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Yeah Xiongmao sounds like an uncultured barbarian when it comes to food You really needed someone who knew Chinese dishes around to order for you. There's a shitload of good stuff maopao tofu, braised pork belly, fish cooked in beer, etc.. I don't even know the english names for most of the stuff but it's delicious and I have a pretty broad palate. My favorite thing is a good bowl of knife cut noodles in a hearty beef stew. Throw in some chili paste and it's beautiful. I'll take that over Vietnamese pho or the Thai version almost any day. Did you try to find those places that roll fresh dumplings? I remember going to a pretty famous one in Shanghai and it was ridiculously good.
A lot of Thai dishes are based on Chinese dishes anyways. You can see the southern Chinese influence in a lot of the stuff.
Alright, I've been back in the usa for less then a week now, it's time for the story.
Things were ruff as HELL this trip, starting the day I landed, and that was 2 days late....yeah I had that much trouble, I'm partly to blame for it though.
Long story short, my connecting flight was canceled, to make a overly complex story short, my connecting flight was canned, I found out ON the plain, had to get off after they had already loaded my suit case, my bag left without me for the connecting airport, not the end of the world, I got a flight the next day to the same airport so no big deal.
the same exact flight was canceled on me.....I was very angry and annoyed, but the woman gave me a 100$ discount on my next flight and a later flight that same day, she explained that the flight connected through tokyo and not the previous airport like the last flight, and told me my suit case would be rerouted to arrive when I did at the chinese airport, so I waited and got on the flight.
Arrived at Beijing airport to find out the flight to Shenyang wasn't for the day I landed but the next day, leaving my experienced self clueless as to where to go for a cheep hotel, after walking around this worker told me about a shuttle to a nearby hotel that I could stay in, I was smelly as hell and figured sure, it's better then spending the night in the airport, I ended up blowing 200 RMB that night, I felt angry with my self, as I know I could have got it for less, but I wasn't in any kind of mood, so I went for it....
Not to mention my girl friend waited for me at the ariport all night and I had no cell service or internet *no lap top, and cell didn't work on the wifi*
I show up at the airport on time, found out my suit case was lost....big surprise at this point, not only did I lose all my cloths, I lost all 5 gifts for my girl friends family members, some of them being jewelry, though not super expensive i was angry.
After talking with customer service for 2 hours, I came the realization that i couldn't contact my girl friend or my buddy who I met my last trip because my phone didn't work *dumb ass on my part* after a while I realized my buddy had sent me a WeChat message with his phone number that got through my some act of god, contacted him, he contacted my girl friend, things worked out, I didn't panic I'm very calm actually, but so much was going wrong before my trip even started I was nihilistic at the time.
So my girl friend shows up, super excited, she looks beautiful, she was in high heals hot pants and a white shirt, I was excited to see her we walked around as excited as we could be, both probably getting over the fact I actually made it back and we managed to keep together long distance for 4 months.
Then she gets a phone call 10 minuets in to are reunion...her mother died, she was ill with cancer *I know, I must have done something horrible in my previous life* so for the next hour and a half she's depressed and having phone calls on and off, at one point she squatted down in a corner, not sure if she cried but she sure wanted to, I held her until she calmed down.
Eventually my friend picked me up, we got lunch, I had bouza my favorite Chinese food, plate of pork and then a plate of beef bouza.
After that me and my buddy parted, me and my girl friend left to find a hostel to stay the night.
We ended up finding a awesome hostel, it had wifi and everyone was very friendly, the cost was about 45 RMB a night or less, but the place was clean and nice enough to be worth the price tag and everything you'd want was within walking distance.
Me and my girl friend were supposed to spend 2 weeks in Shenyang at the hostel, and then take a train to her home town well, that didn't happen....she got a phone call from her uncle demanding she get on a train back to her home town, he'd already paid for the ticket and was leaving her no other option, originally she'd planned on us both going, but her family really screwed that up.
From that point we literally went got a chinese cell phone, she handed it to me, told me "I love you, for real I love you" we kissed she got in a taxi and I was left alone for the next week.
Now this wouldn't be the end of the world normally, except for the fact that I don't read chinese and know only a very small part of the city, I made a few english speaking friends in the hostel that helped me pass the time, but I wasn't happy, nor was I getting my daily exercise due to not having a gym membership or knowing where a gym was, so I'd do pull up and push ups and figured the walking for miles and miles would prevent me from getting fat.
The odd thing was I got even more ripped then I was, I'm obsessed with body fat and lean mass, a lot of you will know I talk a lot about fitness, the interesting thing was...I lost 5 pounds....eating whatever I wanted and not being able to exercise normally, well I was already very lean, at LEAST 10% before I left shenyang, I was at 7 to 6%, I was amazed...I'd attempted to get that lean for years and for whatever reason it just happened, at the time I'd have thought my trip was finally looking up, my health was progressing at least.
I spent the next 5 to 7 days just existing in china, it wasn't so bad, met up with my buddy one last time, he intraduced me to his coworkers at his office, all the chinese are normally very friendly, I'm sure he likes showing me off, kinda of proof for his year spent living in the usa ahahh.
Well that day was great, but one thing ruined it...food poisoning...I'd spend the next 2 days sicker then I have been for years...and I had to endure the end of it on the train and when your taking a dump every 3 seconds and don't have the flexibility to use a squat toilet your in hell let me tell you.
My girl friend said I was going to have to take 2 trains to get to her home town, one 7 hours the other 12 hours, one hard seat *meaning a horrible death trap where you'll sit on a chair that would make Lucifer cry if he had to sit in it* and the second train was a bed, so I at least got to sleep most the way.
Alright, so my buddy takes me to the train station, I showed up with about 30 to 60 minuets to spare, but one problem.....it's the wrong train station, so in a panic me and my buddy book it back to the taxi, we both jump in and speed off, then I make a brilliant realization, my Chinese phone fell out of my pocket and...we didn't have enough time to go back for it OR buy a new one....and it was my only way to contact my girl friend or my buddy....so I'd have to figure out how to get to the other train station in Beijing by my self, my buddy marked down his number and my girl friends and I was off to man up and find my way.
While in the train I made friends with this nice girl and her class mate, lucky for me she could understand if not speak enough english to understand my situation, she offered her help and even showed me around Beijing , me and her 5 class mates explored Beijing, they got me brakfast and lunch, unbelievable, that would never happen in the USA...and after all that, she helped me contact my girl friend, I called her using my new friends cell phone....after I got in the taxi and they sent me to the train station and I was on my way.
Eventually I arrived at my girl friends home town, but I didn't see her, and I still didn't have a cell phone so I kind of just waited by the exit for about 40 minuets until I heard random screaming and then felt what was my girl friend slamming in to me at full speed, I'd finally made it.
we got on a train from the big city to her home town, 3 hour drive, but I was so happy holding her having finally made it I didn't care.
we finally got to her fathers house, nice guy, though very judgmental about foreigners, can't blame him most foreign white guys are..well lets be honest complete jack asses, so it's hard to prove to a guy you can't communicate with you're out to win his daughters heart and wed her and not bed her.
For the next 3 days we just went around her town, internet bar, markets, restaurants, I signed up for the local gym, it was awsome...
We visited her Aunt and uncles farm, that was a bit ruff, hot as hell sunflower/veggie/sheep farm, fantastic food, but one problem....I got food poisoning again, this time critical, I'd spend the entire night using the "FLY" house and tossing around in bed as if I was going to die, the pain you can feel in your stomic...is amazing, and I'm a stoic man...I ended up waking up to a full moon, I walked around in the moon light night in pain trying to walk it off, eventually I threw up in ways I didn't know possible, I'd spend the next 3 days crapping every 60 seconds...
After I felt better, we printed out advertisements, me and my girl friend wanted to teach English together, we handed them out for about 3 to 4 days, never got any bites though, we were too late for the teaching session and everyone had already signed up for English classes, so we kind of missed are window, so, we decided to try are hand at selling food.
I attempted to recreate hamburgers to sell on the street, I kind of managed to make a bastardized version, but that part of china just DID NOT have what I needed to make a proper hamburger, not to mention beef was rare, sheep and big were the main source of meat in her home town, so eventually we dumped the idea, but we didn't give up, i came up with another food we could make.
French toast with honey to sweeten it up, we sold a HELL of a lot of french toast, we'd take a slice of bread and cut it in to 4ths, put 2 cubes in 1 bag, and charge 2 RMB, the return was about double what we spent on the makings, so that went well and gave us a little extra spending money.
eventually we got a call from a 42 year old man who wanted me to tech him English, and a woman with 3 to 4 kids she wanted me to teach, in the end I've probably had about 30ish lessons, out of house, and hardly professional but it was a good experience and kept me and my girl friend funded.
I made about 65 RMB a hour with the 40 year old student and for the 3 kids I made 90 something a hour, not bad for amateur lesions and we still sold french toast a few times, one night we had a guy buy the entire box for 100 RMB as long as I sat and had a drink with him and be became friends.
Her father eventually liked me after he saw I could make money, beforehand he'd get angry because all I did was sit around eating or playing video games or exercising.....though he liked my comments about "the healthier and more muscle you have now the younger you will be when your older" comments I made"
He'd sit around most days watching chinese tv, i can't blame him, his ill wife just passed away....but he didn't realize I couldn't watch chinese tv so I'd rather play games, I once told my GF to tell him tv is for lazy people who don't want to work at entertainment like video games, he just kind of laughed and smiled.
my girl friend had lied to him saying I went to her university and I was 25, when in reality I was 28 and didn't go to her university, eventually he found out...but didn't seem to mind too much, though.
Once we had a fight about how in chinese culture the woman controls the money, I told her "honey, I'm not chinese, I'm a manly man, I'll be controlling the money if we get married that wont change" needless to say she wasn't happy with that, but accepted it, though she told her father about it, and he wasn't pleased saying I wouldn't give her money for what she needed ect, I told her she spent too much money on things we didn't need like snacks yet I always give her money for what she needs and always buy her food and that I was far better and saving money.
Eventually she accepted that fact, and realized it was true, but boy, Chinese sure don't give in to that idea very easy, so be prepared for that.
I'm going to keep the rest of the redundant details to my self so I'll just spew out the last few details....
I ended up getting food poisoning 6 times this trip in china, due to time constraint because my girl friend was always with me, I never did cardio the entire time I was in her home town, my health was devastated, I kept doing weights thank god, but I lost all cardio ability, and by the time I left I'd gained 15 to 20 lbs of fat, some of it might have been muscle, but I'll let you know once I've lost the fat...
Me and my girl friend had about 3 to 4 fights, one very bad one, when she's upset she walks away and won't even speak a word, driving me to the birnk of insanity, I once screamed at her from a block away in pure rage due to this immature action, scared everyone to death on the street including her, we had a big talk about it and resolved things.....point being is, if you date a chinese girl 19 to 25, expect maturity problems, individuals may differ, but chinese girls don't do well under stress or relationship fights.
She has 3 more years of her college to finish are plans are very conflicted, but we both love eachother and want to get married, but we arn't sure if I should move to china or if she should come to the usa.
her father said it's ok for her to visit the usa if I pay for her ticket and visa, before he wasn't happy with it, now he's ok with it, he knows we're serous and that I treat her very well, he eventually found out we were together.
She originally didn't want to come to the USA but after she fell in love with me she's open to the idea, the problem is, I have no college under my belt, and I told her about the only job I could get to support us is the army, she's in full support of it whatever I pick, but she rather I be a officer or something better due to it paying 20 to 30k a year, as base military pay is only 16k a year.
She also would be open to be teaching english, but fears due to my lack of diploma I wouldn't make the glorious 10k RMB a month aka 19k a year, as though the ammount seems like very little, the cost of renting a good apartment is only 2k RMB and about 1k RMB for food, leaving 5 to 6k RMB to pocket, so you're actually making more then you would with the same wage in the usa.....
I'm torn though, I'm not a desk guy, nor is teaching my dream.... I have a few ideas for businesses and things I could sell in china that might pan out, so the potential is a bit better not to be stuck as a english teacher.
she said if she comes to the usa she'll transfer from her college and study to be a nurse, sounds like a good idea, but 3 years is a long time to wait to get married, she said she'll move in to my apartment if I move to the same town her university is in, though I'm a little unsure about that, if things don't work out, it's better she isn't living with me and I'm sure I can find another woman, not that I don't love her, but a smart man always things ahead.
watch out if your seeking a younger wife....the ones heavily involved with school will have very little time for you and have a chip on there shoulders thinking they're always correct, partly due to maturity too, my girl friend was 19 and had her 20th birthday while I was in china so she might still have some of the teen mentality left, but the school has defiantly put the relationship at risk, I'd suggest if you can't be understanding to that you find a girl who's finished with college or a girl who isn't bothering with her education, they'll have far more time and far less stress.
Make sure your girl friend CARES about her parents and what they think of you...as huge of a pain in the ass as it may be for you...if she cares about them more then you, she's a keeper, because that means when you are her husband you'll be given even MORE respect, but that only is for guys seeking a wife, however, if the girl could care less, beware even if you arn't seeking a wife, you could just be a pay day or a boy toy until she find something better or moves on.
I ate grass hopper, it was good.
I had sheep testicle BBQ, it was good.
I had sheep penis bbq...it was horrible.
chicken feat and pork feat are amazing snacks, don't avoid them trust me on this.
don't ever tip too much if at all, it isn't even a normal custom in china.
If it looks bad or taste funny, throw it out and don't eat it, because you'll regret it if you ignore your instincts.
don't accept random shots from strangers, some will make you crap like a monster.
many Chinese are ignorant to proper cleanliness, health and hygiene both food and body, this includes sexual knowledge
if you eat cold watermelon you'll be looked at like a crazy man who has a death wish
chinese watermelon is amazing...I sometimes had 2 and a half to my self a day.
If you guys have any questions having to do with relationship food anything, ask me, I might know, I'm sure i've got a million details I left out, but it's 4:36 am and I'm tired still suffering from jet lag, I'm sure I have countless grammar and spelling errors but hell with it, time to sleep.
despite the negatives, I had a decent time in china, and grew very close to my girl friend....at age 28, I doubt I'd be able to date a 19 year old, let alone would a 19 year old be capable of thinking of anything as serous as a life partner....even though I've been ripped and in shape I've never had attention like this before, or treated with the same amount of care, no matter how are relationship ship ends, be it marriage or not, she has shown me just how wrong the USA is about me, and most other poor men stuck in this country, trust me, if you can find the right girl, and are willing to spend the extra money and time, you will have a higher chance of love here, and even if you can find love easy in the usa, you'll be treated far better here, but remember girls here want you to at least be able to get a place to live and take care of them while they work, they aren't lazy like usa women, they'll work right next to you, but don't expect to be lazy and find a quality girl.
I'm still debating if I should post pictures of my self and my girl friend.
Hey thanks for the trip report, Magnum. Do you know that me and Ghost are in China right now, teaching English? I would've loved to have met with either one of you here, but since I just got here--and as you mentioned in your harrowing trip report--it can be quite scary to take public transportation without speaking Chinese or knowing very well, the layout of the land.
I had a similar experience with yours in getting lost and being stressed-out to the max in the airport; I almost got lost at Beijing airport and couldn't figure out where Terminal 3 was, LOL! Then, I was almost late from my connecting flight. Anyway...I'm glad things are okay now...
How did you get so sick all the time here in China? I haven't gotten sick once while I've been here. I made sure to be a complete germaphobe and health-freak to ensure I didn't get sick while in China including: only drinking cold bottled water in big chain convenience stores; washing and brushing my teeth with only bottled water; eating only fried or freshly made food that is cooked well and hot; avoiding eating any street food sold around the neighborhood; and washing my hands frequently with liquid soap and water. I don't even open my mouth while taking a shower--for fear of getting sick while showering.
I think it also because I'm used to eating a lot of Korean food that my stomach is much more used to eating Asian-style foods than a Caucasian would be.
Anyway...I'm sorry to hear about your girlfriend's mom. I also hope things get better for you soon. I hope things work out well with you and your girlfriend.
Incredible story. I prayed for you that things would work out with that father and it looks like you have his approval. Good Job. So many things you learned the hard way for sure, but like Zboy said, your stomach is not used to Asian food at all. I think that is why I have never gotten sick in China myself. I eat in Chinatown alot with my Chinese friends in the US for many years.
That said, even with a high school diploma, I think you can still teach English there. Do some research and go to http://middlekingdomlife.com/guide/ Doing other work in China might be too difficult to do, permit wise (You need a B Visa and not compete with certain protected jobs other chinese have). English is their favorite jobs, along with IT/Oil and Gas, and Goods Trading, to allow into China for work. If you want to buy and sell things between here and China research it while in the US first. You can probably get an English training certification of some kind, but check out that website for more information. That site is for Expat teachers in China, it's the best.
I will tell my wife to read your post later and see if she has any advice or information to offer as well.
Yeah, I'm not that adventurous with food, well I am English. I did have fish balls soup tonight. It was kind of Chinese-like, but not great. Just cheap junk really. The best Thai food is the Muslim stuff from Southern Thailand, I guess because I'm English I love a good curry.
I had some good food in Hubei, that's far and away the best Chinese food I ever had. But I never saw it in Guangzhou, they're much more into Hunan and Cantonese food.
Remember though that I lived in a piss poor neighborhood and stuff was basically cheap instant noodles in some kind of broth full of bones and offal.
I got some kind of Norovirus, but that was likely to be contracted on a bus. That was pretty bad - 2 days of shitting water. I also had internal bleeding - probably from contaminated nuts with bits of shell in. That was scary. As somebody posted on GZStuff - if you got a heart attack in China, would you survive?
I got a couple of colds but in the tropical heat they went in a couple of days.
Oh, and the mosquitoes were a nightmare - the ones in Guangzhou were gigantic. I've only seen tiny ones in Bangkok and I didn't see any in KL.
Incidentally, my dates have got food poisoning more times than I have - and that spans both China and now Thailand.
I think there are better ladies in China, but it's a tough place to live and work.
I think the reason I got sick so much as her home town was for sure one of the less developed ones, not to mention it seemed like in this part of china restaurants were breeding grounds for flys, and the water probably wasn't that clean in her fathers apartment.
When I was in shenyang the first time I ate anything I saw, never got sick once.
It didn't help that I'd get munched by mosquito like crazy at night, but that's alright at my gf's home though.
One thing I'll never forget....getting sprayed with industrial bug poison...I insisted that me and my girl friend both shower after the wind blew it in to us.
I was literally the only white man for miles and miles in her home town, many people would want to randomoly take pictures with me, once in hot pot all you can eat resturant they said I could take home anything i wanted as a gift...i walked away with a entire tray of cookies....
As for learning the city, when i was in shenyang, I learned to take the subway and the bus on my own to get to the gym as my buddy had a girl friend at the time and I had no choice but to roll solo, if your good at remembering the land physically you'll be fine, it takes me less then a week to connect the city together in my mind depending on how much of it i see.
Another good tip is, have a friend write down your home address in chinese, so if you get lost you just hop in a taxi and hand him the paper, sure you might pay a lot in taxi fair, but at least you know you'll get home, I've never had to resort to this, but it's a good fall back plan.