NEW YEAR'S EVE BARBEQUE
the last day of 2005, we celebrated another year gone by with two of our
good Chinese friends. We planned to go to a Korean restaurant, make
cookie dough, throw firecrackers out the window, and watch a pirated
Batman Begins DVD. We felt it was a suitably eclectic combination of
activities to mark the passing of 2005.
There is a brand new Korean
restaurant right by our house, and every time we walk by, all the staff is
sitting at the tables watching TV because there are no customers. So we
decided to give them a little business on New Yearís Eve. There seems to
be 4 main types of Korean food: spicy soup, salted cold vegetables,
pancakes, and meat which they serve raw and you grill yourself. Wanting
to have a proper meal, we ate all of these. We ordered two plates of raw
beef and a plate of sliced sweet potatoes for grilling. The
came with four small dishes of salted vegetables: cucumber, potatoes,
carrots and something else that Iím not sure what it was. It should
be noted that the cucumber was just half of a whole cucumber, but Charlie
managed to slice it up using his chopsticks. We also ordered a bowl of
beef and tofu soup, a vegetable pancake made from potatoes, and a sticky
rice pancake. In the center of the table was a little round grill,
and after we ordered the food, they brought a pot full of hot coals and
put it in the center of the table with a grate on top. We grilled the
sweet potatoes, while nibbling on the side dishes. It was quite delicious
and definitely a unique experience to have a barbeque in December.
the restaurant, we went back to our apartment. Zac showed Charlie how to
make cookie dough. Since we donít have an oven to actually bake the
cookies, our plan was to just eat the dough, which had been garnished with
M&Ms. It turned out to be too sweet to really eat, so we each just had a
few spoonfuls. We tried to cook one in our tiny toaster oven, but
only managed to burn it into a crispy, smoldering blob.
Then Zac brought out the small box of
firecrackers that one of his students had given him. Charlie lit them,
sometimes three or four at a time, and threw them out the window. It was
quite fun because the little explosions echoed off of the buildings. The
scary thing was that the firecrackers didn't have a fuse--so we were
always afraid they were going to blow up in our kitchen. Then we
watched a Batman Begins DVD. When it was over, it was only about
11:00pm, but our friends went home. Apparently they donít really have the
tradition of staying up until midnight on New Year ís Eve.
So we clicked on the TV and watched
a live New Year's Eve special. There was a big clock hovering in the sky,
and as the last minute of 2005 clicked away, fireworks exploded at every
numeral. After that, they broadcast a speech by President Hu Jintao,
saying all of the
wonderful things China will achieve in the new year. It was a bit odd
because he wasnít giving the speech to an audience or press conference.
It was only for the camera, so it was eerily quiet the whole time he was
speakingóno applause every few minutes like in the State of the Union
All in all, our entry into the new
year in China was actually kind of surreal, especially knowing that there
were still 13 hours of 2005 left back in Ohio and the real Chinese New
Year was nearly a month away. But, here we are, successfully transported
into 2006 nonetheless.
Happy New Year everyone!