It is 2:30 AM, sharp, as I'm typing this blog entry.  I can't sleep, I can't stop thinking, my eyes are wide open.  You probably know the feeling.  Years ago I made agreement with myself not to just lie in bed staring at the ceiling for hours on end, while not sleeping, when I could be doing something a little enjoyable or productive, while not sleeping, instead.  I might as well be doing something. Sometimes I read, sometimes I write computer code, and sometimes... I blog.

Tonight, Becky and I ate at a fancy restaurant called Pizza Hut.  You may laugh, but it is a little fancier than the Pizza Huts that I've been too in the U.S., and the menu is quite diverse, and fancy.  It is also open until 10:30 PM, being the primary reason we chose it while walking towards home through a mall whose stores were all closing at 9:00 PM.  But this blog entry isn't about Pizza Hut, I feel like I've already explained Pizza Hut in a previous blog.  Did I mention that Pizza Hut is not directly associated with the Pizza Hut in the U.S?  Anyway we had half of a left over pizza to bring home.

Dave and Irene were also not at home while Becky and I were eating our fancy dinner at Pizza Hut.  They were somewhere in some other part of town, kilometers away, saying their farewells to some friend of theirs that Becky and I'd never met.  I guess their friend was going back home to Korea or something.

A couple hours later, after pizzas had been boxed, and farewells had been said, Becky and I heard Dave and Irene come in through the front door while talking to each other.  We hadn't been home for very many minutes ourselves so we went out from our room to greet our old room-mates as they shed their thick warmth protecting jackets, boots, gloves and hats.

Dave and Irene have moved back in with us, it's the second day.  For about a month, after they got back from the U.S., they were living in an apartment across town, but it turned out to be too expensive there.  Rent is paid a year in advance here in China, and they were lucky to get 7 months of their rent back after staying that month.  So for Becky and I it has been kind of like "old times" when we first moved into this apartment as guests one year and 22 days ago.  It's nice being able to tell jokes and complain about the weather with friends in one's native tongue.

We shared our leftover pizza with them, which all four of us were excited about.  "It's almost like a real pizza!" we told them.  Pizza that tastes like pizza is hard to find here.  Apparently people on the other side of the world have different likes and dislikes when it comes to things like pizza.  Most pizza has shrimp on it here.  Also corn, peas, and other things are what people want to see on their pizza here. Becky and I have noticed that even the Pizza Hut pizza has basically no pizza sauce on it.  I never realized that I liked pizza sauce until I ate pizza without it.  It's just a little off.  Dave ate his two slices cold, like a man, but Irene heated hers up in the big toaster oven.

But my favorite part of the evening wasn't the leftover pizza that Dave and Irene were happily eating on the other side of our little breakfast table, the four of us sitting there just before midnight.  It was the lively conversation about what had happened during the day...

Dave had spent part of his day in a leather shop.  We are all good friends with, and frequently visit, the leather craftsman: Mr. Han.  Actually I was just there the day before sharing some of my favorite tea with Mr. Han and one of his apprentices.  But, tonight, Irene wanted to hear about what Dave ate for lunch.

Many times I've heard people back home in The States make jokes, and many have asked me if we've had to eat cat or dog here in China, or in Taiwan.  And that question always makes me chuckle to myself that eating cat or dog wouldn't be that bad.  The difficulty doesn't usually arise from what animal you're eating, it's more about what part of the animal you're eating.  The Chinese do not let anything go to waste.  And really, honestly, coming from the famously wasteful American culture I have to respect that.  It was not so long ago that China was having food shortages, people close to my age remember it, and, even now China has a large segment of it's population that still struggles with poverty. So it might even be a little insensitive to act disgusted because people may have been desperate enough to eat cat or dog here, and even learned to like it.  That being said, I have never seen anyone eat cat or dog here.  But I have, while driving by, seen two restaurants that, according to their signage, do indeed serve dog.

But today Dave told us, over our laughter, that he had eaten some pig butt hole for lunch.

Yes, sorry, it's hard to blog about it without being crass, but that's what they gave him for lunch today: A slice of the colon of a pig, with the anus attached.

Apparently the colon is quite muscular and thick, it has a lot of meat on it, I guess it's a muscle after all.  The "meat" had been smoked, partially dried, and the colon part sliced like calamari.  Actually Dave said that the texture of the colon was a lot like calamari.  He also mentioned that the "butt hole" part was "dried open," meaning that it had been cooked in such a way that it was partially open.

Of course, over our little wobbly breakfast table that's held up on one side by a two-by-four, we all laughed and made jokes about sliding "dave's lunch" over a chopstick, or sucking up apple sauce with it.  Personally I tried not to imagine what it tasted like, or felt like while he chewed it.  According to Dave it tasted fine, he said he would not have eaten it if it had even smelled a little bit like poo.  But even so, he said, he felt a little sick and grossed out for the rest of the day.  He ate it because his friend Mr. Han said it was good and offered it to him.  Dave's a good friend.

Now in case you're wondering, it wasn't a cruel joke that Mr. Han was playing on Dave.  He wasn't laughing or anything like that, Mr. Han is very kind.  Also, in case you're wondering, you will never have to eat anything you really don't want to eat here.  No one will actually force you to eat anything or be offended if you don't.  People do love pushing food on their guests, it's considered generosity and hospitality when they put food on your plate and tell you to eat, eat, eat!  But you don't have to eat it if you don't want to, you just have to say: no, no, no!  In fact, I don't think it would be lying if you told them that you "can't" eat pig butt hole.  I mean could you?  I don't think I'd be physically capable of it. But Dave is.

Actually I think this story says something about Dave, as a guy, Dave is not somebody I'd trifle with.  I mean you just shouldn't mess with guys who can eat things like that for lunch.