8 Oct

Now, not very long ago, I noticed some people trying to come up with new flavors for Lay’s potato chips.  I saw some of the ideas, and I have to say…

Y’all got nothing on China.

I was unable to get a picture of the “Numb and Spicy Hot Pot” and probably a few others.  Regular potato chips, I believe, are called “Classic American,” or something along those lines.

So from like my first whole day in China, when I first tried one, I’ve been crazy about these herbal tea drinks that I’ve been told are a major thing here in the south.  Here’s one.


I was curious about what exactly is in these teas.  Google to the rescue!

Turns out, it might be the only thing keeping me alive.  Ha ha, holy shit.

Also, I love my wife, as you can see above.

Rachelle had a hankering for Mexican food again.  She found a restaurant on Google Maps and so we charted out our Metro trip to get there.  Pretty much everything’s within a few blocks of a Metro station, and we got our prepaid Metro cards (with a 15% discount per trip!) on our last excursion, so Metro is really the best way to get anywhere in Guangzhou if you can manage it.  In my opinion.  On we went, like a couple of mole-people.  After a few transfers, we got to the Taojin station and attempted to take the exit that would not require us to cross a major thoroughfare.  We were informed that it was out of service.  Eh?  Okay, so hopefully there’s a bridge or something on the surface.  Hey, I wonder why the Metro guards have helmets?  I resisted the urge to knock on one (it was mighty difficult, let me tell you), and we stepped into the sun.


The place was swarming with police and their ilk.  Across the street, cars and vans with flashing lights were all around the exit we would have taken.  Men in camo combat fatigues milled around with the police, many of whom had shields, helmets, and beating-sticks.  They were further supplemented by provincial police and possibly some private guards, who look similar to ordinary traffic cops from a distance, as far as I can tell.  At first, I didn’t want to take any pictures for fear my phone would get taken or smashed, but then I realized I wasn’t in the U.S. anymore and everyone else was taking pictures, and really everyone seemed pretty easygoing.  Nonetheless, we found a footbridge across the street and headed across and then away from the commotion both to find our restaurant and get away from the scene just in case there was anything dangerous happening.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen so many police in one place before.

So we walked past the entrance of the building containing the restaurant twice.  Rachelle suggested we go inside as we were passing it for the second time, but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t in some alleyway on the back side of the building.  Guangzhou’s tricky like that.  We entered the Pearl River building and there was a directory inside.  ITALIAN RESTAURANT 3F, MEXICAN RESTAURANT 4F, the sign said.  I shit you not, there were signs advertising an establishment called “The Italian Restaurant” all over the place; that was the real name.

We hopped into the elevator and pressed 4.  We emerged…in a Sichuan restaurant.  Now I like Sichuan food as much as the next guy, but that’s not what we came for.  We got back in the elevator, a bit confused.  It was heading up further, so we got off at the next floor.  It was some design firm.  There was a brief exchange of Chinglish where the people outside the elevator suggested we might be on the wrong floor as we were explaining that we meant to head down a couple floors.  When the elevator arrived again we all had a good laugh as we tried to cram as many people in the elevator without setting off the alarm.  There was much hopping over the threshold.  3F.  Let’s try this again.

So it turns out that the Mexican Restaurant is really more of a feature of “The Italian Restaurant,” which is really more of a “Pan-Western Restaurant.”  I had a spaghetti bolognese which, despite having no really remarkable flavors, was really, really enjoyable to eat (we speculated that it was in fact full of MSG), Rachelle had a quesadilla (they couldn’t manage guacamole, but the made some red-pepper salsa stuff that was quite good in her opinion) and we both shared some pizza.  The pizza, as far as we could determine, was topped mainly with a cheese that tasted of sunflower kernels, jalapeños, mushrooms, and..kidney beans?  What?  Anyway, it was actually pretty tasty although it did not taste a thing like were were expecting a pizza to taste.  We also had a couple of Coronas, although Rachelle told me later that she has come to prefer Chinese beers.  And seriously, I drink Tsingtao or Zhujiang like I do water (which is still a lot, even though it’s no longer hotter’n Satan’s ass-crack here), so I was in agreement.  We paid and left, and hey–!  the police had finished blocking off the street.  In front of the hotel was a throng of people with banners in Chinese, and Chinese flags, and all around there were people waving little Chinese flags and wearing Chinese flag stickers (some in the shape of a heart).  Okay, so it was a demonstration of some sort.  On the way back down to the Metro I tried to surreptitiously take a picture of somebody who seemed to have been taking part, but the flash on my phone was on, and he noticed, and…well, he was actually happy to let me take a picture of his sign.  On the ride back, we saw on the little television across from us more news of the incident brewing between China and Japan, and so we figured that was what all the hubbub was about.

On another note, we made some tortillas!  Yum!

I’ve blogged before, but it’s always been pretty half-assed.

Our preparations for the upcoming move are mostly finished.  We still have some stuff to get rid of, but overall our garage sale was pretty successful, and most of the rest of the stuff was donated to the migrant camp and various thrift stores around town.  One week and half a day from now, we will be leaving (on a jet plane, don’t know when we’ll be back again).  I’ll let you know how it goes.  It’s so close and yet it’s still hitting us–holy crap, we’re moving to CHINA!

Anyway.  That’s probably all I have for now.