Outdoors, looking upwards through enormous (1-2m wide) “Monster plant” fronds


Published 2007-01-11

Last night (Michelle’s final night in China) we went to Riyuegu hot springs, a shwanky resort in Xiamen’s outer suburbs. They have a bazillion little hot tubs, most of which are infused with some kind of botanical: tea, ginger, coconut, etc. ALso beer hot tubs, wine hot tubs, coffee hot tubs. This is not as fantastic as it sounds. Like all red-blooded American men, I have long fantasized about a hot tub full of beer, but the actual beer-to-hot water ratio was pretty low.

They did, however, have a spring full of teeny tiny fish. Some kind of cichlid, perhaps. You lower yourself into the pool and fish (slowly) swarm you and suck at your skin with their teeny tiny sucker mouths. No, they don’t have teeth. It was incredibly tickly. The theory is they’re eating dead skin but I think it was more likely they were just eating dirt. They loved my feet.

Jenny got a massage that left her in physical pain. I don’t like massages to begin with (and thus declined to get one), but this was the third such experience I’ve heard of in China. Here’s Paul’s travel advice for China:

  1. Don’t get a massage. There’s a reason it’s cheap.

Afterward we ate a late supper at the House, a shishi Western restaurant. We were seated in a small room next to a table with a couple of guys speaking German. I realized that I can understand spoken Mandarin better than spoken German. I studied German for six years and majored in it in college. I can still read good German. But there’s nothing like living in a language for learning to speak it.