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One of the things I've found most interesting in China is the sugar in the food. Here, bread has a sweet taste to it, which I assume is added sugar. The only time I've ever had bread that didn't taste sweet was when I bought some bread that had something baked inside of it. I wasn't a big fan of whatever was inside of it, so I couldn't finish it.

However, the things that I expect to be sweet? They aren't. Candy here is not nearly as sweet as it is back home. (They do have cotton candy here, though. Spun sugar. That tastes just like at home. One of my pictures is of me wearing a Santa hat and holding a big bundle of cotton candy. On a stick and everything!) The only chocolate I've found that tastes like "chocolate" to me is expensive Dove bars.

Last night one of the kids gave me a bag of these candies. I didn't know what they were, but they looked like chocolate covered coffee beans, so that's what I was expecting. (What, I went to college. Chocolate covered coffee beans are a staple of being a college student or a gamer. When you're both, you have a tendancy to O.D. On an unrelated note: Tom, have you found more Jolt candies?) Well, they were bitter enough to be coffee beans, but they weren't covered in chocolate. I have no idea what it was, but I just couldn't eat more than one.

When I was in Shanghai I found those coke-bottle gummy candies that I'm beginning to suspect are required by law to be available anywhere in the world. Those taste right, but they're much bigger here than back home. Almost the size of my palm. So they're a bit harder to eat. I've got the bag hidden in my computer desk so I actually have to go to some effort to find them.

Coke doesn't taste the same here, but that's typical of everywhere. American Coke doesn't taste like Canadian coke. I can't really describe the difference. More cinnamon? More ginger? I'm not sure. But Pepsi's not too bad.

Unrelated to that, I have a theory that the city of Shanghai is sponsored by Pepsi. Everywhere I went I could see Pepsi ads and trademarks. Fido Dido (do you remember him? God, he was when I was living in Sherwood Park, IIRC) is big there as well. I have some photos of Nanjing Dong Lu (the main shopping street in Shanghai, from what my touristy eyes can tell me), showing the trademark Pepsi three-coloured circle on every streetlight. It's surreal to me.

I've discovered I'm a big fan of warm soy milk. I've been lazy for the past few months, not getting out of bed (even if I'm awake) for breakfast, but I really miss the bottles of warm soy milk they serve. It tastes sweet, too, like a milkshake. Even more like a milkshake is the yoghurt drink. I finally made myself try one, just to see what they're like, and they're great.

I am, however, sick to death of plain rice. Bloody hell, every meal in the cafeteria is dominated by this rice. I poke at it and make faces in it and draw pictures with my chopsticks. Give me fried rice every day of the week. I've started hitting the campus store at around 9:30 when they're selling it to the kids. I have to get there early, or it's all gone pretty fast. Guess the kids get bored, too. Or hungry. They also sell fried chicked and hot dogs, and some other type of meat that's so fatty it could probably kill if you ate too much of it, but so good....

Chips here don't taste the same, either. A lot less flavor than the ones back home. I haven't decided if I like that or not. I tend, when I'm feeling homesick, to pick up some Lays chips (in Pringle packages) and binge on them.

Anyway, this all leads up to why I think Raven is wonderful. She sent me Mac and Cheese. For some reason I still haven't eaten it. I think the fact that I can is keeping me sane.


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