Northeast China 2006 travel blog

The bus to Ji'an. Photo by Lynn Bryant

Rest stop. Photo by Lynn Bryant

After six bumpy hours on the bus from Dandong, we arrive in the small town of Ji'an.

In the lobby of a guesthouse, the 50-something proprietor goes momentarily wide-eyed when I tromp in and ask in my awkward Mandarin whether she has a room available. But she quickly recovers and calls for her assistant to show me around.

This younger woman can't stop looking at me as she takes me through the simple guest rooms. She finally bursts out, "Your face is so different than mine!"

Touching her own cheek, she says, "Your skin is so white."

As she moves her hand to the center of her face, she exclaims, "Your nose is so big!"

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Then she murmurs, almost to herself, "So pretty."

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