Friday, November 16, 2007

Chairman Mao's Revenge

This picture was lots funnier yesterday, before I ate or came down with something that might make me a patient. And how fortunate for me, it's only a mile or so from my hotel here in Guiyang. Supposedly the outdoor night market down the block prepares a mean dog but I didn't (knowingly) sample any fillet of Fido or rack of Rover. I had some airline food on my way to a layover in Changsha. The flight attendants gave out little boxes of, well, I'm not entirely sure what was in there. The flight attendant said, "noodle" and it appeared to be wispy noodles with flecks of meat.

In China meat often means pork and not only don't I eat red meat I also watch what I eat very carefully here in China. But I let my guard down and scarfed down the greasy noodles. A guy's got to eat and my problem here in China is: would I rather not know what's on the Mandarin only menu or would I prefer a menu in English? Actually, that menu would be in "English", the last one I encountered in Xiamen used delectable descriptors that I never want to see on a restaurant menu again such as "Worms" and "Clam grease". This dilemma usually sends me to the supermarket. I can't read the labels there either but I know a loaf or bread or a container of sweet corn yogurt when I see one.

When I got off the plane in Guiyang my stomach and other connected organs had formed a chorus of, "Hey! Pay attention to us! Do It Now!". So after checking in I headed to the Beijing Hualian supermarket chain around the corner and bought a 2 liter jug of purified water. I'm sure that's what the label would've said in English. The label had Chinese characters and a picture of a polar bear. Oh, I also bought some already peeled fruit. Mandarin oranges, pieces of Dragon Fruit, melon, apple and maybe a little Ecoli. And maybe some melamine. There was no label and even if there was, I couldn't read it anyway.

So I was up all night pouring water into the top end of me and, well, you get the picture. Up all night wondering what I was thinking in coming here to China. Wanting to be home in my own bed, using my own toothbrush and if I had to be sick sitting on my very own throne. But that's not an option now. I'm off to Kunming on Monday and Bangkok on next Saturday before I come home to Seattle and Eleanor's fantastic and creative cooking. Mmmmm.

Next stop today was a drug store. I needed to stock up on over the counter meds like Imodium (Loperamide). There's a local drug store chain across the square, surely they'd have something for what ails me. I walked in and was met by a pretty clerk with an enquiring, helpful look. I patted my stomach and made a face. I patted my behind. I showed her my last remaining Loperamide tablet. She giggled and took me right over to the Viagra display.

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