Friday, August 08, 2008

Total solar eclipse - 食/Food

This time I wanted to talk about food.

Leaving home, you will find that we really have a very wide variety of food in this world. Marching into the north of mainland China, you will get more spicy and oily food, the taste will be stronger. That's what I expected from my past experience. It turns out to be real, but let's do it slowly.

Let's begin with the first one. You know KFC, but maybe you don't know they sell congee. It's even Chinese congee! Thousand years egg with pork, and that's so nice. You see, KFC can be highly localized.

On the plan, we were offered another breakfast and it's some noodle with one fry egg and two short sausages. That egg is definitely sun style and people said it's a good sign to eat them all - as a total solar eclipse. Same saying as in Cantonese.

Next, we're already in Urumqi. We have some time to walk around in the market near the hotel. We didn't stay in the hotel, we just reached there for a welcoming dinner there. Before the dinner, we have some free time to walk around.

I suppose these two were daily food for local people. First of all, the fruits there were all attractive. They looked juicy and exceptionally big. And for those "pancake" like bread in the second image, it's very common there. Those shops are just like bakery. I guess people eat these breads daily as well, I saw some people buying a few of them to bring them home after work.

After the short walk, we have that welcoming dinner in the hotel but then there's nothing interesting to write about. The objective is not the food, but the "welcome". Don't get me wrong, the food is acceptable and nice. But I just want to say, sometimes people are not eating because of food.

Then, we're off for the overnight train. Nothing were offered during the trip, and we have no good place for brushing teeth and that's somehow expected, so it's time for those sugar free chewing gum! Hey, it's another example to show that eating is not always because of the need of food.

On the next morning, we were there for breakfast.

This kind of breakfast is very common is you go more north than Beijing. The congee is way different from southern part of mainland China and it's far more watery, sometimes not white in color like this one. You have a lot of other things to mix together, to customize your own bowl to give better taste.

So then, we're on the way to the camping site. After some sight seeing, we have our lunch in a countryside restaurant, the food is probably the best for this trip. Cooking lamb with water is the best way if you got freshed prepared lamb, this is a familiar taste if you ever visited inner Mongolia. Unluckily, I didn't take any snapshot of that lunch.

Finally, we reached the camp site after several hours, and that's the real "welcoming" dinner. That metal plate reminded me about those RMB 3-5 per set lunch in those factories in southern part of mainland China. The food is different, however.

On the next morning, we have a chance to visit a nearby (45 minutes drive) market, and here, we got another chance to see what local people eat. I bought a cup noodle for later consumption since I expect that I couldn't eat local food well for too long. It's not about the taste, but it's all about the body condition, you need time to really adapt to the new environment. Cup noodle is a very safe way to go.

Meat are hanging everywhere for sales without freezing. The weather is pretty hot and if it's somewhere else without freezing, no one else will buy. But it's no problem for local people. Hey, you got a special set of antibodies if you live there for longer.

Another corner of that market, people are selling food, ready for eating on spot. I didn't try, since it's not lunch time yet. And I was trying to be conservative in order to keep the best body condition for the eclipse.

We headed back for the camping site for lunch, and it's terribly hot there in the afternoon, the food is similar but you know, it's getting less and less both in terms of quality and quantity for that two days that we stayed there. People are getting less interested as well.

After the lunch, we have a chance to do some very short hiking (better say walking), we met some small fruits which people said can be eaten. But we were also told that the taste is no good, so I didn't try.

That's about it, since we're eating on the same place mostly for the rest of the time, so I dare not to repeat everything.

At night, we have a pretty good starry night as our "spiritual" food. As a urban stargazer, this kind of sky is great enough for us to stay awake whole night even without eating any food.

The worst thing is that, the sun got eaten by the cloud, especially during totality. Luckily, we didn't see this in Weizixia. however, some people within one hour drive was not that lucky.








日食 - 就是食的意思,天狗食日!


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