Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon, Stick and I took a long walk to our new favorite restaurant. Our new spot isn’t very different from any of the other little not-dumpling restaurants in the area, but the differences are significant ones. The tables and plates are clean, and the staff are friendly. The first time we went, I asked for egg rice (ji dan mi fan) and the waitress said the proper name of the dish for me (it’s chou something fan)… without giggling. Everything that a foreigner does is inherently amusing, and any attempts to speak Chinese are extra funny, but the waitress failed to giggle even when I made an obvious mistake. She’s the greatest.

The food is good, too, and it’s a good place to try new things because everything is clean and cheap. We get a dish of cold cucumbers and a dish of egg fried rice and then I order a few other things almost randomly off the menu. My reading is improving at an amazing rate, so I ask Stick “Would you like beef something noodles today? Or mystery potatoes?” He’s pretty good about mystery food. We discovered a yummy peppery-peanuts dish this way, and second-rate version of tomato-egg.

Anyway, today we took what we thought was a shortcut to this place, and found ourselves in an old-fashioned hutong, a labrynth of crumbling brick walls and veggie gardens growing up courtyard walls.

It ended up being quite a long walk through a maze of twisty passages, all alike… except for the ducks and chickens running wild. Hard to believe we were just a few blocks from the ritzy shopping strip and the international grocery.

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