Monday, September 8, 2008

"They're more like guidelines, anyway."

We're riding a bus down a small, ordinary 2-lane highway. Or so we thought. Did you know that if a two-lane road has a decent shoulder, it is actually a 5-lane highway? As long as two of the vehicles are motorcycle sized or smaller, anyway. The Chinese drivers can easily fit two buses, a car, a motorcycle, and a moped side-by-side on a two-lane highway. And these vehicles don't have to be going the same direction; in fact, it's that much more fun if they're not. Passing on a double-yellow line is perfectly acceptable, and even accepted. I don't know if speed limits exist here, but if so, the police don't care. In fact, I haven't seen the police care about anything having to do with traffic yet. Red lights are also merely a suggestion, which makes crosswalks one of the most hazardous places to cross the street, because you are lulled into a false sense of security. They also have more traffic to watch; therefore it is much better to cross in the middle of a street.

The strangest things I've eaten yet (that I've known what I was eating...) are 1-month eggs (I think they actually call them 1 year eggs, but it's an egg that has been wrapped in pine needles and stuck in an ash pit for a month), and cow tongue. The eggs were black colored, and had a bit of an odd taste, but weren't bad. Ryan liked them. I preferred the cow tongue, which is good, because we've been served it twice now.

Today we found a giant indoor flea market (no, not selling actualy fleas, though I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot there). From the outside it looks like a giant shopping mall, but inside it's definitely a flea market. You can find everything from dishes, to clothes, to tools, to CDs, to giant umbrellas for motorcycles and scooters (hey, when it's your only form of transportation, why get wet?)...

A couple days ago we also found a bakery. Talk about a dream come true! Do you know how hard it is to find baked goods here? Everything is fried, steamed, or boiled, including their bread! But we found a true bakery, with bread, cookies, tarts, cakes, and more. They even had chocolate cake with real chocolate (also hard to find)! For about Y65 (about $10) I could buy Ryan a GIANT birthday cake (like, 4-7 layers), exquisitely decorated, and hopefully tasting good... but I don't know what we'd do with a giant cake, so when his birthday comes next month I'll probably buy one of the small, fruit topped cakes and we'll eat it in one sitting.

You know, speaking of bread, there's another problem with bread here. If you do manage to find some that was baked instead of steamed, it always has weird stuff in it that takes you by surprise. These awesome looking scone breakfast things turned out to have weird peppers in them. A delicious roll was full of nasty bean paste. A normal looking loaf of bread had weird raisins in it. Or the loaf is purple; we had one of those given to us our first day at this school. It tasted just like normal bread, but was definitely VERY purple. Why? Why can't they have plain, normal bread? Sure they don't eat sandwiches, but that roll we tried: why couldn't it have been plain? Why the bean paste?

Watch out for the corn-flavored ice cream as well.

But the cow tongue is good; go for that.

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