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IMG_0065[1], originally uploaded by espeedy123.

texas mike here. hello. writing under erin’s username. don’t blame her for my opinions below.

i have to hand it to the chinese – they’ve shown me thus far, generally speaking, that if it feels good, do it. for instance, if you’ve got a stuffy nose, raise that index finger to the opposite nostril, and farmer blow your guts out. if you see a pale, lanky foreigner in your midst, just come right out and stare relentlessly. tickle in your throat? hock it up with a watch-out-here-it-comes projectile where ever you’re standing. and my favorite: like your soupy meal? tip up the bowl and slurp those tasty noodles right into your mouth! worked womderfully with my pho beef

I digress, because i’m really upposed to be blogging on eating. and perfect timing as our american friends and family are gearing up this week for a little tanksgiving feast.

so, we took the long way. but now that we’re talking food, we’ve had some flavorful moments thus far. a few favorites

moment 1: japan airlines
having just finished a 1 hour flight from dallas to tokyo, and following a 3 hour layover in narita airport, we boarded our final flight into beijing. neither of us could keep our eyes open. very tired. upon waking midway through the flight, i saw this sticky note on my tray table apologizing for missing meal service so as not to disturb my rest. well, lightning quick, a hand came out of no where and grabbed that note. i turned to find an attendant in my personal face space. “You want dinner now?” before i could say no, i’m staring at mystery fish on noodles (quite good) and various other appetizers which could not be identified. Set the stage for this key learning: asian cuisine is served fast! like it or not.

moment 2: breakfast in beijing, day one
wandering toward forbidden city our first morning, our growling stomachs finally forced us into a local fast food place on a bustling city side street. not knowing what a barrier language was going to be (ugly american assumption: there’ll be someone that speaks english). we walked up to the counter, waited in line (note, if you are more than 6 inches away from the person in front of you, you aren’t really in line and are subject to having assertive locals jump in front of you – different blog rant), and attemped to speak our two words of chinese. we were rewarded with blank stares from behind the young girls’ SAARS guard-covered faces. then giggles. we desperately pointed at other tables, trying to mimic their meals. brought out the hand gestures. looked pitiful – we tried it all. they rang something up, took our money and left us standng there wondering what the heck we’re about to eat. didn’t help the mystery to hear our server yell to the kitchen through giggles: tjfwfbuuofeobobfwo noifwiofjio americans! in the end, we had some tasty pork buns and not-so-tasty rice soup. they hooked us up. key learning: language is going to be barrier; we need to get up to speed fast.

moment 3: dinner in beijing – noodle house
well, sometimes you get what you ask for. started with the key learning here. related to our realization above, our lack of undertanding the mandarin language is going to be a barrier, especially once we leave bejing. and not evryone is gong to be so understanding or helpful as we struggle through. went to a noodle house, recommended by a local who’s renting us an apartment. we walked in to the crowded place, and were immediatey greeted by a friendly chinese man. his friendly face turned as we butchered ‘ni hao” (hi. how are you?). In comes the token english-facing manager (seems every place has one person designated to take on the tourists… and thank goodness.). she brought us some english menus – bonus! as we opened the menus, we looked up to find her scowl looking back at us. and she wouldn’t leave! seconds felt like minutes. it was order now or never. so we did our best. ended up getting served two cold plates of noodles and who-knows-what and 4 orders of friend pork dumplings – that’s 24 dumplings for those keeping score at home. couldn’t eat the cold plates – looked like stomach problems for a multitude of reasons. and 24 dumplings? come on. we couldn’t even make it through half. i tried my best. so, our fault b/c we don’t speak the language. and this was just the first of several instances: just b/c the menu is in english, doesn’t mean the translation will be.

we’re getting the hang of it. excited to eat here.

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