Dave's Sketch Journal

Drawing is taking a line for a walk. - Paul Klee

The Last Day

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We are determined to enjoy every last bit of our month-long vacation. We will squeeze every possible activity in before we go. We are sad to leave. Has it really been a month?

But hey, there's always jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) to comfort us. Downstairs, in a small hole in the wall, is a shop that makes fresh jiaozi . These are to die for. In the morning we have coffee and cookies to stave off the hunger until the shop opens. Finally at 9:00 a.m. the shop fills with workers rolling, stuffing, pinching, and cooking the pasta wrapped sausages.

I'm not sure how, but when they are cooked, there is actually a soup inside. Eating this jiaozi takes skill. We bite off the top, suck out the hot juice, then bite into the meat. The pasta shell is soft on one side but crunchy on the other. It has a toasted taste to it. Wow. We order eight, sneak them up to the room, and are raptured.

Last night we got a chance to visit with some English tour guides. They took us to the Western side of town but we had Chinese food anyway. I tried a dish I'd never had before: Wood Ear Mushrooms. (We've been eating a lot of non-meat dishs.) Then we went to the French Quarter for coffee and desert and listened to live music (some English songs and some Chinese).

We walked the park late at night. It was dark in spots but there were light that lined the pathways. The police were there, walking or riding mopeds. I felt very safe. There were people in the park, sitting in twos. They weren't going to bother us, they were engaged in their own activities.

We snapped a few night pictures, said goodbye to our great tour guides, and took the taxi back to the hotel.

You know it's time to leave China when . . . instant coffee starts to taste good. - Ruth Terry

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