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Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 2- Meeting the Folks

Sorry it's been so long since I updated but school is murdering me. -_-

Siwei met up with me at the hotel and we headed over to her home. In the taxi on the way there, I mentioned that I wanted to get some lunch or something one day with a friend of mine in the area. She asked me if my friend was a girl, which she was (you know who you are), and promptly got jealous. Like I traveled half way around the world to play games with this poor girl! Oh well. I let it go for the time being. Maybe next time.

We got to the place where she lived which was this small market district and her family's apartment was down a small alley. There was just one other apartment in the alley where an old lady, her son, his wife and little boy lived. And there was a separate, shared bathroom that also served as the old lady's cooking area.... -_- You know the phrase "Don't shit where you eat?" Apparently they have never heard it.

Yes. That dark, foreboding doorway is the bathroom/kitchen.

I met Siwei's parents and they were very nice. There wasn't as much awkwardness as I thought there would be. If my future daughter ever brings some weird foreign guy home I think I just might drop kick him as soon as I see him. I'm aware that it is good manners to bring a gift when someone invites you to their home in China but I could never get a good suggestion on what they would like so I got them this super awesome photo book that has pictures of my hometown and landscape. I almost wanted to keep it for myself! Her parents couldn't read any of it but they appreciated the gesture. Anyway, her mom is really cool and even now, everytime I call Siwei, her mom wants to talk to me and hear me say "Yom Zow!!!!" which means "Let's drink beer! (I guess.)" Her dad is a workaholic and sleeps the nights away at work and comes home for lunch most days so I saw him only a few times while I was there but he made a point to meet me and spend some time around me. He seems like a really cool guy. Like a Chinese Vito Corleone so I should watch out! He even bought me this huge jug of Snake Wine!

Is that thing huge or is it HUGE? It's like 5 gallons of liquid fire! And no. Your eyes are not deceiving you. It's called Snake Wine because there are a bunch of coiled up venomous snakes in it. They even cut the venom sacks open and you can see it glisten at the surface like an oil slick. Her dad poured me a little dixie cup of it to have with lunch and I could see little pieces of snake at the bottom. Snake Wine is one of those things that you absolutely have to try just to say that you did it (you also get massive respect from your Chinese friends) and I had just turned 21 so I was still a lightweight. That little cup had my head swimming BIG TIME. He kept offered me some more but I, rather embarrassed, had to refuse. And besides, you really don't want to get totally smashed in the first hour of meeting your girl's parents. On to the food. Siwei's mom is a master chef. No exaggeration. And Chinese people eat differently (And more orderly in my opinion) than in the West. In America you just kind of slop everything you want onto your plate but in China, at least where I was, there are bowls of all the dishes on the table and you get it as you eat. A little of this, a little of that. It was good! And there was always a nice variety of food. Some vegetable, some meat, some deep-fried bread or something.

After that we walked to a mall and looked around. We had to cross a few intersections and I can say with absolute certainty that China has the worst drivers on the planet. They don't care if there are people in the road or not. Those people better get out of the road. In fact, you should youtube pedestrians getting hit in traffic. It's crazy stuff! We got back after a few hours, I was careful not to buy much since I still had like, 8 days left on my trip. They put me up in Siwei's room which was really just a makeship partition in the corner of the living room. with a bed and desk in it. Because it was so hot there was no need for blankets and instead of bed sheets there was some kind of bamboo mat. I guess to keep you from sweating into the mattress? It wasn't all that comfortable but I was so tired from running around all day that I usually passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow. Operation Sweep Her Off Her Feet almost crashed and burned yet again because of something stupid though. It was so stipid it's retarded. I don't want to go into details but suffice it to say that you should never let your prankster friends or family hold your phone or put anything on there that you don't want other people seeing, females especially. But there ya go! Lesson learned! Thanks to my superb damage control skills yet another disaster was averted. Job well done!

I used their bathroom for the first time and it was an adventure. The toilet is pretty much a porcelain hole in the ground and their is a tub or water with a scoop in it that you use to throw water at your dooky. Basically pulverizing it until it disappears down the hole. Good times! :D Because I was still stuck in my American time zone I would have to take care of business around 1 or 2 in the morning so I would have to open up the front door, which would always jam and wake up the whole house when I jerked it open, and walk down the pitch black alley to the bathroom. When I turned the lights on I could see roaches (waterbugs????) as long my index finger scurry for cover. I wasn't too freaked out by that since I knww they are common in tropical climates but I felt so weak and vulnerable as I squatted over the toilet, unable to defend myself should a monster bug crawl across my foot.

Doesn't exactly give off comfy vibes, right? That's ok. I've gone #2 in worse places. They also had a shower/storage closet. It was really a shower head fixed to a garden hose and spicket. In the closet where they kept all their dry goods and stuff. Don't get me wrong though! I'm not trying to rip on the way they do things. It was a lot of fun and was an enriching experience. If I could do it that way in America I probably would. I'll crank out the next update soon!

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