The Red Armadillo

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Ok, I’ve had to take a little electronics siesta for my own mental health.

Still working on that culture stress stuff.

But I’m back now.

We also traveled last week to the South Carolina equivalent of China for a medical conference and met about 100 other expats living and working here.

Took the kids along, since other friends were bring theirs and childcare was provided as well.

And the swimsuits!

Although we didn’t actually use them, since the weather was comparatively warm, but not quite enough for a swim.

But lots of fun playing on the beach.

As a matter of fact Lu Ming put on his “da’queen” (that’s Lightning McQueen in 2 year old speak) swimming trunks 3 days before departure and insisted on wearing them every single day until I forced them to get washed after we got home, 9 days later.  Sometimes they were on top of or underneath the warmer pants, but he was happy.

We came to this area across the strait from Taiwan, and realized that it was almost like traveling to another country.

Although we’ve been studying Chinese for almost 9 months, we got more quizzical looks than expected for asking routine questions and directions, and often could not understand the replies either.

Just like South Carolina has an accent compared to Ohio, so does Xiamen in Fujian province compared to the north.

It’s just hard to figure out the drawl in your new tongue.

We ate some really nice seafood, spicy eggplant, and good ol’ jaozi from our new home-region.

But the “eye of the dragon” (or:  the crowning glory, in English metaphor), was our last night there.

We had tried to eat there on another day, but they were not open until dinnertime.

The Red Armadillo.

Featuring burgers, fries, grilled chicken sandwiches, quesadillas, exotic pizzas…

The first hamburger I’ve had since coming to China now 9 months ago.

It was the tastiest thing I’ve ever eaten.

In that absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder sort of way.

Lettuce, tomato, swiss cheese, ketchup on one bun.

Flip it up and eat with one hand while holding the baby in the other.

With thick beefy fries, also anointed in ketchup.

Order another round of fries for the kids, who gobbled up the first order.

Plus some pleasant conversation with the owner, who moved to China 9 years ago and now has a Chinese wife and 6 year old daughter playing in the courtyard.

But that burger sure beat everything else.

Red Armadillo, I’ll be back.

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