Chris Wadsworth
Percy Kelly - Looking East to the Ennerdale Fells
Writer and Art Consultant

9th June 2013


Sipping a cold gin and tonic in a bar when a woman comes and sits beside me.

Do you play table football grandma? She asks as though it is the most natural thing in the world. I have no idea who she is. I politely demur.

Is this what grandmothers do in China? I don't know. Perhaps she is the world champion.
This country is weird and fascinating.
There is a Tesco up the road - they are the new colonials immediately recognised throughout the world by their invasive blue and red logo. They sell live bullfrogs. Apart from animal rights issues - what are the practicalities of getting one into the trolley and through the checkout? I hang about a while by the tank considering bullfrog liberation. I make eye contact with one and it glares at me belligerently over the surface of the water. I am certain it is swearing under its breath. It is definitely not saying 'choose me'!
I am fast becoming a vegetarian in this extreme carnivorous society. Meat is slipped into every dish on the menu usually as offal. That is the secret meat. The declared menu blatantly lists unspeakable body parts: testicles and tongues and worse. I scan the accompanying photographs of the finished dish repelled by heads on platters. Buffet breakfast at the hotel is vast, the choices confusing. I scope the offerings choosing a little pickle, some hairy veg and strange exotic fruits: fIve types of porridge-all thin and watery.
There are 6 varieties of raw mushrooms, green spinach, tomatoes. I place them in my bowl.My eye lights on little white cubes. Ah tofu! I had that in Beijing and it was delicious. I add it to the mix. The chef cooks it for me. The waitress places the bowl carefully before me like a votive offering. The 'tofu' is tripe! Tripe for breakfast? Tripe at any time?
China isn't on the list of countries I must visit before I die but my granddaughter is working here so it is a matter of esprit de corps.
But I must admit - bullfrogs and tripe excepted - I am enjoying myself
Art tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.


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