It’s taken a few weeks of settling into a new routine in the U.S. and obsessing over a new job for me to find my Seattle voice. When I found out we would be leaving Shanghai, I wondered what the hell I would write about in boring, sleepy Seattle. China was exciting and odd and wonderful all at the same time. Even reading the Shanghai Daily would produce laughs and a story to share. So, off to Chinatown we went today. Surely I would be inspired there!
As we wandered the quiet, deserted streets today on our way to Chinatown for lunch with James (yes, trying to recreate the past!), I noticed not one dude peeing in the street. Weird. In fact, there wasn’t hardly a soul to be seen anywhere in the downtown area. Where was the fruit lady and the shoe guy? Amazing when you go from 25 million people in a city to under 1 million you do feel a distinct difference in the pace and most sane people would appreciate it. Not me—I like the busy streets and hum of a vibrant urban environment. Shanghai! Manhattan!
At lunch, I couldn’t wait to taste and compare the egg tarts, one of my favorite delicacies that didn’t make me sick in Shanghai. Definitely not as good as what we had in China, but the Seattle version was still delicious. James dug into shrimp fried puffs, red bean paste sesame buns, barbeque buns and dumplings. I loved that when I spoke Chinese to the staff that they immediately knew what I was saying. Mydan! Check please! When we asked for “take way”, our waitress chided James to eat more so she could fit everything in one small box. Done. You don’t have to beg a 21Year old boy to eat more.
We walked through Chinatown, Seattle style, and ogled the pastries in the bakery. YUM. Hearing a soulful tune, we stopped to listen to the old guy in the park making beautiful music with his Erhu traditional string instrument while checking out the jumbo size lawn chess set available for all to play but no one was–everyone was too busy stuffing their faces with hot and steamy dim sum on this cold, crisp day with skies so blue and air so clean you could actually take deep breaths, which I couldn’t get enough of. It’s good to be home.