Friday, January 30, 2009

An Unsettling Rub

We did find a place to get our feet rubbed -- legitimately -- at the Millennium Hotel.

I didn't know this, but the Millennium is an international hotel chain with locations in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and four cities in China -- Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, and Xiamen.

We had passed it many times on the bus and so we decided to check it out.

Right at the back of the lobby was a sign for "reflexology" and we walked in.

They do all kinds of variations on foot massages, from the standard ones for 98RMB ($14.33) for 90 minutes to a full on foot and body massage for 580RMB ($84.80).

We chose the former option and were seated in comfy chairs in a small room with a flat screen TV that we later realized had CNN and got our news fill in English.

After soaking our feet, two young women in Adidas uniforms massaged our sore feet from walking everyday.

They quizzed us about North America, especially how much it cost to fly to the States. When my friend told them, they were shocked at the price.

They tried to guess my friend's age and they weren't far off -- one of the women was 19, the other 24-years-old.

When the younger one heard my friend used to be a journalist she said she wanted to be one too. We pressed her to explain why but she didn't have much of an answer except that it seemed to be a cool job.

The older one chastised her saying it was a tough job with long hours.

We changed the subject and talked about our trip to Xiamen.

They asked us where we went and when we said Gulang Yu, they moaned and said it was a boring place.

"The buildings there are so old," they remarked. We tried to explain that that was interesting, but not having traveled much, they didn't think it was so fascinating. Or was it because those colonial houses reminded them of foreign powers encroaching on China as they had learned in their history textbooks?

They asked if we had gone to Nanputuo Temple and we said we did. But they didn't find that or Xiamen University interesting.

Then I asked them if they could recommend any seafood restaurants to us. The younger one didn't even know fish is considered seafood.

It seems they really didn't like their hometown and there wasn't much more to say.

In the end we just concentrated on watching CNN for the rest of the massage, refreshed, but perturbed by our masseurs' indifference to Xiamen, as if they were contemptuous of civic pride.


ks said...

pity those little young girls. hope you have given them a bigger tip.

Anonymous said...

I guess young people lack interest in historical sites because what's cool are the new and flashy stuff. I doubt these girls associate the buildings with any contempuous feelings about the ex-colonialists. They probably don't know much about that history anyway. It's the same here in HK. People don't see value or beauty in the old buildings. The worst is the government!

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?