Thursday, January 10, 2008

A slow boat to Dongman Road

Dilys, Brian and Dilys' mom

Dilys and her mom were kind enough to take us to the Dongman Road area of Shenzhen, a very popular spot for eating and shopping....if you're 14. It's like a mall only in that there are stores and they sell things. It's a group of winding streets, corridors and levels that are very cramped, hot, and easy to get lost in. They carry pretty much the same stuff as the mall in Lo Wu, but are a little less agressive. It's a huge teen hangout place since it sells trendy clothes and electronics cheap. I mean DIRT cheap. Brian got a few Wii games for about 60 cents apiece. I'm wondering if they will work.

We also ate at a very popular "Hot Pot" restaurant called "Little Sheep" (actual translation: "Little Fat Sheep".) Hot Pot is is a dish native to Northern China (I'm in the Guangdong province in the south). It's basically a large bowl of boiling broth (half spicy, half not) filled with (by Dilys' report) 60 ingredients, 59 of which I think were garlic. HUGE cloves of garlic. Peppers, nuts of some sort, onions, all kinds of stuff. Dilys' mom ordered about a 1/2 ton of meat (lamb and beef...they wanted to order sheep brain and I was all for it but Brian vetoed us), as well as something that looked like pork rinds but was made of corn, tofu (much bigger and spongier than what we are used to in the US) and some sort of large lettuce looking thing that for all intents and purposes tasted like lawn. So you dump all this stuff in the hot pot, wait until it boils, then you pull the cooked ingredients out of the broth and eat them (you don't really eat the broth or spices). It was delicious but I fear some serious gastric ramifications a little later tonight (I've once again "borrowed" a bit of Brian's duty-free Seagrams as a means to kill any bacteria in my digestive system.)

The ride over to Dongman was interesting in that Dilys' mom hit a top speed of about 4mph. Ok yes there are stereotypes, but even here people were flashing their brights and honking at her like crazy. The main street through Shenzhen is kind of like an expressway, but nobody goes over 30. Dilys' mom does not speak English so we were trying to figure out how to say "STEP ON IT" in Chinese.

One thing we noticed while driving through Shenzhen at night: Let's say you're a developer who has a new highrise apartment building. How will you advertise it? The paper? TV? Real estate agents? No, not in Shenzhen. Here, you just make the whole building a giant illuminated sign so that you have your phone number taking up 40 floors of the side of the building. I'm guessing that there is no Chinese word for "subtle."

Oh and by the way so much for my track record on Western-style-only toilets. Little Fat Sheep only had squatters, and I had 2 very large Tsingtaos so I had to visit twice. I managed not to hit my jeans but my shoes might have gotten a little damp. Man I just can't figure out how some people, particularly women who wear trousers, would prefer that.

Oh! One other thing, I got my fabulous clothes delivered today. The jacket is very cool...exactly what I ordered and very nice qauality, lined and everything. The pants aren't quite as good but that's my fault. They fit perfectly but I said to the tailor that I didn't want very low rise pants (muffin top you know). So he basically made me 2 pairs of granny pants where the waistband is right about mid-torso. Sexy! They're nice though, and I can just wear them with long shirts.

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