I woke up much earlier than normal today to go to a BBQ with Yezi and Jelte. We took the metro to Tianfu Square and walked across the street past the Mao Zedong statue towards the back of the building where a few buses idled. She grabbed us tickets for Xindu and we waited for our bus to fill before the driver set out on our 1-hour drive to Yezi’s university.
I dozed in and out of my awakened state several times throughout the trip due to my severe hangover from the night before at Helen’s bar (they give out free Tsingtao beer from 9 – 10 PM). The scenery remained the same throughout the trip from what I remember in my foggy state-of-mind. Just a plethora of vacant skyscrapers being built all around the city with the occasional slum village smacked between them.
We arrived in Xindu at around 1 PM and met up with Yezi’s friends from class. Recently, her friend Zoe contacted me through weChat about traveling in China and we finally introduced ourselves today. She will intern in the USA for two months at an electrical engineering firm. She spoke great English, but her friend Molly, a petite, cute, Chinese girl in her last year of university as well, spoke nearly perfect English.
I chatted with Zoe more as we walked towards the picnic area for a BBQ, but the pedestrian bridge, where we needed to cross, looked closed to the average person. I wanted to climb underneath, pull myself up and walk across the rickety platform, watching pieces fall into the water, but we took a motorbike taxi instead.
After ten minutes, we arrived in the park where tons of Chinese friends and families barbecued on this calm, sunny, peaceful Sunday afternoon. I talked to Molly and Zoe most of the time and taught them how to play “Rock, Paper, Scissors…SHOOT,” “President,” and “Texas Hold’em.” We ended up playing a few rounds of “The Landlord” in between eating food. All of her friends prepared and cooked food for the BBQ. I stuffed myself ever few minutes for over the course of a few hours in between downing some beer. We ate spiced pork, beef, smoked shrimp, crab and fish rolls, a chewy, Korean rice dish, eggplant, and countless other dishes all for 60 Kwai. No matter how full I felt, I continued to eat after Zoe cooked her next dish. I experienced so many different foods all in a short-time frame that my taste buds felt an explosion of goodness in my mouth. I didn’t know how to handle it.
We stuck around for about four hours and head out to take a bus back home. We walked past the rural countryside of Xindu getting closer to the city. My camera died by this point, but I found it odd, we passed an old, abandoned church. It looked like people lived in it, from the maintenance of the lawn, but the building itself decayed near the rooftop and windows.