Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sartorial Sadness

Some quick and random musings while we get a bunch of stuff done today (like load photos from the past week and write a blog entry that will hopefully be up tomorrow.)

Part 1
We have to say, we're pretty pleased with the clothes (both the number and type of pieces and the actual items themselves) we chose before the trip. (Thanks to Danielle and Ryan and Laura for some fabulous advice!). However, we have been wearing them more or less nonstop for the past 10+ months. We have been making the occasional purchase to replace an item or two, but mostly it's the original REI purchases.

Needless to say, we are getting more than a little tired of wearing the same thing day in and day out. Heck, you're probably tired of seeing the same thing in every picture! Added to that, the clothes have been used hard and are starting to get a little threadworn with that ground-in grime that the sink washings can't quite conquer. However, we've recently been dealing with the ultimate indignity. As may or may not show in our pictures, we have been shedding a good deal of weight as we've traveled across Asia. Consequently, we're now finding that our clothes (and our rings) are falling off of us (which has lead to a couple of humorous occurrences, especially where Brian's pants and disappearing butt have been involved).

"So buy some new clothes" you are probably saying. (I definitely can hear the Moms saying that.) Unfortunately a) we're too stubborn, b) we're too cheap, and c) the options in our sizes (especially mine) are not overwhelming. I think we'll probably limp along with these as long as possible (at least until Australia/NZ) and then have a big bonfire while toasting their hard work when we return.

Part 2:
Oh...and random cultural experience of the day:

We had checked into a splurge hotel last night (of course, splurge to us here is $25/night*) because we were so desperate for a (lots of water pressure, actually in a bathtub not on the floor) hot shower and comfy room after the past week roughing it a little more out west (more coming on that tomorrow). This morning we checked out and stored our bags, planning to find either a) a cheaper place or b) find a posher place for the same money (as this place had turned out to be a little disappointing in that regard.)

However, a search of the neighborhood found only 3 other types of possibilities: 1) super schmancy rooms for $50-$100, 2) scuzzy rooms for $10-$15, or 3) great rooms for $12 or so that foreigners weren't allowed to stay in. So we resignedly (is that a word?) headed back to the Lanzhou Fandien to recheck-in.

Slight complication. In the interim we had gone to the Police Security Bureau to renew our tourist visas. (We had only gotten a 30 day visa instead of the 60 day one we requested in Hanoi so we needed to reup). They had taken our passports to do the paperwork and given us a receipt and photocopies of the passport and Chinese visa pages. So when Brian goes to check in again he gives them the photocopies and explains that our passports are at the PSB. No go.

No passport, no check in.

But we stayed here last night! You saw our passport/visa then and still have all the information in your record book.

No passport, no check in

But it's your government office that has our passport. We're just getting the visa extended.

No passport, no check in

Come on, how about we call the PSB and you can talk to the officer

No. Go away.

Hmmmm.....after contemplating a) fire bombing the check in desk or b) setting up camp in the (plush) lobby for the night (ed. with a six pack of Tsingtao and some particuarily smelly street food), we decided instead on c) retreating, marshalling our evidence (we found our receipt from the night before and baggage check claim slips) and explanations, and hoping return when someone else was manning the front desk.

Stay tuned for more of the sexy side of travel....


ps. We did in the end convince them to let us check in again.

*You may laugh at $25 being a splurge, but we just checked our records and that's officially the second highest price we've paid for a room in 4 months in Asia behind our illfated Tadfane 'resort' in Laos. Even Bangkok was only $22 and that included a huge buffet breakfast. And in Sihanoukville, we had a wonderful bungalow with a balcony and view of the sea, hammock, nice shower, mosquito net canopy bed, clean toilet, and great restaurant/bar/hang out area downstairs for only $10.

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