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August 14, 2006 - Nanjing, China

Fresh Mein.

At 3PM yesterday it started. I don’t think any of us realized what had happened until later.

Ben noticed first - we were on the roof of the sushe, spitting some scallion pancake, mein & melon for dinner.

“I can’t stop sweating…”

All of us agreed - and we were just standing there - in the shade.

When we got back to the room something was quiet. Far too quiet and warm. The AC was dead. Timing is everything.

For lunch we went out as a group - Scott & I saw a noodle place and decided to split off from the group. I pulled the usual point at somebody else’s food while stuttering through an account of what items I would like in my food. Today - chow mein - “tsow mein”. Scott notice a pan of sauteed meat next to the kettle and I broke out some more jagged Hanyu. We were in for a treat.

The cook walked over to a low table and started to knead a long snake of dough. The kneading was sporadic - choppy almost. and left a lop-sided strand on the table. Both ends were picked up and the dough was swung around - much like a double dutch jump rope - until it was twice its original length.

A quick squirt of oil coated the table and soon the rolled dough. A pattern emerged. Grab ends, swing, roll. Each time the strands were doubled and rolled in a light coat of oil. After 6 or 8 repetitions the clump was now looking like a twisted candy-cane. A grab and the table moved from oil to flour. Again the grab ends, swing, roll. The noodles separated finally and a single group of arms length noodles was tossed into a boiling pot of broth after a last stretch.

A couple of plastic cups, pi jiu bing da, and a plate of steaming noodles.

It rained heavily for an hour in the afternoon - we went for a run 6ish - the air was so heavy it took effort to push it out of our lungs. We have been sweating so much that it doesn’t smell like sweat, just water pushed from our stomachs straight out.

We kept hearing about the 3 hottest cities in China - Nanjing was on the list.

Tumbleweeds... and no comments. How 'bout livening things up?

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