Dinner last night was fab. I had Italian. Then off we went to a Chinese nightclub called Destination. It was huge, cheap and I was the only Caucasian present. I had one gin and tonic, (yes I know its hard to believe that I only had one!) and went back to the hotel to bed.
Today I was on the bus being shown buildings as interesting as national banks, army HQ. The colour of this country is grey. I fell asleep. At 10am we had another lunch of another “very famous” cuisine. I asked myself the 3 questions I always do when the dishes are presented on the Lazy Susan (which I have learnt to spin fast when it lands at me):
1) is it beige
2) does it move when prodded
3) eat, swallow and smile for the camera.
1) It was not beige, no beige food today. 2) It did not move, so one out of two and I ate it and then I gagged. I needed Harpic to get the flavour away. It was fried tofu with goats hair in it. The next had a horrendous smell, that of faeces. My host insisted I ate it. It was fish. It was lovely, but the smell was overpowering. I ask one question. Why? – Annie Lennox came to mind.
So, I was staving. Next stop Beijing Airport. It is phenomenal as a building. I found a KFC after check-in and ate like a pig. I have lost weight, not that I can ever afford to. We took an Air China flight and are given some glop in a plastic tray to eat and then we land in Zhangjiaje – if you can pronounce that I will give you a free cookery book. Then we are hoarded onto a bus and shortly arrive at the hotel. A Chinese lady stands up at the back of the bus and says “Welcome to the Sunshine Hotel and Resort, my name is Fanny Fan”. Well, with my school boy humour I did laugh, and that started the rest of the bus laughing. We are a mix of nationalities with different levels of English, but we all know that we are at the mercy of the Chinese on this Government trip, so best to make the most of it. It is so hot and humid.
As we walked into the hotel we saw our names flashing in neon. There is a huge lobby with what looks like pearl necklaces draped from the ceiling. I looked at my fellow travellers and said “Welcome to China Vegas”. This is Hunan Provence, the playground of the wealthy Chinese, famous for its cuisine (obviously) and from google has beautiful sights. Let’s see. I ordered some chicken noodles, the oesophagus on the first bit is smiling up at me. I pass on that.
I’m off to the supermarket to find Tonic. God Bless you Beefeater for providing a bottle of sterilisation for this trip. I’m now in my own editition of the TV series ‘Lost’. Geographically I dont know where I am. There are TV cameras everywhere. The Chinese are so disorganised so I am the presenter of Lost, the Producer, the Director and the Food Stylist. LOVING IT!