A Travellerspoint blog

MSG is Delicious!

The next morning we get to sleep in a little. I woke up and took a shower, but I wasn't sure if I was supposed to. Linda only had a shower head, but not the rest of the building blocks of the mechanism we refer to as a shower. The shower head was just in the wall next to the toilet, and that was it. I turned it on, begging for hot water, and I was scolded. This was slightly refreshing though, because now I at least knew the water got hot. But when I tried to make the water bearable to be under, I began to shiver. There was no happy medium, and I was soaking the toilet. The entire bathroom was beginning to have a dampness to it if not a nice puddle of water. I wasn't sure what to do, so I quickly shoved my hair under the shower, froze my scalp, madly scrubbed shampoo, rinse, then conditioner, rinse, and turned the damn contraption off. I ran out of the shower then, after spending a long time trying to put on my clothes w/o getting my pants and socks wet, and hid in the warmth of the blanket that Joe was heating up just for me. The sun was already up, so that meant it was probably already in the 20's (Joe says you'll never get used to the change over, I think I'm managing b/c we see such a range of temperatures in the next week that I know what every number truly feels like).

Then Linda took Jason, Joe and I out to meet Ivy at DaFen, the artist village named after Da Vinci.


(That is a bust of Da Vinci, definitely wasn't expecting to see him in China.)

Then Ivy and her cousin Kitty met us for lunch right next to his statue in the main square of what they call a village, but I call an artist's workshop and gallery.


Ivy is the one on the left in the very stylish boots and hot pants, her cousin is on the right, Linda is the blond, and Jason is the guy.

Here Linda didn't really eat with us because she is very cautious about eating Chinese food, and she isn't afraid to tell us about it... not even as we eat it. "Yes, well, all that food is just loaded with MSG. I can tell because the moment I eat something with MSG I vomit profusely. I've had a sensitivity to it ever since I threw up so much that my stomach actually pulled up into my rib cage and I had to fly home to England to undergo surgery to bring it back down." Ok, it wasn't that bad. She actually told us this before we left the apartment, but she did bring it back up at lunch after our food arrived. Ivy ordered us 5 or 6 huge plates of food that we all shared (Joe loves this about Chinese food). One plate of steaming veggies, 2 bowls of spicy meat, noodle, and veggie soups, a plate of meat, a plate of some sort of wonderful fried and glazed with spice green beans that I think I ate the whole plate as if it were my own, msg and all. Ivy's retort to the pointed comments about how poor Chinese food is was this. "But the food is so DER-LI-SHUSH. And the vegetables are fresh from the farm and full of NU-TRISH-OUSH. What more can you ask for? DER-LI-SHUSH food, good friends, this is all you need to be happy." I'd like to say now that none of my quotes are ever verbatim. But this is generally what was said, and she couldn't have said it any cuter.

After lunch Ivy and Linda showed us around DaFen. Ivy pointed out to us all the shops that she likes, and we visited a few that she worked with. Ivy had a job she went to during the week, but her "hobby" job was to find foreign clients and match them up with the right shop to have copies of paintings made for the ridiculously cheep Chinese prices.


I couldn't believe some of these paintings. They had everyone you could think of from European art. I saw the ballerinas, the sunflowers, the Italian villa doors, all hand painted on canvas for the price of about 30 Yuen... thats less than $5. You can't even buy a decent sized canvas to paint on for $5. In one of Ivy's shops she showed us a 4x10 photograph of a Russian village square she was having made for a customer, and the artist had blown the painting up to about 2' by 3' and I couldn't see anything wrong with it! Ivy saw that the tiny baby that in the original photograph wasn't more detailed than two black dots for eyes and a line for the mouth it was so small, but she saw that in the photo the baby was looking slightly sideways, and in this man's version, it was looking straight at the "camera." Right then and there I gave Ivy my mom's email address and told her that I have a client for her. Usually I try not to encourage my mom to spend money on things, but this was something I thought was really necessary. What if she could have real water-lilly paintings? If you saw how my mom reacted at the Musée de l'Orangerie, you would agree with me.

Then after wondering around inside shops for a bit we met up with Linda's friends from Germany and we went bowling. Ivy had to go to work, but the rest of us went, including Kitty who had never bowled before (she beat my score... multiple games). Trisha (Linda's German friend) and her husband bought us lot of beer, and when I Joked that it really was true that Germans drink a lot of beer, they just started at me. It wasn't that funny stare like "what are you talking about?" when they really do know what you are talking about. They both looked at me like there was some sort of language barrier between us, even though they lived in Texas before China, so they spoke perfect English. I guess this wasn't a lot of beer to them, and they really didn't understand that I thought it was. Tsingtao beer is China's beer of choice, and the bottles are really big, and they are made in China, but manufactured by the German's who made a huge settlement in Quingdao (it is really good lager beer).

Linda, Kitty and Jason's taxi hadn't arrived yet, so the German's played a whole round before they came. While we waited after they finished one of the games I felt a little uncomfortable. We were talking about shopping for clothes in China and Trisha brought up how rude a lot of the Chinese women can be who work at the stores. They literally came out and called her fat b/c she couldn't fit into a size 6 pants (their largest size), and she had a complex for the longest time. Then they travelled back to Europe and got behind a woman at the airport escalator that they couldn't pass to walk down the steps because she took up too much room. "That is fat" her husband said. And it was true, just because the women in China are very small, doesn't mean that everyone else is obese. I told her that I had a similar problem trying to wear the traditional Chinese shirts. I like them a lot, but they never fit right and I always have to hunch my shoulders in them so I can breath. This opened a door I wish it hadn't where Trisha very loudly started professing that "if Chinese women actually had boobs, instead of these little cherries" and she mad hand gestures over her chest to mimic small tits, "they wouldn't fit in these shirts either!" She felt comfortable saying this so loudly because we were probably the only ones in the place that spoke English. But I just couldn't help but feel that someone knew what she was saying. Like in Lost (sorry I keep referencing that show btw, I'll get a life eventually, especially if the show keeps sucking like it has), the Korean couple are eating at the airport, and Sun was serving Jin. Then she accidentally spilled hot water on his lap, and begged for forgiveness (in Korean, but you still got the picture). A wife sitting at the table next to them started commenting to her husband on how pathetic she thought Sun was for being so submissive. Sun eventually gives the woman a look that said that she understood everything she was saying.

In any case, my team of Joe, Jason and myself lost all 3 games to the German's and Kitty. Linda couldn't play still b/c she was still getting over her surgery and wasn't allowed to lift heavy things. Trisha felt really bad about suggesting bowling after she remembered that, but we were already there, and it was kind of a long taxi ride to find this, probably the only bowling ally in all of Shinjin. When we were finished wiping the floor with me it was time for the bill, and Trisha argued it vehemently. I don't understand Chinese, but I knew what was being said wasn't very nice. Trisha's husband kept trying to tell her to just let it go, but eventually it was sorted out that Trisha forgot they played a game before the others arrived.

It was time for dinner so we headed out to a place Linda liked because it didn't have any msg. I thought the name of the place sounded like Chillies, but it was something in Chinese. This place had the most amazing French Toast. Joe and I were going to share it, but he ended up getting Trisha's meal too b/c she thought she was ordering a shrimp curry, and it came with shrimp (whole), and those tinny octopi, and several other things. Joe really liked it, but I agreed with Trisha, I thought it was kinda gross. Here we met one of Linda's friends who's english name was Forest. Then there was the joke that we should marry so my name could be Rain Forest (I had to admit, it sounded pretty good. My name, not the wedding prospects).

When we finished dinner we walked around the outdoor street market for a while, and then we headed back down the street to Linda's place. It was only about a 20 minute walk, and we wanted to see the town. But on the way was the massage parlor (so I wished we had taken the bus). Jason was talking about getting another massage all day (he had already been in Shinjin a week), but he ended up staying at the outdoor market trying to buy up more things to send back to England to resell. So it was just Joe, Linda and I, and they both wanted a massage. We sat down upstairs in these really huge red velvet lazyboys and I told them I wasn't interested, but then Joe pulled the old, "if you're not getting one then I'm not either." The massage was only going to be like $10 US money, and it was for an hour and 10 minutes, and Joe really wanted the massage, so I went for it. Linda kept telling me how it was going to make me a new person, and while its painful during the massage, the after bliss is worth it. These 2 guys started working on making Joe and I hot water soaks for our feet, and Linda waited for her favorite masseuse to be done with his previous appointment. The foot massage was okay, only the guy kept trying to talk to me in Chinese, and I really hadn't the slightest clue what he was saying. Joe tried to talk a little, but it wasn't much, and Linda surprisingly didn't seem to know much Chinese at all. So that was awkward. Then they had us sit on the foot stools and they did all sorts of arm wheels and back cracks and strange yoga like contortions to my body. I looked over at Joe when my guy started massaging my buttox. Joe's guy wasn't massaging his which made me wonder 1.) Does Joe get a butt massage since he is a boy? 2.) If Joe does get one later, are we supposed to help them get under there by lifting a cheek or something? B/c he's kinda digging down there.

When I got to sit back in the lazyboy he started on my feet again, and then Linda reclined my chair and got a woman to come and massage my head. It felt nice until she started pounding on it. But then she made up for it my giving me a hair massage which felt really really good. But all in all I was too self conscious to enjoy the massage or the after "bliss." Which brings me to my final point of the evening (Well, it was Joe's point, but I'm bringing it back up).

Why is it considered bad, when you are conscious of who you are?

Posted by - Rain 17:30

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


mom says thanks! i ordered 3 waterlilies from Ivy and they are on their way! yay! thanks!

by georgi r

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.