My cousin, in her late twenties, invited me to crash over at her place in downtown Changsha for a weekend. It was the perfect timing as I had just returned from my trip from Zhangjiajie National Park and had a couple of days before leaving for Xi’an.
Currently she lives in the bustling city of Changsha with two other roommates in an apartment next to her workplace. She lives pretty much in the heart of the city, within easy reach of shops, restaurants, and public transportation. Her fiancé was also there during my visit. It was an interesting and fun experience hanging out with these young urban professionals.
On Friday night we went with her friends to a wonderful performance at a huge theater. It was a typical Chinese theatrical show that included acrobatics, audio/visual effects, singing, dancing, and a comedy routine. I took a few pictures before I was informed that cameras are not allowed. Oops!
We spent most of the day shopping on Saturday. I cannot believe how cheap the taxis here are. We rode for about fifteen minutes and paid the U.S. equivalent of $1.60. There was not even a starting fee.
For lunch we went to a restaurant with a very interesting specialty – bullfrog. Every single table had this steaming hot pot of spicy bullfrog. It actually tasted like chewy fish – not too bad! Only afterwards my lips were numb from the spiciness of the dish.
Dinner was much milder. We ordered simple foods such as mantou, soy milk, pumpkin soup. They were still really cheap – only about $1 per dish. I had to laugh at the translation of the pumpkin soup on the menu – they called it pumpkin “gruel.” Someone needs to teach the translator how to make the names of dishes sound more appetizing!
My cousin is always busy with work – right now she is doing some overtime on this Saturday night. Her job deals with carbon emissions, so it’s very comforting to know that there are people trying very hard to solve our environmental problems.