(From Jay) on Tuesday Evening
After arriving back at the hotel, we realized that we needed some grocery items for Lori...like some formula, some juice, some fruit and some of the food she is used to. Camille also asked me to find her a good bowl of Fried Rice at one of the bajillion chinese restaurants around us. (As a side note, there are dozens of types of restaurants...peking, cantonese, thai, you name it...you have to know what 'type' of chinese food you want). So I left the hotel and went walking a couple blocks to where we were told there was a small grocery store. The first thing I realized is that it is incredibly scary crossing a street in Beijing...especially at night. The 'green man' on the pedestrian crossing sign is more of a guideline rather than something you can find as dependable. You dodge cars and taxis, and the worst part at night is the bicycles and scooters. The are quiet and before you know it, they are zinging past you. There is no personal space in China and it's every man for himself on the roads.
I did make it to the grocery store, which was an adventure by itself. First of all, all the packaging was in chinese, and they have things made very different from the US. For example, I found several bags of Lays potato chips...but instead of plain, barbeque and sour cream and onion...the flavors were braised pork, tomato, lemon and blueberry. It's also interesting checking out when you can't speak a lick of the language. Most people have calculators and type in the amount and show you the number. And everyone is very friendly.
On the way back to the hotel, after crossing the street again, I stopped by two restaurants. Most of the restaurants have a menu outside in different languages, so I looked through both to see if I could get camille some fried rice. I couldn't find fried rice, but I did find many interesting things. There was braised camel paws, chicken feet, marinated duck tongue, and fried deer knees just to name a few. I thought about it for a second, and smiled and headed back to the with no rice. We had oatmeal in the room instead.
The Chinese are much more comfortable eating just about anything. In our orientation today, the Holt staff member told us that the Chinese self-proclaim that they eat anything with four legs except the table. This is evidenced by the many restaurants close to us that serve dog, cat, and donkey.
I guess I may be a simple country boy, because my tastes are just not that complex yet. I look forward to a ribeye steak and baked potato when I get home.
Guess I better turn in... I'm writing this at 11:15 am Tuesday, Sikeston time, but it's 1:15 Wednesday morning here...it's hard to adjust.