I actually documented Ming and my first date. I want to put this on blogger, as it's hard to know where my journals may end up since they'll be left in my Grandma's basement for the time being. You are welcome to read this, embarassing as it may be.
From Wednesday, June 1, 2005
If mininshed yesterday morning's lesson and guess who was standing outside the door? Tao Ming. He managed to get in the school. I'm not sure how because usually the gate keeper only lets teachers and students in the building. He took me to lunch in a little restaurant by the old outdoor market. He asked me what I wanted, "Chick?" I said chicken was fine. Rice and chicken, afterall, sounds safe enough, but in China you never know what you're going to get.
It ended up being every part of the chicken, cut up and cooked in a sauce. I tried picking through it to find the meaty parts (I have a slight aversion to skin and fat, veins and feet. Such things don't seem to bother the Chinese). He scolded me for using my hands--a big no-no here. So he picked through the chicken with his chopsticks, finding the meat for me. He told me he would not be at the gym that night because he had to work (he is a train conductor). I went off to school for my afternoon lessons, disappointed I wouldn't be seeing him again in the evening.
Shortly after I returned home for the night, there was a knock at the door. . . he took off work to spend the evening with me. He took me to KFC for more chicken. This may sound like a pitiful first date, but KFC is fairly high class dining in Chengde. Then we went to a movie; unfortunately it was in Chinese. Ming went to talk to the manager and the movie was changed. It was also Chinese, "God of Gamblers," but it had English subtitles. I found it to be a typical Chinese film, somewhat crappy, but funny at parts and violent at others. The theater was much different from an American theater. We had our own little cubicle to sit in, very personal! After the movie we walked home and he came up for a little bit.
Today he stopped by after lunch and brought me a bag of apples. He walked Nancy and I to the bus. I'm not used to all this attention! Now I am in Beijing. Nancy went off to Qingdao tonight and I am leaving for Guilin tomorrow.
Footnote: I know longer mind eating fat, skin, and veins, but I draw the line at feet (and brains).
Ming was never a train conductor. That was one of many initial misunderstandings.