Yesterday evening Ren and I had two meeting scheduled for the same ice cream place. Both meetings went elsewhere after the initial contact. The first, we sat outside nearby and chatted. The setting was lovely, a teeny breeze, hot, surrounded by bushes and flowers. For our second meeting, the guy wants WYA to speak at a conference in a few months and drove us to where the proposed venue is. He brought us inside to wander around, it's quite a nice location except freezing! I don't understand it, all these people are supposed to be from tropical countries and used to the heat. Instead, they all like their air temperature so cold that I could happily bundle up under a few blankets attempting to stay warm.
We went to a nearby outdoor food market, a wet market, meaning the food is fresh. The first item I saw on the menu, after squid, was frog! I pointed it out thinking they would share my joy at seeing a menu listing 4 ways to cook frog, instead they ordered it for me. I then pointed out the sea cucumber options thinking surely they would see the humour in that, and also ended up having that ordered for me to taste. I was so nervous! Especially for the sea cucumber as my only prior exposure to it was scuba diving in Australia and it feels like it's made of styrofoam...
The frog legs were actually pretty good, I ate a few. They taste a bit like chicken, but with the consistency of crab meat - they're much softer than chicken. Sea cucumber tastes like unflavoured jello. It's pretty tasteless and has a similar consistency to jello - not bad, although the appearance is like mushroom on the inside and spotted, lumpy, or striped on the outside so I didn't eat as much sea cucumber as I did frog's legs.
Apparently it is said that the Chinese eat everything that flies - except for airplanes, and everything with 4 legs - except for the table. After supper, as were discussing varieties of food in different places they told me about the Century Egg. The century egg is preserved in different acids and vinegars for 100 days, and then consumed. Apparently it's a delicacy. The egg after 100 days is black. The yolk looks like bird droppings, and the white looks like black rum jello shooters :p
I ate half the egg, before I felt nauseous and had to stop. The taste isn't so bad, but the texture and appearance are horrible and I excused myself as it was my third unusual food I'd eaten that night, so felt less obligated to finish it.
Today we had a few more meetings, flew back to Manila, and I've just finalised plans for scuba diving a few hours south of Manila tomorrow. I'll be away from internet for the next few days - don't miss me (my writing) anymore than you miss my physical presence :)