Thursday, May 20, 2010

Night 7: Hot Pot Gets Heated

May 7 evening:

After the class we got back on the bus at 5:13 or 17:13 to head to dinner- a hot pot. It was rush hour...I never knew buses could get so packed. The UofM buses have regulations that do not allow passengers to be in front of a yellow I've seen people squashed to the very front of the bus, faces and bodies plastered to the front and door windows. It also amazes me how people can notice us in the bus from s far away and I can see them staring...and I guess it makes sense that since I can stare at them then they can see us and gawk...but one of my photos of a bunch of highway construction works has a man doing the victory sign and smiling at us...and I took it as we were driving past fairly fast and on the opposite side of the highway...

There are always people sprinkling the streets, and on the highways...walking, riding, weeding, pushing, waiting, jogging, carting, wheeling, vending, planting, constructing, cleaning, fixing, etc. Their tanned skin glistening and peeking out from the bright orange suites. I also never knew that 3 people could fit on a bicycle or motorbike until we came here- two women, two men, woman walking older woman on bike, mom and dad with baby, boy and girl. I am almost used to it by now (May 20th).

There is a lot of building development going on right now from what I can see where we've been.

We showed up at a mall type building, they are usually higher than they are wide. The hot pot was inside. It was fancy. I feel like we are underdressed most times we go out to eat. Larry said before we left Michigan that we would be eating at fancier places due to health concerns, not to show off...but some of the places are so upscale I feel awkward walking in with shorts and flip-flops.

There was a huge wine rack that reached from floor to ceiling when we walked in. Red, black and white were the colors that decorated the restaurant. They sat us in a back corner where the walls were painted black. I had wished we could sit somewhere that was better lit...or by a window like the other rooms. We mostly had our own hot pot instead of a having one in the middle. I think this was the meal that people were most picky about. It got a little demanding for me and a few of us got irritated with the number of requests. There were numerous waitstaff helping us and some of the concerns could have been said quieter and patience was in short supply for my standards. Like I have said, I don't like feeling spoiled everywhere we go and so that's the main thing that gets to me. I like everyone, I really do, I just do not always like how we appear or the loudness/word choices people use. Jenny asked us what we wanted and one item was mushrooms and they were immediately shut down, but then they came in the broth stock...and it was to give it flavor and there were complaints about it and I felt I would have just picked them out or not eaten them because you wouldn't taste them if you don't eat them. Allergies I understand, but there are not many on the team. Gia and I mentioned about wishing everyone would be more openminded because we were both getting upset, and I guess that ticked others off.

Overall, however, the dinner was great and the food was delicious. I liked cooking it, (besides the heat of all the pots in the corner) and I made my first whole shrimp, head and all. Not everyone can do that (but they begin to as the trip progresses- everyone seems to grow each day, it's great. I have found myself observing more this trip...I always am observing and thinking but I am usually the center of attention as well...running, jumping and dancing-sometimes with a song outburst, but it's easy to be more distant observing this trip because of all the colorful personalities, each getting their time in the light).

There was a guy who did a dance with the noodles...he spun and twirled and sprung it in our face...lack of better vivid vocabulary...
The fancy places always have nice bathrooms, some with a Western toilet as well (not a "normal" toilet but a Western toilet...). The hand washing places in most Chinese bathrooms we have been to are in one area where men and women cleanse together, with or without soap, depending on the place. This place had lotion and a few other things as well...

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