Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Own Personal Countdown Clock

I’ve been working on an article about the fact that we’ve rolled through 2 years here already, with just 1 to go. I’m at the point, I think, where I’m comfortable enough here that I don’t always stop to take in the oddities. Now that I’ve made it through 2 years, I need to remind myself that lots of things about this place are actually still quite foreign.

With that in mind, I’ll tell you what we did this morning. After I left the gym, I found Bart at the playground with the 3 youngest kids and the dog. We walked over to the shopping center around the corner, and while I picked up a few needed groceries, Bart and the kids looked at some rabbits, hamsters and birds that are for sale outside the store. The vendor gave Aidan and Kyra some leaves to feed the bunnies, and they were happily entertained – until the dog realized the whole place was crawling with tasty bunny rabbits and we had to depart.

Here’s the funny thing about this vendor. He’s out there every weekend with his animals for sale. He doesn’t have a storefront, though. He sells them off the back of his 3-wheeled bike. I’ve never actually seen him set up or leave – it’d be pretty funny to watch him pedal down the road with all of those cages perched on his bike.

There are several other bicycle peddlers out there in front of the store, mostly selling food. That’s right: they have makeshift griddles and glass-enclosed cooking spaces on the backs of their bikes, and they work throughout breakfast and lunch.

Today I bought a little snack from one of the vendors. I don’t know what his specialty is called, but it’s delicious. He makes a big crepe, then spreads a thin layer of beaten egg across the top. He sprinkles it with scallion and cilantro. He then flips the whole thing and spreads a layer of hoisin and red pepper paste on it. Next he takes out this huge fried cracker thingie and breaks it up over the top. He folds the whole thing into quarters and stuffs it into a plastic bag before handing it over, piping hot. Total cost: 3 kuai – less than 50 cents.

I’m not sure what the health department would think of this man’s cart, parked as it is under a tree, stacked high with eggs and sauces and chopped up spices. But Kyra took one bite and proclaimed “this is good!” Aidan added “this is really good!” Ainsley held out her chubby little paws and demanded more… and more… and more. It really was delicious.

Now then. I have to get back to my article. I wanted to be done with it yesterday, but alas. After that, I’ll be whipping up a delicious cherry and mint couscous to take to a dinner party this evening. And I won’t even have to cook it on the back of a bicycle.


Jessica said... [Reply]

cherry and mint couscous -- sounds delicious!

Please. Write your own stuff.