I could write a whole blog series on how the internet will kill me in less than one hundred days. Starting with last night. Because for some reason, every night around 7:30, our internet shuts off. Full bars show on all our devices, but nothing loads. And last night, on three different occasions, I wrote this blog post. And on three different occasions, after pressing save, my computer thought and thought and thought and then said, "error" and tossed my blog into that giant abyss of unsaved work that is guarded by the devil himself. If ever I find that place, I know there will be a mansion built out of my works. And I will -
Okay, that's enough. Back to the point.
Outside our complex, nestled between a Wowo and a Hong Qi store, are two small produce shops. One sells fruit and the other vegetables and pork that hangs from hooks. Both spill out from their front steps and into the walkway- cutting, shucking, and selling. Cardboard boxes and scraps of their produce litter between the trees and benches.
The fruit comes from some far off places; their delivery truck often arrives about the time I leave for work. But the vegetables are local. They come from the farms and yards and small patches of earth that have been etched and scratched into city. I love these little shops, and the food they produce. Especially the apples. Wowzas!
Just beyond these two stores are the street venders - meals on wheels - and they roam the streets selling noodles, rice, cooked vegetables, oven-baked bread (which is my favorite!), yams, corn on the cob, lamb skewers, and sometimes, chicken feet.
I've gotten used to or have grown to love many foods Sichuan has to offer, even the famous Sichuan Spice, but I've never been able to attach myself to chicken feet, or chicken head for that matter. Maybe it's the texture, maybe its the taste. It could even be the idea or the image of gnawing on chicken feet that I'm averse to, I'm not sure. Whatever it is, I haven't been able to assimilate.
But I will miss them, because they are Chengdu. And Chengdu is them and their steam that floats from their pots and suddenly disappears into the currents. It is their smell that wafts through the crowds, curling the nose and watering the tongue. It is their creaky breaks and wobbly tires. Their friendly smiles.
And yet, I won't miss them because deep down, I am an American who was raised on milk and cookies for late-night snacks. Not chicken feet.
And I've now written these thoughts, in multiple variations, for the fourth time. Let's see if it sticks.