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In a desperate attempt to stay awake yesterday I went for a leisurely stroll last night around bustling Yongchuan with a few teammates. The atmosphere was dense, odiferous, cacophonous even. It was a flurry of action, a feast for the senses. Smoke bellowed from human mouths like freshly swept chimneys, the streets teemed with China's finest delicacies offered up by local vendors: Roasted walnuts complete with shell, chicken legs, feet and heads to name a few.
Around every corner there was a new experience, much like a "choose your own adventure" book for those fortunate enough to remember. Over a loud speaker, there was a man auctioning authentic Spalding apparel to a heaving mass of people. Further down the street there was an open air rubbish skip with its own local resident rooting around inside. We took a left turn down an alley way to find a few restaurants with glamorous terrace dining next to a giant hole in the ground; dinner and a view. A large steaming cauldron of deliciousness was in the centre of the table surrounded by four to six people tucking in, I assumed it was filled with noodle soup or perhaps dim sum. I wanted to join in but then, I remembered the purpose of this trip: football!
Food was a great way to experience culture, in fact, it was quite possibly the best way. Straight away language and communication were broken down, common goals were adopted and the end product was an interesting meal and a fun experience. Speaking of fun experiences, our very own sociologist, Jill Scott, ingratiated herself with the locals by joining in a public dance class. Possibly the highlight of the day in my opinion, bested only by a man and his miniature, prancing poodle that walked straight through the centre of the class.
As we headed back to the hotel for dinner we accidently walked through spontaneous open air badminton and children's roller derby. Along the way people literally stared and took pictures of us - apparently there aren't many six-foot-tall, white girls roaming the streets. Who knew?
The food has been delicious considering the circumstances. Our Chef, Sean has been a miracle worker in the kitchen. He has provided us with quite a few simple, yet tasty options. Proteins such as: chicken, beef, fish were plentiful; simple carbohydrates in the form of noodles, rice, potatoes and breads were relatively easy to come by and the vegetables were varied albeit with a slightly oriental twist. He even made us some delicious dumplings, that was as close we got to the local cuisine.
Surprisingly though, the salad and the complex carbohydrates were harder to find. Throughout the trip I was supplementing my diet with Healthspan Elite's range of Vitamin C and Probiotics as well as Beta Alanine, Omega 3 Fish Oils and a daily Multivitamin.