How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Luoyang, Day 6, Part 3 –Dinner and Stories

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At 5:00 p.m., it was still 25 degrees Celsius when we left the Longmen Caves area. All around us, the Chinese people wore sweaters and wool leggings. Our tour guide, Lisa, wore red sweat pants and a fleece jacket. We foreigners sported shorts or cargo pants and short-sleeved Tees because we were hot. The boulevard back to the bus was again another l-o-o-o-n-g walk.

Our driver turned into a pot-holed dirt road in the middle of no man’s land. What? I don’t recall buildings or much of anything that looked like civilization for a short while. We rounded a tight corner on the bumpy road and like an oasis in the desert, came upon the strangest sight–at least to me. Two long buildings materialized meeting at right angles at one corner. I can only describe it as a motel—with a second storey.

© by permission of RJ, a member of English 8  The building is in the back. A lovely bridge and flower garden decorated the middle courtyard.

© by permission of RJ, a member of English 8
The building is in the back. A lovely bridge and flower garden decorated the middle courtyard.

Dinner was served through Door 111 in the front room barely large enough for a round 6-foot table, and us.

IMG_0351

IMG_0352

Dinner:

  • Noodle soup
  • Fritters
  • White rice
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet and sour chicken
  • Scrambled eggs and chopped tomatoes
  • Cooked sliced potatoes and ground beef
  • Pork and scallions
  • Garlic sprouts with sliced red peppers and fungus
  • Greens

This time we were served—count them—two baby glasses of drinks. I had beer. Twice.

© Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles No doors

© Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles
No doors

The bathroom was an open-ended building with six or eight stalls. No outside doors or plastic against the elements did I see at either end. All were squats but someone had taken a card chair, removed the seat and stuck a toilet seat on it. I opened the door and slipped inside. Afterwards Sue grumbled because I had lucked out somewhat with the only ‘throne’.

Along the way to the facilities after dinner, we passed two young ladies with a plastic container filled with cutlery (forks). I saw no soap in the water, no sponge or wash cloth. Agitation seemed the customary /accepted practice to clean the flatware.

Maybe this was a restaurant after all. At the end of the building opposite the facilities, we heard kitchen noises and a teen in a not quite pristine kitchen jacket appeared. He ran to the washroom and out again without stopping. Had he touched our dinner?

Another man (not from the kitchen) washed his hands with the liquid Palmolive soap before entering the facilities and washed them again on his way out. Sue and I gaped at the scene and then each other.

© Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles Five outdoor sinks and Palmolive liquid soap. No towels.

© Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles
Five outdoor sinks and Palmolive liquid soap. No towels.

A large fat bug floated in one plugged sink, legs pointed heavenwards, with no knowledge he was dead.

I asked Lisa about the building. The year before, she had brought a tour bus of visitors when only the ground floor had been finished. The second floor had just been added and was just a decoration. What did that mean? I noticed a couple of large windows revealing cardboard boxes stacked high and wide.

I asked her again what we call this place.

“A restaurant. A different type of restaurant. I think this is a different experience from other restaurants.”

What? Never mind.

We arrived in Zhengzhou a couple of hours later. The time: 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. in early spring. Is this how dark it is at home in the spring? The hotel was attractive but appeared empty and quiet. The interior design cost more than the building. We dragged out luggage inside. Lisa went to the desk with our passports to get our room keys.

© Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles Old furniture decorating hotel lobby

© Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles
Old furniture decorating hotel lobby

I asked why the furniture was so big since the people were not. It was a sign of wealth and prosperity.

© Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Quick Luoyang facts:

  • Population 2 million
  • This is a tourism city
  • Copper mining, glass factory
  • Heavy industry: tractor, first built in 1959
  • The Peony is the city flower (blooms in April)
  • This is an old capital city
  • Buddhism  popular

 Next on August 29, Day 7, International Shaolin Kung Fu Training Center and Shaolin Temple

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page.

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

79 thoughts on “Luoyang, Day 6, Part 3 –Dinner and Stories

  1. Reblogged this on mihran Kalaydjian and commented:
    Luoyang, Day 6, Part 3 –Dinner and Stories

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  2. Yuck! I don’t wqant to think about what else the cooks touched. I have trouble thinking about that here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yikes, I might have gone hungry that night!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Did anyone ever get sick on the group? It could be we Americans are overly cautious about cleanliness. Or not.

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  5. The food looks delicious but the bathroom and sink scene left a lot to be desired. Good thing you didn’t get food poisoning. At least assuming not. Hope that’s not the next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have a friend who just returned from a trip to China. Her story is EXACTLY the same! EXACTLY!

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  7. Two beer and the throne? Your lucky day I believe! 🙂

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  8. That looks like you best meal yet?

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  9. I am not going to China now – I have been to EPCOT World Showcase and that is good enough for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The community college where I used to teach had a ‘partnership’ with a college in China (they taught some of our courses and issued our diplomas – in Chinese!) A couple of my colleagues spent a semester each teaching over in China; they were ‘cautioned’ by other teachers who’d been there a while (English speaking fellows from Australia, England and other parts of Canada) to take their own cutlery with them whenever they went out to dinner (and to buy and carry ‘handi wipes’ with them at all times); they were advised that if they found themselves in a restaurant without their own knife and fork, they should thoroughly wipe down whatever was put before them (plates, glasses, cutlery) with the handi-wipes before allowing any food to touch it – apparently cleanliness is NOT next to godliness in most Chinese establishments. It sounds like you are lucky you didn’t get sick while you were there.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It would seem the country put all its money into lavish furniture, then ran out when they got to the bathrooms and kitchen facilities! I must say, Tess, you’re a lot stronger than I would be under the circumstances. Good for you!

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  12. This account makes me wonder what the Chinese immune system looks like.

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  13. I like the furniture. I like the looks of the food. I’ve read many a travel tale of China’s bathrooms….. At this point if I ever traveled to China I would sit in the chairs, eat Clif Bars all day I brought with me and have a 100 gallon bladder by the time I left. 😉

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  14. love the photos of the food. wow…..did you just have a couple bites of everything? I think that would fill me up. that’s a LOT of food!! interesting bathroom habits.

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  15. Lovely photos and quite a gross tale, lol.

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  16. So fascinating and different way to live. They’re used to it, but I wouldn’t want to live that way. We are “spoiled” but not really – it’s what you’re brought up with. All I can say is, it’s so nice to read your posts and look at your photos, but I have no desire to go to China. Following you along on your journey is good enough for me, and I am not missing any of your posts!

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  17. Food looks delicious, lucky(?) you didn’t know about the kitchen practices before you ate it. Glad to say the conditions on the camino are a little more sophisticated than you experienced. Great write up, thanks.

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  18. I am amazed that you guys escaped without some nasty tummy infections………….. the mind boggles!

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  19. Let’s cut the Crap, we will hang tight together LOL LOL. Let’s also consider ourselves to be the new 40 LOL LOL. It looks like you were having a grand time. The food look great, the facilities left a bit to be desired by I am a big boy and could have handled them just as well as you did. I look forward to reading more about this great adventure. Take care, Bill

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  20. It’s said that the French have dirty toilets and clean kitchens and the British have clean toilets and dirty kitchens! What of the Chinese? 😀

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  21. I’ve always wondered about the large furniture too, Tess. Thanks for the answer. And the meal looks quite tasty. I do love all your “bathroom humor.” Sometimes all you can do is laugh. 🙂 ~Terri

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  22. Maybe because the food was cooked, you were all OK 🙂
    Re the facilities, I have seen many immaculate versions of eastern and western style. But I have also seen many pretty awful versions of both in places where the owners could have provided better. Maybe you just lucked out at this stop 😦

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    • I know. After your comment, I remember a couple of wedding I’ve attended at posh banquet centres. The first time to go to the Ladies, it’s pristine. By the middle of the evening, it looks like a tornado had passed through. 😛

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  23. Oh Tess, you are so funny! And always respectful! But you do make me laugh! How funny to have a second storey for decoration! Perhaps it is to do with a culture of displaying abundance in order to manifest it … or something? Lots of love to you 🙂 xox

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  24. Between the bathroom and the food stories, my aspirations of seeing China are less than they ever were, lol. Though I would have enjoyed the Great Wall and Olympic Park. Interesting about the oversized chairs.

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  25. That’s so funny that the locals found 25 celsius cold!

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  26. Oh I can relate to the facilities not having seats. I spent a day not drinking anything just because I didn’t want to go the awful lavatory on the island we were visiting. I would rather have squatted behind a tree I tell you 😀 Great post Tess.

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  27. I think I’d rather see China in a National Geographic special at home with clean bathroom, kitchen and my own cooking . With those types of “thrones” no wonder so many of their dynasties fell.

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  28. Well- it certainly would be difficult worrying about the sanitation methods. Hard to put that out of your mind when you are there to enjoy a meal.
    The meal does look wonderful though!
    Wonder why that restaurant was picked? Family perhaps? Fun to ponder.
    Amazing to read about your adventures Tess! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    • The have deals with restaurants somewhere in the vicinity of where the morning tour as well as the afternoon one. They don’t change the hotels. The tour schedule and meal location probably haven’t changed in a long. time. 🙂

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  29. So sorry we’ve been ghosts as of late. We’ve been locked away in our writing room working on our book for the past few months but are reaching the finish line soon which means we’ll be able to get back to our blogging buds like you!! Now onto the post: Eeks!! There are so many things wrong about that!!! lmao 😉 I would have been nervous as Hell!! But then I’m the type of gal who whines at a camping trip! “I can’t squat in the woods!” “You really expect me to bathe in that river?!” Pampered prima-donna! So these kind of conditions would have had me throwing a tantrum for some clean, PRIVATE bathrooms and some hand sanitizer!! Although the food looks fan-freaking-tastic, I would have been leery of trying it once the first kitchen staff came out unclean!!! lmao~ 😉 Great post!!! 😉

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    • We had already finished supper when we witnessed the ‘incident’.
      I’m jealous you’ve locked out the world to work on your writing. Way to go. Wonderful for you.
      Thank you for taking time out to read and respond in depth like this. I sooooo appreciate it. ❤

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  30. Wow…that is troubling. I was going to say the food looked really yummy but after reading about your bathroom observations (and experiences) I’m not so sure! Although I do have to say I have noticed here in the toilets of pubs and restaurants, it isn’t uncommon to see women leave their cubicle and head out to their table without so much as touching the sink…utterly gross. But even worse when it’s the staff, like that young teen…
    Still, gave rise to another wonderfully entertaining post this Tess. Each week I read your installment and I wonder what shocks and surprises you’ll be sharing next! Fabulous 😛 ❤

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  31. Tess – We’ve been told all the world is an adventure and although that’s a cliche, it’s still much the same as always. The bathroom situations are often the same in the US as they are in foreign countries. I’ve seen some I wouldn’t consider entering.
    On a tour such as yours, you learn to go with the flow and make the best of what you see and experience. I learned early on that tours held many advantages for the traveler. Often, if I was unsure about what I was doing or even thinking about what I was doing, I always tried to take at least a 3 – 5 day tour into the country I wanted to spend time in alone. It helped me get my bearings better and the ‘flavor’ of the country if you will.
    You are doing a bang up job on this travel blog. Have you thought of submitting a proposal to the USAA magazine (a magazine for the 55+ crowd) or any of the travel magazines. Think about it. How many single women take a trip to China when they don’t even like to travel on the highway near their own home?

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    • I don’t know when I let the cat out of the bag about not traveling on the highway near my home but it’s true. I’m a wuss. Still I did take the trip and am glad I did. I think as travelers, the differences we encounter at any given country is part of the travel experience. The unusual seems to attract my eye. 😀 I enjoy recounting my travel because I get to relive my trip again.

      Yes, I have considered writing about my trip–just haven’t done it yet. Keep pushing it to the back burner. Thank YOU, though, for your nudge. :-3

      Keep well and am pleased you’re able to drop by and chat. I do enjoy your visits and comments. Thanks again.

      Like

  32. Wow! Talk about real culture shock!

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  33. I am thinking to myself, you Tess, you are a brave brave woman. But, you know what they say, “when in Rome so I guess, when in Luoyang”.

    I do so love your travels. The pictures you have chosen are perfect to illustrate the differences. Instead of just the ‘pretty’, you are showing also the, well yeah not so much. Great job.

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  34. Sometimes when you’re in a situation, you just get on with it, and then later think “Yuck!” Like if you’re camping or something, you sometimes just have to lower your standards and accept it!

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  35. I grew up in Hong Kong. Your description brought it all back to me. Very vivid, I could almost smell it. 😉

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  36. Food and toilets. The eternal preoccupations of the beleaguered traveller.
    Still enjoying the armchair travelling 🙂

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  37. Oh my goodness – the food looks like the best, the potty looks the absolute worst!
    Years ago we ate at one of the best regarded restaurants in Tiajuana, just over the California border. The place was packed with Americans ordering tons of food. Half way through the meal we found out there was no water in the restaurant. No water to flush toilets, no water for filling glasses, and we figured out, no water for washing anything at all. So how did all our meals get cooked? And on what dishes were they served? Haven’t been back since. Still, we’re all alive. Different cultures, different priorities indeed. LOL!

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  38. Isn’t it extraordinary how some cultures don’t give cleanliness a second thought. Yuck.

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