Maria Holland

Happy Birthday, Queen Beatrix!

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2010 at 1:42 am

We got our midterms back in class today (solid 91%) and then basically had free time to do whatever we wanted as long as it was speaking Chinese.  My group got on to the topic of food (of course) and the teacher even joined in.  I found out that Xiamen’s worm specialty is called 土笋冻.  From what I’ve read of this Chinese article on it, the snack originated when Koxinga (the man who got the Dutch out of Taiwan) was stationed by a sea and running low on food.  From what the teacher told us, nobody likes it the first time they eat it, but after three times you start to like it.  Good thing they’re available at night markets here, because I only have to try two more times to start liking them.  Can you imagine me going through a worms-in-jelly phase?

Today’s weather was absolutely gorgeous, which was perfect because Friday is Jiaozi Day!  They’re looking for a female worker . . .

After lunch, I walked around – grabbed ice cream to cool off my mouth, bought some earrings off the street, looked at glasses and prices, etc.  I also went to the XiaDa souvenir shop!  They have hats and t-shirts and desk accoutrement and mugs and postcards and business card holders and pocket knifes, all with the XiaDa seal on them!  Their prices are almost unreasonably reasonable, especially when compared with college bookstores in America.  I bought postcards, bookmarks, a keychain, and a pin for $5 – for the same price at the TU bookstore, I believe, you can buy a window decal for your car.  Oh wait, plus tax . . . okay, you can almost buy a window decal for your car.

Today is Queen’s Day, the Dutch national holiday, which we celebrated by wearing orange.  We met up at Diederik’s place for drinks at 5.  (Incidentally, if you like the “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” argument, that means 4 a.m. in the central US.  So go ahead and start the day with a beer or two!)  Diederik lives on the highest point of the entire island.  Okay, this is an exaggeration – he lives on the 8th floor or so – but there are no stairs so it’s a little extreme.  The upside, though, is that he has a great view.

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We proceeded from there to dinner at a great seafood restaurant on DaXueLu (aka Fish Restaurant Street).  We got a table outside next to a huge banquet table of Chinese working hard at getting totally wasted.  The atmosphere was kind of nice, actually, lending a feeling of festivity to our dinner (except for the fact that their favored puking spot was the tree next to our table).  The service was surprisingly good as well, and the food was great.  We ended up ordering three servings of their garlic shrimp, plate after plate after plate, because we still hadn’t had enough. 

We had all sorts of interesting things to talk about over dinner.  I am really getting interested in government and politics, although only in comparison.  I’m fascinated by monarchies, their powers, and popular opinion about them.  I have so many questions – for instance, for the Dutch: Would you like to have a king next?  Would you be okay with a foreigner sitting on the throne?

I had mangos for dessert.  I didn’t have them for breakfast because I had loquats instead.  Do you know what a loquat is?  I didn’t, until last week.  This is such a common occurrence with fruit here – between the language barrier and the climate difference, I see new fruits almost weekly and learn new words even more often.  I’m working on a fruit dictionary, which I will post once I add pictures.  Get excited – there are cool words like mangosteen and longan and rambutan and wax apples, any of which would make a really awesome band name. 

And with that, April is over.  Hello, May!

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