26 August, 2012

Home Sweet Home?

In an effort to keep people in the loop, I wanted everyone to know I am back in Lanzhou. When I got off the train and took my first breath of that dusty, dry air, I had the most startling feeling: I was glad to be back.

If you read about my travel plans, I had a busy couple weeks in front of me. I had a great time everywhere, but by the time I got to Wuhan, I was exhausted.

I left Lanzhou at the end of June, and almost exactly two months later, I've returned. It feels good. 

According to my friend, this was the scene in Lanzhou
yesterday. Obviously, the city is happy I'm back...

For dinner tonight, I went to my favourite restaurant. There are a couple restaurants on or around my campus that I would dare to say I am a regular. Not in the traditional sense, because I still don't have the language skills for that, but the owners and cooks all know me and greet me every time I visit. The owners are also the most patient with me when I do try to have a conversation with them. 

Tonight, I went to the one I like best. The owner knows me and most of the other foreigners in the area, because we frequent the restaurant often. When he saw me walk up, his face immediately lit up. I still had my pack (I thought I'd get an early dinner, then sleep), so he asked me if I'd just come from home. I told him flying to 美国 (Meiguo is the Chinese word for the U.S.A.; literally, it means "beautiful country") was too expensive, so I spent my summer travelling around China. When I told him everywhere I had been, he told me I was a fool because those cities are the hottest cities in China; I should not have gone during the summer. 

I ordered my favourite dish from his restaurant, 丁丁炒面 (dingding chaomian). Some of you are thinking, "Where have I heard that name before?" Well, if your guess was right here on this very blog, than you win the prize. 

I sat down, continued the conversation with the owner while I waited. He offered me a slice of the melon he was eating. He asked me where my friends were, and if they had gone back to the U.S. It felt good to successfully speak some Chinese, and as always, the food was delicious.

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