大家好！我希望大家的身体是很好！Yesterday (October the 18th) began the start of this year’s Chrysanthemum Festival! During the past week or so skeletal sculptures were erected along the sidewalks and in front of gates and storefronts. They looked a bit odd at first, but things quickly became clear–they are now being used as vehicles to displays thousands and thousands of chrysanthemums. We had a small presentation about the festival in class, but I didn’t catch much of it. The orator was speaking pretty quickly, and I’m fairly certain smoke began wafting out of my ears towards the end of the speech because my brain was completely fried. I did understand that the city will be displaying the flowers for a month and that all of the foreigners are going to be taking a class trip to one of the historic parks next weekend to wander around and see the flowers. It may be a tad on the boring side, but I plan to take many pictures.
This afternoon, we decided to go on an “adventure”. The original plan was to catch the number 6 bus out of town which would take us to the bank of the Yellow River. However, we arrived at the bus stop after it had been there for awhile so it was about as packed as it could get. We asked a local how long it would be until the next bus, and she told us it would be about 30-40 minutes, so we ditched the plan and began walking towards another park. By the time we got there the gates were about to close because it was 5 o’ clock at this point, so we opted for plan C which was to take a bus to the downtown area. This then turned into plan D. Plan D was exactly the same as plan C but instead of a bus we caught a cab because we didn’t want to waste our time with the bus. You’ve probably guessed by now that within our little group patience isn’t our strongest virtue.
We finally arrived downtown and walked around a bit, coming to rest at a crepe shop. It was pretty fantastic–they even used real whipped cream! That was a shocker, since almost all other sweet dairy products in China (ice cream, yogurt, smoothies) all have a fermented sour taste. Eventually, we found our way to the Pizza Hut in Kaifeng. They had some of the most interesting pizza topping combinations I have ever seen. This was also the classiest Pizza Hut I had ever been to, and the first time I have sat down to a meal in China with a butter knife included in the place setting. Fast food chains in China are not like the ones in America–they are some of the most expensive places to dine. A glass of soda at the Pizza Hut cost 12 kuai, whereas buying a bottle in a little restaurant would be about 1.5 kuai. And the meals seem outrageously expensive too–30 kuai for a chicken sandwich, compared to 4 kuai for a large bowl of beef noodles. The meal was a bit on the pricey side, but the thick, buttery crust and stringy, greasy cheese was worth every fen I paid. Nothing has tasted like home as that pizza. Also, if you would like to get a better feel for the decadence that is Pizza Hut in China, you can try looking at their website here.