May 3, 2009. What I Did Today.

Giant Grapes
Giant Grapes

I had planned on taking a long exploratory walk today, but this morning it was so hot I talked myself out of it. I decided to wait until late afternoon/early evening when it would be cooler. But then clouds rolled in and a few drops of rain fell. I decided to go to Carrefour to buy a ball of tea and some almond cookies. It is about 1.5 – 2 miles each way. It takes about 45 minutes each way, so at least I would get some exercise. There are places to take shelter along the way if it started to rain. I also planned to buy an umbrella there since I forgot to pack mine.

I got to Carrefour without getting wet. I went to the tea store and bought two balls of black tea. They were 8 yuan each (about $1.25 USD). I bought some of this tea before and thought it was horrible, but as I consumed the ball, it got better and better. When it was gone, I missed it. It has a very strong, earthy taste. The tea it makes is almost black. The more expensive tea I had from Wal-Mart seemed wimpy and flat

in comparison.

Also the Carrefour black tea must have an extremely high caffeine content. If I am sleepy, but it is too early for bed, I drink a cup. It wakes me up for a good 3 hours. The more expensive Wal-Mart tea and coffee, for that matter, doesn’t have any such effect.

Then I went to the bakery section and got my almond cookies. I went weak and bought a few other kinds as well. There was a big crowd around a large bin of red grapes. The grapes were huge, probably 3 times bigger than the grapes I am used to seeing. They were priced at 9.8 yuan/500 kg, which I guess is a good price judging from the crowd around the bin. I picked up a small bunch and added it to my purchases. Made a mental note to try to stay away from Carrefour. Then I walked home. I forgot to look at umbrellas.

There is a 10 lane highway between my house and Carrefour. There is a giant pedestrian bridge over it. The top of the bridge is lined with food and trinket vendors. There must be 100 of them. I bought

some kebobs that were roasted over charcoal and some middle eastern round bread, also cooked with charcoal. I ate the kabobs on the spot. I took the bread home.

The bread is cooked in a charcoal oven. It is stuck to the bricks that line the walls inside the oven. It cooks from the heat stored in the bricks on one side, and from the burning charcoal on the other. I don’t know how they get it stuck to the bricks. It’s complicated to explain, and they had already started packing up so I couldn’t get a pic. The bread is about 12-14 inches in diameter and about as thick as a pizza crust. It costs 2 yuan (about .30 USD) per piece.

Then I went home. It didn’t rain. The grapes were very sweet. They tasted just like the grapes I am used to. Each one had either 1 or 2 seeds in it. I ate them all last night. I’m sorry I didn’t buy a few more.


About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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