Friday, June 3, 2011

How did we miss that turn??

On Wednesday we had a fairly quiet day, spending most of the time getting things set up in our apartment and doing some administrative stuff on the computer.

Before we left the hotel, I took a photo of the bathroom….._6012555….notice the shower and drain in the floor.  We always had flood!!!!

We walked the last suitcase to the apartment, hoisted it up the stairs and sat down for breakfast…..a cup of tea, a cup of instant coffee (made with THREE times the suggested amount of coffee) and some wonderful Butter cookies…….

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At lunch, Jialin asked if we would accompany her to a restaurant on the campus of the Kunming Institute of Physics.  We, of course, said yes and she urged us to hurry along because there was only a limited amount of food.   We needn’t have worried!!!!   This is a cafeteria style place where you pick up a metal divided tray and ask (or point in our case) for different foods starting with rice.  There were 5 or 6 vegetable and/or tofu dishes, several meat dishes and lots of fruits.  We each had cucumbers in a spicy sauce (this has become a favorite) and some sort of greens.  Michael went entirely vegetarian while I chose to have a BBQ chicken wing. 

Jialin suggested that we have one specialty….sticky rice cooked in a banana leaf.

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She told us that we could only get this dish for another few days as it was made specially for the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival (on Monday).   It is made from a certain type of rice that is steamed in the banana leaf until it gets gluggy (for want of a better term).   It is served with granulated sugar and you pry a hunk of rice off and dip it into the sugar.  It is REALLY good!!!!  The hardest part is getting the banana leaf removed.  It was messy and our hands got sticky, but interestingly they did not stay that way….guess it was magic!!!

It was much like a feeding frenzy in the room.   You pick your food, pay for whatever you have chosen and then EAT, EAT, EAT!!!   As soon as you are finished you jump up and let someone else have the table.   We were there toward the end of the lunch time so it had almost completely cleared out before left.    An older woman came in carrying a plastic bag and proceeded to scavenge scraps from the trays.  Jialin told us that “Auntie” (as they call older persons)  comes in and gets food to take out and feed the stray cats.

We laughed at one sign that said “No Spitting”!!

The next stop was Carfour AGAIN to get yet a few more things that we needed.  As I mentioned, the store is on 3 different levels with moving ramps between the levels.  We were interested that when you push the cart onto the ramp, it sticks in place and will not move forward or backward.  We haven’t figured out exactly how it works, but it appears that the wheels somehow fall into the cracks on the ramp.  We also noticed that they have goods for sale beside the escalator so you can pick up various small things as you travel along.  Mostly these were sweets or snacks.

IMG_0202By the way, 1 Yuan is 15 cents US.

Oh yes, while checking out we received a coupon…..dont know what it is good for but nice to know that we are shopping thriftily!!!

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I had asked Jialin for a map of the city and the only one that she could find was huge and coated with plastic so that it was hard to fold.  I had the idea to simply cut out the area that we needed…..about a 2 mile radius around our apartment.  It worked great and I can fold it into fourths and it fits neatly in the pocket of my notebook!!

We decided to put the map to a test and see if we could find our way to Salvador’s, an American run coffee shop and restaurant.  We made it there without a hitch, although it ended up being a longer walk than we had expected.

We ordered a plate of nachos, a Tsingtao beer, Coke Zero and Espresso!   Sounds like a horrible combination but we enjoyed every bite/sip of it!!!!

We walked around the corner and found the shop that my friend, Aling, owns.  She is a wonderful fiber artist but also has jewelry, paintings and drawings.  I am looking forward to going back there for some intensive shopping therapy!!!   We spent a bit of time talking to her and also met her partner, Chris.  He is a part owner of Salvador’s, along with Aling’s husband Colin. 

We had said all along that we were too tired to walk back to KIZ and that we would catch a taxi, but, when the time came, we decided to walk anyway.  And then the unthinkable happened…..we turned one street to soon and ended up in an entirely different part of town.  The biggest problem is that we didn’t figure it out until we had walked about half a mile!!  It was hard to decide where we were on the map because the street names are all written in Chinese characters so we had to do it based on where the cross streets were.  We were finally able to figure out where we were and make our way back home, but you do NOT want to be lost, on foot and already tired.  It is not a good combination.

Needless to say, the climb up the NINETY FOUR steps was not a happy event!!

We spent some time relaxing and listening to music and then fell thankfully into bed!!!

1 comment:

Karen said...

I have been enjoying reading your last few posts. I am really impressed with how well you are coping in your first few days. It shows what a difference experience makes - a little knowledge is a big help. I love reading about the food combinations. Shopping is a whole new experience though. And I certainly do not envy the walk up those stairs with all the luggage and shopping. Are you looking at using a car or just staying with public transport? Do you find that being in a university area that there a lot of people from other countries?
I hope you find a map that suits you better for your next venture.
Good luck.

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