tasty bytes from China

October 2013
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Six and a half flashlights
Filed under: General, Culture
Posted by: @ 6:12 am


Inches in the States.

Centimeters in China.

Cubits in ancient Egypt.

But what units does my mother measure herself in?


Yeah, I know.

Tailors are inexpensive in Asia, and a friend
referred me to this Project Runway Hopeful.  
I wanted to get a an easy-on easy-off robe made for my mom in
China, one that her rusty joints could easily slip into after showering.

Anyway, when I called my mom, she couldn’t find a
measuring tape, so she used what she had handy.

A flashlight. One with a yellow handle and two DD batteries.

Of course, this unit of measure made perfect sense to her. Keep in
mind this is a woman who stored a chicken in her sock drawer.

Using the flashlight like a ruler and rotating it
around her “what used to be a glow stick thin” waist, my mom discovered that
her belly was now closer in girth to a search light.

“So mom, what’s the size of your waist?” I
asked, expecting it to be about forty five inches.

“Six and a half flashlights.”

“What?” I asked, thinking I had a bad connection from the US to China. “It sounded like you said flashlights.”

“That’s what I said, dear. Six and a half, that is, if you
don’t include the part where the bulb is. Just the handle.
 I got to go.  Wheel is on.”


“So how big is your mom’s waist?” Jeff was listening in,  guessing that my mom’s middle would be about
52 inches.

Anyway, leave it to this wonderful tailor to
translate my mother’s cockamamie measurements into something that fits her perfectly.


The tailor ended up making  an entire wardrobe.  I purchased a bolt of this Dr. Suess-like material at Kunming Fabric Market, about 8 meters worth or 34
flashlights worth. You can see it in the bag behind him.  There was  enough to make two pull-over bathrobes and three pairs of pajama
bottoms, one of which I
 am wearing.


The best thing is, 
they all  fit perfectly, like a glove, or ever-ready or maglite.


This is the flashlight tailor. He is now making me a new dress for thirty five dollars. But I let him measure me the old fashioned way.


comments (0)
Filed under: Culture, Food
Posted by: @ 2:19 am

In China, there is never a shortage of three things: rice,
people, and gross. 


While I no longer flinch when I see half a Bambi in a Basket, there are a few things that still get under my skin. Here are this week’s
contenders in the gross category:


#1. Irremovable Bird

This lovely bird plop has been obstructing our bedroom view
for a few weeks. Nothing, not even torrential rain of Kunming has experienced during
September, has been able to clean it off. We think it’s the organic equivalent
of Gorilla Glue, probably the same stuff used to hold together the Great Wall.

To make things worse, this IRT is in an impossible to reach
place, just like an itch in the middle of your back.  Jeff can’t reach it from an inside window,
unless he pulled a Tom Cruise and dared to dangle on the outside of the window,
far above ground, but with one main difference. Jeff doesn’t have a stunt
double. So we wake up every morning, our view of the day tainted by turd.

#2. Edible Bee Larva



You can get it in the hive of wiggling in a take out
container. I’m sure once they are stir-fried, they taste just like chicken. It’s
in season now, but just for a short time. I think I’ll stick to Bit-O-Honey.

#3. Forgotten Lunch


But this week, the king of gross goes to these unidentified
remains  which were found in a student’s
locker right outside of my classroom. Since the hallways are outside, it took a
while to locate the source of the souring odor. The student had not opened his
locker for five weeks and I got the privilege to assist him, without a hazmat
suit. Inside, we found the oozing remains of five lunches and one overdue
library book . The smell was so beyond foul (even on China’s standards), the
containers had to be disposed of off of the school property.  Who knows, the Tupperware  probably  contained molding bug larva burritos and a deer sandwich.

Now it’s your turn to vote. Which do you think is the

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