It was Friday and after a long hard week at work it was time to play. What do you play after work in China? Soccer of course.
To set this little trip up you need some background on me. A couple of years ago my wife and I decided to start P90X workouts and after the first day I threw up. I will play harder than I should and regret it later.
Knowing that about myself I had already decided to hold back a bit, but that afternoon I started feeling a little sick to my stomach. I wasn’t sure I would be able to play. With a weak stomach, playing soccer in tropical temperatures is no easy task, but I may never have another opportunity like this, so I went for it.
I am glad I did, all the guys were very cool. We were out there to have fun and nobody was even keeping score, although I am sure the team with me Jay probably lost from the American handicap.
We were lucky enough to be able to sub in and out with a couple of other guys so we could take breaks and not pass out from the heat and lack of oxygen. I do miss playing soccer, but not as much as riding my motorcycle. Jay managed to get a little turf rash on his knee when he was the recipient of a slide tackle and I found out that running shoes are not a good choice for soccer.
After soccer everyone went out for a traditional “Wheel of Death” dinner. It is served family style on a big round table with a 4 foot lazy susan. It takes about 20 minutes to order and then the food starts rolling out. There was a large variety on the table and a lot of new flavors for me to try. I am a picky eater, but I do try to force myself to try some things when out of the country.
Some of the more interesting things were the Szechuan soup that actually made your mouth go numb. Not from heat, just numb. It tasted good, but kind of weird that it numbed your mouth. Another new animal protein for me was the frog. It was a very soft mild meat with a little fishy taste. It reminded me of small scallops, but it was actually pretty tasty. Last, but not least was the sesame shrimp. The sesame had a great taste, but the shrimp was surprisingly crunchy. Jay informed me that the crunch was the shrimp shell that was still intact. I gotta say, that shrimp shell was tasty, but I wouldn’t choose to eat shells on a regular basis.
The next new thing was the Chinese equivalent of shot gunning a beer. The waitress brought in bowls for everyone and the Budweiser tall boys were dumped in. Everybody toasted and down the hatch they went. Then another round, and another. You drink each one until it is gone. One of our co-workers, HB explained that the Chinese use big bowls because that is how they do it in Texas and it will make you big and strong. Jay and I got a kick out of that.
After a great game of soccer we had a blast hanging out with everybody and watching them get drunk. The “I Love You Man” started coming out by the time we were ready to go. We are all the same around the world, even when it comes to getting drunk and telling our bros we love them. Its cool knowing that I will have drinking buddies in China if I ever make it back over there.