Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Further musical and culinary adventures

So yesterday I was informed that there was to be an English speaking competition at the school that evening, and that I was invited to attend (andohyeahcanyousingasongforustoo?that'dbegreatthanks). The topics the students had to choose from were "Success through Brain Power" (which all of about 3 students opted for) and "what happiness means to me". A lot of the kids seemed to have copied from the same book/website/whatever so most of them were pretty boring, a notable exception being when one girl ended her speech (“what happiness means to me”) with "If god calls on me to die for the motherland I will do so without hesitation".


Anyway, I was asked to do a song, and managed to belt out my trusty version of 'Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town' despite the school band's well meaning but woeful attempts to play along and to mic my acoustic guitar (resulting in some ear bleeding feedback, but not deterring the mic holder in the least, until I pretty much swatted him away).

All that out of the way (one of my students won), I was invited to dinner with the rest of the English Faculty, where I was asked "what kind of food do you like?" I gave my standard "whatever, I like to try new things" reply. A phrase to be used with caution in China.

Amongst the more standard delights of pig skin jelly and sheep's blood cubes, there was a plate of these guys:


Silkworm Pupae. Not bad. Pretty much just confirmed my theory that anything deep fried and appropriately spiced is edible. The taste was kind of peanuty, but not very distinctive. The shells were crunchy. I find it helps not to think about the words 'worm' or 'pupae' too much whilst eating.

The highlight of the dinner (deep fried insects aside) was the presence of the English Department's Party Secretary (I didn't realise we had one, but, you know, Communism) who was chastising everyone for not properly draining their beer glasses when toasts were made. Some rules need to be enforced. I of course didn't need reminding of this particular protocol.

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