How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Rocky Mountaineer: Winding Up and Winding Down

The room stuffy, we soon learned it had no air-conditioning. An overhead fan would have to do. But would it?

Mary decided to check out the pool before dinner. It was already close to 7:00 pm and I was adamant about not eating after 8:00. She planned to shower at the poor after a quick dip and promised to return by the time I got out of the shower.

Just my luck, nothing is simple when I expect it will be. I turned the shower lever but it wouldn’t budge. This way and that, I tugged. No luck. I was afraid to break something and walked away to have a think, then tried again. Nothing. The clock was ticking and I had to be ready when Mary returned. Swallowing my pride, I called the Front Desk for help.

It was pleasant, yet unnerving, to have someone call me by my surname, someone I hadn’t met or been introduced to. The young man on the line had a wonderful smile in his voice. I pictured brilliant, white teeth behind the smile. He promised to send someone up momentarily. Really? The hotel had 550 rooms. I did not expect to receive service momentarily in such a large hotel, but 10 to 15 minutes later, a maintenance guy knocked on the door. It might have been longer, but I was still impressed. One flick of the wrist and water gushed, the pressure amazing.

Duh. Who doesn’t know how to turn on a shower? Confused, I gaped and sputtered.” How’d you do that?”

He didn’t treat me like the idiot I felt. “Sometimes the seals are tight.”

Really? Why is it I had no trouble turning the shower back on after he left? Why weren’t the seals tight then?

I checked the time. Forget washing my hair. I changed and plugged in the curling iron instead. Mary returned. Already 8:00 pm, I was past ready to eat.

We wandered down to the lobby to check out a good place to ear. Unlike the Sheraton in Vancouver, we could eat at any of the seven restaurants in the hotel, only one of which accepted reservations up to seven days ahead.

We studied a menu in a glass case on the wall in the lobby. An attentive young man inquired if he might be of assistance and led us to a restaurant with a 30-minute wait. He pointed to another one at which he worked and had just finished his shift, positive he’d get us in. He did. We could not thank him enough for going over and above, especially at the end of his workday. I wished him a wonderful life and received the sweetest smile ever.

The service staff consisted of young women, a couple from Ontario. Our waitress originated in London, Ontario where my sister lives. What a small world.

Yikes, the prices on the menu. Glad we were not paying out-of-pocket, though we actually paid for our meals when we booked the trip. I chose the salmon. Mary inquired in such detail about the lobster Mac and Cheese, the waitress brought it instead of the salmon she later decided on. Our flatbread arrived but I thought it puny for the price. A throat-soothing tall glass of icy beer followed. Yum.

The waitress apologized and insisted on getting the changed order for Mary. She swept the dish off the table. Her fault, she said. Mary’s meal arrived in much less time than our original order.

Next on October 12th – Rocky Mountaineer: Gobsmacking Spaces

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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Guilin: Elephant Trunk Park

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

I can’t recall when our bus changed from a 12-passenger to a full sized for our tiny group of eight. (Yangshuo or Guilin?) Honest. A full-sized bus! Made us feel special I suppose. After lunch, we headed to Elephant Trunk Park. It was a good day for a slow walk around but soon became boring as we stayed longer than we needed. This time, Chinese girls took a particular liking to Ernesto and begged to be photographed with him. By now we knew they like to have pictures taken with the foreigners.

Quick Facts:                           

  • Guilin is not a big city: population only about 1 Million
  • Guilin has 2 rivers and 4 lakes
  • International football academy is here
  • Known for strawberries and Calamondin (I think). They look like tiny oranges)
  • Lots of foreigners have come to Guilin since 1980
  • Plenty of open spaces / large parks (pay fee) and small ones (free)
  • Many nurseries along the highway/lots of peach trees
  • 90% who come, like it
  • The River Li divides the city into east and west
  • Taxi costs 10 Yuan anywhere (about $1.66 USD)
  • Garbage is collected every single day
  • Biggest pollution from cars and factories, not from garbage
  • Recycling done carefully
  • Some garbage incinerated
  • Government provides rat poison if required
  • Rats not a problem in the city
  • In the countryside, rats are still eaten
  • Welfare for people who cannot work, but a tiny amount
  • Chinese Welfare Lottery is illegal but people buy tickets
  • Selling lottery tickets only allowed if portion goes to social/charity endeavors
  • Ticket sellers probably give just enough to stay under the radar
  • Income taxes: 5% for regular people / 10% for the rich
  • No land taxes because you don’t own the land, but must pay to renew 70-year lease
  • Farmers trust their wells because it’s free
  • Wells do not get tested at all
  • Water supplied by government/cost per amount used like in Canada

After the park, we finally unloaded our luggage and checked out the new hotel. My apologies for the fuzzy pictures. The girl is from a particular ethnic minority, but I’m not sure which one. Our guide was no help.

More Quick Facts

  • Banyan Trees
  • Streets edged by Camphor trees (smell nice and keep bugs away)
  • Cannot make money in this city
  • Government pays to keep out pollution and manufacturing
© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (hotel courtyard)

Dinner:

  • Ying and Yang soup (egg white and green tea for design)
  • Dumplings
  • Panko dipped spring rolls
  • Soy and chili sauces for dipping
  • Carp with celery, water chestnuts, and cucumber
  • Celery, water chestnuts, and pearl onions
  • 3 large (pork balls surrounded by sliced cucumber (center uncooked)
  • battered and spiraled eggplant
  • Batter-dipped chestnuts, deep-fried
  • White rice
  • Orange wedges in skins
© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (The soup)

Our dinner restaurant had many rooms for patrons. The waitress wore something like Bluetooth technology and carried on a conversation with someone as she delivered food. The farther south we went, the angrier the conversations sounded.

Someone cut a piece from one (of three) of the huge pork balls for a taste. The next person cut through the center, revealing raw pork. We all looked at each other. What to do? Finally, the waitress came back serving a nearby table. We waved her over and explained about the raw meat. She continued her funning conversation in the sphere and stopped long enough to inform us it was not raw. She picked up a fork and mashed the pork ball till it flattened. “Is okay.  Is okay. Is okay.” Her voice escalated until it sounded like yelling (maybe scolding). Smacking down the fork, she left in a huff. Needless to say, no-one touched the pork.

No doubt about it, the pace has slowed from the initial fast pace 19 days before.

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Next on November 3rd. Flight to Guangzhou

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

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I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for reading. I DO appreciate your kind and continued support more than I can express. Please bear with me.



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Whales, Fishing and Fish Oil, Oh My

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We enjoyed a mug up, or tea break along the way (See Newlandland sayings). There were choices of muffins, tea, or coffee. This is snack time after all. It took a while for service. About half-way through our drinks, it was already time to leave. Mary asked if we might switch to a Styrofoam cup to go. “Of course,” the waitress said.

“I don’t suppose I can get a warm up?” Doesn’t hurt to ask.

“Help yourself when you pick up your cup.” She pointed to the coffee service beside the cash register. The mug up had been free as was the warm up and cup.

Next stop, we visited the Red Bay National Historic Site Visitor Centre and the Interpretation Center to view the collection of artifacts.

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I cannot get my head around it. how had whalers managed to chase, catch, and harpoon a 60,000 whale and not drown in a boat the size of the chalupa (also see below).

IMG_1646

  • Red Basque Bay Whaling Station (Bay named because of red soil)
  • 2 types of whale: bowhead and bull
  • 2,000 French sailors came here for whaling
  • 30,000 tons of whale oil back to their homes
  • 1 barrel of oil = $6,000 – $8,000 each
  • Several whaling stations
  • First will was written in Basque Country by a sailor
  • Selma_Barkham five years in the Basque Country (historian / researcher)

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The real deal a-basque-galleon

Later, the bus stopped for a facilities break at an Express Liquor, which carried everything you might ever need: from skidoos, motor oil, fishing equipment, tourist T-shirts, snacks, and wine. Wow. Francis told us not to be shy. The 7-ll we have in Ontario are nothing like this and don’t even carry spirits.

“If you want to pick up some wine or spirits, here’s your chance.” What a salesman!

Mary and I followed the rest of the passengers like sheep. An opportunity not to pass to loosen the bus-sitting bodies. When we asked Francis the chances of finding another Express the following night around the hotel, he said, “No chance.”

“Guess we’ll plan ahead then.” I felt heat rise in my face. He smiled and I scooted away.

Isn’t this a straight highway?

The restaurant where we stopped for dinner was a disappointment. The crab cakes I ordered were a good size, nicely browned, but mashed potatoes over-powered the taste. I couldn’t taste the cod. Had they run out of fish? A salad lay limp and suffering next to them, joined in the deception with a thimbleful of homemade pickle relish and half a slice of white bread. What? Thank goodness I decided to splurge on a glass of beer before I saw my order. I thought my tummy would scream for more food, but it didn’t—not immediately. Mary and I considered ordering a pizza later.

Around 8:20 pm, the bus finally arrived at Northern Light Inn for a one-night stay. A huge bowl of non-alcoholic punch with floating inch-long slices of orange peel awaited us in the lobby. Francis handed out room keys and menu choices for boxed lunches. We had to fill out and drop them off at Reception before going to our rooms. Someone was coming in for overtime to make up the lunches, ready for pick up in the morning on our way to the bus.

The room offered a different experience again. This time the water pressure surprised us. It was exceptional compared to our previous hotel where the toilet couldn’t gather enough pressure to flush without some cajoling.

The sink / powder area were across the hall from the bathroom. Something we haven’t seen on this tour, although, I have in the past. A note on the bathroom mirror requested unused towels not be dropped in the tub signifying laundry. MADE perfect sense. Why not save towel life, excess soap, bleach, water, and electricity? I like and appreciate conservation. Why not in a hotel / motel environment?

TIME FOR A GIGGLE:

A man bought a sheer nightie for his 80-year-old wife. “Oh my gawd. All that money and they didn’t even iron it.”

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page.

Next on February 26th –  Around and out of Labrador


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Flash in the Pan – Waitress

Sam marched into the boardroom dressed for battle: pressed suit, starched collar, and muted tie. He dropped a folder on the conference table, sinking into his usual chair. Members dribbled in.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“Hello, Sam.”

“Hi, George.”

“Morning, Lewis.”

Chairs scraped, water glasses clinked, papers shushed when shuffled.

A leggy brunette in a pinstripe suit and red heels materialized. The men rubbernecked as one.

“Coffee wagon?” Sam growled. “We need to get started.”

She stopped dead and crossed her arms. “Do I look like a waitress?”

“On your way dearie.”

“The name is Morgan Walkerton, your new C.E.O. I called this meeting.”

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The word limit for Waitress is 100 words. I used all 100. Check out http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for the rules and join us.