After spending 10 hours on a very slow train on my second solo trip to Beijing on May 1st, 2014, I went straight to Chaoyang. I was heading to this area where my Filipino friend lives. She recommended this small newly opened hotel quite close to her place. My mission was to find it!

So, while I was on a cab, I tried to use all the Chinese words that I know to tell the driver to take me to Frank’s place – a well-known sports bar and restaurant around that place. After about 30-40 minutes, I found Frank’s place! The next challenge is to check in at this green-themed hotel which I don’t see anywhere. I had to call my friend to let her know I am around the area. She couldn’t pick me up because it’s actually her sleeping time because she works at night. But she walked me through what I had to do. She told me to just walk straight until I reach the crossroads with the traffic lights. 

However, while I was walking, I saw this massage place and got so curious, so, I stepped in and I was greeted by the polite staff. I asked about the prices of their services and I was offered some kind of a promo. I told them I would come back after I have checked in at my hotel.

I started walking again and it did not take more than 10 minutes before I reached the green-themed hotel.

I sent a message to my friend that I already found it; she then went back to sleep. I went in and asked about their room rates. Then, I asked if I could see the rooms first. Since the building was newly opened, everything was in good condition. 

Checking in was a little bit challenging because of the language barrier, but if you would only be patient enough, it won’t be that complicated. I had to talk to the manager though, since most of the staff could not understand what I was saying. 

After paying for my first night, the manager escorted me to my room. When I was finally alone, I tossed my bag on the bed and started to jump up and down the queen-sized bed. Haha! 

I checked all the stuff inside the room, tried to read shits that I don’t really understand and of course, turned on the TV hoping I would see some English shows. When I realized there’s none, I unpacked my stuff and immediately took a shower.

After taking a shower, I went out again to go back to the massage place.

However, I realized I haven't eaten yet (I didn't eat on the train either), so, I grabbed a bite at this coffee shop just right next to it. 

I was craving for pasta but unfortunately they don't have any. They serve mostly pastries, panini, waffles and sandwiches. I didn't want to look around for pasta anymore so I just ordered a sandwich and looked for a seat away from people. Haha! 

It was a cool hangout; I loved the interior design. The walls aren't that polished so it has that rough look which makes it so different from typical coffee shops. I also love how they have mismatched seats and couches that breaks the usual uniformed chairs and tables.

After lounging for about an hour or so, I stepped inside the massage place again. Actually, I just came in for a foot massage that time. Every time I see a staff, he/she would bow to me and say something in Chinese which I don't understand, so, I'd just smile.

I was led to this room with two huge barcalounger. There's a TV, a change of clothes, some towels and a basin with filled with hot green-colored water with rose petals. I was left alone for a few minutes to change my clothes and to soak my feet on hot water.

Eventually, the male therapist came back and started drying my feet, getting ready for a foot massage. When he was about to start, someone knocked on the door, came in and served some fruits and tea. In Tieling, I usually get a whole body massage or a foot massage almost every week during my days off. Some massage places serve tea as well but never have I been served fruits.

Anyway, I let the therapist do the routine - it starts with a stretching before the actual massage. He even wrapped my knees with a cling wrap after he put some lotion-like stuff on them. It felt a bit cold but I can tolerate it. I was trying to ask him what was that stuff on my knees, however, he couldn't understand what I'm saying. Eventually, I couldn't bear the hot & cold feeling on my knees anymore, so, I asked him long long it would take before he would unwrap them. He panicked at my words and expression, so, he rushed out and called someone to translate what I'm saying. A tall girl then came in and asked me what was wrong. I asked her the same question that I asked the male therapist. She then explained what the stuff was for. She talks in English which gave me a relief. The next thing I know the male therapist was scratching his head, trying to smile while talking to the girl. They agreed that the girl will take over instead. The dude bowed to me before he left the room.

The girl kept on asking one question after another while giving me a massage. I chose to have a small talk with her instead of trying to understand the Chinese show I was watching. She told me she's 24 and she's been working for the company for quite some time. She's very friendly, unlike me! Haha! So, I tried my best to respond properly as she ‘interviewed’ me. 

I thanked her for the special treatment I got ever since I walked inside. I thanked her for the fruit and tea that was served as well. The conversation became interesting and next thing we knew we were having a photo together!

I also had a photo with one of the receptionists before I left the place. They give service fit for a princess, so, I promised myself that it won’t be the last time I’m going to that massage place. I actually exchanged numbers and WeChat numbers with that receptionist and Nana, the girl who gave me a massage, who actually became my new friend!

The very next day, I went back to MAAN Coffee and I invited Nana to have breakfast with me.

She works right next to the coffee shop; I figured she won’t be late if she would just come a little early and have coffee with me. It was my way of expressing my gratitude and also, I kinda missed just sitting and talking over a cup of coffee with my friends who were thousands of miles away from me that time. Yeah, I have only known this girl for a day, but we had a really good talk about our lives, our goals, about boys and about food that morning!

I stayed behind when it was time for her to go to work. Not long after though, she invited me to come over to the massage place again. She said they have a lot of free time at work that day since there are fewer customers; however, they have to stay inside. She wanted me to meet her colleagues as well.

I was invited to their lounging area. It felt like having a backstage pass in a concert. The weird thing is that everyone went a little crazy about this big-eyed girl who’s visiting them in their lounge area.

They tried their best to talk to me in English; I tried my best to speak in Chinese. It was awesome! I got to hear a bit of their stories, though I’m only counting on Nana’s translation since she’s the only one who can actually speak in English. Before that day, I have never met a group of people who are so passionate about their job. I have worked for quite a few companies and never have I seen people this happy while they are in their workplace. I was deeply inspired by their happiness for their calling.

I wanted to chat with them more but I had to leave because I would be attending a friend’s birthday party that night. It was one of the reasons I went there for my vacation, to attend a birthday party! I had to go back to Frank's place, one of Beijing's oldest sports bar which is currently owned by a good friend.

The birthday girl, Ate Carol!
Ate Carol's sister, Ate Lanie!

I had so much fun being surrounded by other Filipinos that night. Everyone was talking in Tagalog and eating Filipino food (with overflowing free drinks, yo!) Everyone was singing and dancing! People take turns in taking the stage singing for the birthday girl. They were awesome! I swapped stories with the other teachers who were working around Beijing. It's good to know that you're not really alone in your working dilemmas. Unfortunately, just like a real-life Cinderella, I had to get back back to my hotel when the clock hits 12! Haha! Yeah, I'm the kind of girl who leaves in the middle of a party! I said goodbye to my Filipino friends, not knowing when I could ever see them again.

I told them I have to get as much sleep as I can because I am planning to go to Beijing World Park the next morning!

A gift from Ate Juvie! I love this shirt SO much! Xie xie ni!


  1. looks great! better mark this one up, who knows...


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