A ham, cheese, and salami sandwich...

Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
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Trip End Oct 08, 2012


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Flag of China  , Zhejiang Sheng,
Sunday, September 18, 2011

While heading into Hangzhou yesterday with the folk from New Zealand,  they pointed out to me where the famous "Metro" store of Hangzhou was.   I couldn't really see it from the street, while standing in a bus, but I took a mental picture of local landmarks in hopes of finding that magical place.   The "Metro" is the closest and of the best places to find Western food.   I have been craving a simple ham and cheese sandwich.  One that didn't taste like the meat came from the bay at low tide,  or has the crunchy bits of chicken bones in it.   A simple ham and cheese sandwich with mustard and nothing made from a soy bean near it.   I knew the approximate distance was 14 kilometers and that my electric bike is rated to 60 or more kilometers on one battery charge.   Allowing for manufacturers rating exaggerations,  I figured I could make it there and back ok.  13.5 klicks (kilometers) on an insane Metro run in the bike lane,  involved all the predicted hazards. Cars coming straight at you in the bike lane, busses coming up behind you and blaring the horn, pedestrians who can't see the giant sidewalk,  detours due to subway construction,  other e-bikers coming straight at you,  potholes, parked vehicles, sewage spurting out of man hole covers, ect..  No real problem or single moment when death was eminent.  I am used to the pitfalls of Chinese traffic--fun and crazy,  but tiring after ten kilometers.  You never want to start daydreaming out there.

Finally made it to Metro.   Now my stomping grounds have tripled in size.  My next scooter adventure will be West Lake itself.  Of course I'll probably spend the night in a hostel and recharge the batteries over night. (ooops,  just found out that my bike is too fast to get registered.  Which means if I take it to Hangzhou,  the cops can confiscate it.)

  In Metro I found many of the things I've been missing.  Spam,  Tabasco, Barilla pasta and sauce, refried beans, porkrinds,  ham, salami, cheese, pepperoni,  and a bottle of Cuervo Gold Tequila just to celebrate!  Also some ingredients to make a kidney bean curry later in the week. Spent less than a $100 and don't mind making the trip once a week or so.  They gave me a box to put the stuff in and I managed to wedge it on the floorboard between my feet.  The load weighed about 30 pounds but was wedged in tightly so as not to interfere with my driving.   Made it back home with the indicator showing that 3/4ths of my battery is still charged (but these are as reliable as fuel gauges on cars).  I plan on driving her around w/o charging for a few days to determine exactly how long a charge can last.

Managed to buy a 200 g jar of first rate French mustard,  real Italian salami,  Chinese made ham but tastes as good as any European stuff i've had,  and a half pound of excellent Dutch gouda cheese.  This was possibly the best sandwich I've ever made or tasted.   Completely worth the trouble and expense.  I have enough to make at least 9 more of these babies!  So I won't have to eat chinese food for at least a week (although I probably will for a change of pace).  Funny:  I carried the load up 5 flights of stairs only to realize that my keys were left in the trunk of my bike.  So I had to hike back down and get them.  As I stood on my fifth floor porch, unable to get inside my apartment,  looking down at my bike with the keys sticking out, I had two choices and crying was one of them.   Anticipation of getting my groceries in the apartment and down my throat made running back down and up an easy decision.

Today is in the mid 70's which means a 20 degree F  temperature drop since Friday.  My first experience with a Siberian cold front, I assume this is the first real cold front of the season.. Subsequent ones might not be so pleasant.  

 Funny how pissed the rest of the world is at the US for not going to the metric system.    I know all the arguments,  and I agree with them unless we are talking about the Temperature scale.    Fahrenheit is a much more accurate scale than Celsius.  Plus, it's German,  so it has to be high tech.   (of course that meant nothing,  but I like the F scale better than the C.)    Kilometers, liters, and grams are great though, the US needs to adapt here. 

 The US government,  fails miserably in the "Lets get something obviously needed done" department and failing to adopt the metric system is just another example.  The rest of the world considers it arrogance,  that we continue using an antiquated system of measurement. Another example of this impracticalness,  is our passenger rail system.  Why can't our society build an intercity railroad line in a year or two?  Why can't there be a bullet train from Dallas to Houston?    In China one can be free enough to travel wherever one wishes to go without having to own a car.  In Dallas,  I have to pay nearly 100 dollars to take a taxi to the airport which is 25 miles away.  The Chinese don't have to be slaves to car ownership,  most are content to ride pedal bikes for nearby errands.  Farther trips they take a bus or metro (a taxi on occasion). Trip s farther out of town,   most use the rail system.   Air travel is readily available (and much cheaper) to the farther reaches of the kingdom.   The Chinese don't need to drive, insure, pay for:  a big, space taking, bastard car.   I really hope China makes it harder for people to buy cars,   Electric bikes are a much more efficient.   But a car is a status symbol here.   Hopefully the Chinese government will step in and curtail this car issue before it gets out of hand.  

Today is Wednesday,  been trying to come up with a viable less plan for tomorrow.  Thursday's will be my busiest day,  with the first class at 8 AM and the last one ends at 5PM,  of course there are a few hours of wasted down time between the last two 90 minute classes.   Still not gonna whine,  since Friday is a half day and I have Mondays off.   Tuesdays and Wednesday's are two 90 minute classes (none at 8).   Compared to last year this schedule is a breeze,  but I still have to come up with a good lesson plan,  or that 90 minutes per class is gonna crawl.

I saw a picture of sushi on the outside window of a restaurant so I went in, thought it was the Japanese place that is close to there.   Turned out to be a Korean place (the one cuisine I dislike worse than Hong Joe food),  ordered what looked like little spare ribs,  but it was a little chunk of rotten fish that dissolved on my mouth on contact.  Some molasses tasting sauce was on it, but the plus side was the fried egg sizzling on top of the rice.  The rice and egg was good,  the fish was edible yet disgusting.   I also like kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) and there was no shortage of that.   

 After I got out of there for only 8 bucks (a lot for a man getting paid $750 per month),  I drove down some back alleys just to check out the scene and to look for a newer model "Flying Pigeon" bike.  I saw a brand new one today on campus,  it was a thing of beauty.  Afterwards,  I found a hair salon which shaved my head (and threw in a scalp message) for a mere $3.  Now I am back home preparing for my lessons and watching more Seinfeld episodes.   
 
  

 
 
 
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Comments

ghicks
ghicks on

Now that looks a good sandwich. Waay better than the fishhead !! Glad you found a good place to shop. ;)

JoAnne on

Happy you found the ham and cheese!!! Love your writing style!

lexapplegate
lexapplegate on

Ugh - the metric system is driving me nuts! Not only do I have to convert from kg to lbs but then from KD to USD when trying to figure out price! It's so frustrating! Glad to see you've settled in!

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