Mountain Climbing, Friends, and Cicadas: Chinese Exchange Trip 2008 - My Family Travels

I look at the myriad of dishes slowly revolving around the table as they sit, waiting to be consumed, on the Lazy Susan.  A plate of fried Cicadas passes by me every few minutes.  The first time I see it, I'm disgusted at the thought of eating it.  A few others at the table have already tried the insects, but most of us just laugh and pass up the dish for something a little more appetizing.  However, the more I look at it, the more I think, "Well, Kaylin, you've been in China for eight days.  You have yet to eat anything exeedingly strange, this could be your chance."  After mulling it over for a while, I work up my courage, pick up my chopsticks, and grab a Cicada.

Now, how did I get to this point?  I woke up that morning without the slightest idea that by the end of the day I would be consuming a deep fried bug.  I watched people on tv do it all the time, but I never thought that I would be doing it myself.  And yet, there I was, getting ready to eat one in front of my friends and their families.

I woke up early that morning, had breakfast with my exchange family, then we started on our way to a nearby mountain.  We met two of my American friends there, and started our journey up the mountain.  Some spots were very steep and at one point we had to slide sidewyas through two massive boulders.  I'm not very claustrophobic, but that definitely made my heart race.  Once at the top, we were greeted by a monk who handed us strips of red cloth.  He told us that if we tied them somewhere on the mountain, we would have good luck.  I tied mine to a nearby tree to let it join the thousands of pieces of crimson cloth on the mountain.  After our adventure, we had lunch at a small country restaurant and then went to a sort of amusement park.  Although it looked a little run down, it didn't take away from any of our fun.

After the amusement park, was dinner.  We traveled into town and stopped at an old multi-story building.  From the outside, it looked pretty rundown, so we were somewhat apprehensive of the food.  However, once we entered the restaurant, we saw that it was the nicest restaurant we had been to so far.  We even recieved our own room with a seating area and a restroom.  The table was decorated beautifully and had the largest Lazy Susan that I had ever seen.  We were served all kinds of spectacular and delicious food.  And of course, we had fried Cicadas.  Once everyone realized that I was going to eat a bug (and I'm pretty sure they didn't expect ANY of us to eat one), cameras and video cameras were poised and ready to strike.  I looked at the bug in fear for about 30 seconds, dreading what I thought was going to be the worst thing I would ever eat, and then popped it in my mouth and chewed as fast as I could.  And it was… not terrible.  It wasn't what I had expected, which was slimy and gross.  It simply tasted like a dry tasteless cracker.  After the comotion died down, everyone finished off their food… and I decided that if I ever had a Cicada again, I would put salt on it.

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