A Perfect Day in the Snow, On the Road, and a Strange Story

With about 5 inches of snow on the ground we set out on our first cross-country skiing expedition around Emerald Lake in Southwest Vermont. The place is beautiful, but the mid-day sun made the snow really sticky and our skis did not glide very well. In fact, we were leaving bear patches of grass in our wake since huge clumps of snow were stuck to the bottom of our skis! After an hour of this we just took our skis off and walked a little. Even with the sticky snow it was a perfect day to be out in the snow.

In anticipation of my roadtrip down to an ETREK class, we decided to cut ourselves a Christmas tree and decorate it yesterday. It was all kind of last minute. Who in the world nonchalantly decides to get a Christmas tree at 3 in the afternoon??? And while driving to a place selling trees for $25, we came across a guy selling trees for $22. He didn’t have an ad in the phone book, but his location was 3 miles closer to the main road than the other tree farm. Smart fellah. We saved $3 and spared ourselves 3.5 miles each way on a hilly road covered in ice. My apologies to the other tree farm. They need to start spreading stories about that guy or something.

And lastly, while at my ETREK class I hope to catch up with some friends. I asked my friend Derek if they wanted to go out for Chinese and I remembered that we probably have never eaten Chinese with him and his wife. I asked him if they don’t like Chinese, and here is the story that he shared:

The reason why we don’t eat Chinese…

When Barb and I were in Morocco a few years ago we went out with some friends for lunch one day. We made our way from the bustle of Casablanca into the outskirts of the city along the shoreline. We passed several cafes before stopping at one in particular that grabbed our attention–probably because the host practically grabbed us inside. The place was essentially a hut made of straw that looked rather like an an upside-down ice cream cone. It was warm and breezy and sunny; and it didn’t smell unlike a horse’s stable. But the spray of the ocean was calling us into this shack and, more importantly, Barb thought she saw a dolphin frolicking not too far away. The host, who happened also to be the waiter, brought us a hand-written menu completely in Arabic. He returned sporadically for banter and before long the waiter, who happened also to be the owner, remarked how lucky we were that he had pulled us into his restaurant. “The other restaurants are bad like poo-poo.” “How elegant,” I thought. His wife’s name was Fouzia and she had left him for a cab-driver that called himself Frank, if I remember correctly. The host-waiter-owner sensed Barb’s excitement of the dolphin and constructed–I meant–told some story of how it sometimes swam alongside his hut and shrieked for attention and leftover fish–did I not tell you, our host was also the cook. That was the clincher. After dinner therefore the bus-boy, who happened also to be the owner, cleaned up our dinner of je ne sais quois before taking us behind his ice-cream hut which did not, by the way, actually contain any ice-cream. “Muslims do not eat cream,” he slurred. “But we do like the cheesecake.” He pulled out what looked like a cloak that the apostle Paul most likely wore and put it on the ground for us to sit on. We sat down. He then explained to us that we had to be very quiet as he called for the dolphin. He had named her Ariel in honor a movie he once saw about a girl with fins. “You mean Ariel from the Disney movie?” Barb shouted out excitement. Although our gracious host, who also happened to be a travel guide, frowned upon such outbursts and was out to “shsh” us, the dolphin flew out of the air as if she had been called by an instructor from Sea World. Barb actually cried with joy. The dolphin swam and laughed and jumped and played and even, Barb later said, winked at us. “Can I feed her?” Barb asked with unbridled enthusiasm. “Okay,” our travel-guide said, who also happened to be a make-shift veterinarian, “but she only eats Chinese food.” “Chinese food,” I said. “I’ve never heard of any dolphin ever eating Chinese food. Can’t we just give her some fish or some of that mystery-dish you just gave us?” He replied: “No. No fish. No,” whatever he said in Arabic, “we only eat Chinese food with the dolphin.” Meanwhile the dolphin was getting restless. She kept looking at us with her mouth wide open as if she was saying: “toss me an egg-role now you fat gimp or I’ll splash water on you.” So, we did what any good trainer would do: we fed her egg-rolls and King Tsao Chicken. The old man, who also happened to be an ex-fisher, told us that the fishes “love them like the man loves the woman.” “How romantic,” I thought. “What, is this guy a poet as well?” So we each pulled out a handful of Chinese food from some old bag and tossed it into the blowhole, I mean mouth, of this portly dolphin. The dolphin loved it. She kept screaming for more. By the time she stopped squawking, we were all feeling kind of nauseous from the whole ordeal. We waved to the dolphin as if to say, “Goodbye, fatty. We’re going home to throw up now.” She must not have liked that. Now I’ve not been around many dolphins in my day (and though Barb has, it’s only been in her dreams so I don’t reckon it has much authority), that chubby dolphin looked quite peeved. She seemed to be saying: “Give me some more food or I’m going to get you, you cheapies.” I didn’t feel very threatened. Besides, it was just a dolphin and she couldn’t get out of the ocean. But just as we were about to turn around and walk away for our vomit-hours, the dolphin beat us to the show. She threw up all over us. Chunks and chunks of raw Chinese food: chicken, spices, rice, soy sauce, you name it. And it just keep pouring out of her mouth like a faulty faucet. She was puking like a super-model. After unloading on us, she grabbed the bag from the old man with her bottle-nose. The old man, who also happened to be a shaman of some sort, said he could curse the dolphin for us, but Barb wouldn’t let him. Besides, he was throwing up by now too, and I think his curse would have backfired or something in the middle of his up-chucking.

That, my friend, is why we don’t eat Chinese food…

Well, actually, we like Chinese food and eat it regularly. We ate it with you and Julie in Doylestown many moons ago on her birthday, remember? (well actually it was Thai, but yeah, yeah)

See you Sunday for some nice egg-rolls and King Tsao. Ymmm!

And if you even thought about believing any part of that, then you’re as gullible as me. Once I got to the barfing dolphin I knew that he was up to no good.