For Christmas, Santa stuffed two tickets to the states in our stockings, a 29 hour odyssey which included 17 hours in the air, nine hours hanging in terminals and three more hours getting out of LAX.
It was worth every body search.
Honestly, nothing is more wonderful than getting off a plane from China, arriving in America and hearing the wonderful sound of SPANISH being spoken.
Our adventure started with a 7 hour delay at the Beijing Airport. We hung out and did nothing for hours on end…not that different than what we’ve been doing in San Clemente for the past week. We noshed on Burger King fries, Chinese Starbucks and belgium chocolates (thanks to a Euro passenger we befriended). But instead of nibbling on overpriced airport food, we’re currently indulging on pillow sized bags of Cocoa Puffs, burritos smothered in sour cream, yogurt drenched pretzels, pistachios, red and green m&ms, holiday hams, donuts, surfin chicken, and of course, In and Out Burgers (animal style).
We’ve been taking in some interesting sights…sights more interesting than what we viewed at the international terminal during our delay (although we did meet a German lady who was flying from Paris to LAX via Beijing due to the snowstorms in Europe. She’s the one who bequeathed us with an outrageous amount of marzipan and belgium chocolates). Since we’ve been at Jeff’s brother’s abode, our eyes have been glued to their 46 inch flat screen TV, watching quality programming such as COPS, MAN vs. FOOD, and NFL football.
Jeff and I enjoyed Christmas shopping, just to smell the aroma of the food court at a mega mall. America stinky can not compare to Chinese stinky. Cinnabons, Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Corndogs, and Gryos create a euphoric blend to our deprived nostrils. We’ve also enjoyed NOT being stared at, blending in with the assortment of skin colors, ethnicities and sizes of Southern California. But since we do not have nose jobs, breast implants, hair plugs or butterscotch-toned tans, we did look a little odd.
We don’t miss the Chinese traffic: not even holiday crowds at a mega mall can compete to Kunming chaos on a typical weekend.
We’ll be back in China soon enough, but until then, we’ll enjoy every minute of our Californian stocking stuffer.
China has its share of dogs. Big, small, stray and dinner dogs. Some of them wear clothes that are just as hideous as their owners. Others are stray toy dogs. These scruffy ankle biters like “best of show” winners from an AKA Championship that started sniffing with the wrong crowd. You can buy puppies at the Bird and Flower Market. You can also buy turtles, mice, frogs, turtles, gerbils, kittens or any other critter you’ve cuddled at a petting zoo. There are many dogs in our xiaoqu, from golden labs to Chihuahuas, including Simba and Leela, two reddish miniature huskies that live on the floor above us. Jeff affectionately calls them Lucifer and Cujo. Check out the video.
These two happy dogs ride the elevator by themselves. Their owner pushes the “down button” and the curly-tail twosome hang in the entrance way until someone lets out—or back in. We also believe that there is a doggy brothel on the other side of the fish ponds. Dogs bark at all hours of the night, making the drunken ruckus of Wrigley Field seem tame. Then we saw this poor pooch after a Thanksgiving feast at friends. I know. Friends who have eaten dog says it tastes a lot like dark meat turkey. I’d rather have the bird.
Can you tell the real SKIPPY® peanut butter from the phony boloney?
One thing that I thought I’d miss about the states when I moved to China was peanut butter. I don’t miss it, because you can get SKIPPY® at a few of the Western friendly shops, both creamy and chunky. I have a peanut butter sans jelly sandwich everyday for lunch.
OK, so I’m a creature of habit.
Along with getting the small jars of SKIPPY at Westernista stores, I discovered you can get a wholesale size jar at Chinese Wholesale markets. These wholesale markets are a far cry from Costco or Sam’s club, but you can clean up on your favorite American products at better prices. That’s where we got a deal on a wheel of gouda cheese the size of a small child. You can also get mustard, mayo for a few mao.
Long blog made short, I got a mega jar of extra chunky SKIPPY from the wholesale market for about the price of regular size jar at Walmart. But after close examination of the label, I realized it wasn’t SKIPPY. It was phony boloney!
The taste wasn’t weird, it stuck to the roof of my mouth the way good peanut butter should, but the SKIPPY name was missing from the front of the label!
Then, where the name SKIPPY did appear, the letters were a bit different, sorta like when you tried to forge your mother’s signature on a not to school as a kid. Close, but no cigar. Notice the white outline around the font. Also, the letters are a bit squished together.
Plus, the SKIPPY name was missing the coveted “circle R” registered trademark. Even bootleggers have a code of ethics. They can get more than their hands slapped if their faux pas product implies that it is trademarked when it is not.
The back side was missing more critical information, like the UNILEVER name (the conglomerate that controls the brand worldwide).
I contacted Unilever’s customer care department telling them about the questionable product in China. I even sent them a few snapshots of the label. They didn’t seem to care.
The bootleg butter didn’t kill me, but I’m not going to take any chances. I remember a few years back in the states, several people died due to salmonella poisoning from peanut butter.
Let’s see if you can spot the real deal from the bootleg butter. Your tastebuds may not be able to tell the difference.