Day 10, the time is flying by out here but the jet lag and the time difference make judging the passing of time really difficult, I sometimes have conversations about a meeting or a presentation I gave the day previously only to be corrected that it was that morning, or someone asks how long I’ve been here and I have to count on my fingers. A shift in the time space continuum, time goes fast but seems slow or vice versa?
I had my first encounter with unsavoury (huh there may be a pun in that) food stuff today and nothing like the exotic varieties of animal parts or bits of plants we’d throw away at home, all which have been very very edible to the point of delicious, so far. No, no private parts of a donkey or such like...no where even close.
Picture the scene, I’m staying in a local private institute eating and living with the staff and students (sharing an apartment with an old friend not the staff or students!) There are 60 high school Chinese English teachers here at the moment on a teacher training workshop. 3 meals a day in the refectory, prepared or cooked by the in house staff, who are beautiful people. Anyway, breakfast is a meagre but not unpleasant affair, usually a boiled egg, a spicy sausage a slice of white bread and that’s about it, NOT TODAY OH NO! Today as I walked up the 3000 steps to the refectory I could smell something that suggested warm fresh doughnuts, my table was laid out with the egg and the sausage but on the serving table was a huge bowl full of.....YES...freshly made doughnuts! I haven’t had a sniff of something sweet in 10days, great for the diet rubbish for my sweet tooth sugar addiction, so I started salivating, scoffed my egg and sausage with considerable gusto and made for the doughnuts.
Returning to my table I savoured the warmth of this tempting sugary snack, contemplating the calorific and energy giving values it would contribute to my evening run, pick it up off the plate in two hands, it was of considerable girth, and took a whopper of Desperate Dan sized bite right out of the side gnawing the thing almost in half. I tore the bigger than should have been mouth out and munched down......the first thing I thought of a few of my life’s mantras - ‘never judge a book by its cover’, ‘looks can be deceiving’ and ‘never assume’!
Never has been more truth and clarity of meaning been conveyed in that initial significant bite! The outside was exactly what ‘it had said on the box’ sickly sweet, sugar covered, doughy delight the centre, however.....well........just wasn’t! My taste buds all zinging and singing with joy from the sweetness were instantly assaulted, abused and shocked by the warm, spicy, over salted sour gravy and meaty interior. My mouth was filled, almost to capacity due to my gluttonous attack, with a thick stodgy mix of the thicker than it should be super sweet doughnut dough and the centre that I can only describe as gagging thick chilli gravy Winalot!
I gagged, I managed to not evacuate the contents over my mate and the surrounding students, I leapt to my feet jumped across the canteen and swiped a large quantity of serviettes from the dispenser and discreetly and politely managed to dispose of the offending concoction! It was close, and put a bit of a spoiler on my morning’s start, the day has got much better since though.
I love this country, full of contrasts to be found, even in one example of breakfast food!