Friday, February 24, 2012

Feb 16th-19th

Thursday, February 16th
A
surprise for S and R! Their kids, who have been in the states, decided to
surprise their parents with a visit!!! They are pretty awesome too!
One
of the first things we did was go to the police station to register. I was
supposed to do that as soon as I arrived… but the important part is that I am
officially registered here now. It was in an un-obscure building. Well, at
least to me, who cannot read the characters. And compared to the busy street,
was quiet, clean, and ordered inside. It took no time at all for our names to
be entered into the computer along with the address where we’d be staying.

Went
to a gym here this evening! With C (their son) and a couple other of the
foreigner boys. Like anywhere else, I
was the only girl. Again, general pale dermatology, and the placement…should be
used to it. Whether it was confusion or irritation, I had a good workout, as I
tried to go through without drawing attention to myself.
And…they had a punching bag !

Friday, Feb 17
Woke up just as A and C (S and R’s daughter and son) were
heading out to breakfast. Since I have not experienced breakfast here, I
figured it would be good to try. One of the Ah-ee’s suggested a place. We
walked along until we ducked through the plastic coverings to one of the eating
places. We sat at the small table and A ordered for me. goat meat on rice
noodles, with onions, greens, spices, garlic..and optional more spices!
Yes, for breakfast. But the broth was hot, and the spices
hotter. The warmth was worth the breakfast very contradictory to the U.S. norm.

We, along with a couple kids in tow, went out to the JIA
XIOU LOU one of the oldest buildings in Guiyang. Built somewhere around the
1500s, by the monks. The first building we came to was the watch tower. It’s ornate structure had decoration in the
finely carved lantern replicas (with painted designs on the slightly
transparent paper covering the gaps). Paintings were on the ceilings. Stone
dragons were at the base of each pillar of the entry arch.
Further
into the compound, we walked through a few of the wooden buildings. At the entrance of each, the doorway had a
wooden board one has to step over. It was at least a foot high. And apparently,
sometimes there is a wall inside the
door one has to enter around. I am told the reason for this is because one of
the many Chinese traditions includes a lot of involvement with spirits. For example, burning of paper money, in order
to provide for them in the Other World. There is a lot of respect for the spirits
of the dead here. They can be good or bad. I do not fully understand it myself.
Anyways the purpose of these walls is to protect a house
against ghosts/spirits since they can only travel in straight lines (who knew
right?).

Before lunch we stopped for coffee. A very high end
place. We had espresso…and it was awesome. Very smooth and rich. It was a…gold balancing vacuum espresso
coffee machine. Google it!
It was all kinds of fantastic.

Lunch was egg noodles! Okay, this was important. We
ducked into one of the restaurants on the street…where all are. We sidled past
the full tables to a bench across from a couple of Chinese people. Yes, it is
okay to sit with people you do not know!
Chop sticks (all meals outside the house…and the dishes
with lunch…are eaten with chopsticks) from the community box *cringe* but
because the noodles and doufu are served extremely hot… you stick it in there
immediately to (kinda) sterilize. The dish of noodles was brought around on a
tray and you are given a smaller bowl that has La Jiou (the hot spice in
EVERYTHING here!), peanuts and onion chives and probably garlic with some oil.
What you do is (keep in mind, with chopsticks) put some noodles in the spice
bowl and then eat it from there.

How one eats noodles here:
1.
Add spice
2.
Two add soy sauce/vinegar, some pickled radishes
that they frequently have set out in bowls, and maybe cabbage
3.
Grab some toilet paper from the roll they have
in a holder to use as a napkin.
4.
Bend over so that face is near bowl when using
chopsticks to eat noodles. This is not only an acceptable technique, but
frequently used as well. You may also pick up the bowl with one hand while
using chopsticks with the other
5.
If meat is in with the noodles, chew
carefully…there is probably bones, or (if your lucky) chicken feet.
6.
Unwanted food (like the bones) goes on the table
7.
If you need the spit the floor is available (the
is true anywhere)

Dinner was several dishes, Rice in your bowl and then the
various dishes are passed around to put in with your rice
There was:
Ø
Wosen -a green vegetable from here.
Ø
Ziergen- a bitter, but flavorful root frequently
used here. They say that it takes eating it 3 times to start to like it
Ø
Mapodoufu –a spicy doufu dish
Ø
Eggplant!
Ø
Spicy chicken (with peanuts!)


Sunday February 19
For dinner, we were invited to a restaurant by the
brothers and the families of some Chinese who teach English! It was a Miao
restaurant (of the Hmong minority people).
The waitresses and staff were all decked out in colorful
traditional costumes. Complete with silver head pieces and necklaces.
We were seated in a back room, around a table that had a
bowl over an open flame (to make it boil)
> put into the bowl was the fish our host picked out
when we arrived. (carp I believe??) it is called SUAN TANG YU…sour soup fish!
The whole entire fish was cut up and put in there, displayed very nicely.
>There was warm
corn milk (which is sweet) to drink.
>A dish that had doufu and flat pieces of Chinese
sausage.
>Of course, your own small bowl of spice to dunk your
fish in!
>A small bowl of rice. (at very nice restaurants,
there is not much rice and a lot of other dishes. Rice is a filler…) and
potatoes
>XIAO MI ZA was on a plate. It is a type of grain.
Brown and sticky and sweet
>TANG YUAN
served in individual bowls that had a sweet broth and balls of sweet and
sticky dough floating in it.
It
was an absolutely delicious evening! I made sure to finish everything in my
bowl (leaving a little bit of just rice behind to be polite. But made sure to
finish everything else in my bowl) and made sure not to take the last of
anything in the dishes that we all passed around the table. That would be rude!
It is like saying there was not enough food ordered for everyone to have their
fill!
The company was fantastic. And I was told by A that I did
a good job in table etiquette J
a compliment I took to heart. So many little things are different…though the
people we ate with would be forgiving of mistakes. No reason to be ignorant. I
was so very happy I could be a friend that is not an embarrassment to take
places or accompany when invited out.

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