It’s just one of those reminders that your not in Kansas anymore. I got sick this weekend on a trip to Ningbo with my roommate. I consider myself to have pretty strong stomach for not ever having been really sick in China before. But I guess Ningbo’s specialty seafood finally got to me.
The worst part was I didn’t want to disrespect my roommate and his parents by saying a lot about my illness. In Chinese, I opted to use the “I am a little bit uncomfortable” to describe my illness. I ended up not eating anything the second day as we returned to the “restaurant” that made me sick in the first place. Not eating anything meant I had to fight the fight of having people put stuff on my plate (actually, on the portion of table in front of me as the tradition goes that no plates or bowls, minus bowls of rice, are offered at meals) or tell me to eat more of this and that. I’m usually pretty good about fighting off this “多吃多喝” custom with lots of Chinese motions and phrases. But when someone asks me the “are you just not accustomed to the food?” question, I get a little peeved because I’ve eaten Chinese food all my life. I’ll get into my qualms with questions about holding chopsticks at a later date.
Despite that slight dip, the weekend was a pleasant one, if not somewhat adventurous. The big meals were a part of my roommate’s “sister” getting married (these new “siblings” are a result of a generation without real siblings — they are actually cousins).
Saturday, my roommate and I went to “Haborland” way out (hour and half bus ride) on the outskirts of Ningbo. This amusement park must be popular in the summer but the cold wind kept numbers in the low hundreds for when we went. Rides were open for maybe an hour at a time. But I did ride a roller coaster, experience an odd 4-D egyptian-themed performance, see nine tigers hopelessly perform, and drive bumber cars. And my roommate loved every moment of it. He ran from attraction to attraction as if he were five years old. To me, it was more a study in Chinese recreation but, I’ll be honest, I had a good time too.
Picture of the Day: My roommate’s mother runs a garment shop in the bottom of her house. Essentially, fourteen stations have workers that make soccer jerseys and polo shirts that are then sold to a larger company that exports them to the United States. Fascinating to see a shop like this at work. No uber-poor conditions to report. Workers start at 9 and finish at 5, maybe 6. Most take the weekend off unless they need some extra money. They get fed and conditions are clean, well-lighted from what I can tell. Click through to see some more pictures of the conditions. On the other hand, I also got to see a brick factory near the restaurant we were at and conditions there were another story…