I’m back I’m back! And just like every travel diary I’ve made, I can barely remember what happened here but I’m gonna do my best to talk about it!
Little brothers – good for holding your water bottle, not so good for texting back.
I spent a little under a week in Yinchuan with my mom’s side of the family, but we didn’t do a ton of stuff outside the house slash I didn’t take a ton of photos, so this is a bunch of shit we did crammed into one post, including shopping, noodles, hot pot, visiting my grandpa’s grave, and leaving for Kunming.
First up – taxi ride to 步行街, which means ‘pedestrian street’ and has a lot of shops! We didn’t really do any shopping, but my mom got a few clothes mended with this tailor she likes to go to at a nearby alley. Getting clothes or shoes mended in China is such a wondrous thing, because that shit costs $$$ here in the US and is comparatively very cheap for us there. Every tailor shop we’ve gone to in China has done such a good job, to the point where I can’t tell there used to be a hole in the sweater at all. It’s sort of sad to think about, because they have such skill at this job/craft, but they’re in a random little dingy hole in the wall alley store while people who probably have the same skills are making couture gowns at Paris ateliers. Haha global social stratification what a fun turn this blog post took huh
OK let’s move onto a more fun topic – food. We saw ads for this chicken taco from KFC and s c r e a m e d. J, my boyfriend, is Latino, so my brother and I LOLed and sent him a photo of this abomination. Another rec for potential China visitors btw – KFC! Shit is delicious. Isn’t it funny how American fast food is the shittiest in America but actually quite nice in other countries?
We picked up my cousin’s dog, 毛线 (wool string, which is a fantastic name, no?) to hang out at my grandma’s flat with us for a bit. I’m used to my girl Luna and completely forgot that you can’t just drop dogs onto the ground like you can with cats and did that with her… 🙃
中阿兰 (Zhong A Lan, and I hope I’m getting these characters right, but I think the last one is wrong.. I’m shit at Chinese sorz!) is a noodle restaurant that does 拉面 which is a type of noodle where it’s stretched endlessly so one bowl of noodles could theoretically just be a bowl of noodle, singular, because it’s so damn long.
This is a machine that sanitizes chopsticks I think?? Amazing. We are living in the future.
You can’t super see, but the wooden placards hanging from the top are for the width of the noodles, so you can get them thinner or thicker depending on your own preference.
I love noodles and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! My uncle was kind of surprised that I finished my whole bowl, and I really hope my metabolism keeps up with the amount of food I like to ingest as I age.
There are also smaller plates of dishes you can get to eat with your noodles! My fav was that smashed cucumber salad type thing (that’s the technical term, yes).
So this is the name of the restaurant, which makes me think I got the characters wrong but I’m also real bad at reading Chinese when it’s not in fancy calligraphy, let alone like this ^ ?! My uncle told me later that it was 中阿兰, with 中国 like China then 阿拉伯 like Arabic (because it’s all halal), and then 兰 from 兰州, the place where 拉面, the noodle technique, is from.. but that last character on the bottom right does not look like 兰 lol and I don’t have the inclination to find out what it rly is rn
After we ate our noodles for breakfast on this day, we drove to my grandpa’s grave. He passed away maybe seven or eight years ago and is the only funeral that I’ve ever been to. I’m not gonna put a photo up of his gravestone, bc #privacy (says the gal who regularly spills her guts out to the internet lmao), but Chinese gravestones have the deceased person’s name as well as all their family carved into it – so on the left it’ll say my grandpa’s children, my mom and her siblings, and then who they’re married to, and then their children (i.e. me!). I think cultures are so interesting in all the different and varied ways us living shits on Earth deal with universal things (life, death, aging, etc) in such different ways.
In Chinese culture we burn things like (fake) paper money and incense to honor our ancestors and family~
For dinner we went out to hot pot! Why did this hot pot restaurant have a statue of Captain America in its lobby? Couldn’t tell ya, dude.
Something that blew me away (only a slight exaggeration) was this chopstick innovation!! Everyone gets the black and silver holders, which are washed and reused by the restaurant, but each customer gets a little sealed paper packet with wooden mini chopsticks to stick in. Hygiene is the reason, I guess, and I thought it was so funky bc I’d never seen it before lol but um I’m sure it’s still horrid for the environment. Isn’t it fun how being conscious of things like that make you a real wet blanket sometimes and you’re unable to just be like CHOPSTICK THING COOL?
Breaking news: hot pot is delicious, more at 11.
Mmmm bad nighttime photography c/o me.
Early the next morning we went to the airport to go to 昆明 (Kunming), where my dad’s side of the family mostly lives! It was a very stressful time because my mom was in charge of our itinerary/tickets, and she has a very different traveling style than I do (like not checking for luggage prices but assuming it’s included/free and then freaking out when the lady who checked us in prompted us for $$), but we ate some chicken fries from Burger King while waiting to board and survived.
Thanks 4 reading/looking, I’ll see ya again in 7 years with my photos from 昆明 🙂