Saturday, November 21, 2009

A rough beginning, a tasty middle, a perilous end

Today got off to a rough start when I was teaching my Saturday morning kindergarten classes:

Me: (writes "BLUE" on the board). "Okay class, what letter does 'blue' start with?"
Class: "MONKEYS!"
Me: (begins weeping inside)

So I needed some dim sum for a lunchtime pick-me-up. The nice ladies wheel around baskets of all sorts of delicacies.

We had shrimp shumai:

wontons and spring rolls:

fish pastries and beef balls with mushroom and abalone:

and egg custard buns:

My psychological state was much improved after lunch, and we walked home past the harbor:

saw some fish sun-drying on the median:

and stumbled across a cart selling roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts. Of course we got some of each.

Roasted chestnuts are good. Who knew?

When we got back to our apartment, there was a woman with several cameras standing out front. Turns out that she's a photographer for National Geographic, and was desperately trying to get a good photo of the mosque next door. We invited her up to snap the photo from our guest room, which is currently being used as a storage/junk room.

I'm sure that when she became a National Geographic photographer she knew she was signing on for some perilous assignments - war zones, poachers, natural disasters - but did she ever, in her most vivid nightmares, imagine the enormous pile of dirty clothes that she'd have to push out of the way to get this photo?

Please look for the photo of the mosque in the May/June issue of National Geographic Traveler, and while you're enjoying its stately elegance, try to imagine the smell of Kelly's dirty socks wafting around you. This is the true on-the-ground experience.

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