Scorpions, Coconuts, and Curfew

Trip Start Jun 03, 2013
Trip End Aug 25, 2013

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Class actually went pretty quickly today. I took some hot tea in with me to help soothe my throat. I do feel a lot better today. Not so much pressure and congestion, still a lot of irritation, sneezing, and coughing though. I've decided I HAVE to wear a mask when I go outside. Otherwise, I won't survive here.

I ate lunch and went back to the room. Then I went to the big underground grocery store. I was intrigued by all the products. I went down every aisle, taking everything in. They had some very interesting items, like black sesame paste by the cereal. What do you do with that? Is that like Cream of Wheat? They had a million kinds of feminine pads, but no tampons. Are there no tampons in China? They had Instnat Oatmeal (spelled just like that, see picture). Quite funny. Eventually, I stopped sightseeing and got the laundry detergent I needed plus some jasmine tea bags and rice rolls. I had forgotten to get a cold drink, so I went into the convenience store across the street and bought 1 L of iced tea with the new Superman on it. Mass marketing is alive and well in China.

When I got back to the room, I tried and tried to get on the internet, but apparently, only 10 or so people can be on the internet at one time on this server. Eventually, I got on, but only after trying intermittently over 2 or 3 hours. While I was waiting, I did a load of laundry and read. It was very peaceful.

Just got back from dinner. I ate by myself. No one was around. My roommate, Sarah, went out to dinner, lucky girl. I'm quite tired of the cafeteria food. Tonight I had eggplant and chicken with bell pepper. I take out the bell peppers, though. I haven't seen the eggplant before, so it was nice to have something different. Too bad it's always so salty.

Tonight we're going to Wangfujing. Not sure who all is going, but I'll be glad to get out of the room. Although, now I'm wondering what I'm going to wear, since I have most of my wardrobe hanging around the room drying! Note to self: Don't wash everything at the same time!

OK, so I found a complete outfit that consisted of dry clothing. When Sarah got back we met everyone downstairs. I felt silly in my mask, but I feel it is the best thing to do to save my respiratory system. Everyone seems to understand.

So we had quite a few in our group: me, Lucy (Vietnam), Chitz (India), Sarah and Iris (Korea), Bastian and Judi (France), Laura (Latvia), Ahmed (Egypt), and Steven (China/US). I absolutely love being in such an international group. It's really amazing and fun.

So our mode of transport was the subway. The street we went to is kind of like Times Square in New York City with garish lights, street performers, and lots and lots of people. We went down this crazy alley to the night market that has a beautiful gate at its entrance. Inside we found live scorpions to eat, coconuts to drink, trinkets to buy, and even more people. The guy at the scorpion booth grabbed one of the sticks of wriggling creatures and jutted it out towards us. I think I screamed a little. I definitely backed up into the crowd. I don't care if they're impaled on that stick, I don't want them anywhere near me. I never saw anyone eat any. I was curious to see what they looked like cooked. I can only assume they are cooked before one eats them. Right?

It was great fun, although the heat load inside the alley was rather high. I was dying for something cold to drink.A couple of people grabbed some little bottles of Chinese drinkable yogurt, but since I don't do dairy, I passed on that. Our group was moving too fast for me to stop to buy a drink. I didn't want to get separated. In fact, two of our party, Ahmed and Laura, did get separated from us while haggling over some prices.

Just outside the alley, we went into a candy store, and there I grabbed some cold bottled tea. Oh, so refreshing. We then headed towards the front end of the street toward the subway station while a couple people in our group tried to call our missing companions. They finally caught up with us.

We hurried to the subway, and it took forever to get our tickets. Throngs of people were in line. We didn't have much time before it was curfew (10 p.m.), and the doors to our dorm would be locked. The train was packed and then more packed at each station. We got to our destination, and some of our group took off running. Uh, no. I'm not running. Besides the fact that I don't like to run, my lungs just couldn't take it. I figured the young ones could run and keep the door open. Three others were just in front of me, so I wasn't the only one not engaged in the sprint for the dorm. We got there a few minutes after 10, but the runners had gotten there in time. We'll be sleeping in our beds tonight.
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Tom Petry on

Hi Kit, Wow, quite the adventure so far. I'm impressed in how well you are coping with everything. Sounds like a bit of culture shock dealing with finding your way around and figuring out how everything works. You have more tolerance for "adventure" than this old guy, but I'm enjoying being able to follow your trip.

kitkatgo on

Thanks! It's much more interesting than a 9 to 5 job!! :)

MarkAnthony (Malta for Shaban) on

Nice post.. where is the scorpion market? i haven't seen it yet although i was in the main shopping street

kitkatgo on

Oh! It's Wanfujing! The scorpions are just after the pretty gate.

Mark Anthony on

Thanks! I will look better.. normally I only see the shops :o)))

kitkatgo on

The souvenir shopping street runs perpendicular to the food street in this old area. Look for the old Chinese gate & go in there. The scorpions are just after the gate on the right.

If you take the subway, when you first get onto the modern shopping street, the old gate is to your left.

Mark Anthony on

Thanks! i'll give them a visit during November... it's Scoprio's time ;)

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