News from China 2

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Category: Articles

bee larvae

Hi from the tropical island of Hainan!

It’s only 16 degrees C (61 F) but I cannot complain; back home in Prague it’s -6 (12 F).

Today I was at a government business lunch — it had nothing to do with my business but they invited me anyway; they like to measure my progress in the local Hainanese dialect. On the menu this time were bee larvae and turtle meat, in addition to the ubiquitous sea creatures I’ve become more than used to. The larvae were delicious, I think it was the first time I’ve eaten insect larvae. The turtle, on the other hand, has never been my favorite. Why do they always order the most expensive things on the menu? Yes, I enjoyed the crab and the fish as always, but to be honest, I’m getting tired of cracking crab shells. Next time I hope they serve oysters: they’re so much easier to deal with.

After lunch I was escorted to the government offices to do my own work, this time gathering information for the tourism video I’m creating. It was quite a trip, seeing all those civil servants running back and forth, making phone calls, searching among the bookshelves, just to answer my questions. Tomorrow I’ll visit the forestry ministry to get the lowdown on the local flora and fauna.

Now, it’s not my “normal” job to be putting together a video for foreign tourists. I never fancied myself a film director (though I do like to be on camera and I love a good microphone), but this assignment is a chance for me to prove that I can do things intuitively when I’ve never done them before. Not to mention the perks are good and I get to spend the winter in the tropics.

The Chinese language is coming along; I’m at the point where I make children’s mistakes and that means I’ve advanced to pre-intermediate level. In this town English speakers are few and far between, so I have lots of opportunities to practice.

I tried the betel nut yesterday but didn’t achieve the hallucinogenic effect. Unlike my friend, who got dizzy and had to lie giggling on the grass.

OK time for dinner. This one’s on me so I’m going to be conservative: tofu, eggplant and maybe a fish.

By the way, do you think it’s fair to eat bee larvae, when there are so many infertile bees out there trying so hard to conceive?

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