China – Week Two Part One

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This will once again be a very long winded post. Which is why I have decided to split this week into 2 posts. Just like last week feel free to skip right over this if it’s the recipes you’re looking for. 🙂 Next up will be Baked Shrimp in Tomato Sauce with Feta. YUM!

Wow, is it really the second week already? Time is really flying! Of course, two weeks in to the trip and there are a few things that I am starting to miss.

For example, breakfast. On weekdays I either like a bowl of cereal (usually Frosted Mini-Wheats, because they’re my *favorite*) or wheat toast with butter and cinnamon sugar, a big glass of OJ or chocolate milk, and a banana. They have a small selection of cereal (no Frosted Mini-Wheats) here but the only 2 milk choices are skim and full cream milk (I assume, whole milk), no chocolate milk. Plus, confession time, I’ve always been weird about drinking milk anywhere but my own home. There is also bread set out but it’s no where near as good as the bread back home. On weekends I like to make a big breakfast with eggs, biscuits, bacon, sometimes cinnamon rolls… Again, there are eggs, but not scrambled the way I make them (almost a creamy texture and all loaded with cheese). Still, I will survive. I’ve been eating a lot of over-easy eggs, watermelon and congee (sort of like grits, but made with rice).

On to the weekly rundown –

Sunday Jesse finally had a full day off of work. We slept in a little and then had breakfast downstairs. After breakfast we got ready to do a little sightseeing. We set out for the Suzhou Gardens (specifically the Humble Ambassador Gardens). We were touring a garden that was originally built in 1509, over 500 years ago (impressed with my math skills?). They were beautiful. We took lots of pictures and toured the area for a good hour and a half. When you exit the gardens you are kind of dumped right out into a shopping area. So we toured a few stores and bought a few small things, then we decided we were hungry. The Gardens are near GuanXing street (where we had dinner last week) so we decided to head over there for lunch (via bike taxi). We couldn’t resist testing out the Chinese version of McDonalds. The burger was pretty spot on for the American burger, the coke was warm and flat.

After lunch was more people watching, shopping, and walking. The most exciting (scary?) part of the day was the cab ride back to the hotel. The cab driver was annoyed because of the traffic and then started driving like a maniac. Passing cars from the lane meant for oncoming traffic, speeding up, slamming on breaks. At one point he almost hit the back of a police van and Jesse had enough. He yelled “HEY, careful” very loudly and the guy looked back through the mirror and kid of laughed at him. Jesse said forget this, made him pull over and let us out and refused to pay. Luckily we weren’t too far from the hotel. Back at the hotel we had the buffet for dinner. Nothing to write home about, as far as the food was concerned.

Monday I was brave and did more exploring. This time I walked further past the Rainbow Walk shopping center. I took lots of pictures and saw more brides. I also think I got a little sunburn and almost had a heat stroke (it was 34 degrees Celsius with what felt like 100% humidity). After resting a little while, I went to the fitness center to work out then it was time to get ready for Jesse to come home. For dinner we walked over to Rainbow Walk to eat at a restaurant called Big and Whistle. The door says German Food, but there was American fare, Chinese fare, Mexican fare and German fare. I ordered the quesadilla, which was a mistake. Just not very good. The most interesting part of dinner was when the power went out! We ate in near darkness, with just a little candle and the fading light from the window, for the second half of our meal.

The next day I think I was still exhausted from my heat walk the day before so I spent most of the day relaxing in the room. I did work out but other than that the day was wasted. Jesse called around lunch time and said that one of his employees (the lead engineer that will supervise when the Americans are gone) wanted to take us out for dinner. He and his wife took us to a great restaurant, that I did not catch the name of. We sat at a hibachi grill and watched as the chef prepared each course.

An appetizer came while the chef was preparing the grill. It looked like fish bites, but turned out to be fish head, chopped into four. I ate it. It wasn’t bad actually. There was sauce to dip it in and a little plate to spit out unwanted parts. Had I not been told, I’m not sure I would have known it was fish head (and had I been told before I started eating I might not have tried it :)) After that there was bread topped with apple and….goose liver. Actually very good. I even left the apple and didn’t worry about the mixture of fruit and meat. Then it all started coming very quickly. Snowfish, beef, crayfish (maybe? that’s what it looked like), soup, clams, more fish, salad and my favorite, the fried rice which was nothing like fried rice back home…. Whoa, we we were stuffed when the meal was over. Along with the meal we also had apple juice. It sounds ordinary enough, but when you consider the fact that our juice was an apple not less than 5 minutes before we were drinking it, it was pretty extraordinary. As with every meal we have had in China, it was finished off with a plate of fresh fruit, watermelon, oranges, and tomatoes. Tomatoes are a fruit, ya know. (All photos taken with my iPhone)

Now it is Wednesday and so far I have eaten breakfast, surfed the web and now I’m blogging. Looking out the window of the lounge I see 3 brides (really couples but I like to just say brides :)) having their photo taken – no wait make that 4. Later this evening we may go to dinner with Mandy and Michelle again.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. JCHokie

    >Love reading about your time in China. I was born in Taiwan and moved to the States when I was 10. The first time I went back to Taiwan was right after college, so I had been gone for quite some time. And the cab rides was what I hated/feared the most. They do drive like complete maniacs! I seriously feared for my life a couple of times.

    Anyway, enjoy all the good eats there!

  2. Janet

    >I love these posts! What is your husband doing in China? How long are you guys there?

  3. Jessica

    >JCHokie- I am not sure I will get used to the cab rides 🙂

    Janet- Thank you! He is here on business. He's been here since April, we both leave at the end of July which is 3 1/2 months for him and 5 weeks for me.

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