Subways, trains–same same. Yesterday, a family of a mom and two grown up children sat across from me. Out came the snacks. I notice that I am past the point of finding these foods interesting and am now mostly grossed out. “Please don’t let it be a package of chicken feet,” I think to myself. It’s not but it’s something unidentifiable from where I sit. I can tell that it is very dark and chewy and might be some sort of dried fruit, so I go with that. I look away and try to enjoy the scenery before the subway dives down below ground. Alas, these three are smackers, ie open-mouth chewers who like to smack their lips with great regularity. Because there are many vacant seats, I drag my suitcase to the next car and sit again. One is not always so fortunate.
As we move closer in to the heart of the city, the crowds press in and in changing cars at a terminal, I lost my seat so was standing. I watched a beautiful young woman eating what I assume was a pre-packaged breakfast sandwich, made of the kind of fluffy white bread they have here that makes Wonder look heavy. Instead of just eating it, this woman was breaking off little pieces of meat (?) then bread with her fingers and sucking it into her mouth, where I am certain it simply dissolved on her tongue. Across from her, another woman opened a package seaweed-wrapped rice and scarfed down two very hearty rolls while engaged in a lively conversation with her friend. She topped if off with a drink of some sort–or maybe not a drink, now that I think of it– that came in a flat-ish package made of opaque plastic, a corner of which she stuck in her mouth and sucked on for the rest of the trip.
Readers of yesterday’s blog will know I was exhausted and hungry on the final train ride to Jiaxing. I joined my cabin members with Starbuck’s in hand, stowed my things and immediately began eating my red bean scone. It occurred to me that a scone is white too and maybe these folks are grossed out by its apparent density and the dark thingys on top. If so, it didn’t put the two guys next to me off eating. These cars are a cheap mode of travel (Y24 or $4 to travel the 60 miles from Shanghai) and while they do offer some snacks for sale, most often people bring their own. When one fellow began rifling through the bag, I immediately began to pray: “Please, please, please don’t let it be some really disgusting and smelly packaged meat products with bones and gristle and lip-smacking and horrible smells. Please don’t let it be chicken feet, I’m begging, please not that.” The guy in charge of the snack bag pulls out a package and I take a look. It is a packaged product which I’m guessing is a meat item, although I can’t be sure. He passes it to his friend (right beside me) who takes it, looks at it, turns it over in his hands, then decides against it. Hooray!! He passes it back and then accepts an apple. I’m so happy I don’t care if he is smacker but it turns out, he isn’t! He eats so quietly I don’t even notice and I’m so happy I smile at everyone in the car. Life is good. Jiaxing Nan, my stop and I’m gone.
These are just a small sampling of what is available in our grocery store snack aisle. The store employees frown on pictures being taken so I actually bought these ones for blog purposes. I will give them out for prizes this week. The kids will be happy–or maybe not.