SPRING FESTIVAL: Day 145, Tuesday January 21 2014

Nate was still coughing, neither of us slept well. Met up with Sonya after some hot drinks and breakfast pizza made fresh in our toaster oven. We took the bus across town to meet up with Rose, “huh?” Sonya gasped in surprise as the bus turned in the opposite direction of our destination. She was on the phone immediately and then staggering up the isle to talk to the bus driver. We were on the right bus it seemed, it just took a very “fung la” (crazy) route!

Peter, Rose’s boyfriend, met us at the bus stop. He led us down an alley in search of food, “Do you like fish?” Peter asked me.

Some types of fish,” I replied.

What do you want to eat?” Sonya questioned.

Oh, wo bu euh (I’m not hungry)” I replied.

Uuh!? Did you eat?”

Yeah we had some food before we left.”

We had pizza!” Nate added.

Ohh,” she turned to talk to Peter in fast Chinese I could not pick up.

You like chicken and rice?”

Sure, that’s fine.”

We followed her into a small restaurant with a ceiling only just tall enough to accommodate Nate’s head. “Uhh!” all of the Chinese workers there exclaimed in surprise when they saw him.

The chicken came out sizzling in hot black containers. We were given bowls of rice on the side. Rose joined us just as the food arrived. We had not seen her very often since she switched jobs so it was good to catch up. She was actually working in a different pharmacy now then she’d started in, but was still working under the same boss.

Peter has gotten a job in a hospital in Beijing, so we congratulated him. Sonya said she’s been thinking about quitting her job and moving to Beijing, Shanghai, or Nanjing, but she was worried that she would miss us. At least the fast train goes to all three locations.

We went with Rose to her work. She had promised to help find some medicine for Nate’s cough. She gave him a box of drink crystals and told him to drink two at night and two in the morning (two because he’s so big). The store was full of all sorts of mysterious voodoo. We asked her about one container of small white seed like modules, “It’s for the skin. Can make the face smooth and white.”

Rose pointed out a route stored below her glass counter “American ginseng,” she said indicating one tray, “Canadian ginseng,” she pointed to it’s neighbour.

Which one’s better?” I asked grinning.

I think Canadian is better,” Rose smiled deviously.

On the counter above the ginseng was a jug of liquid with various plant parts floating in it. Among them stared out the lifeless eyes of two geckos. “What is this?” I asked Rose thinking it looked like a witch’s brew.

Baijiu.” she replied, “the geckos are to chase away the demons.”

We said goodbye to Rose as she measured out different ingredients for personalized medicine for her patients.

I went to tutoring with Nate tonight so that I could help with his banana bread experiment with the kids. They were shy and scared of me at first, but they warmed up quickly. The banana bread was delicious, and very well stirred. We started off with one chopstick in the bowl (for stirring) and ended up with two per child!


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