A vegetarian in Changsha
My dad was shocked, and my mom was quite happy. The fact of me being a vegetarian certainly isn't easy for a traditional meat-eating Chinese man like my Dad to accept. Neither did my meals in Beijing go well. I was starving being mixed with non-vegetarian people. I could only have vegetable leaves everyday, that was far from enough for somebody who has a big stomach as mine. I didn't have the appetite for the flight food. And I was right. They had only got beef rice and chicken noodles. I had a bum instead. The chilli sauce they provided was not bad though. And I have to say, Hainan Airline has the best service and aircrafts among domestic Chinese airlines. It is highly recommended, if you are flying from Beijing to Changsha, Changsha to Haikou, or Beijing to Haikou. It always flies Boeing 767-300 aircrafts - you've got a personal TV screen and quite nice fruits. They've got an extrodinary variety of fresh fruit juice as well. They have good looking steward/esses and not like those from other airlines, they smile a lot. Most impressive for me this time, is that they provided very warm and immediate disable assistant!
Anyways, back to the topic of being a vegetarian. After all the encountering of poor vegetarian food and my Dad's objection for me to be a vegetarian, I didn't give it much hope to have a good dinner after all, though the temperature here had dropped to 25 degree after a heavy rain. My parents took me to this place literally translated as 'Delicious food street'. It is an indoor resturant, but sold food in a style as if you are in a night market. Out of my expectation, my parents ordered me loads of very delicious, hot, spicy food. I had red oil bean curd, agaric salad, stewed aubergine, pad Chinese ;), stinky tofu, steamed pumpkin, steamed taro and some others. I'm so full now, for the first time of the past few days, and I can't really jump around with my left foot only now - there are too much to carry!
This is my first time stepping into my city being a vegetarian. And this also the first time I saw my parents after they divorced. All seemed alright! After all I realized this is my city - the city of food. Whatever option you hold, as long as you like spicy food, it's the heaven to you! And these are my parents.
It's raining now!
It's raining now! It's reported that tomorrow the temperature will fall down to 27 degree, in Beijing. Tomorrow, I gonna go back to Changsha. Isn't it ironic? Actually, it doesn't make any change to me whatever the weather is like. My broken foot has kept me in door for days. And there's gonna be no way that I will go outside from the 5th floor in Changsha for the following week, no matter how cool the weather is. Well, the weather in Changsha can never be cool in the summer anyway!
I know I've been moaning for a while - I have no reason not to - I can't even access to browse this blog here. I can only update the entries blindly! However, I'm still quite excited to go home. Especially the fact that I will meet the challenge to jump up five floors single-footedly.
I think I need to pull myself together now and try to do something. Otherwise I will only waste the time that I'm imprisoned indoor with the broken foot. A woman's will can not be imprisoned by and of the external obstacles. Especially when the woman is strong and the external obstacle is weak!
Well, I haven't totally wasted my time here in Beijing though. I had two friends visiting me. One brought some nice Waxberries
and some Hagen Daz icecream. Enjoy summer indoor is not too bad after all.
About a flying penguin
After 12 hours priority of disability, KLM finally sent me in Beijing International Airport quite punctually at 8:40 in the morning. The disable assistant in Beijing Airport is not as swift – we waited for more than one hour till we got around the luggage collection point. The Beijing assistant was cute – looked about 18, and he is in his one year internship in the airport. However, he was not very helpful – Sean lost his consigned luggage. Sean was very depressed after all the hassle I made him this journey. For me, air travelling is as frustrating as usual, though my current disability did brought me privileged services in most of the place.
When we changed hour flight in Amsterdam Airport, there was this minibus serving for us. It was super quick, and the driver, a strong built mix looking guy, was very skilful. He led the clumsy vehicle going through the thickness of people in the airport like a wind. I tried to learn how to say ‘thank you’ in Dutch, but then made him thought I wanted go to the toilet. As usual, my language skill is not improved as time going.
I was then put in the waiting room for about three hours. Sean went for shopping. The Amsterdam airport seemed a vast land for a one leg penguin. So I didn’t go anyway except from the toilet. I was the only one in the waiting room for a while. Two huge aircrafts were resting outside the glass. One was on my left hand side, one on the back. It was then I noticed that the one standing right behind me was the one that going to take me back to China. I would then say a long goodbye to England and Europe. I didn’t realize that I was flying away on the way to Birmingham, and from Birmingham to Amsterdam. I was enjoying the new experience of being a disabled, and forgetting about all the excitement of going home and the melancholy of going away. There was this moment when it turned silent in the airport, when I could only here the broadcasting of flying away, then I felt sad. Sad because I know it’s hard to go back, and I don’t know what to look for in the near future. But then when the people rushed in and filled in the waiting room, everything was back to the business, so was I. A book of cooking and food could put me in my own little neverland. It stopped me from being sad or excited.
All was like a dream, when I finally arrived in the hot pot of Beijing. The temperature of 40 degree made it looked even more surreal to me. Mosquitoes are attacking me, so I have to switch on the air conditioner to keep them away. The penguin is melting in the heat of Beijing! At least they prepared good vegetarian food for me. And I strongly believe that my foot will get better tomorrow!
She's setting off back to China on Thursday, that's within three days. She has seldom spoken to me during the four years since we got to knew each other. Tonight she sent me a message saying that she wanted to take a photo with me. I was so honoured because at least I worthed to be stored in her photo album.
I know her little. Most stories about her I know are through gossips. Her crush on the ladykiller, her affair with a bartender, her current British boyfriend... the net of gossip is so powerful that none of her emotions are saved from getting into my ears. So when she led me to her room, I knew her little, but I felt I knew her all.
Her boyfriend took the pictures of us. He's very shy. He didn't introduce himself, he didn't make any noise when he changed the angle of shooting, and he didn't say goodbye to us when he flahsed back to his place. She didn't want to talk to me about him either. All I know about him is that he's good at playing cricket, and he bought her a television. All the other negative information I know about him is from the gossips: he stalked her, he was overly jealous, in order to see her after one of their breaking-ups he spreaded the news that he had gotten cancer. Very intense love/attachment, that he had for her.
'I will leave him my printer after I'm gone back to China.' She said. Tenderly tenderly she spoke, as she always does. That's a way of speaking we always associate with girls from the south Yangzi River area. We call that little voice and soft language of Wu
, and it used to be a virtue for girls to pursue, although it's quite old fashioned these days. But she never changed the way she speaks, no matter when she tried to say cao
in Beijingese or f**k
in English. Tenderly tenderly she said them, as if they were some sort of impursuable power.
The night when she started to mix those words in her language I was coincidently with her. Not the whole night, it happened I was there the moment when these words firstly bursted out of her soft soft lips. We were having a party that night. We, as in me and my normal social circle. Not really anyone of us were good friend with her. All of a sudden, a girl staggered in, with a glass of red wine in her right hand. Red wine, that is, I remember very vividly, as if the hint of redness is about to soaked out of my memory and flood out from my temple. It is the beautiful glass she held, I think, made the redness of the wine so obvious and memoriable under the condition of two candles' light. 'Drink with me, anyone?' she had that sort of drunker's stammer. She was drunk. Then she said the word cao!
She left. Didn't come back to that room that night. That's my impression of her.
At some point I started feeling very melancholy. This girl, who seems very little related to me, has been in my net of gossip, encountered me in one of her important step towards growing up, and she just took one goodbye picture to me. When she flies back on Thursday to the vast land of China there's not many ways I can see her walking around with any of her boyfriend, arm in arm, looking happy or sad; there's not many ways that I can hear her speaking softly softly and bursts into those funny swearing either.
I think in the photos, we looked two happy close friends.
Clair has a chubby face. Everyone says she's cute in her babyfat style. She has very small eyes, small nose, and small mouth. Just her face, it is as round as a birthday cake. Everybody says that's lovely, like a plump baby. But Clair makes twice as much effort as her friends to get a date. And these dates lasts only half length as the other girls. Her exboyfriend was a popular cute guy among their community. But Clair didn't know these popular guys don't spend too much time on one girl, her exboyfriend in particular. So when he broke up with her, she was still in the facination of getting the chance to go out with him. Her exboyfriend Leslie was nothing special but a mundane teenager girls' idol, who dyes his hair blonde, and makes all sorts of poses to seek attentions. Clair is no teenager, but all her friends was on about this guy. These friends she then fell out with. These vain girls. Phew! Clair scorns them deep in her heart. But she never said so, never dared her. These vain girls have not only chubby face but also big breasts and fat legs. Nevertheless all these are covered under Louis Vuittons, Vivine Westwoods, and Chritine Diors. No one notices that these vain girls are actually the fat ones. No matter how many times Clair tells them: Katherine is a slut, Elaine is a bitch. No one believes her. Glared by their glittering make-ups of Anna Sues, Chanel, and Esteelauders, no one can believe the truth Clair tells. Clair fell out with them, at the same time her exboyfriend broke up with her. She still doesn't know he had a good laugh with them about her. He said, Clair might be a beautiful girl too, if she slide her eyelid to make the eyes bigger like you did, Katherine; she might be grabbing my heart too, if she's got a grinded chin as the one you have, Elaine. Last night, it was Clair's birthday. No one she invited turned up. All of them were in a party Katherine and Elaine co-held. The party wasn't great. It was just one of those gathering you get a few drinks and get to tell a few dirty jokes. Whereas Clair had prepared a great party with oriental buffet and a specially decorated Karaok VIP room. Clair doesn't know all the people, all the lifestyles she longs for only get on with Katherine and Elaine. They have rich parents. Clair buys Louis Vuittons and Anna Sues too, just for the accessories, that's all she can afford. She has made up her mind to go to Korea to have a professional cut on her eyelid this summer. Sadly, she can never change her parents. She can only look for a bright future. Now that she has graduated from this place, and for the next place she gonna turn up in, she's gonna be the most glittering girl of them all. This time, Clair is so determined.