Sunday, September 13, 2009

Century Egg

So I was out getting some food tonight at this sichuan noodle place that I go to almost every day. I ordered my spicy handmade noodles to go and while I waited I was shooting the breeze with the owner of the place. We eventually started talking about the menu and bizarre foods in China. One of the things on the menu was 皮蛋. This translates directly to leather (or skin) egg, but in english they're called century eggs. I had heard of them and I asked about the process of making them, he explained it to me, but I didn't quite understand some of the words he was using. He said you soak it in ___ for a fair about of time and the ___ makes the egg very ____ and changes the color. It's good for your health. And ___ is something used in chemistry. I say, 'oh. that's interesting,' thinking that the conversation was done. But the owner told the waitress to bring out a century egg from the kitchen. She did. He cracked it and set it on the table in front of me. It looked exactly like the picture below. He laughed at the look on my face when he told me to eat it. We agreed he would eat half and I'd eat half. In the name of trying new things, I popped it in my mouth and slowly began chewing, all the while very conscientious of the intent stares directed at my expression. I think I kept my face pretty neutral, but the thing was nasty. With every mushy bite, I could smell/taste a chemical fume which I couldn't quite put my finger on as I breathed out of my nose (after further research I realized the fume was ammonia). Anyway, I washed it down with a bunch of water, took my noodles and bid them goodnight. The owner smiled at me and put another egg in my hand for the road and waved goodbye.

Click here for more info on century eggs. The picture looks exactly like the one I had. (It's a duck egg, by the way.)

I am lazy

I have been lazier than usual in posting updates. Although there are valid excuses for the delays, I apologize for keeping you all biting your nails in anxiousness as I'm sure you've been doing since my last post. My excuses are thus: 1) All blogspot addresses are blocked in China, so updating is difficult. 2) The task of documenting and summarizing an entirely new way of life feels more than slightly daunting. In light of these completely rational excuses, I've decided not to feel bad about the tardiness of this post.

So. I live in China now and it's
different from the United States. That being said, I'm not going to try to explain everything all in one go.

So here's some interesting stuff I've encountered so far:

1. Some things to keep in mind if you plan on visiting me (via US airways):


Antlers will be accepted as checked baggage for a charge of $100 per direction. The following conditions of acceptance apply:

  • Dimension (H + W + L) must not exceed 120 in/305 cm
  • On the CRJ aircraft the largest dimension cannot exceed 33 in/84 cm and the overall dimensions cannot exceed 99 in/252 cm
  • On the Dash 8 aircraft the largest dimension cannot exceed 50 in/127 cm
  • Head/skull must be completely clean and free of residue
  • Points must be covered and protected
  • 1 rack per ticketed customer
  • Can’t combine or cradle 2 or more racks

Vaulting poles

Vaulting poles will be accepted in the normal baggage allowance in lieu of a piece of baggage. One item of vaulting equipment consists of 1 pole and container with a maximum length of 16 ft/4.9 meters.

Vaulting poles cannot be transported on US Airways Express. Vaulting poles should be enclosed in a container of sufficient strength to protect the pole from accidental damage.

2. I live on the 3rd floor, right beneath the 5th floor in a beautiful apartment complex. 4th floors often don't exist in Chinese buildings due to the similarity in pronunciation of the word for "four" and the word for "death."

I'll try to update more frequently

I don't know why the spacing is weird