Wuzhen Travel Blog

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I barely slept last night due to the lack of AC and my sore throat. So I have my grumpy pants on today. Bear with me if my tone is a bit sour. Although, if you have been reading this from the beginning, you probably noticed a change in my tone a few days ago.

We headed to the Kun Opera Museum this morning.

The temp is about 36 degrees Celsius today and still hot as the Amazon Rain Forest. The Opera Museum was pretty boring to start with as we wandered around looking at the models of various opera houses from 500 years ago. Then it got a little better because one opera performer put on a little show for us. He was all decked out in his traditional make-up and dress. He was kind of creepy in a drag queen sort of way and his voice was very high pitched when he sang. When he was done he called some kids up on stage and taught them some moves with the fan.

After lunch we had a 90 minute bus ride to the next town, Wuzhen (pronounced woo jen). This place is nicknamed the Venice of the Orient.

I thought I knew what humidity was until I got to this place. I was dead wrong.

We had to ride golf carts to get to the village area. Then we had to walk pretty far. Our group was separated into different buildings. Cheryl, Kitty and most of the kids went in one direction and Jill, myself and about 12 kids went in another. The streets were very Venice-like. Narrow alleyways that cars do not belong. Shops and homes on either side. The place we are staying is called a guest house and that's exactly what it is. You walk into someone's home and upstairs there are a few hotel-like rooms. The first thing you notice when you walk into the room is the mosquito nets. Jill and I immediately stripped down to our skivvies and cranked the AC. We had about an hour to spare before dinner but neither of us wanted to shower because we knew we would just be out in the sweat pool again.

It would have been a waste. Plus we didn't have any fresh clothes to change into. After a few choice words about the weather and a quick rest we were off to dinner. The other group met us outside our house and we walked to the restaurant. Our little VIP room had a small AC unit that we all crowded around. I even stooped so low as to kick kids out of the seat they chose so I could be closer to the fan. The food was actually pretty good. Chicken wings, fries, bread... It was a nice change from the usual rice and mystery meat we have been eating for every meal.

After dinner we had a nice, relaxing, sweaty boat ride down the river. It was very pretty. All the shops and restaurants were lit up. Then we were given some free time to walk around the town. Jill, Cheryl and I made a B-line for a restaurant we saw with the glass doors closed.

This could only mean one thing... Air Conditioner! The host swept us back to a VIP booth in the back of the bar. He spoke very limited English but understood us when we said, "Cocktails". He showed us the drink list. It had lots of fancy names for drinks all having to do with Love on the Orient but it didn't say what was in any of them. We just blindly picked three with pretty sounding names. The first one that came out was sort of milky. It may have had Kailua in it. The next one that came out was in a sort-of tall champagne glass with a wicked long stem. This one tasted sort-of like a frozen mimosa. The last one was short and brown. It looked like straight whisky but tasted like Segrums 7 and 7-up. We just passed them around the table and enjoyed a few moments of relaxation without the kids. The bar started to fill up with world cup fans so we headed back to our rooms. We discovered that the TV in our room miraculously had HBO... IN ENGLISH! Great to fall asleep to.
Before drifting off Jill and I had to do bed checks. The three boy's rooms in our buildings were no problem. We also had to check another building that had a girl’s room and a boy’s room. We walked down the street in our shorts and tank-tops a big no no in China. Rarely do we see anyone with their shoulders exposed. We got to building 60 and stepped up through the wooden door. To our left was the usual plastic curtains that hang in front of every door to keep dirt out and AC in. Straight ahead was the stairs so we headed up to find the rooms. Nope. Not there. So we went back down. Did we miss something? We went back out to the street to check the house number. It was right so we stepped back through the door. Jill was staring at the dark, plastic curtains when a man popped out though them. Jill jumped a mile and we both started giggling. We assumed it was a shop or someone's home so we didn't want to go in but I really didn't know where else the rooms could be so I went in.
We ended up in what looked like someone's living room but on the wall we did find the two rooms we were looking for. I yelled to Jill that I found them. She came in. I started knocking on the door and then noticed something moving in the dark behind me. There were two people laying there in their skivvies on what looked like a board with a blanket on it. Crap! We are in someone's house! When the boys came to the door, we asked them if they knew that people were sleeping there. They said, "oh yeah, they live here." Like it was no big deal. Well they scared the crap out of me!

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photo by: lacarte