Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lamb Stew in Shantou

Right now I am kicking it in some small ass hotel room in some small village somewhere in Shantou province. This hotel is so small that I do not even have my own room key! Seriously, this chick that lives right next to the front desk hangs around with a key ring the diameter of my neck that holds about 50 keys. Then if people want to get into their rooms she opens it for them. This is seriously stranger than fiction. And what is even more astounding than that is the fact that I have an internet connection in my room and a flat screen TV. But every now and then this smell of ass just descends into my room and for about 5 minutes I feel like I am gonna puke. And I swear to god it is not even my own gas. Also I can hear men and women making noises outside forcing me think there is some crazy orgy going on out there with hot Chinese woman running between the rooms. But I know if I open the door I will probably see some old market woman selling peanuts to the freak in the room next door.

Its about zero degrees outside and this is probably the coldest weather I have ever experienced in all my life. It is really nice for the first 10 minutes till I feel like my nose is not there. For dinner tonight the comrades took me out for a lamb hot pot. The place was simple to say the least. The restaurant encompassed about 5 large rooms that would be like rooms in a house each with low tables about as high as my knees and folding stools around them. At first I thought the flimsy fuckers did not stand a chance against my weight but I stood (or should I say sat) corrected. The meal was basic and consisted of a large pot of boiling water with herbs and a variety of chopped up lamb. To garnish there were a few pickles and a crushed chilli paste which we loaded up on giving the soup and extremely spicy finish. It was so spicy that I was actually blowing soke out of my mouth, from the heat of the peppers.

I usually do not mind eating at hole in the wall joints because they have awesome food, but I made the biggest mistake by venturing into the restroom to take a piss right before dinner. The path took me though the meat room where there were about 6 goats hung up on hooks being carved up for the kitchen out front. That’s fine; I am not the squeamish type. I walked through there to a dark passageway and entered a room about 2 meters squared on my right. The floor was uneven and the walls bare concrete. The only light creeping in was from the flickering tube light in the passageway I just came through. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I saw a hand reaching up to me with a face behind it, cigarette clasped between lips. I assumed he was asking for a lighter. A moment later I realized why this man was reaching UP, he was squatting on the floor in front of me shitting right into a hole… That’s right kids. Any other man, woman, or child would have run out to the street screaming but I did the only thing I could do at that time. I walked back to the stool at the table we were sitting at and I ate my meal. I wolfed down 3 bowls of this hot and spicy soup containing fatty chunks of mutton, thick slices of goat’s liver, jelly like cubes of what must have been the heart, and god knows what other mushy innards.

Sitting here now I do not know how the hell I made it through that meal but I fucking represented. The people I was with were impressed to say the least and it would just not have been right to walk away from the meal. As I ate, thoughts of what I saw only minutes earlier did try to creep through my mind but I just had to shut off. On any other day I might not have been able to show the same resilience but luckily today I pulled through. If it does not kill you, it will only make you stronger. (How did this story help your movement Babaganoush???)

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