ILP requires that we receive two days off a month, except for one week-long vacation that we are getting in October. We are saving our money for Bejing, so we didn't go anywhere for the vacation (which was September 12-15). On Saturday, my flat (Megan, Kristi, Mistey, and I) went on a day trip to Shenzhen, which is a pretty big city two hours away. So we hopped on a bus and met up with Tom and Michelle, Mistey's family's friends. Michelle is Chinese, so she helped us bargain. More on that later. Tom and Michelle took us to a fancy restaraunt (that is like a hotel on the inside). We had to take a lift to our floor, then we walked down a hallway that looked like a hotel hallway. We had our own private room complete with a sofa, coffee table, eating table, and bathroom. In fact, Tom and Michelle paid for our lunch. It was very delicious. After we ate, we went to a clothes place where you go into a tarp thing into a building and there are about a hundred little shops where you can buy knock-off designer jeans and the like. I had no need for designer jeans, seeing as I don't really care about them and stuff, not to mention I've lost weight here, sweating like a freak, so I turned my attention to the one task that wo de mama gave me: buy a belt. I am sorry to say, that I didn't take Michelle with me across the way to the belt place, so I overpaid for my belt. I feel horrible about it, but I did get another awesome deal that almost makes up for it. Some of you may know that I wanted a Chinese dress. I can't remember what they are called. But one of the little shops was selling them. I found one that was pretty in pink, so I tried it on. It fit me perfectly and the lightness of the pink goes well with my skin. So, Michelle helped me bargain. The dress was 169 yuan and she asked how much I was willing to pay for it. I told her to try to get it for 90. So then the bargaining began. The sales lady tried to sell it to me for 135, then 120, saying that she's never shown that price and that she would never show it again to me if I didn't accept it. However, while I was thinking I was willing to pay it, I noticed some threads had come loose around the seam, so I pointed it out to Michelle. The dress lady was most displeased when she had to trim it off and give it to me for 100. I can't wait to wear it! We did some more walking around(which could have been better, if it wasn't for Tom smoking all the time. When you walk behind someone who smokes, you get a lot of second-hand), and when we decided that we needed to get going, we went back to the metro station to see the DVD store. Because Tom is such an avid customer, we got great deals on the CDs and DVDs we purchased. I bought an Elton John CD pack with 2 CDs and all five seasons of The Office for 138 yuan. So, that is roughly $20 American. What a deal! On the bus ride back to Zhongshan, I sat with Kristi and we bonded over music. She told me that I had to see a Coldplay concert and that they were expensive, but it's worth the money. So whenever the next Coldplay concert is, I'll be looking for someone to go with. In Zhongshan, we were dropped off at our least favorite place on the planet: the bus depot. We don't have any pleasant memories there from when we came back from Yong Shuo. I was starving and hadn't gone to Micki D's like I so desperately wanted to. Luckily, there is one across the street from the depot. We ate there, then we took a taxi home, seeing as good ol' bus 66 wasn't running at 9:30 post meridian.
The rest of our adventures are covered in the next blog post September Vacation: Part the Second.