Sunday, October 14, 2012

Finally been getting around!

Its been 2 years since I've come to this country and I've barely been around to see anything.  Having a dog to look after is sometimes a bit of a hindrance on your travel plans.  But I know I'd rather have him here than not here.  The past month I have had the chance to go back to Beijing and also go to the eastern coastal city of Dalian.  Our trip to Dalian was only for a day but it was a great time.  Every year Dalian has an international beer festival and once we found out about it there was no question that we had to be there.  Due to there not being a fast train to Dalian yet we ( Mari, Megan, and Gode=aka the aussies) had to buy tickets on the slow train.  This was no big deal, we all like train rides and Gode and I bought some beers for the trip (our train left at 7:30 a.m...... don't judge me).  We all pile in a taxi to take us to the station and at the last minute we decide that we were going to the wrong station so we told the driver to take us to the south station.  Well, we should have stuck with our initial destination station because we were wrong, it was 10 minutes until our train took off, and we were 25 minutes away from the correct train station.  Oops, Time for beer 1.  We make it to the train station which coincidentally was right next to the bus station.  We buy tickets on the next bus outta there which was at 9:30.  We all were hungry so we got some noodles and sat around to kill the time.  Beer #2. (keep in mind that these are all tallboys, no 12 ozers in our arsenal).  9:30 rolls around and we find our bus and load up.  Amazingly, on that very bus was one of Mari's friends/student's parent!  She is a great lady that we named Zoe and has helped us many times before with situations that needed a Chinese person.  Once on the bus we found our seats and took a small snooze to try and kill the 5 hour ride. Wakey wakey, time for beer 3, 4, and 5.  Needless to say by this time we are feelin alright and roll into Dalian and it's a beautiful coastal city with hills and beaches.  We find our hotel, went out for Thai food and made our way to the beerfest to meet up with our friend Sunshine.  The beerfest was pretty cook but it wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be.  I was hoping for tastings, different styles brewers are playing with, etc.  But basically it was on GIANT party with the same beers ive been drinking since ive arrived, but if you know me, im very ok with that too.  There were tons of people, beer tents, entertainers, and amazingly shotty bathrooms erected all over the place.  We all walked around the grounds trying to seek out a beer garden that we like.  We find one and have a seat with the people around us staring at us like we are famous and even coming to take pictures with the whities.  We order a huge kask (is that the right word?) of dark beer which tasted like regurlar beer and waited for our friend Leif (Sunshine's husband) to show up.  Once the Leifster arrived we decided to switch tents and moved to a more happenin joint.  We bought a mini-keg and went to work.  Gode and I decided it was time to go back to the interesting food vendor we saw earlier in the evening.  By interesting, I mean full of bugs.  Deep fried bugs, so of course Gode and I lit up like 2 dudes that had been drinking all day seeing a deep fried bug vendor.

So, we walk up and start pointing to everything we wanted including:  an emperor scorpion, tarantula, grasshoppers, grubs, snake skin, a seahorse, giant centipede, and some smaller scorpions.  We were very happy with our choices and expected the price to be pretty low as we are accustomed to ordering meat on sticks and it being pretty cheap.  The lady told us 500 rmb.....yikes, that's a tad over what we wanted to pay.  I was close to telling the lade to take a couple of the creatures back but Gode just said "Ill go get more money!" and ran back to the beer tent where Megan, Mari, and the others were.  OK, bugs paid for and time to eat.  They prepared the insects via deep fry and the thing is they fried the hell out of them so much there was virtually no flavor, just crunch. waaa waaaaaaa.  The funny thing is, we got back to the our table and everyone was examining our find when Mari pics up the tarantula, the flagship of our insect smorgasbord, and bites it in half like she's been eating them since birth.  Geeees! come on!!

So now, with a belly full of bugs (and other oddities) we sit back, people watch, and drink beer.  Time goes on and a dance party of topless Chinamen ensues.  Most people at our table had a good laugh and a couple people.........Gode and I decided that "when in Rome" was the more appropriate thought train to jump on.  Off go the shirts and we joined the table dance party!  They loved us!  No, literally, the men were saying "i love you" to us.  Odd enough but it didn't stop the boogie machine!  We dance dance dance, getting hugged by half naked Chinamen that were also shouting at their wives to take pictures of them with us.  Good times were clearly had and gallons of beer were consumed.  The next day we decided to take it easy, have a nice Japanese meal, and find a beach to sleep it off.  We were told of a nice beach that the government officials always use and it would be quiet.  The beach was rocky and the people were plentyful, oddly enough due to the overcast weather.  It was beautiful never the less.  We found some real estate, set up camp, and fell right to sleep.  I couldn't think of a better place to sleep off a hangover, er....uh..  I mean take a nap.

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