Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend in Fuzhou

I just got back from Fuzhou. Ryan came to Hong Kong for my birthday and Christmas so it was definitely my turn to go to him. I prefer it when he comes to me. Not just because it’s easier for me, but also because I’d rather be in Hong Kong than Fuzhou. There’s nothing really wrong with Fuzhou – it just isn’t my kind of town. Hong Kong has a lot more to offer.

As usual, we stayed in a hotel. We picked the Ramada Plaza because it’s close to the lake. Ramada hotels are never the best in the world, but this one was clean enough and didn’t look too old. A lot of hotels in China look like they were decorated by Chairman Mao. I don’t stay at a hotel based on its furniture – and I really don’t care what’s trendy and what isn’t – but if a hotel doesn’t bother to redecorate after 20 years then you know they’re not that interested in details. You definitely have to change the carpet every once in a while. Not because styles change, but because they wear out fast.

Our room was clean and not too small. The hotel had an indoor pool, but we didn’t use it. I rarely eat at hotel restaurants and this time was no exception. There’s food all over the place in Fuzhou – and most of it is cheaper and better than whatever the hotel has.

My only real complaint was the cigarette smoke. I’ve stayed in enough Chinese hotels to know there’s no such thing as a non-smoking room. At most, they’ll spray the room with disinfectant after a smoker checks out. Sometimes they won’t even do that. Some rooms claim to be non-smoking and some hotels say they have non-smoking floors, but that’s either just to stop people from complaining or it’s a rule that’s never enforced. You can smoke in any room you want. That’s great for smokers. Not so great for those of us who think cigarettes smell like shit.

I’m all for freedom and people have rights, of course, but what about my right to not have to breathe in poisonous smoke? It’s not like the lingering stink of some food I don’t like. It’s smoke. Smoke isn’t unhealthy the way cookies are unhealthy. Smoke is toxic. It will kill you. Why does someone’s right to kill themselves outweigh my right to live?

We complained about the smell of the room and they sprayed the hell out of it. That doesn’t take the poison out of the room – it just covers up one stink with another. Luckily we could open the windows. You can’t in some smoke hotels. By the end of the day the stink wasn’t so bad.

The room was very cold with the windows open, but not really cold at all with the windows shut. Fuzhou gets pretty cold in January, but it was ok inside the hotel.

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