Last night i looked around for some food, but it seemed Hengyang specialities are all river food. Like, snails, creepy crawly lobster things, fish head stew and so on. They had a bunch of places selling 卤粉 (lǔ fěn), which is a kind of stewed noodle. Because i didn't want fish or beef stew, i got the basic (flavorless) one with some five-spice braised tofu on top. It was okay. The highlight of my food wandering was finding the tail end of a wet market where there were a couple of guys making "Indian pulled pancake", which was a dough stretched out super-thin, put some fruit in it, then fold it over a bunch of times and grill it in a shit-ton of clarified butter. I think it was basically a roti. I got one with some apple because...
I am sick, y'all. Like really sick. Throat ache, head ache, feeling like shit. And for some reason i associate apples with getting well. When i was a kid, mom used to grate apple to eat when i was sick. You can't just eat the apple as-is, it must be grated in order to imbue the magical healing properties.
The roti guy had grated apple. It was delicious.
I climbed a small mountain in the dark, the southern-most peak of Mount Heng. There is a monastery on the top that was closed, but bells were ringing and i heard chanting from inside. There was also a pagoda up there where some old ladies were doing choreographed flag dancing in front of.
I am sick and i am going to end a sentence on a preposition.
This morning it was like 5°C so i was just like, fuck it, i'm going back to Guangdong. I took the slow train toward Haikou (Hainan), which was ankle deep in playing cards and sunflower husks and ramen bowls. Everyone was tired. Most of the people got off at Chenzhou for some reason.
Dude, we got through the the Nanling mountains and the sun beamed from the sky. It's like 25°C. Guangdong may have garbage food but the weather and landscape makes it feel like home to me.
Above is a photo that i took when i was walking out in a rural area east of town trying to find a park. I got to the front gate (2km off the main road), only to be told it was a country club. I say "so, common people aren't allowed inside, huh?" Nope. They didn't even offer to sell me a membership. Probably some ultra exclusive thing that's invite-only or something. Nice reminder i was back in Guangdong, where the rich people are.
I went to get mapo tofu for dinner, because i can barely swallow anything. (Breakfast was 八宝粥 bubble joe/eight treasure congee.) It was very good mapo tofu. The guys at the shop were happy to chat. They asked me my salary, which is a typical Chinese opening question. I said a Shenzhen salary is better than i would earn in Shaoguan but not as good as i would earn in Canada. However, i came to China not just for the salary but also to learn the local culture and language. I am getting quite good at answering the salary question in a tactful way, which makes me feel like i have leveled up my China skillz.
The lady who checked me into my hotel said my Putonghua (Mandarin) was more standard than hers and she was embarrassed. She also said i should learn Cantonese. Guangdong pride, yo. People here are friendlier than up north, although admittedly that might be because they're not wrapped up in scarves and puffer jackets freezing to death all day.
Tomorrow i really hope my health has improved. I would like to take a bus to a nearby mountain and see if i can get a decent hike in before going back to the big smoke.