On our way to dinner tonight Jodee and I stopped at Walmart in Xi’an. It was an INCREDIBLE experience! We just went in to take pics of me there for my own amusement, but ended up staying for an hour and each buying a whole bag of random stuff – both of which cost less than $10 US.
It seemed to us, ignorant as we might be, that they had nailed the local tastes. There were whole roast ducks hanging from a rack, a bakery making dry Chinese cookies and breads (the smell wafted through the store!), live turtles and frogs in tanks (although they looked half-dead), an entire section of MSG near the other condiments, Pringles in flavors like Thai basil and pesto pasta, salted dried peach, dried flower tea in plastic bags, loose fresh noodles only partially wrapped in cellophane, and small rolling baskets instead of shopping carts (genius).
I bought strictly Chinese stuff (at least in my mind) – a tea bottle since we’ve been jealous this whole trip of these Chinese tourists with their loose tea bottles, sour crab apple fruit roll-ups of sorts, loose tea that looks like dried orange slices (the yummy little oranges that you eat rind-on), and wooden flip flops with pressure point bumps. I should have bought the MSG, people might like my cooking more.