Tag Archives: China

Mystery Food and Mystery Masks!

Was this creature on my plate?

As I had mentioned the food was fantastic!….most of it.  Each night our hosts took us upstairs from the restaurant to private dining rooms.  Here we were seated around a huge round table with beautiful linens, covered chairs, and a large “lazy susan” in the center of the table.  Fine wines were poured.  They toiled over the menu for what seemed like a long time and then ordered countless, and I mean COUNTLESS dishes for us to try.  I didn’t know what most of it was, but one dish I had the previous couple of evenings, looked something like chopped cooked apples in brown sugar.  Tasted different, but very good.  I finally inquired as to what this tasty little dish was.  The person waiting on us was called over and a lot of conversing went on that I didn’t understand and then she disappeared.  No answer….I figured something was lost in the translation and I wasn’t going to worry about it.  About 15 minutes later she reappeared with a menu with some english in it and pointed to “Jelly Fish”!   Now the only experience I had with jelly fish growing up was not good…and certainly you don’t eat those things, do you?!  Wow, wish I hadn’t asked.  That kind of set the tone for my evening.    At this time, they are still bringing out more and more dishes.  After that last little bit of enlightening information, I’m asking more questions about the food now.  A huge bowl comes zipping by me on the lazy susan, wait…was that frog legs?  I’ve had frog legs before, so I tried some.  These were still on the bone, so not so easy to manuever with the chopsticks.  After I downed a couple, I asked what this dish is.  Again the conference and finally one says, “it’s a little animal that hops through the forest, kind of like a frog….”   Kind of????   Ok, if they can’t identify it, I’m thinking OMG I just ate a toad!    I lived.

How’s this look for dinner?

What are the mystery masks you wonder?  We had beautiful rooms over there.  In Nantong, I get to my room and it is a large suite with two bathrooms, full living room, separate bedroom, and the list goes on.  So I’m nosing around, checking out all the amenities, two granite tiled bathrooms with soaking tubs and separate showers, two very large flat panel TVs, huge -huge bed, tons of closet space …and oh gee, next to the safe in the closet is this:

Should I be alarmed?!!!!

   I can honestly say, not able to read Chinese, I was ALARMED to find this in the closet!  Call me crazy but now I’m having flashbacks to my childhood when we still had air raid drills in school!   I mean, really, do we have these in hotels over here?!  If they do I haven’t noticed them before.   What are they preparing for?!   As it turns out these are in case of fire in the hotel and this is your “Fire Escape Hood”.  Well, I guess I’m ok with that. 

   This is why I enjoy traveling and experiencing all the different cultures!

..and my words of wisdom to women traveling alone:  Their convention gatherings at the hotel are the same there as here…some very loud, drinking men in the adjoining room to mine – sleep with the iron on your nightstand, you can easily clock one or two of them if they happen to bust through!  🙂 

In a land where gun ownership and hunting is forbidden…..women shooting is really “out there”!

Such a serene and beautiful place…. 

   A recent business trip took me to Shanghai and Nantong for a brief tour.  The visit was all too short, as this was my first visit to China….and such a culture I had not previously experienced.   Gun ownership and hunting is strictly forbidden-everywhere.   Our hosts were intrigued with the shooting pictures on my cell phone.  I showed them one and they took over the phone and just browsed my entire photo collection on the cell phone!  Shooting was one thing, but women shooting was even more amazing to them!

  The journey started out from Denver with about 2.5 hr. flight to San Fransisco, from de-planing there, it was a mad dash through endless terminals to reach the gate for Air China flight already boarding!  Let the games begin!  …And no disrespect, but the Asian’s culture has a different view of waiting in lines than what the American’s do.   Luckily I’m bigger than most of the Asian women…and some of the men.  I’m not that big by our standards…but I am suddenly feeling a bit “Amazonish”.  Well it wasn’t too bad getting on, they check and recheck your US passport for the current VISA.  Getting off the plane was different.  Wow, some of them kind of stepped right over you to get out.  They weren’t being intentionally rude, just the way things are done over there…  I wasn’t in much of a hurry yet, so I went with the flow.  At the end of the trip returning to the US was a different story.  I was more than tired and had transformed into a linebacker-no one is getting past me!  Bring it on!

360 degrees of 23 million+ people!

  About 12-13 hours later we arrived in Shanghai.  Getting our luggage and through Customs was a breeze.  Very nice airport, thank goodness they also had some signs in English. Yea!  A driver was there to meet us on the other side of Customs.  I decided I could maneuver the airport if I ever returned solo.  Beyond that, I wouldn’t go further without a prearranged driver or interpreter to meet me.  Our host and his driver met us there to take us to our first night in Shanghai, a city of approximately 23 million.  You put several New York Cities back to back and maybe you are close! 

     The hotel was beautiful.  We’ve been up straight now for about 30 hours and our host insisted on taking us to dinner.  No rest for the weary!  Drop the bags in the room and meet back in the lobby.  From the open lounge area there were four floors we could see with various restaurants, piano bars, etc.  We headed up to the third floor.   We allowed the host to order for us-I’m game…I guess.  Wine for me (don’t drink the water there-and forget ice in your drinks!).   I inquired as if they produce any wine in China…as we had a French wine that evening.  Apparently they do, but our hosts said it is “no good”.   I’m staying with their recommendations!  I had a crash course on the correct usage of chopsticks.   They brought out many dishes – all delicious!  They were very curious about our culture also.  But the one of the first things he asked is why are so many Americans so fat!  Ha!  I’m betting if we forced to use chopsticks, we’d be thinner!

Downtown shopping/tourist area.

      The next morning was a leisure day of touring.  Our host took us to the downtown tourist area of Shanghai.  Electric scooters everywhere, lines on the road are merely suggestions, and they are constantly honking horns….constantly!  But there seems to be no road rage and we didn’t see any accidents.  Minus the “horn honking” I think we Americans could take a lesson on going with the flow, so to speak, while driving.      After parking we headed towards the Yuyuan Gardens.  To reach this you had to cross over a long zigzag foot bridge.  The waters below were full of koi and turtles.  The reason the bridge was zigzagged is to keep the evil spirits from following and crossing over.  Spirits can only walk in a straight line.  So once you cross over the bridge, you are considered safe and will enjoy a long life!  

Inside the Yuyaun Gardens

 Such history there was.  I am anxious to return sometime and visit more areas!  I only wish I could upload all of my pictures here, but it would go on forever.  The next two days we traveled to Nantong and visited the factory of our hosts.  Here we met with the partners in the business and they too were very interested in learning about our shooting experiences, etc.  We haven’t actually done any business in China as of yet, but were approached at SHOT Show by these gentleman and invited to visit their factory for a tour in hopes of future business ventures.  This company mainly builds scopes, which we do not carry, but that was one thing they wanted to impress upon us was their assembly and quality control abilities.  While walking their lines and seeing the entire process to the end I asked them how they tested for “shock proof” ability on the scopes….since they can’t test them on actual guns over there.  They had a simulator set up for firing which we checked out.  Interesting.  Personally I prefer to test mine on real guns….a priveledge we have here! …and not to be taken for granted!   Long story short, they were very gracious hosts.  Their government and culture was very interesting to learn more of.  They asked many personal questions about family, living spaces etc. but were very curious to see all the shooting sports we do.  I shared my hunting pictures with them and they were in awe.  

Girls and guns….hello China!

The one picture on my phone that made the biggest impression was the Babes With Bullets Camp, www.babeswithbullets.com , photos!  This just seemed to amaze them!

…Words of wisdom: Don’t ask what the food is until after you’ve eaten it or you may never try it….and for the ladies: Keep an open mind when visiting some of their restrooms…and for gosh sakes, pack your own TP!  🙂