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Back from China

Well, at least, one of us is. Becky has returned from her school trip, properly enchanted with the Far East, although expressly for reasons other than I might imagine myself being excited about. Most notably, she was impressed with the enthusiastic reception that she and her classmates were met with wherever they went.

She gave due marks to the major points of interest that she visited (Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Xian), but her most favorite parts of the trip related to markets and visiting small villages. She apparently met with reasonable success in price-haggling at the markets, employing a simple adage of “I’m only a student, I only have X yuan on me” (where the original quoted price would be X times 10 or something).

I’m sure she will share her impressions of the trip in her own blog today or tomorrow. Eventually, the pictures will also be available somewhere on the site.

One thing, though, that she was hoping for – and received – upon return was food some other than Chinese. There’s only so much of the Chinese cuisine she can take, apparently (and she is not overly fond of the Sichuan variety that she says was prevalent on the trip). Nonetheless, she insisted on using chopsticks to devour her portion of Olivier salad – something about eating with chopsticks makes the meal go slower, letting you better to savor it. Oo-kay!

Posted in State of travel

2 Comments

  1. John the Scientist

    “something about eating with chopsticks makes the meal go slower, letting you better to savor it.”

    She needs more practice. 😉

    I had never used chopsticks until I was 24 – my Mom’s idea of Chinese food was this canned chow mein crap from La Choy (which my wife still boggles at). Before we went to Taiwan to do the post-wedding introductions, my wife made me practice picking up single, dry rice grains with the blunt-end plastic Chinese ones (pointed Japanese ones make picking up small things easier), because as she said, there were probably only 40 forks on the whole island, and 39 of those are in the US “consulate” (there’s more Western restaurants now than in ’94).

    In traditional Chinese restaurants, food is placed on a giant lazy susan in the center, so if you are slow with your chopsticks, you wind up with a meal of rice and cold jellyfish, while everyone else grabs the good stuff. 😀

    “she was impressed with the enthusiastic reception that she and her classmates were met with wherever they went”

    I’m sure you suspect as well as I do how much coaching was involved there.

    However, there’s also the “hey look at the funny looking people” aspect. When my wife and I were deep, deep, deeep in the hinterlands of Japan, we were shopping using a combination of English and Chinese (to confuse English-speaking Japanese when we haggled). As we walked from store to store, an older Japanese on a bicycle rode past, and kept looking over his shoulder until he ran off the sidewalk and over the 10 cm curb, almost flipping over. We had a hard time not laughing at him.

  2. Ilya

    Yes, she did mention that all meals featured a lazy susan. She is pretty good with chopsticks, I have no doubt that she was ahead of the crowd in that respect 🙂

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