Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Welcome Dinner - Wuhan

We were taken straight to the restaurant from the airport. There, Mr Zheng and his staff graciously escorted us to a private dining room where we sat down together with the GSPS trio of J, M and D.

The food that was laid out was very attractive and most appealing. Out came a bottle of wine and that began our 1st round of the famous Chinese toast " Kan-pei! ". There were many that night. The dishes came fast and furiously and almost all were decked with green or red hot chillies. Even the soup did not escape the "hotness".
Our host graciously asked if we were ok with spicy food. I replied that we eat a lot of food with some chillies back home but definitely not as much as they do here. The food was literally swimming in chillies...and they were really hot!

There were several interesting vegetable dishes that we tasted for the very 1st time...such as the root of the lotus plant [ Bottom picture - centre dish ]. Never realised they can be cooked and eaten. The taste? My verdict? Not to be missed !
This wasn't the only surprise we had.
Midway through dinner I motioned to speak...in good S'pore English and a rather brave smattering of whatever Mandarin I could muster [ always a terrific ice-breaker amidst much laughter, which I didn't mind]. I stood up and brought forward the ukulele and presented it to Principal Zheng as our welcoming gift. All present, excluding us, have not seen nor heard a ukulele "live" before this. So, Zheng and his staff urged me to play and then to sing some songs with it. I started with some traditional Hawaiian tunes and some of our local songs..then they asked for more!
P Zheng was a former guitarist in a band and understood as I explained the instrument and some key chords to him. Mr Fu, his HOD, also has some music background and tried the uke out. All liked it or rather the sound it produces very much.
The dinner and our easy camaradie set the best tone for this visit.

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