Currency rates for the rmb currently stand at 6.2 to 1. So 100 rmb is roughly 16usd
What can you do in WenJiang for 100rmb, apart from eat?
I present two options, if you had to choose:
1: You can go see a movie. I finally found out how to get into the movie theater! This is actually a minor achievement, as there were no obvious stairs leading up to the third floor. In fact, I did not even know there was a third floor until Bill told me when he saw the building. There is a single elevator attached to the back of the building which leads up.
This particular theater was very nice, and quite empty. No one sees Sunday matinees apparently. I had the pick of seats for the 3:30pm showing of “Captain America: Winter Soldier.” This was new – the ticket agent gestured for me to pick which seat I wanted, and I did so. I don’t know enough Chinese to ask if my ticket price reflected on seat cost. I also didn’t know how to ask which shows were not in 3D. These are not questions in guide books. I think future language guides should include “Which shows are not in 3D?”
Ticket price? 90rmb – for the 3D show. I noticed on the touchscreen that there were tickets going for half that price – perhaps because I had picked the front section of seats? When I go back, I will pick a seat in the back and see if that costs 45.
Now, due to a temporary brain glitch on military time, I confused 1:30 pm (13h30) with 3:30pm (15h30). I had two hours to kill before the movie started.
This leads to…
2: You can get a full body massage. I had promised my feet some loving after climbing Qingcheng Mountain, and yesterday had been mentally atrocious. Across the street from the movie theater, I saw a Chinese foot massage sign. Again, no immediate way to access the third floor on that building either – I bet I gave all the patrons of Good Mood Coffee a laugh as I walked around their store a few times. Finally, I matched the icon on the sign with an icon on the bottom floor of an interior staircase.
I found a spa. The receptionist spoke enough English to say that a 90 minute foot massage would cost 99rmb. I said that was great – 90 minutes and enough time to make it back to the theater! This she didn’t understand, so I backtracked and said that I would please like a foot massage, thank you.
In the states, a basic pedicure isn’t terribly expensive, but a day spa trip could run pricey, depending on the quality/ego of the spa. This place might have lacked some of the ambiance of a Western spa, but for the price the service was admirable. I was given tea and almonds, and they put on a tv for me, even though I don’t speak Chinese. It was quiet and the décor was traditional. I didn’t have to disrobe – just took off my shoes and socks.
My masseuse was a man – must have been in his mid-twenties. My first thought – thank God I shaved my legs. I had assumed that my masseuse would be a woman, since I had only seen women thus far. Nothing to bring all my self-consciousness to the forefront like a guy working on my calves. And once we both realized we were not going to be understanding each other, things went smoothly through the use of mime. I think that disappointed him, since we were both trying to communicate and it was just going nowhere. The “chaise” (since it wasn’t a bed or a chair) had the tub for my feet concealed under these nifty folding slats, which makes sense if you’re economizing space.
Compared to western massage, I’d have to say the Chinese technique is a little more…precise. My masseuse worked down my vertebrae individually, fanning out from there. And there was a lot more work with pressure points. Not sure which I prefer ultimately. And no my masseuse did not get hands-y – any more than you’d want from a masseuse, anyway. He was very professional. I tried to leave him a tip at the desk, but they would not take it.
I can’t imagine getting a full body massage in the States for twenty bucks – at least, not from a spa.
So, feeling relaxed and expanded like an accordion, I went back to the theater.
Popcorn and soda? 20rmb.
The popcorn is not like our popcorn – it’s like cold kettle corn. No Raisinettes, unfortunately. Also, no napkins – you buy/ bring your own.
I get my 3D glasses and go to this large theater. It’s really nice. Six people show up, tops. Maybe Captain America doesn’t translate here. They show trailers for movies, along with commercials, in the fifteen minutes leading up to the movie and then, at 15h30, the movie starts. So if you’re running late to the movies in China, you don’t have the cushion of trailers. Phones are allowed – I know because they were ringing at several points in the movie.
Guess what works really well in 3D? Yep, the subtitles! They just jumped off that screen. I’m just so happy to be listening to English and watching a movie like back home that I don’t mind the extra dimension. I recommend seeing “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” if you get the chance. I’m a big fan of Captain America, and this film was both entertaining and thoughtful.
I’m surprised that they cut the credits short – I was happily listening to the soundtrack and enjoying feeling relaxed and undisturbed, when the just cut them shortly after the “extra scene.” Maybe that was just for me, the only one in the theater – my cue to exit.
What a completely better day than yesterday – a reversal of fortune (Knock.on.wood)
And so, channeling Captain Rogers, I climbed onto my electric scooter (sans helmet – didn’t want to cart that thing around) and rode off into the streets of WenJiang. The weather is warming up, there’s a breeze. And the sun is putting up a good fight against the haze.