Thursday, June 19, 2008

China Day 20: Farewell Banquet

Our last activity as a full group was the farewell banquet, Western style since Fred figured correctly we would be "homesick for home flavor" by this time. I managed to get out of bed and attend, and the food was delicious though I didn't stress things by eating too much. I wasn't the only one affected by whatever this was: it turns out there was a lot of Immodium in use the last two days. I still blame the river boat.

Everyone ran around taking pictures of cheerful tablefuls of people
and hugging each other. Dinner finished up with a highly artistic tiramisu:
and while we ate it, Fred gave a little speech
telling us that "Fred's Family" did what he expected: came together, loved each other, and listened to his suggestions. I really have to hand it to him, he did a great job. This has been a really good trip!

I have now discovered the secret to successful bargaining: don't want what you're buying. After dinner Dad and I wandered around the hotel and ended up in the gift shop. I never got around to buying a set of chopsticks for myself now that I can use them competently, so I was looking at a few sets. I found one I liked, but the shop owner priced them at $268 Hong Kong - $34 American - way too much. I kept trying to put them down and say I didn't want them, and she kept dropping the price. I ended up buying them for half the starting price. Hopefully that was a good deal!

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