Christmas doesn’t exist in China.
In the US, I’m used to hearing Christmas music blasting everywhere, charming lights and decorations adorning every shop, but unfortunately there is no sign of celebration here.
So, feeling a bit in need for some holiday cheer, I went out to find some. As it turns out, if you want to experience Christmas in Fuzhou, there’s only one place: a lavish shopping center named Art Mall.
Being a relatively short walk from the subway station, it featured a welcoming reindeer and outdoor Christmas display. Note—there are no nativity scenes or anything too Jesus-y, probably because there are barely any Christians or Catholics in China.
Anyways, Saint Nick was there, and so were his reindeer. And as I entered the mall, the familiar tune of Jingle Bells serenaded me.
Ah, Christmas, I’ve found you at last.
After a round of browsing the way-too-expensive shops, Ling Min and I went to the library.
Now, I had been to the library before for the sado demo, but I hadn’t really explored the place. Apparently, there was an entire wing for tea books on the eighth floor, and then adjacent to that was a wing for calligraphy books.
Well, I think I’ve found my new home.
I’ll be returning with my laptop and a thermos full of tea to do research. There are way more books on tea in the city library than there are at Fujian Normal.
To wrap up the night, we went to another fancy mall across the street from the library. While not quite as fancy as Art Mall, it was still pretty lavish. Since we were both hungry by then, we decided to get dinner at an American restaurant called Smile. Weird name, but sure, whatever. I hadn’t had American food since coming here, and it seemed like this place was fancy enough to not disappoint.
It didn’t disappoint in taste, that’s for sure.
I got a vegetarian entree, which was essentially just roasted vegetables, but they were prepared really well. I also got a mushroom soup in a bread bowl, which was pretty good too (although the soup could have been a bit warmer).
While they got the flavor and menu pricing right, the portions they served were definitely not US-sized. I felt kinda ripped off because if I’m paying US prices, I think I should get the quantity I’d typically have in the US. They were definitely serving Chinese-sized portions.
But oh well, it tasted great.
And also, by the end of the meal, I actually wasn’t left hungry. I had expected that it wouldn’t be enough, but the bread + the entree actually filled me up.
In any case, we went home to prepare for Yongqi’s birthday party, which went well. There were many balloons, a beautiful birthday cake, three bowls of noodles, and two rounds of Uno. We had wanted to play Exploding Kittens instead, but… we had far too many people.
The noodles were good though. Noms.
On our way back, we passed by a small shop that sold soy milk and Teochew cuisine! I’ll be back to see what they have. If I’m lucky, maybe they’ll have cha kueh. Fingers crossed!