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China - Guangzhou - Lost in direction, lost in translation

An unforgettable hilarious adventure in our own hotel

My partner and I were staying in one of the biggest hotels in Guangzhou, Southern China. We just arrived after a long and tiring trip, so we believed we were ready to have a relaxing massage in the hotel spa. What do you do in such a case? Of course you check the hotel's guest services directory.

There was one. In a luxury leather cover and written in Chinese and English, so that was good. When we looked under "massage", there were a few very interesting things that we read. There was an intriguing choice in the massage menu, including things like "Sauna women + massage", "Women attendant massage", en "Ceduxion Foot Massage".


If this had not make us curious already, then it got even more interesting at the bottom of the menu: "The guests who accept chinese massage or Thai massage here can free enjoy one of Physical Therapy projects. No tip for technician", and: "The independent physical therapy project expense is not suggested".


So that decision had been made: we would certainly have the massage here and try to find out what that was all about. But the question now was: where to get the massage? We called the reception desk for help. A very friendly lady took the phone. She spoke English, well at least the greeting.

"Can you please tell us where the spa is, for massage?"

"Yes, we can", she answered. Then silence, and nothing.

So I finally asked: "Where is it?"

"In the extra building, fourth floor, sir"

"In the extra building", I asked. "Yes sir, extra building sir"

So we wondered if we would have to go outside the hotel but as far as we could see the hotel was only one building. Just to be sure we wanted to find out if we needed to come there in our bathrobes and slippers, or normally dressed.

I asked the lady friendly, "Should we come there in normal clothes and change there?"

"Yes" she answered.

Just to be very certain I asked: "Or can we come in our bathrobe and slippers?"

"Yes", she answered with such a friendly voice that I could not be annoyed.

I kindly thanked her for so much helpful information, and we decided to start our expedition. We also decided to go there in our bathrobes and slippers, because it had to be the same building. Maybe a different wing was what she meant. In the elevator, one of the bellboys was looking at us as if he saw two ghosts. We stepped out at the 4th floor, and followed a hallway from where we heard sounds. This had to be it, this was clearly public area.

We walked around the corner, in our white bathrobes and slippers, and then we found ourselves in the entrance of... the Karaoke Lounge! The hostess girls at the entrance first looked at us, very shocked. Then in spite of their training and discipline, one of them started to laugh so hard that we were afraid the whole KTV department would hear it.

"OK", my partner said, "I don't really think it is here...".

Well, I shared her observation, and we decided to make it back to our room, get dressed and then give it another try. Back in the room, I just wanted to have another look in the Guest Services Directory. I flipped it open, and my eye fell on the page with instructions about what to do in case of fire.

Well, that was even more interesting than the massage page. There was a lot of very useful information about not getting afraid in case of a fire and what to do with holes with smokes. Two columns of wise advice, and it should have made us feel so reassured about our safety. We read it.... and read it again.... and kept reading it! Look for yourself:


To finish the story, later that night we had a very nice massage in a different wing of the hotel. But up to today, we are still wondering about the independent physical therapy project. It was not suggested, neither explained to us by the massage ladies, so we may never know :)

Posted by westwind57 05:51 Archived in China Tagged hotel fire english karaoke massage guangzhou guangdong chinglish translation confusion canton sprinkler kanton Comments (2)

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