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Published: October 8th 2012
The first dish
Steamed peanuts, beans, rice packages, corn and taro
It’s Friday still……
Arrival in Jinan was smooth, passport and luggage and minimal hassle especially since it was near the end of the 8 day holiday period.
Hershell was there to meet me, I had no idea what he looked like, I was easy to spot, the only Westerner on the flight. He is my only contact, he works in the International Department of Qilo University and will also be my translator for some of my classes.
Jinan is smoggy, typical Chinese city off the tourist maps. Industrial, chaotic roads, tree lined, high rise dwelling, functional but not pretty. Quite odd to see lots of BMW and Mercedes, a sign of the new wealth in China. We drove to the old campus, lots of ducking and weaving in and out of lanes, straddling 2 lanes and oh so close encounters not of the third kind.
Qilo Normal University has an old campus where I live and a new campus where I teach. The students live and study at the one campus but they have decided it is better for the international teachers to be at the old campus in the centre
Cold chicken feet with carrots, celery and capsicum, quite tasty
of the town in terms of facilities and things to do. We travel to the new campus by a free shuttle bus, a 40km journey taking 1 hour.
Within a short walk of here are supermarkets, food stalls, parks, and some tourist attractions. On campus there is a cafeteria, small sports field, library and multi dwellings. I live in the “Foreign Experts” building, level 2 room 202.
My apartment has 5 small rooms. I suppose this is really meant for a family of 3 or an extended family of 5. It has a bedroom with 2 single beds and a TV, sunny balcony off this with a clothes line for wet laundry, bathroom and western toilet and washing machine, kitchen with limited but adequate cooking facilities, sitting room and study. Gave it a big clean, a move around of this and that and its home for the next 9 weeks.
Usual Chinese plumbing and electricity, no way would any of it be allowed at home but when in Rome I say, so it’s all OK. Well not maybe all, the water running out of the bathroom sink on the floor should
be fixed, the hose and sink hole are disconnected, easy fix for someone with some tools I hope.
Hershell invited me out to tea and I gratefully accepted as there was limited food in the apartment and I had no idea of where anything was. 2 hours of unpacking and arranging, a quick shower change of clothes and a much needed tooth brush and I met him downstairs.
We walked through the campus, another way this time, the back road. This ended up to be a street full of restaurants and some shops. The Chinese love to eat out, they are very sociable and family orientated and quite loud and gregarious when out and about.
4 x 1litre bottles of beer arrived with the initial dishes of “spicy cold chicken feet with carrots, celery and peppers” Feet were tender, soft almost gelatinous, quite yum. The other dish that arrived was a steamed basket of peanuts in the shell, small cobs of corn, sticky rice parcels, taro, and little beans, flavoured with fennel. You ate all this with your hands, popped the beans out of the shell and spat the bits and
pieces not eaten onto a plate.
I eyed off the beer thinking oh my, I will need to be carried home. But 100mls glasses and toasts where you are supposed to “gangbei” (empty the cup) over a large period of time, plus drinking hot water ended up with me happy but not pissed, thankfully.
Pork tripe strips cooked with banana capsicum, pepper and garlic appeared with a dish of bok choy, all quite spicy and salty.
More beer and more photos.
Mushroom soup was next, a milky broth with lots of types of mushroom , sweet, not spicy, mild and refreshing, a complete contrast to the other dishes.
And to finish off another dish of pork pieces and mushrooms.
Doggy bags in hand we staggered off, early night tucked up in my hard Chinese bed.
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