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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Beefs and Turkeys with Beijing

I am so happy, today (yesterday, depending on when you are reading this and where you are reading from) basically, Wednesday, was my last day at work. Let’s just say I am deliriously happy. Anyway, I have some serious beefs with Beijing and I will try to capture as many as I can subsequently:

Ehnehn Disclaimer: Some of these are light-hearted so you might want to have a re-think before you go all Bash Alli on me for why I say this or that. Let’s progress, shall we?

Yi)    Why is it that most of the time, the buses and subways are sooo damn full?! Where are you people going to? Where are you coming from? It doesn’t help that your way of saying excuse me is to shove. I find it tres annoying!

Er)    Still on the matter, if chivalry wasn’t dead before, now I know that it is as dead as turkey on thanksgiving.  If you are a babe and made of formica, don’t even bother putting Beijing on your tour list except you are going to have your personal everything. If you think your forming chic on the bus will make that cute Chinese boy let you have that seat, you can’t be more deluded! Read after my fingers, Chivalry is DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD!!!!

On the flip side, this leads me to my first turkey with Beijing. One day I was on my home from work and on the bus. I had my heavy laptop in bag slung on one of my shoulders. I was so tired and it was a projected 1hr ride home in the very least.  Of course, there was no available seat on the bus, I mean, what do you expect, it was rush hour. This young lady somewhere around me randomly got up from her seat after a few minutes and used her posture to stop anyone from accessing the seat. She then signaled to me to come and sit. I thought her stop was next was the reason why she gave up her seat for me. So you can imagine my surprise when she didn’t alight at the next stop nor the one after nor the one after the one after (lol). Matter of fact, she didn’t alight until about 7 stops after. She was simply just nice enough to give up her seat for me. Ladies (10) – Men (-100)

San)    Smoking is synonymous with breathing here. I HATE being a second hand smoker. The part that irks me the most is when it is done in the clubs. Picture small space, plenty booze, sweaty people and lots of cigarettes being lit = Not a pretty picture, I tell you. The fact that I can’t just go straight to bed after clubbing, put my clubbing clothes with my other dirty clothes or do not have to wash my hair after clubbing puts me off clubbing all together. Why this particularly annoys me is that personally, I am not a club person, but it is by choice not by duress. Beijing has almost made it by duress for me….#notcool#

Si)    Are you prepared for this?! Phlegm/Spit: Oh lawd! You may have to suspend your 50sec rule (for when you drop food on the floor) while in Beijing. In fact, not only for food, but for anything you drop. There is just that very high propensity that while you are retrieving your fallen item, you will scoop up some fat phlegm with it too…:D 

Grossed out much? Me too!

They spit everywhere and anywhere. I have seen a person spit on the floor of a carpeted (rugged) restaurant…..I said RESTAURANT!

Wu)    Ok, so for this one I am just really salty as in….highly burnt. I did say that today was my last day of work, yeah? Not even a branded pen did I get from my host company on my departure. Like really? Where is that done?....tssshrreeeeewwww! Hey, you better shush your lips, I was quite a good employee while it lasted.

Liu)    The stares: Seriously Beijingers, it is played out already. Shouldn’t the novelty have worn off by now? I am 3 months old here already, you shouldn’t still be looking at me like a “new edition” when you see me. Even though I have gone from “Starafically Acclimatising"  to “Starafically Acclimatized”(I give just as bad/good as I get), it does get tiring. Abeg, park well!

Qi)    Very closely related is the seeming lack of tact. (Bear in mind that I am still salted due to number Wu) I walked into the office today and my boss felt the need to announce that I looked very pretty. To her, perhaps my dressing up today had to do with it. Excuse me Ma’am! I was wearing a shirt, jeans , boots that look like the ones hunters wear, my naptural hair with a scarf as a headband and my masquerade make-up. There was NOTHING distinct about what I was wearing. But somehow, she felt the need to announce to the whole office of about 20 people, making it seem like I tried to look nice…ttsshrreeeewww and even after the whole dolling up, not even a broken company pen was used to send me forth..did I mention that already?! Lol

Add to this scenario the case of the nonsense someborri who spilled my food after work. I was chatting in the hallway with two of my co-workers when this man passed by me and bumped into my bag. The bag in turn juggled the plastic bag of food I was holding on the same side causing the contents to spill into the bag. I was so mad ‘cos I wasn’t even in his way and I was pretty sure that he just wasn’t watching his movement.  He rattled off something in Chinese which I had zero knowledge of, of course. It was later that my friends told me that what he said translated as “I already said sorry, what else do you want me to do?” (with an arrogant tone of course).
How about a new bowl of fungus, you idiot! You guys seriously don’t believe I was gonna eat fungus or did you?

 I should have been told earlier than then so that I could kick him and make my foot stick out his mouth…rude thing osi! Or better still I could have plucked out his eyes with my newly developed chopstick skills. By the way, make that another turkey for Beijing. My chopstick skills went from -5 to like 7. I mean, I can eat rice now without spilling a grain...yay me!

Ba)    Another major turkey is Dairy Queen. Let’s just say Dairy Queen and I have fallen in love. It is amazing how many times I had seen or heard about her in my base without paying her any attention.
Oh those Blizzards!!!
Now, we are in a relationship and it will transcend oceans. Dairy Queen, what we had was not just a Fall Fling, see you on the other side :*

Well well…this is it for now. I will be going on a 2-week excursion towards the South of China so I may not have as much cyber/gbeborun presence as I usually have on your blogs. Now excuse me while I go and sulk in a corner till someone gives me a gift.

Lerra pipuls (LOL @ Adede)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beijing in Pictures 3

                     Fooding In Beijing

So you and I have been relieving the Beijing experience for a little while now. Though my stay is gradually coming to an end,  there are still so many topics of discussion and stories to be shared. Moreso, I think perhaps some of my stories might help someone who has plans of going there sometime. Hence, I am thinking, shall I open a new page on this blog, tagged  “The 3-month Bejinger’s Journal”? or something like that….share your thoughts….let me know what you think.

Anyway, if you missed the previous story, check here.

Any oldie on this blog knows how much I love good food, even if I don’t know how it is made. As a result of this,  my nutrition as well as diet was one of my major concerns when I had to come to Beijing. Now, I realise that it was such an unfounded concern! It is not even worth wasting your grey cells on!

The most popular eating custom is the family style restaurant. In most restaurants, there are tables for groups of 2 to groups of even 12! The restaurants in Beijing put a different association to “restaurants” because you don’t have to dabble into money rituals or break and arm and leg to afford the food.  However, they also bring to understanding the old proverb that iterates that one can’t eat with his enemy. This is why:
Empty table
 PS: Dont forget that you can just click on the image to enlarge it

 This table sits about 8 people. The round glass is where the dishes are placed and it is rotatable.  Each dish serves about 2-10 people,  depending on the size of the dish and most groups order at least two dishes. As a result of this, it doesn’t make much sense to eat in a restaurant alone.
Now that's what I call "fooding"!
Chicken and Rice

Pork and Rice
So imagine having to eat with an enemy, he will definitely make sure to order every dish you don’t like, leaving you hungry, angry and frustrated. Usually, after all the food is consumed, the total bill is just split among the table occupants….again, remember not to eat with an enemy because either or not you eat the dish, you might have to pay!

Don’t fret though! Fortunately, if you are like me, who likes her food spicy, doesn’t like mushroom or doesn’t generally want to always deal with compromising on food matters just because you are ordering a group meal, there are other options. For instance, the Japanese restaurants have set individual meals that are finger licking. The set meal (in this particular instance) featured salad, egg custard, fruits, an appetizer/side/dessert/i-don’t-know-the-classification (potato salad), miso soup, your main dish and a bowl of rice as an accompaniment. In other words, you order what you want and so do(es) your partner(s). You don’t believe the finger licking part? Check out what my roommate reduced the plate of curry seafood and rice to.

while I had this
Ginger/garlic beef and rice
You don’t expect me to put my after picture, or do you? Plus, arent you just loving the food presentation? Even the presentations are enough food for me.:D. Here are another Japanese-style-meal:
Seafood rings and salad
Also, there are some other chinese-type dishes that are individualistic. For example:

Now, one day I went in search of food and I stumbled on this place. After I got my food, here is what I found:

You don’t see it, or do you? Those small roundish things you see on the sides are LOCUST BEANS, aka, IRU for my Nigerian people. I was a little bit shocked to see it in a Chinese meal. It just occurred to me at that point that food cultures across the globe are dissimilar yet similar. Encountering those locust beans in my food gave me enough confidence to chow down like no tomorrow! Odiro easy at all!

Somewhere very close to my office, during lunch time (around 12pm), this is not an uncommon sight.
Forget about the picture quality, it is a story for another day.

From the carts, full meals are made from scratch. I am talking some real chinese noodle/rice ish here! However, you should see the cart owner scuttling/cycling away as soon as they catch sights of the police.

By the way, I had this flavor of fanta which I had never seen before. It was peach-flavored and very yummy.
I know it looks like water, but if water tasted this good, I'd feed on water all life long!

So as per Nigerians being who we were, we nor dey carry last. If you bet that somewhere in this ancient city of Beijing, there exists an African/Nigerian restaurant, congratulations, you just won. My friends swear by their plate of Jollof Rice and Eba with Egusi. And you know how one has to be sure that people are being honest, so, sometime this weekend even though I am a busy woman, I will try to go and ascertain their claims about this restaurant.

Who am I kidding?!!! I can’t wait to do some justice to a plate of Iyan and Efo Riro!

Di diam kpo, my people!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sequel to: Prism's You Either Get it or You Don't

Down by the river side
The green grass grows
There sits Nene
Washing her clothes
She sings, she sings
She sings so sweet
She calls to her playmate (echo playmate)
In the street
Playmate, Playmate
Won't you come for tea?
Come next Sunday
At half past three
Teacakes, pancakes
Eevrything you'll see
Won't we have a lovely time
At half past three?

Prism here and  here is on a rampage. She has been making my head go in whirlwinds for a couple of days now with her nostalgic posts! Woman, what is wrong with you?! The poem above was one of our recitals when I was in either Primary 1 or 2. Why I still remember it now, I don't know!

In any case, perhaps, someone knows where Mr and Mrs Salami are now. Last I heard of them, one of their kids was getting married. Ralia is no longer a sugar girl, she is now a sugar mama of three. Mr Bako divorced his wife due to irreconcilable differences. Audu is in Sokoto and is a right hand man to the Sultan. Unfounded rumor has it that he is a BokoHaramite godfather. Omo is a big intrepreneur now. The lady is large. She is into soap-making and ish.

Ok, let's graduate a little. Ure Chokwe, though wasn't born with a silver spoon, now has 4 children whom he gave birth to with diamond bejeweled gold spoons....Never say never!
As for Amobi, I think he is still chasing a bottled animal. He was long done with the leopard so I guess he has gone exotic now and is after the bottled Tasmanian devil.

By the way, can any of you still recite the times table up to 12 without pausing to think about it?! *smirk* I can!

.......and my nose just grew a little longer!

UPDATES: I told you the bloggers here are fantastic, didn't I?
Prism remembers
"There is the key to the Kingdom,
In that kingdom, there is a city,
In that city, there is a street,
......" Do you remember too?

Emeh remembers
"Two little blackbirds sitting on the wall
One named Peter
One named Paul
Fly away Peter
......."  Do you remember too?  (Did the birds re-incarnate into P-Square? *Shudders*)

9jaGreat remembers (although with salt and sugar in his version, cos I dont know of any version of this poem that ended up with Jack and Jill with a daughter!)
 "Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his arm
And Jill came tumbling after."    Do you remember too?

Toinlicious remembers
" I know a funny little man as quiet as a mouse
Who does the mischief that is done in everybody's house.
There's no one that has ever seen his face and yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked by Mr Nobody." Do you remember too?

Again, I remember,
Old Roger is dead and gone to his grave (uhm ha then echo)
They planted an apple tree over his head
The apples grew ripe and ready to drop
There came an old woman to pick them all up
Old Roger got up and gave her a knock
........." Do you remember too?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Slap Me Sideways!!!

I hadn't planned on putting up any post today. However, like many of you my readers might have, I saw this on Linda Ikeji's blog and couldn't resist the need to put up this post.

Basically, the story is that there is supposedly a White-Only Restaurant in Riverdock, Apapa, Lagos. The story in itself isn't what has got my goats now as much as the comments.

My Goodness!!! Are these the bunch of future leaders that our educational system in Nigeria has trained? Is this how they have been trained/influenced to think? Several comments implied that nothing was wrong with this.  You seriously mean to tell me that a group of foreign investors in YOUR country, blatantly tell you that you are not wanted/allowed based on your skin shade and you find nothing wrong with this? I mean, someone found it ridiculous that we want to eat Oyinbo food and wondered why we just aren't satisfied with our own indigenous food. Oh lord?! Some mothers really do have them! If at all any side-lining is to occur, shouldn't it be the other way round?

I recently read a report of something similar to this. The incident was said to have happened in Ghana and you know what the government did? They supposedly shut down the place. If you don't believe me, google "white only restaurant in Ghana" and see how many pages you end up with.

There are two things here,
1) The truth factor of the allegation is still pending, ie, we don't know if in fact, such restaurant exists in Apapa.

2) The Ghanian government could have only gotten confidence to shut down the said place WITH the backing of his people.

BUT, am working on a premise that this allegation is true so, really, Nigerians, you are ok with being sidelined in YOUR own country? Your argument is that you have no business eating oyinbo food and also that you can always open a "Black Only" restaurant, abi?

I am sad!!! I am weak!!! and I am even more depressed to think that in a few years from now, these (the commenters) will be the crop of people leading our country.

There is a whole lot to be said on this issue, but right about now, I am even too weak to conjure up my thoughts and put it into any meaningful prose.

Your thoughts please....or am I over-reacting.