Christ this has taken me ages to finish.
Here is the original post, this is part 2. I was telling a story about the bizarre trip I took to Mei Zhou island last month. I’ll finish this partpromptly and try to avoid excessive rambling. I do have Mei Zhou Doubts that I can manage this though. Haha. Ha……ha. (Credit to Alex for the amazing pun).
By the end of the last post we had found our way to the relative sanctuary of, what I will call, ‘The Stanrey Hotel’ in order to drink warm beer and consider our options after we had scrambled our way through the web of misfortune and incompetence of the previous hours.
After we finished up, we headed back outside. Creepily enough Mr. Purple who dropped us off was still waiting. It was a fair bet we’d want to go somewhere else afterwards but still, this was a little weird. Also it served as another indication that we were the only non-locals here, he’d obviously decided it was the best use of his time to wait around on the off chance we needed him.
Well we did. We required accommodation and hoped for some signal that there was entertainment to be found. Mr Purple decided he was to be our guy for the trip. He would sort us out. We told him we wanted somewhere to stay, somewhere cheap. His response was ‘How cheap?’. Oh god.
Mr Purple drove us down from the farmland into the town proper, which turned out to be, essentially, the Chinese Royston Vasey. He attempted to raise our spirits by playing terrible Chinese pop music. It actually worked brilliantly. We turned, suddenly, off the main drag onto a bumpy dirt road heading towards what kind of looked like a mixture between an abandoned soviet prison and a contemporary art museum. Here we were, our hostel. That certainly killed the mood.
Mr Purple, upon entering, immediately sits down with the owner to drink tea. This is a bad sign. It’s clearly his mate who owns this place, we may have been conned. We decided to check out the rooms.
I’ve honestly never seen a place which is ostensibly serving as accommodation be so terrible. It was being actively reclaimed by nature and the guy who owned the spot clearly hadn’t noticed or was unconcerned by this fact. He probably spent most of his time worrying about the fact that all his teeth were rotting into one turgid gum shield. The walls were covered in mold, mildew and moss. All you could hear was the bleating of the two goats tied up outside and the tide. Both great reminders that we’re completely stuck on this island until the ferry next morning. It’s all a bit Jurassic Park, except that the dinosaur was demanding money from us. We tried to express, in the nicest possibly way, the extent to which he could shove his hostel rooms and left.
Mr Purple then led us to another hostel, literally 2 minutes away. We were met by a humanoid this time, actually quite a nice humanoid who was very helpful. What was baffling was that this place was infinitely nicer and the same price yet Mr Purple had led us to his buddies den of pestilence first. He seemed unembarrassed by this fact, as if we would have been likely to genuinely consider the first place.
Never mind. Let us not anger Mr Purple. We were clearly in the physical manifestation of a Victorian gothic horror novel. The next stage of this novel would involve antagonising the locals in some way, which would escalate the situation further. So we tried very hard not to antagonise the locals. Least of all Mr Purple. After all, he had eventually provided us with some not-horrific accommodation.
I’m in the room unpacking when I hear Mike scream from the toilet, “Oh. My. God.”. He runs out. “There’s a fucking facehugger in there!”. Christ. I go and have a look. Sure enough, the biggest spider I’ve ever seen is ambling along on the bathroom floor. I reacted in a similar way to Mike. I’m not usually too bad with bugs, I anticipate their presence in a tropical country and try to take the encounters in my stride. But this was big. Like, big enough that it visibly bobbed when it walked.
We both decide to categorically fail to deal with the situation and get Alex to help us. He grabs a nearby slipper.
“I got this.”
He heads into the bathroom and closes the door. Are you mad!? We hear a thump. Then silence. Then another thump. Oh God. It was definitely a two-thump spider, maybe more. Sure enough, the third blow is dealt. It took three hits but it’s down. We’re saved! Now we just need Ian Holm to come and dissect it…
At this point we decided to check out the temple, the main reason we had come here, and, to be entirely fair, it was stunning.
It was a fairly typical Buddhist temple in design, you get used to seeing a lot of them here. But the scale and location of it made it something really special. It was vast, split into 3 main sections. The photo above shows the main courtyard high above the bay. The weather was, unfortunately, bleak but it still looked incredible and I can imagine, on a clear day, it would really be something to behold.
The visit served to take the edge of the mess that preceded it. But the worst was yet to come.
We needed some food and asked the helpful humanoid in the not-horrific hostel for some advice. She had two recommendations, a ‘western food’ restaurant and a noodle place. We went to check out the ‘western food’ restaurant, which turned out to sell dodgy burgers, before heading to the noodle spot. Better the devil they know. The Chinese are much more likely to make decent noodles than decent burgers. That was the idea anyway…