Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Food and frustration

the boat restaurant

My most exciting news is that I have booked my ticket home, and will be arriving in the UK on the 8th of August after spending a month in Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia. So I have more travel planning to do before I’ve even finished telling you about my last trip – lucky me! I feel so fortunate to have the chance to work and travel so widely, especially in comparison to many of my students, some of which are 17 or 18 and haven’t been to Beijing, two hours away by train.

My weekend started frustratingly. I had been scheduled to tutor five year old triplets in English every Tuesday and Friday evening, outside of my work for the school, and had my first class with them last Tuesday. It went well, and I was looking forward to meeting them again. However, on Friday the time of the class was changed but my employer forgot to tell me, meaning I arrived half an hour late for class through no fault of my own. My employer blamed me, meaning that the parents decided they no longer wanted me to teach the girls, which was annoying to say the least!
shepherd's pie? well, kinda........
The rest of the weekend was pretty low key. I went to the Boat Restaurant, one of my favourite restaurants in Shijiazhuang, with my friends on Saturday night. As you can tell from the photo, if you get here early enough you can eat in a boat. The dish above is normally shepherd’s pie, but for some reason when we ordered it on Saturday they first brought us this vile looking tomato and beef strew. We spent about five minutes wrangling with a waitress in our very limited Chinese before they took that away and brought this, which still wasn’t what we really wanted but it seemed close enough. It was pretty tasty, and we also had excellent sweet and sour pork with pineapple and dry fried green beans.

We spent the rest of the evening chilling out in a nearby pool hall, people watching and marvelling at some of the Chinese fashion on display.

the pool hall, one of the cleanest places to hang out in the city

On Sunday evening one of the Chinese English teachers, Mr Liu, took me and another Chinese English out to dinner. Mr Liu speaks completely fluent English, and is fantastic company, full of interesting anecdotes. I would like to have taken photos of the food we ate, as it was beautifully presented as well as delicious but I refrained as I was afraid they might think I’d gone insane. We ate vinegar peanuts, di san xian, a traditional Chinese dish made with aubergine (egg plant), potatoes and green peppers, a barbeque pork type thing, turnip balls, which do not sound appetizing but were very moreish and succulent, and pork and cabbage dumplings. A lot for three people! I probably ate more than by fair share, as the food was so good it was hard to stop.

Throughout the meal we were ‘gambe-ing’ beer, which is when you must down your (thankfully relatively small) glass in one, so by the end I was just about ready to explode. The restaurant is quite near to my apartment, and I’m grateful for Mr Liu for introducing me to it. Because of our somewhat non existent Mandarin, it’s very difficult for us to find new places to eat, so I’m looking forward to going back with my friends and trying more of their food. A project for
this weekend perhaps?

No comments:

Post a Comment