Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bill's in China and enjoying the other side of the globe. Here are some exceprts from his travels:
For the most part, they’ve been pretty good. First, we always seem to order way too much food. Every meal starts out with some nuts and another snack. Usually, its cashews, which are pretty easy to grab with chop sticks. But today was the real test – peanuts. Pretty challenging I must say, but I rose to the occasion and never dropped a one, which is more than I can say about Jeff or Martin, a new guy who got back to work today after moving this week.

Anyway, in addition to the peanuts today, there were also some kind of little fried things – looked like little pork rinds, but boy was I surprised when I ate ONE, and only ONE. Don’t know WHAT it was and don’t want to know!

Then the real meal starts. Kind of like tapas, they just keep bringing on separate plates of food, at least five or six different ones, but these are always BIG plates.

The rice always comes last, except for today since Martin asked for it early. Today’s was plain white rice, but it’s usually some kind of fried rice.

...[lunch one day]
Everyone is dressed so nice in their distinctive uniforms showing their rank, ranging from women in sharp business suits (your dining consultant who takes your orders – they even have business cards they give you, and remote cell phone ear and mouthpieces for communicating with the kitchen, etc.), to the yellow-dressed waitresses that fill you glass and deliver food. A gal in whatever the Chinese equivalent to a yellow kimono who guides you to your table – and I mean guide, there’s two of them that walked us up this grand staircase. At every landing they sweep their hands elegantly to warn you of the next step up or down. As we were leaving, two of us practically carried us down each step – they just kept following us all the way to the outside steps – I thought they were going to keep walking down the street to China Coal’s office with us, pointing out every little step and hazard in our way. And at the main exit, there were lined up five red-clad kimono gals in a line on each side, who bowed gracefully as we walked between them, and sang some little Chinese ditty about, I suppose, “glad you came, please hurry back.” It was pretty bizarre. Not to mention the food, which I’ll save for later.

...Jeff [American working with Bill who lives in China] said he was in St. Louis once – took his wife [who is Chinese] for a weekend visit with some friend from college or something. After the weekend, Jeff asked his wife what she thought of St. Louis (she’d been to both coasts a lot but never the Midwest). She said she found Midwesterners somewhat different than folks on the coasts. When Jeff asked her what she meant, she said – well they don’t use eating utensils. Jeff thought back on what they ate, and had some kind of bar-be-que at his friends, went to a bar and got sandwiches and to a Cardinal’s game for hot dogs – sure enough all “hand food” and never used a fork and knife all weekend. Jeff assured her that we know how to use eating utensils, just didn’t eat the right kind of food that required it. Speaking of utensils, I’m doing pretty good with chop sticks, but am looking forward to using a knife and fork again!

Guess we won't be eating at Hunan Royal when he gets home. I'll bet we have a lot of
BBQ or pasta.

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