Maria Holland

Sick of China

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm

It just figures, doesn’t it.  The one time you go out in your pajamas to buy alcohol, you’re going to run into everyone you know. 

Shortly after writing my last post, I went out to buy some hard liquor, the last missing ingredient of my sangria.  I hadn’t changed into my costume yet because I didn’t want to get sweaty in it, so I was still wearing my pajamas – short shorts and my 请见普通话 (please speak Mandarin) shirt.  I bought a small bottle of Chinese mystery liquor at one store – 150 mL of 76-proof 酒 for 8 kuai (just over $1).  I decided to keep looking, though, and ended up buying a rather large bottle of gin at another place. 

Then, as I’m walking back to campus, I run into a classmate, a Chinese friend, one of the UNC students, and Carlos and Pun.  Awesome. 

At least they saw me before I bought the cigarettes, I guess . . . Before you say anything, I should tell you that I’m planning on going as Audrey Hepburn tonight (same pearls as last night, just with a black dress).  The little convenience stand downstairs sells cigarettes, and I bought a pack of the thinnest ones they had. 

After changing into my costume, I met Carlos for dinner.  We had made plans a while ago to check out the fancy vegetarian restaurant nearby, and finally got around to it.  We ordered two noodle dishes (both delicious), [fake] lamb skewers, Sichuan [fake] chicken, and crispy [fake] duck.  It was all pretty good, although I didn’t care for the crispy ‘duck’.  I’m not totally sure that it was worth the money, though – at 70 yuan each, it was my most expensive meal yet in China.  (Remember, my average daily food costs are 35 yuan).  I don’t think that the price of food is as indicative of quality here in China as it is in America.  When I pay a lot for a meal, I usually feel like I’m paying for the privilege of sitting in a nice restaurant with a waiter.  Honestly, a plate of 6 yuan hand-pulled noodles is about as good as it gets for me.

We spent a long time talking over dinner and then walked back to our dorm.  I grabbed my dancing shoes and headed back out immediately, arriving a little bit later than usual.  Except for the guy who smokes like a chimney, has no sense of rhythm, and really likes dancing with me, I had a wonderful time.  We ended with some disco-style dancing again, which is always great.

Leinira and some friends were waiting back in the dorm ready to go, with the sangria already in bottles.  (Leinira had borrowed a costume and went as a witch.)


On our way out to Baicheng Gate to catch a taxi, we passed some Chinese students coming back from the beach party, which they described as “noisy and crowded”.  Yep, that sounds about right!  There were a ton of people there, although not many that I recognized.  I danced for a while until the music got lame, and then went home around 1.

This morning, I set my alarm for 6:30 to give myself a few hits of the snooze button before having to get up for Mass.  Chinese Mass is at 8:30 on Gulangyu, which means I really need to be headed out by 7:30.  Unfortunately 7:30 found me in the bathroom, utterly miserable.  9:00, when I should have left for English Mass, found me in the same location, in the same state.  In fact, this was quite a common occurrence since 7 in the morning, as I emptied my body of whatever offending substance I had consumed. 

In response to everyone’s constant questions about the safety of eating food off the street, I will respond as my mentor, Jesse, always has: I’ve never gotten sick from eating off the streets.  In his case, his worst bout of food poisoning was after the wedding banquet of the mayor’s daughter; in mine it has been the most expensive (vegetarian!) meal I’ve eaten in over two months.  Another example of a time when China goes against all logic.

Leinira made me some apple juice which promptly back up, so I’m sticking to water for a little while I think.  I’m feeling kind of weak, very tired, and incredibly lazy.  It was in preparation for this sort of day that I have stocked up on DVDs and books . . .

Excuse me, I must return to the bathroom.  Immediately. 

  1. Oh no!!! Hope you are better now!

  2. I like you Audry Hepburn look. Maybe Chinese food is how she stayed so reed-thin!.

    I hope you are better by now.


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