Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lunches in China

This is the restaurant where we eat lunch (almost) every day.  It's good food, always served the way you see here.  You get a small bowl and chopsticks.  The first thing you do with the bowl is clean it with hot tea, then pour the tea into a common "trash bowl" along with the packaging from the chopsticks.  The circle in the middle of the table is a Lazy Susan, and there's a big bowl of plain white rice in the middle.  You just take what you want, put it in your bowl and eat it.  This works well for me because I can't remember what everything is called, so I just take a lot of what looks good and a little of what doesn't look good (gotta try everything once).  You can see some fried noodles (chow mein), tofu, cabbage, soup on the far side and some meat-and-veggies bowls.  The dark brown spot in the rice is like con-con in the Dominican Republic, just overcooked rice that was in direct contact with the bowl.
If you want tea, then eat what's in the bowl, pour tea in your bowl and drink.  Despite the heat, Chinese people drink scalding hot tea at lunch.  I drink a bottle of cold water before and after lunch.  Smokers use their bowl as an ashtray after eating.
In front of the restaurant there are a couple of tanks of fish.  These are probably 16 or 18 inches long each.  They don't bother to remove the bones, so you pull the bones out with chopsticks.  It's kind of a hassle, but good for your chopstickin' skills.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

On A Personal Note

No, this is not a urinal.

Yes, I have.

No, it wasn't that bad.

I dislike public toilets, and I always put two layers of toilet paper between me and the seat. No need here. I saw these squatters in Afghanistan, but never used them because we had regular toilets on base. Here at work, though, there's no other option. I thought it would be awful, but it's actually pretty OK. I saw a guy smoking
while squatting yesterday. Oh, and don't forget that this is a B.Y.O.T.P. kind of party.

Little Italy in Americatown in China

This is the first time I've ever visited China. I've been here for three days and I'm already bored by the funny English street signs. Today I went to Shekou, at the south end of Shenzhen, to scout out the church building so I can go to church tomorrow. The neighborhood where I found the church (just a house) is kind of an Americatown, not unlike Chinatown in San Francisco. It was surreal to walk down streets with lots of trees and individual houses after being in the concrete jungle for the past three days. After I found the church, I walked around to figure out the bus system better and found an Italian restaurant.
I was happy to take a short break from travelling, so I went inside and had the lunch special, which was pizza and soup. Take a good look at this photograph.
Don't worry, I picked out the shells. That's their "Marinara Pizza" which has "tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and seafood", plus I added capers. This pizza was divine. After scraping the goodies out of the clams and mussels, and removing the shell from the shrimp, I ate one of the best pizzas of my life. The capers made a great contribution.

Oh, one more thing. I saw a homeless man today wearing nothing but Calvin Klien boxers. I didn't feel good taking a picture of a homeless guy, so take my word for it.