Typhoons & Boxing 

Today feels like a very British Sunday. For the second time this week Guangzhou has been in the path of a typhoon; first Hato and now Pakhar (though Hato was much worse, if you hadn’t seen it on the news go ahead and Google it). The sky has been a miserable grey colour ever since we woke up and the rain just won’t quit. Besides spending a few hours in an Irish pub this morning to watch the Mayweather VS McGregor fight (I was sedated with mimosas and actually ended up enjoying myself 🥂) we’ve had quite a chilled day – but that’s how Sunday’s should be spent, right? (@girlonthepearl ⬇️⬇️)

Toby & I seem to have a thing with massages lately so after scouting out another place right by our apartment (the other was by our office building and it was weird, they made me watch The Hunger Games) we wandered over last night and decided to give it a try. Toby went for a full body and I opted for my feet so we were both sent off to separate rooms – though he says the area they took him to was more like a gentleman’s club and there were naked men chilling out in hot tubs.. I’m glad we were separated. Once I’d made myself comfortable on the slightly musty sofa, a cute little Chinese lady came in with a bucket of water and told me to stick my feet in. BLOODY HELL. The water was as hot as the surface of the sun. I hastily removed them, exclaimed “hěn rè” (very hot) and she proceeded to turn down the AC. After pointing down a few times she took the hint and hurried off, returning with a bucket of cold water. 
Another language barrier issue came when she began massaging my shoulders (I know I said it was a foot massage but I think it’s standard for them to break your upper body first). Unfortunately I don’t yet know the Mandarin for “please stop, I think I’m going to black out from the pain you’re inflicting” so I awkwardly tried to wriggle free from her vice like grip while she laughed and pulled me right back down. Eventually, I think my whimpering made her realize she was squeezing me too hard and she eased up a little. It also seems common practice for them to switch on the TV, but maybe that’s normal in the UK too?! The actual foot massage was great, she was such a sweetheart and I felt like we bonded over the Chinese Saturday night slapstick show that was playing – she found it hilarious. I was just confused. 
I knew nothing about Chinese medicine and their beliefs about the body before I moved here (of course not, why would I) but I learnt something new during the massage. She kept asking me a question while pointing to my shoulders and when I kept repeating “bù dǒng” (don’t understand) she would grab a little piece of paper and write the question down using Chinese characters. Bù dǒng bù dǒng bù dǒng!!!! I sent a picture to my wonderful Chinese colleagues and they told me the literal translation was “clear the wet”. In Chinese culture they believe that in the summer, when it’s humid and there are frequent storms, the body can’t truly be healthy because it’s too wet. They wanted to clear the wet from my body.. I politely declined. 
I know I poke some fun at China in my posts but I promise I’m not trying to be rude or disrespectful, it’s just such a different place and I have to share the randomness of it all with you! If I didn’t laugh in some of these situations I think I would go crazy. We’re currently looking into doing some exploring during a week off at the beginning of October and researching places to go is making me fall so in love with this insanely huge country. I bet when you think ‘China’ you don’t picture places like this…

Or this…..

Or maybe this?

We had our hearts set on the town from the photo above but after some research it turns out that was the area affected by an earthquake (in Sichuan province) just a few weeks ago and many buildings were damaged/destroyed. Unfortunately, there were also some fatalities. Most hotels appear to be shut but regardless I don’t think it would be right to visit after such a disaster. 
The search continues.. I’ll be sure to let you know where we decide to visit.
I hope you all have a lovely week when your Sunday is finally over XO

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