Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Hunchun, China: Week 7, Part 3 (Street Food)

Tony takes off for Beijing tomorrow, to use an entire year's worth of vacation (almost 21 days) so he treated us to dinner as a farewell. Someone gave me decision rights, and so instead of going to a restaurant, we went and ate street food by the Hunchun night market. What is normally a quiet, wide road running alongside a large square becomes, at night, a narrow pathway lined with food stands and miniature beer courtyards. Here, people wander along,  sauteed pepper burning the nostrils, smoke from open bbq grills and fry pans and roasted corn drifting in everyone's hair. You follow the back in front of you, all the while glancing from side to side at the fresh roasted meats, fried noodles, little egg biscuits filled with meat, rice wrapped in cabbage leaves, fried stinky tofu, pearl tea, ice cream concoctions, and even roasted larvae. We all cram together - kids, teens, adults - and order whatever smells best. It is an exercise in self-gratification.

After a while, we all (Mel, Joshua, Ji Rong, Tony and I) grabbed a table. We discussed everything from favorite movies to unlucky Chinese phrases, all the while quaffing beer. Darkness falls and a curlicue moon rises, pumpkin-colored. Lord of the Rings is playing on the big screen, and the epic music laces our conversation. This is how I wanted to spend my last night with the whole office - laughing, stuffing ourselves silly, sitting between the energized clouds of conversation around us. Tony has been very much alongside every step of this survey, and it seems odd to think that his involvement in this project is now over. I have the sensation of something ending, but I can't say what it is. We pop out from between the food stalls, and say good-bye. I don't linger, or look back, and yet nostalgia presses close. I pull it inside, and walk home.

Tags: friendship, travel - asia
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