A Tronkie Travellogue
Day 2: Beijing, China
The foyer of my uncle's house, with three pieces of Chinese calligraphy.
The two side scrolls are my grandfather's favorite aphorisms.
The centerpiece is a prose poem, rendered by a member of the last Imperial clan, Aisin Gioro who is the brother of the famous calligrapher Yuyan (final heir apparent of the Qing Dynasty) and a nephew of the last emperor, Pu Yi.
06:50: I wake up on my air mattress in the movie room. After making the bed quickly and brushing my teeth, I head upstairs for breakfast. Surprisingly, my cousins don't drink milk. I have some of the best pastries I've had in a long time, though.
08:15: Here's another lesson about Beijing - it's very dusty and somewhat polluted here. My socks are already brown on the soles; I have slippers on but have stepped out of them onto the marble floors many times.
I'm having allergies.
Enter BANADAD, also known as HE WHO CARRIES MANY PHARMACEUTICALS.
BANAZIR: Dad, you have any Sudafed?
HWCMP: Sudafed is useless, son.
BANAZIR: That's because of your tolerance! What do you have?
HWCMP: Tylenol flu, will that do?
BANAZIR: Dad! You're slipping!
HWCMP: Sec. (Fishes around in bag.) Here, how's this? (Hands BANAZIR a pack of twelve yellow caplets labeled TYLENOL SEVERE ALLERGY.)
BANAZIR: Yeah, this is great. Thanks.
HWCMP: Here. (Magically produces another caplet.)
BANAZIR: How many of these do you have?!
HWCMP: Oh, a few. Now remember, you can't drink tap water here...
BANAZIR: I'm sorry I doubted you, Dad.
10:20 - 11:00: I find miyeko on IM and am able to get connected with her via Skype. I also chat a bit with twinbee and he shows me a direct video feed from his TV tuner card. By this point, I notice that I can't get to Wikipedia. It's a casualty of the Great Firewall of China. In IRC, gondhir, taiji_jian and figgylicious make much mockery of my risking the ire of the Chinese government, as if I'm going to hear a knock on the door any minute.
12:00 - 17:00: We have a light lunch at home, and I start acclimating to the heat. By mid-afternoon, my allergies start to flare up again a little, but I pay them no heed.
18:00 - 20:00: Dinner at Xiangmanlou (Fragrant Palace)
Grated radish in vinegar
Shredded pickled ginger
Candied eddos (lotus root) with glutinous rice
Prawns in light sauce
Marinated eels with cilantro
Roasted hot green chilies
Jade (green) bok choy with minced garlic
Full deep-sea fish (14")
Traditional Peking duck (with thin flour wrappers, white scallion stems, and plum sauce)
Hot molasses-candied apples
Pork and cilantro dumplings
Triple delight (shrimp, chicken, pork) dumplings
I had breakfast and lunch today, too. This is seriously more Chinese food than a Chinese person can handle (well, this one, anyway).
21:00: We come home and my little cousin Cynthia (who lived for two years in Beijing before but grew up in Bellevue, WA) reveals that she's never heard of Droopy the Dog, Strong Bad, the Badger-Badger-Badger video, Weebl and Bob, or Xiao Xiao! I have my work cut out for me.
21:30: inever is praising my statements, as are novemberhour (here) and fluffygremlin (here). Yay for vicarious travel thrills! statements on a Plane, crashing on an uncharted island near you.
22:30: I need to get better at Xiaoxiao, the traditional ultraviolence of my people.