Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

It’s Monday!!!

Keeping with my plan to work one day and sight-see the next, I spent most of Monday in the hotel room.  I did make one foray to Walmart to see if I could find some salt for our travel salt shaker.  I spent a lot of time looking at various powders and finally selected one called “Gourmet Powder”, but alas I was wrong….REALLY wrong.   In retrospect, we think that it may have been MSG!!  We did return a couple of days later and finally found something that said “Salt” on it.

I had one laugh while in Walmart as I passed the fresh fish tank and saw that they had price tags attached to their fins!!!

Just to spend a bit more time out of the room, I walked down one of the side streets and ran into the US Embassy.  I was expecting to see Marines guarding the facility and was surprised that there were Chinese guards instead.  As Michael and I talked about it we wondered if they were there to keep people from getting into the Embassy with the idea of defecting?

Interestingly, all of the shops across the street from the Embassy were for buying Visas and making travel plans!!

As I was walking, I heard a pounding sound and looked all around to figure out where it was coming from.  I found a street vendor who was making noodles….probably rice noodles and found the process to be so interesting…

Noodle making video…

I continued my walk, seeing many street vendors and one shop advertising “Liver Noodles”.   I am not sure what “Cake on Effort” means…..


….although they did have some gorgeous pastries on display.

This restaurant had a very cool entrance……


… this Doorway design caught my eye……


….and this young woman certainly had a load on her bike…..DSC08433

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the hotel is very posh and this is the decoration in each of the six elevators…..


The lobby is a gorgeous (and much photographed) scene……


….and if you look you can see the live musician perched under the tree!

I particularly liked the chandelier (if that is what you all it) in the lobby…DSC08522


Monday night we were taken to a full Hot Pot restaurant, something that Sichuan  Province is known for and something that we had really been looking forward to!!!!

Max and Ping were both with us and studiously selected the ingredients to be included in the spicy soup…..


The cooking pot soon arrived, looking VERY red and dangerous…..


We were each given a small can……


and were surprised to find that it contained vegetable oil!!!   This was poured into individual bowls and minced garlic and various herbs was added to it…..


The mixture was completed with a splash of vinegar from this cute vessel…..DSC08444

After I had finished my witches brew, I asked exactly what it was going to be used for.  I was surprised to find out that the hotpot items will be dipped into the oil & vinegar mixture to cool them off for eating!!!  In most cases we have dipped things to add heat but never to cool  it off.

In another change, our beer was served in this shallow dish, making for some interesting toasts as we tried really hard not to slosh it everywhere as we clinked glasses….DSC08445

Our food requests began to arrive…..


….and were added to the pot one at a time…..


As it cooked it looked so colorful and delicious…..


The only hard part of eating this was to avoid the tiny pepper corns (Sichuan pepper) that infested the soup.  Once you ate one of those, you might as well forget the rest of the night because you couldn’t taste anything else!!!

As you took each bit out of the hotpot (using your chopsticks) you would put it into your oil bowl and then eat it from there…..


It was super yummy but equally as messy and my shirt is still sporting dollops of oil!!

We asked about napkins, knowing that they would be a necessity and were told to look in the drawer on each side of the table…..


…..such a practical and ingenious idea!!!

Isn’t this a pretty bowl……


At the end of the meal, the table may have been messy…..DSC08473

….but we were content…..


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