A little while ago my good Chinese friend Jay invited me to come with him on a trip to Zhongshan City to hit up a hot spring. I had never been to a hotspring before so I jumped at the chance. Zhongshan city is a few hours drive from my home in Shantou but it is still in the same province of Guangdong.
We hit the road around 11:00, and arrived just hungry enough to hit up a big delicious hotpot meal. Looking back now every meal we had on this trip was huge involving at least 10 large dishes which we shared between the 10 of us.
The Chinese are big on not wasting any food, so anytime there were leftovers at the end of the meal we’d have rock paper scissors tournaments to decide who would eat what! We’d split the food up into havsmall portions then have 10 or so matches to divvy it up, it actually made it a lot of fun! By the end we were all yelling and cheering, who knew force feeding yourself could be so much fun?
Later we checked into our hotel. We had to wait about 30 minutes for our rooms to be cleaned so in the meantime they taught me a Chinese card game called Dizhu(Landlord). It’s a game a little bit similar to the games I used to play back home called either ‘President’ or ‘Asshole’ but with a bunch of intense Chinese twists to it. It’s a really fun game and I’m looking forward to teaching friend back home, they also taught me how to play it for money 😀
After hanging out in the hotel for a bit we headed off to the Hot Spring.
The hot spring itself was really nice, we weren’t allowed to bring camera in so I had to steal a couple pictures from the internet. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a natural hotspring like I had imagined, it was definitely man-made but they created a very natural feel to it with lots of vegetation and rocks and stuff.
In the center there was a massive pool full of different things from a volleyball net, to massage chairs, to high powered showers to archways that hit you with water from all directions. Around the pool was about 40 different hot spring areas, they all ranged in temperature and most of them had certain unique features to them such as different herbs or Chinese medicines mixed in with the water to benefit the body in different ways.
They also had some cool stations set up like a place where you lie down and they cover you in hot pebbles and this one where tiny fish clean your skin!
We stayed at the hot springs all day, for snacks they had stone coldrines like this one set up around where they hard boiled different types of eggs.
We also had a buffet dinner at lunch, which to be honest was some of the worst food I’ve had since I arrived in China… but it was free so we couldn’t complain. The hot springs looked beautiful at night and the atmosphere become much more relaxed. There’s something about relaxing in 40 degree water in the cool night air that makes me feel like I’m in heaven.
Later in the night they had a couple shows on the hot spring stage, the usual singing and dancing they also had a couple draws for prizes where they called out our wristband numbers. Instead of watching the show we decided to grab another snack of eggs, we were going to eat them close to the stage but were told we had to go up on the balcony at the other side of the hot springs to eat them due to the mess of the shells. Up on the balcony my friend asked me what number was on my wristband, I showed her and mouth dropped open. “There calling for that number right now!!” On stage they had been speaking Cantonese so I had no idea what numbers they were calling. I jumped up from my seat and began running for the stage. I was literally at the furthest away part of the hotspring so I was moving fast hoping to make it in time. Unfortunately when I arrived they informed me they had done a countdown and I hadn’t made it in time and they had picked another number. My friend summed up my feelings pretty nicely ‘It’s your lucky day!.. and your unlucky day!”
I found out later the prize was going to be an all expenses paid night to the local KTV (karaoke) for a party, I wish I had of made it!!
After the hot spring and cleaning up at our hotel we decided to have our own night of KTV anyways.
These friends of mine are pretty well versed in English so they liked to sing lots of English songs… the only thing is most of the English songs they pick are really weird, really cheesy love songs, or I’ve never heard of them!! Every KTV is different but the lack of awesome English songs to sing is usually pretty disappointing but I can usually find 1 or 2 awesome ones to sing during the night.
My favorite song for the night was Imagine by John Lennon, classic!
Later in the night we realized how sleepy relaxing in hot springs all day can make you and people started passing out.
Heres a good before and after shot!
Some of us stayed energetic though!
My trip to the hotsprings was a good time, it was nice to have a uniquely Chinese experience and to see a new city!