Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chengdu Trip #6 - Chengdu Day 2

I've only been here for 24 hours and my nose/sinus is killing me. I don't feel sick so it's probably the air pollution. It's especially bad this trip. I'm looking out the window and I can barely see the TV tower; usually it's pretty visible. Today was another kick-back day so I can get some rest. We went downstairs to get some breakfast and fruit this morning. I had 2 meat baos, 2 red bean baos, and a soy bean milk for RMB3. Even though baos were pretty small, they were really good. We also bought some grapes and walnuts from the fruit vendor. The grapes were big and juicy but contained seeds. My friend said that they don't have seedless grapes here. I also ate the entire grape (minus the seeds) which she thought was pretty weird; evidently no one here eats the skin.

The fruit vendor cracking walnuts for us (RMB12 per kg). They're raw so they taste funny; the walnuts we buy in markets back home are roasted. I spent the rest of the afternoon peeling the cracked shells off the nuts.

For lunch, my friend went downstairs and got some bentos for RMB6 or about $0.90. You get some rice and an assortment of dishes. It was okay... since we're in Chengdu, everything was a bit too spicy. If you eat it downstairs at the restaurant, you also get a bowl of soup. Earlier this afternoon, we went to the local supermarket and bought some stuff. There is a local peanut candy that I get each time I'm here and bring back to the US. I also bought some White Rabbit milk candy to bring home. Tonight, another friend is coming over and we're going out for dinner and maybe to Haggen Das again to use the other gift certificate.


We ended up having dinner at a BBQ buffet next door to the sizzling steak place. The buffet is similar to a Brazilian churrascaria where servers come to your table with meat on skewers and slice pieces onto your plate. You can also get fruit, salad, and Chinese dishes (since we're in China) at a buffet counter in the middle of the restaurant. It was RMB42 per person and it wasn't really that good. There were not enough "good" meat (beef, pork, chicken) and too much weird stuff (apple, spicy lotus root, chicken kidney) for my liking.

Even though it was all-you-can-eat, they still kept track of what you were served. The Engrish name for the restaurant was "spring self help B.B.Q. Restaurant." Technically, the translation is correct but it makes it sound like you're getting therapy instead of food. Also, I found that Chinese people don't understand the rules of capitalization. Words and phrases are capitalized seemingly at random.

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