When I arrived at the guesthouse, no one was there. I mean no one. No guests. No employees. I could have robbed the place. (But then where would I have slept?) I enjoyed the beautiful view of the terraces from the patio until a gray-bearded man, who I assumed (or hoped) worked there, appeared and checked me in for two nights.
I had mixed feelings about Sunny’s Guesthouse. It was the perfect location. Super cheap. The food was tasty. The rooms were clean. Most of the staff were great. The guidebook said Sunny’s was run by a woman affectionately referred to as “Auntie.” I met Auntie. She was as sweet as the guidebook said, but the woman with whom guests had 95% of their interactions…if I were to give her a familial moniker it would be more along the lines of Wicked Stepmother or Crotchety, Half-senile Aunt.
I think her issue with me stemmed from the fact that when I returned to the guesthouse that night, I found a group of people eating dinner (including the gray-bearded old man who checked me in) and asked to pay for a meal. I later learned dinner was served between 8 and 9. I had entered at 7:30, interrupting what turned out to be the staff/family eating dinner, who graciously invited me to join them.
When the other guests arrived, I sat and talked with them in the dining room, someone else’s plate of half-eaten food before me. The Manager saw me with a half-eaten dinner and assumed I had a second meal without paying.
The other guests assured me that it wasn’t personal. The Manager had no recollection of who paid what when, and in fact those were the only words she spoke in English: “you”, “pay”, and “now”.
The food was delicious at both dinner and breakfast the following morning. But breakfast at Sunny’s was the first and only time I got sick in a month and a half in China.
Stomach sickness and $6 were the price to pay for being able to roll out of bed in the morning and take in the Duoyishu sunrise.