Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The day we ate bugs!!

We had a VERY early start to our Tuesday morning as I woke up at 1:00am and Michael at about 3:00.  Obviously we were going thru our “2nd day in a foreign country” jet lag!!

For some reason we both woke up a little bit discouraged this morning, mostly because we were looking at everything that we had to do to get set up to live for the month.  Also, we both had splitting headaches from lack of caffeine!!

We finally got up about 4:00, had showers and were ready to leave the hotel at 6:00.  We walked to the apartment, taking one of the suitcases with us.  Because the sidewalks were pretty rough, Michael found it easiest to walk in the street….actually in the motor scooter lane.  It was interesting to see all of the bikes and scooters move quickly out of the way to avoid Michael and the suitcase…..

_6012557When we reached the apartment (and lugged the suitcase up the stairs), we put on a load of clothes and began to get everything organized.

We didn’t know where to go for breakfast, but had been told that there was a KFC by the Carfour and that they had coffee so our plan was to go there.  Unfortunately they didn’t open until 9:00 so we were truly hungry and caffeine deprived.   Unfortunately the entire menu was in Chinese so we weren’t sure how to order.  The server finally reached under the counter and pulled out a well worn menu that had pictures and a few English words on it.  They didn’t really serve breakfast, but we were able to get a cup of coffee, a Pepsi and a box of popcorn chicken. ……

_5312542 ….maybe not the greatest meal, but one that sure helped us to feel better!!

As we walked back to KIZ we came across this gentleman with his grandson.  We smiled at him and he proudly showed off his charge.  He was very pleased when we asked if we could take a photo……

_5312544We have seen so many older adults taking care of young children.  We asked Jialin about this and she commented that her Mom was living with her to help take care of the baby when it is born in August.   She made one very interesting comment that originally everybody felt that the young people should be taking care of the elders, but that she thought it was going to end up being the other way around. 

Speaking of babies, we asked Jialin if she knew the sex of her baby and she said that people are not allowed to find out.  The reason is because people only want to have boys so they are more likely to terminate the pregnancy if they know it is a girl……very sad!!!

We met Jialin at 9:30 to go register our presence at the local police station.  I had seen a notice in the airport that, if you were not staying in hotels (who copy your passport), then you needed to register.  We arrived at the “Residential Registration Service” and started filling out paperwork.  Jialin did most of the work and we just smiled and tried to look pleasant!!  She told us that moves have to be approved by the government.  They are currently wanting to greatly increase the population of Kunming, so everyone is allowed to move there, but some other more populated areas are not accessible.

We had one good laugh when one female officer answered the phone and then turned and yelled to someone in another room.  We decided that this was their answer to an intercom!!!

We had been invited to have lunch with Wan Wen, another professor at KIZ.  We walked to a nearby restaurant and had a very enjoyable lunch with he and 8 others.   We have laughed at how many different dishes they order for a meal.  In the US, we always use the “n-1” principal…..one less meal than the number of people eating.   Here they seem to use “n+++”.  This time we had a huge variety of dishes, including BBQ Ribs (spicy and fantastic), Bitter root, Fried Lettuce  (excellent flavor), Eggplant, a mixture of Hominy, beans and celery, Rice Soup, Tofu and egg yolk soup and rice soup (didn’t try either of these).   There was also a spicy meat with lots of bones which I recognized as Bullfrog….we had eaten it before. 

All of the dishes were beautifully presented, but I was very taken with this wonderful Bass……

_5312546 It was almost too pretty to eat.

We were offered a fruit drink and were expecting a juice of some sort.  Instead we were given a warm, creamy drink made from sweet corn.  It was really good!!!

After this magnificent lunch, Michael had a meeting with Wen, so I headed back to Carfour to buy a few more things that we needed. 

The first thing that I tried to purchase was a hot pot for boiling water.  I had picked one out and realized that it was designed to be used on a hotplate and would not work by itself.  I then found a very cheap one that had it’s own heating unit.  At this time a clerk came forward to help me and was trying to tell me something.  I couldn’t understand so a very nice young woman stopped to help.  She told me that the one I wanted was sold out so I picked another one.  The clerk got it off of the shelf and asked (with the help of the shopper) if I would like her to plug it in and show me that it worked properly.  I said no thanks and went on with my shopping.

I spent a long time looking for instant coffee and tea bags.  There were lots of boxes with packets of  “soluble” coffee and I finally picked one to buy.  Fortunately I looked at it further and realized that it had milk and sugar in it too.  Michael would NOT have enjoyed that.   I finally found a Nescafe version that was black coffee.   I had almost the same problem with my tea bags.  There were hundreds of different types of tea, but most were green or Pur.   I finally found a box of Lipton “Yellow Label” and bought those, hoping that it was the right stuff.

I was able to find many of the things on our list, but had to stop short because I knew that I had to carry the packages UP the stairs!!

I met Michael after his meeting and he ended up helping me up the stairs…hooray for husbands!!!!

We spent an hour or so at the KIZ office.  They very kindly set up a desk for both us, complete with nice chair, internet connection and power strip. 

Wan Wen invited us to go for dinner as well, taking us to a restaurant that specializes in mushrooms.   I am not a huge fan of mushrooms, but these were absolutely wonderful.  Most were fried in some manner and were crispy and tasty.  There were 7 dishes in total, including a mushroom soup.  The first one served had beautiful carrots that were shaped like butterflies!!!  One of the dishes was a grilled Goat Cheese that was scrumptious!!  Wen ordered this one because the cheese came from his home town.   I loved it just the way it was, but couldn’t help thinking how nice it would be a fresh loaf of French bread.

Wen then asked if he ordered some fried insects, would we eat them.   We said that we would love to try them so out came a dish containing  bamboo worms and fried wasp pupae. 

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They were deep fried and were crunchy and salty.  I liked the pupae better, but Michael preferred the worms.  As Michael said…."Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”!!!   Wen was very surprised that we were willing to eat something so different and commented that we were not like normal Americans.

Here is the table at the end of the meal…..still lots of food left…..

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  There was a wall that contained all of the mushrooms that the restaurant used and it was interesting to see them in their natural state…..

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Wen was truly a connoisseur and enjoyed telling us about each of them.

We returned to the hotel and CRASHED!!!!

2 comments:

Marybeth said...

"Yellow Label" is the BEST!

Donna Rae said...

Thinking of you and praying for you as I drink my morning cup of black coffee. Enjoying your travel experience via your blog. Makes me miss Italy.

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