On Tuesday, I locked myself out of my room by accident. The other teachers’ advice: Scale the ledges of the balconies until I get to mine and enter through the sliding door. I’ve always wanted to pull a James Bond move like that and it looked like my golden opportunity had arrived. I waited until the kids had mostly cleared the courtyard before climbing out of the window in the hallway and creeping over to my balcony. It took all of three minutes before I was locking the door to my room again, this time WITH my keys in hand.
Later that afternoon, I had two very successful interactions with the guards at both the primary school and the kindergarten…
I was so happy that I raced over to the kindergarten and told these (below) guys that that (above) guy told me that I speak Chinese very well.
On Wednesday, I’m pretty sure I ate lichen. It was dark purple-brown and the consistency of seaweed. Each piece was an individual circular leaf with no stem. It was boiled and served with fresh cilantro, fresh garlic, and a light vinaigrette. Hen hao chi (very good food)! I assumed it was seaweed until another teacher told me it grows where mushrooms grow, but isn’t a mushroom. She didn’t know the name of it. Next time the kitchen serves it, I’ll take a picture to see if anyone can identify it for me.
I’ve decided that I’ve gotten too comfortable with eating the (relatively) “safe” foods in the canteen and must push myself to explore more of the local cuisine. Guangdong is known for it’s variety of foods; The Cantonese definition of food is rather inclusive. I’ve been hearing about “squeakers” since I arrived a few weeks ago. What is it, you ask? Live baby mice served with dipping sauce–so I’ve been told. I won’t believe it until I see it with my own two eyes. I definitely don’t intend to taste a squeaker, despite how tender a baby mouse may be, but I’m admittedly excited by the prospect of getting a kan yi kan (a glimpse) of one. A friend alerted me to the growing popularity of wild mouse meat in Guangdong. Per pound, it is more expensive than chicken or pork because of the labor required to accumulate any amount of meat and organs worth serving. Cooked meat from an adult mouse I WILL try. Also on my checklist of things to try are snake, rat, and fried insects.
Renae and I went to yoga again on Wednesday night. It was an eventful class. A giant June bug got into the room and buzzed around the teacher for one too many seconds. She ignored it for a good while, but eventually got fed up with it and swatted it unconscious with one fluid motion like a ninja. The assistant teacher walked over with a yoga block and crushed it as soon as it hit the floor. Soon after that, a student got stuck in an inverted yoga pose and stayed in it quietly until her neighbor figured out that she needed help and called the teacher over.