October 15, 2013

"Tastes Just Like Chicken..."




Our last request for our day of Beijing was to hit the markets and our "taxi" driver found this great local one for us.

 

On a previous layover Chad had seen scorpions to eat in the market and had regretted not getting them and that was on his bucket list. I do have a growing list of nasty things I've eaten (see below) and so we jumped on board the plan.



It did seem a bit wild to be eating scorpions. I listened to Felicity ask one of the vendors, "Is it spicy?" YES! YES! he said. "Is it dangerous?" YES! YES!

He pulled out a bowl of wriggling scorpions and picked them up to skewer them in front of us, their little legs wriggling and their tails wrapping around his fingers trying to sting him, (see the 1st video below) then into the deep fryer they went, dashed with salt and passed over to us. Normally I can't even eat meat with bones in it because it makes me feel sad/grossed out, so this was a bit of a challenge, but in they went. They crunchiness and taste reminded me of popcorn- popcorn with legs.

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At least we ate the little ones.

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These would have also been a challenge- tarantulas or skinned baby birds. I tried for ages to find out what the red ball things were made out of, they looked tasty to me, something out of Willy Wonka, but I never found out.



A pit-stop was inevitable, the awkward thing is trying to go in squatter toilets with a baby strapped to your chest. Luckily when I went in all these ladies coo-ed around Reid and I and directed me to the one "western" toilet that magically was in this bathroom. Phew! I was grateful! I used plenty of squatter toilets during that trip, but was grateful to not have to do so then. 



Poor Jaren was sick of being strapped in that day and his little chin got all red from rubbing against Varian. We hiked those babies all over the middle east though so they soon got used to it, and whenever we could we'd let them down to run around and be free.




I came across the above photo when I was choosing pics for this post and thought the sign "hot race" pointing right at Varian's face was funny. He is a hottie! :)

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I don't know what we were thinking but we had these little pita meat/lettuce wraps. We had researched and planned to be so careful with not eating vegetables washed in local water and here day 1 we are eating lettuce, probably one of the worst things for getting some food poisoning. (Not to mention scorpions but the deep fryer probably killed off any germs.) The rest of the trip we we much more careful. We stayed healthy until Egypt (du du dummm- more on that later.)

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It was a really great day! We had such a fun time, and it was all an adventure! I've included two video clips below of them skewering the scorpions and us eating them. These are unedited clips or otherwise I may have censored out my suggestion that we feed the 3rd scorpion to our child...:} but otherwise enjoy! 

Preparing the scorpion sticks:

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Bon Appetit!

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*Photos from Felicity*

Gross things I've eaten and their context:
  • Rattlesnake- 10 years old @ Aunt Robin and Uncle Jim's house in Arizona
  • Grasshoppers- 17 ish, Brother McKay's seminary class, lesson on John the baptist eating locusts- and 21 yrs old, Jake brought some home from his mission in Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Octopus- teenager years, mom brought it home one day as a "treat"
  • Paraguayan food- Yuck my whole mission was filled with pretty nasty food, but here are some of the low lights:
  • Cow stomach- my first meal with locals. I thought it was raw chicken. I could tell they were saying "Vaca" - cow but other than that I thought, what the heck am I eating?!
  • Cow tongue
  • Pig's feet- There it was hoof and hairy ankle all standing up in a pile of beans. Luckily I ate this one really slow as my companion was treated to a second foot for being too fast. Eventually the dad saw me struggling and I used the "no se comer" (I don't know how to eat this) excuse and he helped me out. 
  • Cow anus- though technically I do think I actually tried to hide this one in my bag when the sister left the room
  • Rabbit's Heart and Chicken kidneys- though this was by choice at a buffet to add to my gross list
  • Crab- 25 ish, @ a crab shack in Maryland on our visit to Katie Cragun. Ok I realize most people wouldn't add this to their gross list but I think it even beat the pig's feet. Granted I thought it was cool to be hammering away "like you see in the movies" but otherwise the process totally grossed me out. Here they were there little black beedy eyes staring at you accusingly while you ripped off their legs and smashed apart their bodies. To have to crack their "ribs" in half and then push out their lungs with your fingers before eating the meat....GOO! It was horrible. Plus I hate having my fingers dirty I admit, and each crack of mutilation sent me reaching for a napkins until the pile of soiled napkins far outweighed everyone else's pile of exoskeletons. I eventually gave up and ate the chips and hush puppies - a far safer option.
  • Scorpion- 31 yrs old, Beijing Markets

October 10, 2013

Tienanmen Square (Oct 2011)

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Tienanmen Square
The 3rd largest city square in the world
Famous for Tinanmen Square protests/massacre.
With only a day in Beijing- this of course was on our list of places to see.

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My last post I mentioned that the Chinese people LOVED our babies and would treat us like celebrities when they'd see them. Here are some shots as proof of that. Look how close that camera is to Reid's face.

*Courtesy of Felicity

October 8, 2013

WOW- THAT WALL IS GREAT!!! (Oct 2011)




I feel like there isn't much to explain other than it's always been a dream of mine to stand on the great wall of China. We only had a day's layover in Beijing, but I was thrilled at the chance to accomplish this item on my bucket list. How lucky for me that I married into a travel-obsessed family. Traveling is a passion both Varian and I share and already we've had a lot of dream-traveling opportunities that I wouldn't have expected to come true. This was definitely one of them.



We arrived at Mutianyu (where as you can see there is civilized sightseeing). We rode ski lifts up the mountain to the top of the wall.



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I didn't realize there would be forts and stairs and look-out windows, which makes sense if the intention was for military protection. It was beautiful.

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I can't remember why Reid was ornery, other than he probably was tired as it seems like most of the other photos he's strapped to me and sleeping. I had this image of what a great shot it would be with me and my two sons on the great wall of China, but Jaren wouldn't cooperate and then this Chinese lady just came and held his hand and started walking away with him. The Chinese people LOVED our babies, and I mean LOVED. We were constantly stopped by people who just wanted to touch them or take their photos. It was sweet, a bit odd at times, but sweet! And actually it wasn't just China, it seemed like the whole trip people would get so mushy and happy around them, and total strangers would come up and just kiss them on their faces, Reid especially because he was so little (5 months).








Intriguing, but a bit sad, that every country will have some graffiti.

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I thought our boys would love to see these photos of themselves walking the great wall. So here's a procession of shots of Jaren walking away on the slanted and uneven bricks- not as easy as it looked.


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At the end we met some nice warrior dressed men and a small market for souvenier shopping. We ended up buying little Chinese outfits for the boys which have turned out so cute. We bought a white one for Reid and used it for his blessing outfit, and a blue dragon one for Jaren that also came in handy for his Chinese-themed birthday party. (Photos to come)

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In case you can't tell I'm doing an angry-Chinese-Warrior-face, which apparently not everyone joined in on. :)

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Goodbye Great Wall of China. You have lived up to your reputation- you truly are Great!

* A special thanks again to Felicity for her photos of that day. I loaded these onto a draft ages ago, and was trying to remember all the ones that were hers. Hopefully I labeled them all right, or didn't forget any.