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susan smitten

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Real Italy and Real Good Food (Not Shown) [May. 5th, 2008|07:05 pm]
susan smitten
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About five weeks ago, I broke the camera (or it broke itself). Don thinks he can fix it, but to me that sounds really hard. Anyway, here are a few pictures I took before it broke.

Last February, I flew to Rome for my third time. I went back and forth on whether to go into fancy, touristy Rome, but fortunately when we arrived, the weather was cold and wet. Yippee! So instead of the same old pizza, and the same old American tourists, I found myself eating (delicious) beans and cabbage and cheese at a very authentic place in Lazio. The person who recommended it said we needed a reservation, and when we called to make it, they told us they could accommodate us after about two hours.


It was lucky we had a reservation.







I didn't take any pictures of the food, because I was too busy stuffing my face with it. I thought I'd never had anything so delicious.

A few days ago I went to Beijing for my first time (I'd been to Shanghai twice) and six of us ordered about 15 dishes at a multi-story, after hours, family restaurant type place. It took about seven staff to interpret our needs (the captain and I were recklessly adventurous about foods and alcohols, but the rest of our party was made up of a vegetarian and three Muslims) but when the food finally arrived, it was spectacular. Almost all of it was vegetarian, and each dish was so unique and perfectly seasoned.

Taking pictures is such a motivator for me to do stuff. I might have gone to Forbidden City or the Great Wall if I'd had a camera, but I didn't, so I just went shopping at the so-called "Silk Market." I hated it, a little. I didn't buy much (and didn't intend to), but I would have bought more if it hadn't entailed that stupid haggling game. I always wonder if those salespeople go home depressed after pretending to cry all day.

Me: "I'll give you two dollars for this."
Seller: "That is eight hundred dollars, but for you I'll give you a very good price. Four hundred dollars."
Me: "I'll give you two!"
Seller: "Are you crazy? This is very good quality."
Me: "It's plastic!"
Seller: "Okay, three hundred fifty."
Me: "It's a magnet!"
Seller: "Three hundred fifty!"
Me: "Never mind! I don't want it anymore!" (walking away)
Seller: "Wait! Two dollars okay!"

...and I know the thing cost less than a penny to make, because it's made in China, and I'm buying it in China. Why not save the heartache and charge two dollars for it, so we don't have to fight? I did have fun just talking with a lot of the sellers, since I really didn't want anything and was just there for the sake of leaving the hotel. Most of the sellers were college-aged girls who spoke great English, and once they realized I didn't want to buy anything, dropped the act and clowned around with me. Though it was kind of weird that so many girls asked me if they could have the buttons and charms from my backpack. All those things have sentimental value, and are largely things nobody would want. So I joked back, "No, this button was a wedding gift. Oh, this strap is very expensive and very rare."

In a few weeks I'll get a 14 weeks' salary bonus from Emirates. I picked out my new computer, and Don is helping me pick out a new camera. I'm looking forward to posting pictures again.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: starkodama
2008-05-05 09:50 pm (UTC)
3-part comment:

1. WHOA that restaurant looks awesome! What did you have?

2. I hate haggling, I refuse to do it. I'm too much of a softy. ;_;

3. Wow, now that's a bonus! D:
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2008-05-06 01:43 pm (UTC)
1. Just the antipasto! I was going to order a pizza or something, but the first course was SO many dishes, and they were so good, that there was no need. A few different bean dishes, some kind of tasty cabbage, mozzarella, and a couple of kinds of sausage. That last picture was a big furnace thing where they were smoking meats.

2. One of my colleagues I was shopping with was a softy, too. He was lucky I was there to fight for him!

3. Yeah. Drool...
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[User Picture]From: premkudva
2008-05-06 05:06 am (UTC)
> Seller: "Wait! Two dollars okay!"

God! And I used to wonder why my mom used to start bargaining in the single digits. Eight hundred dollars for a fridge magnet, what world was he dwelling in?
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2008-05-06 01:46 pm (UTC)
Yup. Then they'd call me a "fool" for wanted to go so low (which, like I said, was surely a big mark-up). Then they'd get all sad and offended, like I was dishonoring their family. It must wear them out ~ or maybe they're all struggling actors. ;)
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[User Picture]From: premkudva
2008-05-07 04:25 am (UTC)
At least the item was indeed a 2 dollar item. Here my mom and nowadays my wife will quote a fraction for an item really worth much more. Also here they will not quite 300 for a 2 Re item.
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[User Picture]From: premkudva
2008-05-06 05:10 am (UTC)
I just grabbed your bargaining conversation and posted it in my LJ:-)

> I'll get a 14 weeks' salary bonus from Emirates.

Cool! My sister-in-law's brother-in-law (heh) works for Emirates. Both families are in Dubai.
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2008-05-06 01:35 pm (UTC)
My sister-in-law's brother-in-law (heh) works for Emirates. Both families are in Dubai.

I didn't know that! So... your brother and his wife? And her sister and her husband? What do they do? Have they been here a long time?
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[User Picture]From: premkudva
2008-05-07 04:23 am (UTC)
It is a little longer than that, so it will be my wife's sister's husband's sister's husband. To be clear my brother-in-law's brother-in-law. Heh! Heh!

My brother-in-law's sister used to work for Emirates when she came across her future husband who too worked for Emirates. With two kids she doesn't work now, but her husband still does. Lester and Geeta.
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[User Picture]From: woofiegrrl
2008-05-28 08:44 pm (UTC)
Hi there! I hope you don't mind me barging in. I'm trying to stir up interest in a social networking site for expats, it's called InterNations. I got your name from mactavish, if you'd be interested in an invite to InterNations please let me know! Best way to reach me is by e-mail: mperuzzi@gmail.com - thanks!
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2008-05-28 10:21 pm (UTC)
Sure, I'll check it out! I sent you an email - let me know if you haven't received it.
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[User Picture]From: woofiegrrl
2008-05-28 10:27 pm (UTC)
Got it, and just sent along an invite! Sorry for the delay - I'm helping a friend move this afternoon.
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