Oh China! Just when I'm down and out, ready to burn you to the ground and dance on a mountain of ashes, you go and charm me like you did this afternoon. Was it the phone tag between me and my "boss" to get the rooms he promised last week (that suddenly became unavailable) to finally show a film for the first time *ever* in Jilin? No. Was it the whole city looking at my like I had three heads as I walked to the gym in my shorts? No, but close!
It was not telling me that the water would be off all night until I got back from the gym! Yes China, that's the little feather in your cap that got me today.
China seems to have an obsession with over-packaged hot dog wannabe mystery meat, which I will now call "twinkiemeat," a neologism that I just made up as I sat here writing this blog and a name that I will now use forever and ever because it's awesome. It's really gross, and this from the guy that used to eat hot dogs like I was trying to win a prize. But I see this twinkiemeat all over the place: plastic-wrapped hot dog-looking way-too-pink meat stuff that I don't need to eat to know it's cow brain and pig hoof and, well, probably a good bit of plastic in there too, plus god knows what else. And, confession: I think I ate some, once, but I was new in China and I didn't know better and I needed the money. And as you'd expect, this twinkiemeat has no substance in your mouth at all, it's just filler and crap barely held together by whatever glue they processed it with.
And this twinkiemeat is everywhere. At Chang Bai Shan, we saw them being boiled in their little PVC-plastic packaging:
Part of the repugnance, I think, comes from the awful overuse of plastic and packaging materials, to make sure you know this is as synthetic a "meat" product as is possible to make by known human food processing methods.
I see them being slowly turned on little gas-powered skillets at the various food stalls around Jilin, I see them stuck on kebabs and eaten, like it makes sense to just put this congealed paste that once was meat on a stick and eat it, and not have the decency for even a bun, or mustard. Chinese food can be some of the most savory food on the planet, and yet there seems to be an insatiable appetite for this garbage.
And every day I walk out of the gym, and there's my girl, Fried Hotdog Lady, grillin' up a frying pan of twinkiemeat, ready to inject that protein back in to ya, because what's better after a hard workout than a stick of rat dick and pigeon skull? Mmm-mm!