May 24, 2006

Gittin' Down in Chinatown

Since I'm sans baby, I decided to take the afternoon yesterday and "do" Los Angeles' Chinatown. I spent 3 hours wandering in and out of shops, tunneling through flea market stalls and chanting "I'm just looking." I wish that were true. I managed to make it home without completely bankrupting us, but just barely. Luckily for me, I'm a giant among Chinese so they really didn't have my size in a lot of stuff. I really wanted to find some cute Chinese slippers but thanks to my dolphin sized feet, had a more difficult time than anticipated.

The scenario went something like this:

"Hi! Do you have these shoes in a size 10?"
The shopkeeper would look dubiously at my feet. "Weeeeeelll - I check in back for you. Okay?"
She would then scurry behind a curtin and consult with her partner and the two of them would peek out at me with trepidation. After a few minutes of waiting, I would get the hint and move on to another shop to repeat the humiliating process. In the end, I did find a shop that actually carried my size. I bought the shoes without even trying them on. Thanks for the duck-feet, Mom.

The Chinese are very courteous. I've been to flea markets in many countries but have always beat a hasty retreat after being pushed, prodded and swindled. The L.A. Chinese are attentive, but respectful if you are uninterested. The hot item yesterday was the chihuahua outfits. I had about 4 shopkeepers try and sell it to me despite my protests that I didn't own a dog and thought the outfits were ridiculous. They took that to mean that I was going for a better deal and kept offering me lower and lower prices. Very odd.

Spike met me after work and we walked up and down the street looking for a decent place for dinner. Our first strategy was to find places that had dead animals hanging in the front windows. This seemed to be where the locals congregated but the price of an entree was too much to offset the fact that there were carcasses hanging inches from our dinner table. We finally found a Vietnamese place with low prices and no visible corpses. Spike is an old pro with Vietnamese food but I had no idea what to order. I picked the "Combination Beef Soup" and was about 1/2 way through with it when my fork snagged on an enormous piece of tripe (cow stomach) at the bottom of my bowl and I solemnly declared the meal over.

It's amazing how tripe can ruin an otherwise delightful day.


Mumsy said...

You're welcome, Baby! Those feet will keep you from tipping over.

Adrienne said...

Oh MAN! Pho's the best stuff on EARTH. And give the tripe a chance, it's not so bad. ;)