aggregate 1-1 and this Arsenal is so tiny, so weak, playing for keeping the ball.. Go Udinese!!

End first half.. 45′ (at least) to go for 1 goal (for the good ones I mean.. Udine! Udine! Udine! I know, I know, I see black and white and I dream about a future for my team.. that fell so down..)

50′: the referee has decided (or made it more clear from a bad g]first half).. the moron really likes London.. but Arsenal until now did not took the advantage of such a bad biased referee!

54′: f**k.. Arsenal scored.. very nice movements of attackers and of course Van Persie scored a not so easy goal (several legs, even if he was close and a bit too alone).. Arsenal is more focused this second half..

57′: penalty for Udinese.. all quite surprised.. referee confused?

58′: Di Natale mistake….. or better, great block from Arsenal keeper!!’s probably over for Udinese.. a pity.. but they tried.. the penalty was actually not bad shoot.. but Arsenal keeper made a great block!

68′: Arsenal 2.. deserved now.. good night everybody.. it’s 4:10am and tomorrow.. today.. a working day.. no chances anymore..

Thanks for trying and congrats to Arsenal!!!