Archangel's blog A pointless waste of time

3Jul/111

Bike Ride and Local Food

Didn't have time to write yesterday and don't know if I'll have time today either. Leaving for Shenzhen on the night bus tonight. But I have booked a hostel in Shenzhen that I know has wifi, so I'll at least update when I get there on Monday.

But a short summary (which might ending up having to suffice):
We had decided to hire bikes and go see some scenery around the outside of town. While Monica slept late I had breakfast in town and then got ready. While I was up at the rooftop terrace I met another girl from Canada, Chelsea, who asked what I was doing today. Turned out she was also going biking and wondered if I wanted some company. So Chelsea And her roommate Phoebe from England joined us. We hired some really nice looking mountainbikes and headed towards the supposedly scenic place of "Moon Hill".

The bike ride there was not quite as scenic as one could have hoped for, more like a big road with lots of tourist buses whizzing past. But we got there safe and sound.

The climb up the hill was very steep and we all sweated gallons of water. I had as usual not brought enough water to drink... The view from the top turned out to be worth it though. An astounding view of the surrounding area with it's many small hills as far as the eye could see.

Once down again we realized that it was time for lunch. We were approached by a lady who offered us tours of the caves in the area and when we said that we were going for lunch she offered us home cooked lunch at her place. She started at 25 but Monica haggled it down to 15 per person. So we got on our bikes and followed her scooter to her house in a nearby village.

All the vegetables, which we asked to see before she cooked it, came from here garden and the eggs she used was from her two ducks. And I must say that those eggs were amazing! Really tasted a lot more and a bit different than normal eggs. All the food was great and really worth the wait and the 15 Yuan it cost me. Turned out she also offered cooking classes. If we were 4 people it would cost 70 Yuan for 5 dishes and one of them would be egg dumplings which would be amazing! Had I stayed more days here I would have had a cooking class.

After our filling lunch we headed back to town and returned our bikes and sat down for a while on our rooftop terrace to rehydrate.

I spent the afternoon just walking around town and also took time to book hostel in Shenzhen and a meeting with Stoprock (thanks Tim!). We were thinking about seeing the evening show outside of town that is directed by the same movie director that also made the opening act for the Beijing Olympics. It's said to feature 600 performers with a huge light show, dancing and singing. After some thinking we decided to do that today instead. (which turned out to be a mistake since the wasn't at 18 as previously stated but rather at 19:50. So I won't be able to see it since I have a bus to catch at 21:20. Bummer!)

So what we decided to do in the evening was to find the local night market outside of town. This is not a market for trinkets but rather a market for food and where you'd see almost no foreigners. Items on the menu included dog, snake, mouse and loads of other strange things. Turned out they were all out of both dog and mouse and the snake was really expensive. So I ended up getting the "beer duck" while the girls shared the local speciality of "beer fish". Since we weren't sure what fish it was I asked if we could see the fish before they cooked it. They looked at me like we were mad but eventually complied and the lady came back with a plastic bag with a fish in it. When I peered into the bag the bag jerked, the fish was still alive. So there was no question about the fish not being fresh, that's for sure! We also got to select the vegetables we wanted from a big table with all sorts of fresh ingredients on it.

Turned out we ordered way to much food! So when we saw a western couple walking the market looking curious I invited them to join us and partake of our feast and order more for themselves if they wanted. So they joined us and ordered some frog, some snails and some more vegetables.

So we had a huge feast at our table and it was very nice. We all got really stuffed and there was still food left at the table when we were done.

Then came the bad part... The check was a lot more expensive than expected! Especially the fish but also the vegetables. Since the lady didn't speak any English and she had such bad eye sight hat see could barely read what I pointed to at the menu. We tried to argue for a while but the language barrier made it quite tough. Eventually the table next to us took notice and one of the ladies there spoke good English so we got some help. So turns out the language barrier had hampered us while ordering as well. So the first price was wrong but even after getting some extra off due to the misunderstandings it was still more expensive than we had expected. But it was still only around 70 Yuan per person, so compared to home it's still cheap. So we paid and decided that it was worth the experience.

We had spent so much time eating and talking that after the walk back into town it was midnight. So I decided to head straight to bed.

Today I've been relaxing by the river during the morning. A Chinese guy started talking to me and wanted to practice his english, so we chatted for a while. Now it's time for lunch!