First time on this blog? Beijing Traffic Lesson: Left Turn is probably a good place to start.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Today I went for lunch with my CD and three coworkers. I'm trying to be very open-minded, so I let them order for me. "Very authentic," my boss stressed.

First out were rubbery, shriveled slices of mushrooms, a plate of bean curd strings and some stir-fried leafy greens in peanut sauce. I ate all and enjoyed. The main course was a purplish rice-based porridge/soup/stew with grapes, lotus seeds, nuts and [miscellaneous/other]. Not bad, but not quite my cup of tea (sunflower tea, BTW, which I really enjoy.) Then something shredded and grean, some meat-pie things, and... oh good lord... it isn't... it IS!...

...a plate of cheerfully-arranged Century Egg wedges. (See my T-Minus 10 Days post for more on this little slice of heaven.)

"You know of this?" my boss asked.

"Yes," I gulped.

"You don't have to try it," he said.

But I couldn't appear weak now, in front of the Chinese. In 20 years, when they're the superpower and I'm writing my mortgage check to the Bank of China, I want them to remember me as a strong, proud man with intestinal fortitude who really is a worthy person.

I went in with the chopsticks.

"You want to take the dark one," a coworker helpfully offered, pointing to one where the congealed egg white had turned from the normal amber to more of a gelatinous mahogany, as if he was letting me have the drumstick at Thanksgiving dinner.

"Is it better?" I asked.

He shrugged.

So anyway, after all that buildup, I ate two.

When China decides to let America off the hook at some point in the future, just remember to thank me.

A few things I hadn't yet posted:


The air in Beijing is THICK this week. We keep our windows open at the office because the government decides when the air conditioning can be turned on (usually a fixed date in June, rather than based on actual temperature) and I sit by a window. By the end of the day, I was watching the beige sun slide down a taupe sky and feeling a little nauseous, when I realized that the low, dark-gray cloud to the southwest - towards the center of the city - WASN'T MOVING.


That's a line I stole from The Simpsons, but it also happens to be my life. I tried buying fruits and veggies at a supermarket, but failed to get them weighed in the produce department, which annoyed the hell out of the cashier. He literally took them away from me and threw them under the register, then clearly made fun of me to the other people in line with bemused contempt. Sheepishly, I took my chicken and went home.

(At least I think it was chicken. It had a cartoon of a chicken on it. But for all I know, the label said "Captain Happy Chicken Brand Rat Fillets.")

Well, gotta go. Beijing OOT!

P.S.: Now, all of a sudden, I CAN see Blogspot locally. Just thought I'd let you know.