Monday, May 2, 2011

It’s the Little Things

I am out of here on Tuesday. In order to do that I needed to buy a train ticket, that meant finding the place that sells tickets, communicating with the ticket seller and buying one. Of course I could have paid the front desk 35RM to do it for me, but that’s the cost of a good meal. The man at the front desk gave me a piece of paper, written in Chinese, which had written on it where I was going and the date I was traveling as well as directions to the office.

Off I went and I only passed the ticket office once. In my defense the sign was in Chinese. Once I realized that I had gone too far, discovering another classic looking building along the way, I doubled back and found the office. Within minutes I left with a ticket for the date and time I wanted. Triumph!

Next up was to find a place to eat. I looked into a number of restaurants, but they all looked too hooky or upscale to me. I passed a pizza place, Thai food, Indonesian food, Japanese food, Hong Kong style food, and beef in a noodle place, none of them where that interesting’ As I started back on my way to the hostel, I spied a restaurant across the street and saw fire coming from a table. That looked interesting and I crossed the street to take a closer look.

Peering into the window of the place I saw little open air stoves on each table filled with burning charcoal and people grilling skewers filled with stuff like yakatori. I ventured in, got a table, hoped for an English menu but was willing to make do with walking around the restaurant and pointing out what I wanted. They produced a menu where someone has translated some of items; I was given another menu to check off the food I wanted to order. I scanned through the menu, doing my best to pick out the food I thought was correct and ordered a dozen skewers and a beer.

Most of what I got was what I thought I ordered. I started to cook the skewered meat. Shortly thereafter the owner came over and showed me how to season it as well, he ended up cooking most of the meal for me. The meal was wonderful, I had vegetables, tofu, chicken, fish, lamb, beef, kidney and banana. The cost : 28RM or less than $5!

I was walking back to the hostel, feeling like the canary that swallowed the mouse trying to make sense if the meal was Japanese or a local specialty when I passed one of the hawker places and saw that they made the skewers and also had a ton of shellfish for sale. Tomorrow night is my last night here; do I go back to the same place or try the other one? Or do I eat even more upscale? Or eat in another neighborhood? These are good decisions to have to make.

I am having a hard time uploading, therefore the pictures will come later. I have already taken over 800!

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