So New Year, or Spring Festival, is not a simple night of drinking followed by a quiet day of recovery as we know it in the west. It is a week long national holiday with each night having some amount of firework display (provided by locals, not professionals) and a time when familioes congregate around their elders and spend time together. Zhen and I are back in a hotel closer to the center of Beijing. In fact, we are just across the street from the Bird’s Nest, home of many of the 2008 Olympic events. Sadly, we moved out of her mom’s place, where we were for New Years Eve, New Years Day and the following day. We had a wonderful visit there and ate SO MUCH FOOD!
New Years day (31 Jan) we went to Ditan as I mentioned in a prior post. I did NOT get lost but I did eat 2 insects! Check that off the things to eat list. They weren’t as disgusting tasting as I expected, but the visual effect was really terrible. I couldn’t look at them after I had eaten one for fear of puking. I had four on my stick but only managed to eat 2. Zhen tried to video the whole thing but we encountered technical difficulties. If I run across another booth of insects, I’ll video myself eating a couple more. Apparently the scorpions are more delicious than the cicadas, which is what I ate.
After we finished downtown, we returned to Zhen’s mom’s place. We rode the bus into town and home. It’s only $0.40 per trip! For the last bit of the journey, we used a bicycle (actually tricycle) taxi. I’ve attached a picture of that as well. We bought a pack of cards and played Dizhu (a Chinese card game). Her mom mopped the floor with us and we had a great time!
Yesterday (1 Feb), we had a relaxing day at Zhen’s mom place and packed our bags. Her cousin came back out to pick us up and all five of us (myself, Zhen, his wife and Zhen’s mom) headed into Beijing for hotpot. I got lots of pictures of hotpot so I won’t describe it at length here, but it’s a fun way to eat! During that meal I tried some more new things. Eel and pigs kidney were a few. I assure you they aren’t as gross as they sound. I am finding out that if you don’t want to starve in China, you need to expand your culinary horizons beyond the real of slabs of meat and sides of veggies. In fact, you can throw that concept in the garbage, I haven’t seen a slab of meat with a side of veggies since I got here and I don’t expect I will since we are purposely avoiding western food.