Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shanghai Diary Day 14 Trains, Haircut and Massage

Let's head on over to China today and continue with Day 14 of our trip!

Back at the train station in Shanghai, we decided to take some pictures of our snazzy looking bullet train. Parked by the deserted platform, the futuristic locomotive awaits its next destination. To the right a bright LED display said Nanjing in Chinese characters, one of this train's many stops.
Pictured below the long line of cars where passengers have just 3 minutes to board at each stop. Like many others we were able to find our seats quickly, but some ended up standing for the ride. Traveling at over 245 km per hour, the trip was a smooth one.
Inside the empty car, a cleaning lady was busy tidying up the seats, we were impressed with its spotless condition.
Below on the right, an orange and white sleeper train. Seconds before the curtains were drawn, we witnessed the crew changing the sheets on the beds, they saw us and immediately smiled and waved.
We returned to the hotel at 9 PM and noticed some of the salons around the hotel were still open. David wanted a haircut so I negotiated 20 RMB ($3 Canadian) for a wash and cut. This included a head massage which he later described as very relaxing. While I waited the owner chatted away, when I heard he was from Suzhou I spoke of the lovely visit we had earlier that day, he smiled proudly. He came to Shanghai to learn the trade and started his own business a few years ago. A tiny shop cramped with funky 70's style orange chairs, it offered men's haircut on the lower floor while upstairs catered to ladies hair, facial and manicure.

By the time David was finished it was 10:30 PM, so we asked for advice on where to get a good foot massage. The kind owner sent one of his hairdressers to take us a few blocks to the store pictured below.
The ladies promptly prepared a herbal soak for our feet. As they worked on us we visited and found out they were from small towns, all came to Shanghai to earn money to support their families back home. They spoke of their village, the crops they grew, the ducks and pigs they reared. One of them lived by the Yangtze River and was glad to hear how wonderful the cruise was.

Most of the girls were mothers but some were as young as 14 years old. They started at 10 AM, worked 36 hours then rest for 12 hours, the place is open 24 hours. They are trained on the job and learned the ropes from senior staff. They speak very little or no English so I helped translate other customer's requests, much to their delight! Most clients were regular, some come daily, others every couple of days.

Each foot massage cost 20 RMB, a body massage cost 30 RMB. At 50 RMB ($7 Canadian) we were there until 1 AM! The ladies were very good with their craft, gone were the aching feet and sore muscles, we were thoroughly relaxed. Pictured below the group of hard working staff at the massage parlor.
Back at the hotel, we did not finish packing until 3 AM and had only less than 2 hours of sleep. Below the view out of our hotel room in the early morning, past the residential buildings in the distance were the businesses located on Nanjing Road.
Pictured below a closer look at the high-rise on Nanjing Road. Shanghai was a mishmash of interesting events, David's hospital stay was unfortunate but the awesome finds at the museum and the beautiful garden and friendly people in Suzhou made our stay so much better. Not to mention the fascinating visitors at the train station and the lovely neighborhood around the hotel. We thanked the staff at New Harbor Service Apartments (see reviews here) for their dedicated service and left for the airport.

Join us next week as our China journey continues in a different city!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again, Novi. It was another enjoyable account of your experience. I am definitely gonna go visit China next year. You write well. Ben