I bet you won’t be surprised to learn that today’s missive is all about food. When our deputy manager’s assistant Nancy (not her real name) gave us each a plastic bag filled with edible goodies yesterday, it started me thinking. One man’s snack is another man’s poison.

When Tim, Mikey V and I had gone out for a walk a few nights ago we really did see BBQ bugs on a stick as a snack…ok…what’s up with that? We favour the theory, and I shared this with my Chinese colleagues, that this is some kind of twisted humour. All of the stall owners get together and place their bets, and then see what yuckiness they can come up with (and I have to tell you… BBQ’d bugs on a stick is up there) and then whoever is able to get a person (preferably a foreigner) to eat one first gets the whole pot. There can be no other explanation . I have found out an interesting little quirk; if there is anything peculiar…people in this neck of the woods seem to blame Canton Province. It appears to be the Alabama of China from what I can tell.

Ok…back to the plastic bag. There is a can of fish of some kind, some wagon wheel cakes and lots of little things wrapped up in colorful bits of foil and paper. This is where it gets interesting. I mean it could be a kit kat single or it could be a chicken wing or piece of duck neck preserved in a foil packet. Hard to know??? There are also things of an indeterminate colour and texture and I bet you know where I stand on those packages. We also got some clear packs…freeze dried with colorful food-type bits on the inside. Hmmm….could it be a marshmallow treat or more spiced and dried tofu. I have to tell you, when your mouth is ready for marshmallow, freeze dried tofu doesn’t cut it.

I will also tell you that I was part of an international food incident today. I went through the food line up as usual and the person who hands you your TV dinner kind of thing with the other package of rice…wouldn’t take my voucher and told my friend that I needed 2 for the western lunch. I said that was ok…and that I would take the Chinese lunch. I don’t know how to say this, but, I am not currently located in the west. I figure my chances were better with the Chinese lunch in China rather than the “pizza” that the western lunch promised. As I sat and ate my lunch, minding my own business, I found myself, actually my lunch, being stared at by a man in a pink shirt. The #2 lunch man as it happens. Michelle looked up and he said to her in an accusing tone that I didn’t have a western lunch and there was pizza in it. She said that I had said the Chinese lunch was fine. He said no, that I was western and needed to have the western lunch. She said that maybe they could also give the western lunches to the Chinese. He told her, no, that we/he musn’t spoil the Chinese. So a bit of an impasse. He then went into the lunch handing out area and came back with a western lunch TV dinner tray for me. So now, I have 2 lunches. So Michelle tried to call our colleague Eva to come back downstairs to the lunch room so she could have the western lunch. We couldn’t find her, so Michelle asked if he wanted the lunch back (still sealed) which wasn’t going to happen without a whole lot of paperwork. Could we take it upstairs? He told us no that it was forbidden. He then said to make sure he wasn’t looking when we took it with us.

Eva and Xavier thought it was great and I knew that the Chinese lunch was a great call for me!

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