So here’s the question, as you try to sample a culture unfamiliar to you:
If you had the chance to go to a Chinese bath where little tiny fish chew on your naked body as a means of exfoliating, would you?
Or, if you knew of a restaurant that specialized in the fried genitalia of various animals, would you give it a go?
Even if it would make, in the words of more venturesome and foolish colleagues – OK, Marcus – a great blog.
But be assured both exist. A reporter from Denver blogged the restaurant experience (tastes like chicken?) and I ran into an Aussie camerman who had sampled the fish bath.
``They go right to your feet first,’’ he said. ``and then they work their way up.’’
``They chew on everything?’’ I asked.
``Everything,’’ he said.
Before I get in trouble with my newspaper, I think I will stop here.
Visiting the Wall
Week 2, the Chinese workers are still friendly. But our novelty has worn off. Exuberance has been replaced by politeness. And they walk, instead of run, to help you.
Went to the Great Wall with Marcus and his friend Milo on Saturday. Beautiful blue skies brought big crowds. Been on it once before in 1984. It blows you away, thinking of all the labor that went into the thing, and it’s really a blast to be on it. There are scribes here who haven’t been yet, and most of them don’t realize how unique it is. I think it even caught Marcus by surprise.
The Forbidden City is great, and so are the tomb sites and various other things to see. But if you’ve been to Epcott, you’ve really seen the Forbidden City already. Disney or anyone else can’t replicate that wall. They’ve kind of messed with it though, putting a Starbucks down below and a huge ``One World, One Dream’’ sign on the mountainside.
Then again the bottom is filled with cheap t-shirt and hat kiosks, each manned by a screeching woman. Dare to enter the sidewalk in front of them and they will practically tackle you to get you into their store, and then to buy. No prices on the items. They say a number, you say a number, and eventually you settle somewhere in between. In 84, you could buy shirts for a buck. I was pleasantly surprised that you could still get some of them for six or seven, if you haggled.
By the way I do empathize with Beijing organizers. They spent a substantial part of the beginning of these Olympics dealing with weather and health concerns. Now that the games are midway through and the air quality and weather much improved, no one is writing about it. But it’s been mostly fine, and certainly mostly smog free since those first few days. What a break.
Jersey guy looking ahead
Today, Monday, begins the portion of the Olympics that I have looked forward to the most. I live in South Jersey, in Haddonfield, and a local girl named Erin Donohue is getting ready to race in the 1,500. The schedule called for preliminaries, but there were not enough entrants so the entire field will make the semifinals Thursday, with the final scheduled for Saturday. Erin has been running around my streets for as long as I can remember, and was my daughter’s hero when she was playing basketball growing up. She focused on running after her freshman year in high school, but there’s no doubt she would have been D1 if she kept going. Anyway, a great kid, and it’s going to be real hard to stay neutral when she runs a qualifier tonight.
Blaine Neal, a pitcher from Bishop Eustace and from the next town over, is the closer on the baseball team that I hope to get to on Tuesday. I’ve already interviewed field hockey Olympian Rachel Dawson, whose younger sister Meghan was on my daughter’s AAU hoops team for a couple of years before she focused solely on field hockey. They’re from Voorhees, another neighboring town.
Anyway, that’s a first for me, all these Olympians from my backyard, two of whom I know. Blaine even introduced himself and bought me some beers down at the Elbow Room in Lauderdale when he was with the Marlins a few years ago. Pretty neat.
Speaking of ball, I saw a Chinese guy on the street near the boxing venue wearing a green Phillies hat.
Looked like he could hit, too.