Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A bike ride to remember

Tonight, my language teacher, Geoff and I hung out almost all night. We went biking at 6:00 at night, and we just got home at 10:30. He took me around the countryside. It was beautiful as always. He took me to one of the other rivers nearby. It was about an hour's bike ride into the country.

There's a place where you can cross the river on a very narrow bridge. The bridge is made of wood, and only about 3 or 4 feet wide with no sides or guard rails. We biked to the middle of the bridge and just stared into the mountains. Directly in front of us was the beautiful, calm river, above it the rice fields and farm houses, the village could be seen just above this, with the mountains towering over everything. The sun was setting and passing right behind the mountains as we looked out. It was like a postcard, but better.

On the shore, I heard some people jumping into the river to have a swim. It looked so fun. Next to them swimmers were a nearby 'restaurant'. It was just a little tent that was the kitchen, with three tables that were on top of rafts, floating on the edge of the river. By the time we were finished admiring the view, it was already dark, and we had an hour's bike ride home. Geoff suggested that we should eat at the restaurant, and I was delighted to do so.

I was really excited first of all for being where we were, with the amazing view. Secondly, because he took me to a place I would not normally get to go to. I don't think they even had a menu there. He just asked them what their best dishes are. So many times in China, I see what looks like a really cool place, but I know I can't really eat there because I can't speak Chinese or read the menu. Lastly, I was excited because it was an adventure. It was dark, and we were in the middle of nowhere, eating on a raft on river. I knew that meant that we had to bike back home in the pitch black. This was the kind of adventure I had been craving when I was sitting at my desk at Aon. Wow, I can't even remember how bored I was. I feel so far removed from that part of my life already.

So Geoff talked with the one worker there. He asked me if I wanted to try this kind of river fish. I said sure! He said it's kind of like an eel. I said sure. He walked over to a big bucket of what looked like a cross between leeches, eels, and snakes to show me. I said sure. The leelkes as I'll call them, were actually quite delicious. They had one bone right in the middle of it, which reminded me of duck tongue, but wasn't bad at all. It was spicy and very tasty. We ordered another green vegetable and the best egg and tomato dish I've ever had. It was just so good.

Our table was actually floating on a raft in the river. The mountains and river were all around us. We were sitting in the middle of the rice fields at some farmer's house/restaurant. Amazing.

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