Monday, November 23, 2009

Dumped in Shanghai...

Life is beautiful!!! When you are young, adventurous and you dare to go out of the box, your existence is extended to borders that always help you learn something new...

Ahhh the things that happen to me in China!

How do I begin? Dumplings! I am always one whose curiosity is boundless and I will always dare to do things that most tourists would not do here. I am not saying I'm going into anything as hardcore as living the and embracing the lifestyle of the Chinese as many Western expats do. But for the average tourist I can say I am a risk-taker. Of course I try to be very hands-on when I'm trying to explore a certain place, experience the sights and sounds, and mingle with the inhabitants. This is why my travels to China are never boring!

Going back to dumplings, my curiosity about the existence of genuine Chinese cuisine has led me to explore the culinary delights that Shanghai has to offer. I would want to eat almost anything except toads and tortoises! Now we all know that dumplings are as common as bicycles here in China. They are almost the symbol of Chinese food if I am allowed to say so. I am a great fan of these tiny delicious objects sold in almost every kitchenette in every corner in Shanghai! I eat them from a soup bowl, from takeaway plastic containers, from sticks...but yesterday dumplings took their vengeance on me!

Crazy as I am, I was enticed to buy these beautiful, simmering, scrumptious things. They were dumplings of course. I thought i would be able to translate to the man cooking them that I wanted to buy three pieces. Now we all know the language chasm that exists between English speakers and the Chinese. I would have guessed he misinterpreted my hand signals and he dumped about 12 of them and put them in a plastic container. My guess is that this is maximum for a single order LOL

When I tried to eat them as I would eat any normal dumpling I was shocked to see some kind of juice, which I think was oil, oozing out of them when I poked a chopstick at one. The whole thing like exploded and messed in my hand hahahaha! It was so funny because I was in a sidewalk where people were passing by. Never have I felt more embarrassed than at that moment! Hahaha. It was like a sudden spotlight was cast on me and me alone. I was prepared for the dagger of stares from the people who were offended at me sacrilegiously crushing a national symbol of China!

An occasional glance was thrown my way but surprisingly nothing resembling a laugh or a snicker! The world seemed to still be rotating at its own axis, the people going about their daily lives. Students walking home from university and office clerks waiting for the bus at the stop...everything seemed normal-ish! Ahhhh yes thank God for Chinese habits! Why? Because many Chinese do anything everywhere. They eat food, drink, pee in the isolated corners, spit, sneeze, pick their nose and many other sanitary offenses in public!!! My minor offense or accident would have been nothing to them haha except for one thing probably...I hold chopsticks the wrong way! Haha I am sure I do make the effort of holding it the right way but it never ceases to amaze me how girls in coats and high heels eat large fritters of anything using a chopstick while walking with the speed of a trotting dog!

I will definitely write more as I have more time to spend here in Shanghai and also Beijing. The cold has not deterred me from exploring and walking around which has become a well-known habit throughout my travels. So if you see a tallish Asian lass with a heavy coat and with eyes darting around and constantly taking in both the mundane and extraordinary sights and scenarios around may have come across the big bad Winklergirl!!!


Unknown said...

The dumplings rock: xiao long bao, shen jia man tou, xiao mei and so many more. I really like your site, if I get the chance I would love to hook up with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Liisa,

I enjoy your dumpling story very much because I am the kind of guy who cannot eat without staining my shirt or whatever and being thus the center of attention. But here in china, the difference is that in a sense, being a foreigner whatever weird behavior we have is simply considered as "foreign" or maybe "interesting foreign custom", so in any case we are "funny" (though not in a bad sense) whatever we do. Besides what I appreciate is that appearance is not so important, as you say one can pick his nose or whatever one wants, take a pee or get into heavy burping after a meal. Not that I fancy so much the burping and all, and as a matter of facts I appreciate the beauty and sexy appearance as in a lovely girl like you, but at least one doesn't feel being under a constant critical scrutiny.
I hope you enjoy your stay in Beijing.

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