Notes from Shanghai: A plate full of baby chickens

2010-05-20 09:40

“I no eat meat,” was my cowardly (and rather patronising) response

to a young man offering me a take-away plate full of baby chickens.

That’s what I said: chickens. Maybe “baby” isn’t the right word to

describe them. They are as tiny as my little finger and, to be honest, look like chicken


Anyway, today was not one of my finest Proud African Woman moments.

I decided to don a doek to avoid being a “museum exhibit” every time I step out

on to the streets of Shanghai. Cowardly, I know, but for some reason I thought

I’d blend in if my pretty bald head was not on display.

How wrong I was.

My venture to the popular Yuyuan Gardens was one degree better than

my first outing to Expo 2010, and that’s because I’d already had my rude


But as soon as I set foot there, the cameras were popping like I

was Victoria Beckham at LAX in America. How do the celebrities endure it?

More to the point, I felt more like Sarah Baartman than Posh Spice

because the curiosity was not of the awe kind – it was morbid.

My head held high, I decided against hightailing it, and strolled

the streets and alleyways with determination.

I was shocked to see so many Asians walking around with cameras,

snapping away at anything and everything. Don’t they live here?

The Expo mascot was everywhere, and so were Chinese arts and

crafts, fong kong merchandise and animals on tick.

They fry everything here – from baby octopus and foetal chickens,

to crabs and red meats I couldn’t identify.

My adventurous spirit about food flew right out of the window and I

was left to starve.

But the ever-enterprising American presence was on hand – KFC,

Burger King, Dairy Maid and even Starbucks. I decided on a DM ice cream.

Seeing the skewered octopus, prawn in batter and various other

weird-looking delicacies has put me off meat. I think I’ll order room service

and reflect on my day.

Nyte, y’all.

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