Thursday, April 14, 2005

Welcome and food

First, I would like to welcome all of the new readers. I see your comments, and deeply appreciate your taking part in this interactive forum. I wish I could respond to you but I can only post my entries and read the comments. I cannot actually see my blog or respond. I do however look forward to reading your blogs and getting to know you better when I return.

I have an update on the food front

If it looks like an eight inch long by two inch thick, heavily shelled tropical insect with a head the size of a golf ball and eyes like pencil erasers and you think to yourself “big bug – don’t eat” and even if your dinner companions keep saying, “fish” “fish” and you have to eat it to be polite, be prepared for the worst.

And when the swimming insect is followed by fish head soup and you are already a little queasy and that fish eye you just swallowed felt wrong going down. Really, really be prepared for the worst.

Cut to my hotel room 10 minutes after dinner. Cut away from my hotel room 11 minutes after dinner. It wasn’t a pretty scene. This isn’t the first time I have eaten exotic (and what most Western palates would not consider appetizing) foods in China.

I’ve had raw jellyfish, ducks feet, duck innards, congealed duck blood, snake, quasi rare chicken, 100 year old eggs and a variety of sea creatures so bizarre and unknown I couldn’t begin to list them here. But this was the first time things really went south on me, and I do mean south.

My partners saw the green look on my face and the extra speed I displayed leaving the restaurant. They came to my room shortly afterwards with all kinds of medicine to help my ailing belly. It was very kind and caring of then.

Then they started listing all the possible reasons for my gastrointestinal fireworks.

-It s because you were drinking a cold beverage (7UP) and a hot beverage (tea) with your meal. This does not mix well with the swimming insect.

-It s because when you travel from Beijing to Yiwu the air is a little different and your foreign system did not adjust fast enough.

-You drank a cold beverage while we were working this afternoon.

Nowhere in there was: “You just ate three long, slimy, big eyed water bugs and fish brains.”

Today at lunch I had a granola bar I packed from home. Tonight’s dinner will be touch and go methinks.