Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Food 'n stuff

I've had some great meals over the last couple of days. Monday and Tuesday were long work days, up at 6 and on the road by 7, home late. But the great thing about spending a full day with companies in China is they stuff you with all kinds of great food. It's seen as embarassing here if a host runs out of food for his guest, so to avoid that they prepare 10 times as much food as could possibly be eaten.

At one office on Monday I was told we were going to have a "light meal." There were seven of us around a big revolving table. They started to bring the dishes in, and they just kept coming. 16 in all. There was a huge fish head, several whole fish with white eyes staring at me, congee soups and jelly fish among others. I found one dish in particular very tasty. I asked what it was, and I was told the loose translation was shell fish. I kept munching away, and then looked down at the chunk of meat between my chopsticks and it had toes. Little nails to be exact. Turtle feet. They didn't want to upset me by telling me what it was. Not that I cared. I've seen enough turtles for sale in the markets to realize they weren't being kept as pets.

I had another great lunch with another group today, with chicken feet (they politely listed them as "chicken fingers" on the menu), beef and bok choy in satay sauce, chili chicken, a spicy bean curd and about 5 other dishes.

This hotel has scales in the bathroom. I honestly thought I'd come to Asia and lose some weight. Ha!

On the way back to the hotel just now, I was taken to Zhujiajiao historic town, an old canal-lined town that was protected from modern development. It was nice to wander through. I did a little shopping. and we took a small boat down some of the waterways.
I've got to pack my stuff now and get ready for my flight to Beijing tomorrow morning. My hotel is supposed to have high-speed internet. It's also supposed to be a short walk to Tiennanmen Square.

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