Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Hot shit

In retrospect, ordering something called "Fire Chicken" was probably not an overly wise decision. Sunday night, Daniel and I went to "Mr. Chicken", a favorite haunt of the Korean teachers. He had been there before with some other teachers, and stories of the spicy chicken quickly spread. One of the teachers, Siamak, who's a little crazy on a good day, actually got up and left the restaurant to get some fresh air because the chicken was so hot.

Still--I like a challenge.

We each ordered the Fire Chicken. Based on the picture, I was expecting it to be chunks of chicken, breaded, fried, and coated in sauce. Turns out, they roast a chicken, hack it to bits, and then put the sauce on. This leaves quite a bit of the chicken covered in fat and looking very unappetizing, I must say. You know how picky I am when it comes to stuff like that.

So, the chicken arrives. Two bites in, and I'm already sweating. I start eating the free cubes of pickled radish that came with the chicken. It helps a little, but not much. "Excuse me, but do you have milk??" No luck. I try the coleslaw-type dish they brought out earlier. It just makes it worse. "More water, please!" The waitress brings out a dish of rice for each of us. It helps a little. Eventually, I discover that chewing the chicken only on the sides of my mouth and not letting it touch my tongue is the only way I will be able to eat this chicken and maintain any shred of dignity.

Daniel, for his part, took three bites and just could not eat any more. (He was the only one who finished a whole plate of it the last time they went out.) So, he ordered a plate of regular fried chicken. But even then, he could hardly eat it because the heat activated the left-over spice on his tongue. It was a rough night for both of us!

After this self-induced torture, we decided to treat ourselves to some soothing Baskin Robbins. It was insanely delicious! However, it was a little unnerving to watch one of the sales girls washing used cups and spoons. See picture for further detail on that one!

Speaking of food, I am posting a picture of a typical dinner tray that we get in the cafeteria. It's not the worst, but it's generally representative. Also, there are some more pics of the foreign staff. Not the best, but they will do for now. More video clips, too. As a tip on those, if you're having problems downloading them, make sure that you're giving it enough time. When I tested it, it took about 3-5 minutes for each one. So, give it enough time, and I promise they'll be worth it.

Update on my schedule: I am now on day shift. This means that I won't be available for chatting on the phone when it's evening back in Iowa. I will be online (unless out and about) between 4am CST and 9am CST. I know this is limiting, but it's what I will have to work with for the entire month of August. (For this very busy month, they are not doing a new schedule every two weeks.) So, if you want to chat at a specific time, leave me a voicemail and I will do my best to make it happen. I don't have a lot of free time this week, but I do have some here and there.

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well. I've been keeping an eye on the weather at home, and I am quite happy to be missing out on it. Although, I would make the case that I am suffering more. :-) Our temps are in the 80s, but with very high humidity. The difference between here and home being that here I have to be outside quite a bit. Doing anything, going anywhere, involves walking outside for long periods of time, often up dozens of stairs (which are no fun at all for a fat lady in 100% humidity). At home, you spend 1 minute walking from your air-conditioned house to your air-conditioned car, and another 2 minutes walking from your air-conditioned car to your air-conditioned place of employment. You're only outside when you want to be. It's an altogether easier existence, and I miss it like hell. :-)

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