Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday Doings

Blogspot was cranky last night so I couldn't post this until Thursday morning.

Elaina slept in this morning after a midnight feeding. We had been counting on her for an alarm clock, so overslept. We rushed breakfast, then Katrina headed out on a day trip (she'll discuss it separately) while I stayed back with Elaina. We decided that after so much tumult, we'd let her dictate her own schedule. She took a nap at 10:00, as her paperwork says she likes to do, and was in good spirits all day.

After Katrina got back I walked over and got a stroller for ridiculously cheap (197 yuan, or less than $20) for use here and in Guangzhou. Elaina accepted it with good grace:

After her afternoon nap we joined some other families for a five-minute walk to a local restaurant. Our Holt guide Echo led us. The restaurant was in the lobby of a plaza structure and, like many popular restaurants here, huge and multi-story. We were early and didn't have to wait; they sat us in the middle of a huge room, waitresses with dustpans and brooms hovering about waiting for the rain of food they correctly suspected the babies would generate. The food was superb. The beef ribs were flavorful and crispy, a wonton soup surprisingly but pleasantly tart, barbecued beef succulent, and stir-fried green beans agreeably spicy. It was all washed down with a local favorite I've become attached to, Snow Beer, which is very refreshing in the heat and humidity. The crowd pleasers were a fish done up something like a Bloomin' onion from Outback, and a radish rabbit on the pork plate:

Elaina enjoyed rice, pork, steamed egg, noodles, Cheerios, and putting all of the above in her hair. She has a favorite party trick; her cute but commodious cheeks allow her to pretend to eat at length, only to spit it all out into her bib, where she can enjoy it at her leisure.

The hovering ladies were vindicated. We walked away from a table that looked like the one in The Godfather after Mike kills the two guys in the Italian restaurant with the gun hidden in the toilet, only with fewer dead rogue cops and more mashed tofu.

Walking out, we were struck again by the fact that we were the only Westerers in the place. In fact, I've only seen two Westernerns outside our group in the whole city since we got here -- a manager at the hotel and a European guy in the grocery. We are conspicuous and get a lot of stares; I have feared for the lives of several bicyclists as they continued towards traffic as their heads swiveled to follow us. Many stares are friendly, some are curious, but most are unknowable to those used to Western expressions.

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