Today I awoke to another dusty day to frame my visit to the world-renowned Army of the Terracotta soldiers. I shall spare you the grim details of the local bus ride there (except thank you Lonely Planet for misplacing the bus station on your map).
Two thousand years ago this Emperor cleverly foresaw his eventual death and had thousands of soldiers sculpted from clay in order to fight for him in the afterlife. Life is a battle, death is a battle, after death is another battle. Only a man could think this way. He must have started this project as soon as he was old enough to shout an order. And I don’t even have a will but, hey, I’m a Boomer. I eat right and exercise. Who knows? Maybe they’ll think of something to eternally postpone that day of doom.
Speaking of eating, as I returned too late to see another tomb, I returned to the Muslim Quarter for further food studies. That place has the most numerous, varied, succulent and unusual street food I’ve ever seen. Block after block, there are women rolling out pastry, stirring up stew, stir-frying fresh veggies, rice and tofu, deep-frying patties and selling all manner of produce from chicken and mutton to chilies, mushrooms, jackfruit, candied fruit, spices, beans and plenty of stuff I couldn’t recognize.
For the record, I had mutton soup with diced bread, cold beans with cucumber, a sort of sesame cake, jackfruit and candied kiwi.
I’m nearly in a sugar coma but enjoying fresh date tea with honey in the hotel restaurant. I’ve taken many more pictures and instructional videos (how to wok-fry rice and greens over a coal-fired stove) than I can post here but stay tuned! Since these crack cooks are so unappreciated here that many live without running water in their homes, I suggest we start a movement to give them visas to foodie cultures like ours. Oh noodle-pullers, come to mama.