- Master of Time
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- Location: Peace River, Alberta
The trip to Xian with Sky, Miomio and Sky's parents was a great success. Our two "bucket list" goals--walking the walls at Xian and seeing the Terracotta Warriors--had been met. So my last last post ended as we began our return to Xinmi, which is about a five and a half hour drive from Xian by the Lianhuo Expressway aka G30. This post follows from then, so still April 16th but later afternoon and into the evening.
The drive to Xinmi was pleasant, but kinda long and uneventful, but here's a quick video of the windpower we saw on the way, and a couple of photos showing the terrain and a very nice roadside convenience store area.
By the time we got to Sky's home city of Xinmi, it was well after dark.
Sky, Miomio and I dropped Sky's folks off at their home and the remaining three of us headed to where I'd booked to stay: the Qing Ping Hotel. I'd stayed there the last time I visited Xinmi. It's relatively inexpensive, about $50 a night, and although not fancy, certainly a decent, clean honest place to stay. I'd arranged the stay through Ctrip. The plan was: get me booked in, and then the three of us could head out for quiet meal and some...it turns out that Miomio is a huge fan of Er Guo Tou, the high-octane (56%) sorghum based spirit that I'd also developed a taste for, during my past visits. So some of that
The issue was, though: when we got to the Qing Ping, the management would not let me stay. When Sky and I approached the Front Desk, we were met by a supervisor who explained that the hotel was now only for Chinese citizens, and that foreigners could not be accepted as guests. My reservation would be denied. Bad luck.
Great. I still needed a place, so I phoned CTrip to let them know of my problem, and asked if they had a solution.
Well, CTrip exceeded all my expectations. They took my phone number and said they'd make some inquiries and call me right back. About 5 minutes later, they called back and informed me that yup, the Qing Ping was now only for domestic customers, and Ctrip told me the only available other Xinmi hotel at that time was called The Cheered but that, unfortunately, the rate was double what I'd expected: $100 CDN a night.
I wasn't thrilled with the increase--but it takes more than that to spoil my day, so I said sure, I needed a place to stay so the Cheered would have to do. CTrip then informed me that, as they had accepted my initial booking and because none of this mixup was my doing, they would provide me a credit on my CTrip account that would make my stay at the Cheered the same price as the Qing Ping.
Sky was listening as this all took place. When all was said and done and CTrip's rep and I had said goodnight and goodbye, Sky smiled broadly and told me that The Cheered Hotel was--unlike the Qing Ping--easily and deservedly the finest hotel in the city, and that my bad luck was really quite good luck.
When we got to the hotel, instead of being turned away, I was warmly welcomed by the impeccably trained and very friendly Cheered staff. And Sky wasn't kidding about the Cheered being a fine hotel...
More photos of the hotel in a bit, but first...
After booking in and tossing my suitcases and such in my room, Sky, Miomio and I headed out to a very nearby eatery for some tasty late night face-stuffing...and Er Guo Tou
It'd been a very busy two days, so we were all happy to just settle back for a few drinks, some good food, and some friendly chatter about everything we'd just seen.
By 10:30PM, the youngsters (Sky & Miomio) were tuckered out, so Sky and I made plans to meet up early the next morning, they went home and I went back to the hotel. As usual, though, I wasn't tired, so I took some time shooting the astonishing Cheered entrance and hotel lobby...
...and then wandered around and shot the Hotel courtyard area, which was still lovely even though it was mainly closed for the night, with the fountains turned off and very little of the usual scenic lighting left on. Pretty much surrounded by the hotel's buildings, the courtyard was calm and quiet, with just the sounds of the running water and small waterfalls.
The camera mic makes the background sound a lot louder than it actually did...
There's an outdoor restaurant attached to the hotel, too...
Now, I was tired. It was about midnight and I was ready to sleep, looking forward to tomorrow in Xinmi.
I noted at the end of last episode that my next post would (after the "hotel mix-up" adventure) include "time spent in Xinmi's 1500 hundred year old historic 'old town' area, visits to two temples, a return to Qingpingshan Park, and spectacular eats at the 'under the tent' downtown" food area.
But just this hotel adventure is 42 photos and 4 videos, so we'll leave the rest of that list till next post...because that's a lot of photos and videos, too
"That stone buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets. I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind." Ikkyu