Published: August 30th 2009August 30th 2009
pork dumplings, clear broth, cilantro
I realize that 5 hours of sleep is not enough but this is far more than I have gotten in a week and I am feeling energized by this good fortune. We head out on the street to get breakfast and get some pork dumplings in a relatively clear, tasteless broth...well tasteless except for the cilantro which does make it interesting anyway. I didn't expect bagels and cream cheese anyway I guess.
So we head over to the hotel for the engagement ceremony which was to start at 11:30 and I really don't have too much to say about it. It was a bit cheesy but I guess this is the way they celebrate an engagement and I get to meet much of her family...save for her sister who didn't come from Beijing because her daughter was sick, her first uncle (who knows but Lisa says he is a bit crazy), her second uncle because he is in treatment for acute alcoholism, another uncle who is supervising construction on the Yanji (Yantgze for us old timers).
Seems pretty much like any family I have ever known including my own with its share of characters and drinkers. I don't understand
why America seems so fascinating to them because I see it the other way...China has become the land of opportunity.
We must drink a toast with every family member starting with her grandmother, then her mother, then her aunts and uncles and cousins apparently in order and her grandmother had 8 children making this a daunting prospect.
Anyway, after the ceremony we eat a fabulous feast and there is a lot of wine and the hired emcee is the most drunk person of all and I kept wondering how it was that the hired help had the gumption to drink to excess. Unfortunately for me I am given something I truly recognize...sweet and sour pork. I had told people that I was certain that I would never eat sweet and sour anything in China and lo and behold, Lisa sneaks me a piece of pork and the flavor was unmistakable. The meal was excellent the sweet and sour pork notwithstanding with soft shelled crabs, fish, huge prawns, some Korean dishes and it just kept coming long after I laid my chopsticks down because I could not eat any more.
I have many pictures of this ceremony and
the attendees so you can get an idea.
After this event I am pretty much reeling and between the food and wine, I would love to nap but the only option is the concrete known as a bed and I know that there is no rest there so I pass and we go to some marketplace to get Lisa's son a promised toy. They begin talking dinner and I am telling Lisa that they are out of their minds but there is no way to say no and even worse, Lisa is cooking some Korean dishes so I can't opt out of dinner. If you tell a Jewish mother that you are not hungry for dinner, she is taking your temperature to see if you are sick. Apparently if you tell a Chinese mother you are not hungry, it must mean it's time for Korean cooking. If I don't die soon, none of my clothes will fit to bury me.
There are more photos below