Day 11 - Rotating Sushi and a Cat Cafe

Thursday, February 18th, 2016
Smog Level: All 3 Mountains

Mandarin seems to be kind of like alchemy. You can say a couple words accidentally and stumble across a new word. Yesterday, I was jokingly saying to Shimou that she “has use” (yǒu (have) + yòng (use) = yǒuyòng) and stumbled across their word for “useful.” It’s strange. Instead of saying something is “bad” you’d say it’s “not good.” To me, “not good” means just that. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s definitely not good. It could be neutral, middling. Another example of compounding words to make a new one is yesterday’s word “delicious” which is  hǎo (good) + chī (eat) = hǎochī (delicious). Literally “Good eat.”

We were slow to get started and ended up finally leaving to get “breakfast” at 2ish. Rotating Sushi! We don’t pick the rotating food because the tables were still covered in dirty dishes. Music at restaurants is really odd sometimes, in this case it’s Christmas music. This isn't the first time, either. The food was pretty good, but one thing I tried was Watermelon-Mango Juice. Unlike the West, it seemed to actually be real juice, complete with little watermelon chunks. Delicious!
Even with the caffeine crutch, I'm still hitting an afternoon crash. I’m not sure if it’s the resultant dehydration after the caffeine that does it, but it certainly doesn’t help. Thanks to the nap, the originally planned massage from a blind person has been delayed a day. Damn.

A Sweet Old-Meets-New Lane (Nán Lúo Gǔ Xiàng)
Instead, we catch a cab to one of Shimou’s favorite streets. Nán Lúo Gǔ Xiàng, which is one of their older streets that’s become a sort of hipster market. Lots of cafes, bars, candy shops, souvenirs, and restaurants. 
A Still of the Food as it Heats

We meet Shimou’s best friend from high school, Olive, at a Korean place. She’s very nice, but doesn’t speak very much English. She did, however, bring us both some very nice gifts of fruit drops and travel mugs!

The food was interesting.. a cast iron circle with several compartments set on top of a open-flame burner. The compartments had widely varied food, like kimchi soup, pumpkin soup, ribs wrapped in melted cheese, sushi rice balls, and cheese vegetables. It seems Koreans like to put cheese in/on a lot of different food. Reminds me of the Cheese Corn I had in Melbourne, another Korean dish. Check it out:

Cat Café
The three of us wander down these street from store to store, though I have no cash at the moment. I’m not a big fan of window shopping without the prospect of buying, but checking out the strange and novel is still interesting. They had ice cream roses, a shop that made candy in front of you, sugar balloon animals (also made in front of you), Starbucks (of course), and our actual destination, a Cat Café.

Those of you who don’t understand/like cats, or are allergic, will probably find this place horrific. To the rest, it was cute. At least 10 cats lounged around, and a can of food/bowl came with the coffee we ordered. They also were one of the few places I’ve come across that offers “American Coffee” and not just an “Americano.” An aggressive bald cat named "Alpha" lived up to his name and crowded out the fat, lazier cats until we shoved him off.

The three of us wandered back through the market to the subway station at the other end. Most of stores seemed to be closing, but some vendors were just getting set up in the laneway itself. Shimou grabbed more stinky tofu, allowing me to use one of the words of the day: “nà wén bù hǎo” - that smells not good. I also learned that the word for “stinky” is similar to the word for “ugly.” “Ugly” is chǒu, and “smelly“ is chòu. “Nǐ chǒu hé chòu” would sound like I repeated the same word to a westerner, but means “you’re ugly and stinky.” Another confusing one for westerners would be “hē hé chī,” which is “drink and eat.”

Stinky Tofu Work Station
See? It is black. It then gets deep fried, and has the stuff on the left added.
This time the subway wasn’t closed. Olive got off on an earlier stop, and we walked back to the apartment. This sweet street is only one transfer and a few stops away! I’ll be going back there, for sure!

Words of the Day:
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Hear - tīng
Feel (physical/emotional) - gǎn júe / gǎn shòu  [gone jew-ehh / gone show]
Taste - cháng [chong]
Smell - wén [wuun]
medium - zhōng [jong]

Editing Music: 
Demi Lovato

Bonus Vid - Making Candy:

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