Today I decided to be adventurous, nothing crazy, but I did branch out a bit.
In the part of Guanzhao where I live, called Tianhe, it seems that the restaurants are either Western, trying to be Western, or are through and through Chinese (where no english is spoken, no pictures are listed, and no staff speak a word of english). This has limited my food choices to two or so restaurants where I know what Ill be eating before it winds up in front of me. I know, I know…how demanding.
As I mentioned though, today I was feeling adventurous, and had a little time to kill while Ellen was getting ready. So, I marched into one of the small restaurants I’d been avoiding, trained my sights on the menu, and pointed boldly at my selection. This was followed by a solid 30 seconds of negotiations. What I was negotiating wasn’t at first apparent, so I covered the usual ground trying to figure it out: where I wanted to sit, how spicy I wanted it, how much rice etc. Turns out the lady simply wanted to know if the meal was “for here or to go”.
My food arrived minutes later and I found a clean bench outside to eat on. My hunger was building as was the anticipation. You can imagine my surprise when I realized what I had ordered. Of all the exotic, foreign, exciting and possibly food poison inducing meals that could have been ordered, I had chosen…Sweet & Sour Chicken and two cups of white rice. The one dish I could have ordered in any food court in North America. Not to mention that deep-fried chicken and white rice aren’t exactly part of my diet these days.
On the bright side, the meal cost 9RMB which is only around $1.50, and since Ellen had explicitly told me not to eat without her, I didn’t touch the rice and still had lots of room for lunch!
Much is made about uncertainty and the unknown, and most of us tend to avoid it; but sometimes its worth asking yourself why? Whats the worst that can happen? In some cases it’s the unknown, and uncertainty that ends up teaching us something about ourselves. Recently, several family members and friends, who have moved away from home and loved ones, had babies, or left jobs in search of better opportunities. They’ve all told me the same thing; that most of their fears never materialized, and though things aren’t necessarily easy, they are glad they finally took that big step and acted.
Now back to the rice…I won’t claim that my experience with Sweet and Sour Chicken was as profound as the examples I’ve given, but I was reminded that when it comes to meal choices while living abroad, with the prospect of eating at the same 2 restaurants for three months, sometimes the best advice is to simply point and shoot…you’ll likely surprise yourself.