Polly Evans’s itinerary for China was simple: travel by luxurious high-speed train and long-distance bus, glide along the Grand Canal and hike up scenic mountains. Instead, the linguistically impaired adventurer found herself on a primitive sleeper-minibus where sleep was out of the question; perched atop a tiny mule on a remote mountain pass; and attempting a dubious ferry ride down the Yangtze River. Polly was getting to know China in a way she’d never expected–and would never, ever forget.
From battling six-year-olds in kung-fu class to discovering Starbucks in Hangzhou, Polly relives her Asian adventure with humor, enthusiasm, frustration, and determination. Whether she’s viewing the embalmed cadaver of Chairman Mao or drinking yak-butter tea, this is Polly’s eye-opening account of a culture torn between stunning modern architecture and often bizarre ancient mysteries…and of her attempt to solve the ultimate gastronomic conundrum: how exactly does one eat a soft-fried egg with chopsticks
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Fried Eggs with Chopsticks|
|Release Date: 09-26-2006|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Fried Eggs with Chopsticks
The Chairman Is Dead
I gazed with ghoulish fascination at the withered, waxen corpse. The infamous domed forehead and rounded cheeks looked weary and wrinkled, a far cry from the jubilant, plump jowls of the propaganda posters. The embalmed cadaver of Chairman Mao lay swaddled in military uniform, his hands crossed over his chest. An orange lamp beamed through the semidarkness onto his shriveled, death-stiffened skin. His face glowed like a ghastly candlelit pumpkin.
A hushed awe filled this inner chamber of the mausoleum. Nobody spoke above a whisper. The room quivered with palpable excitement. My heart was beating faster than usual; a perverse thrill tickled my skin. I felt a morbid compulsion to stop and stare at the macabre spectacle, at the mortal remains of this man who had, to such catastrophic effect, held ab- solute power over the most populous nation on earth. A few decades ago, a single suggestion from that formaldehyde-plumped mouth could have spelled the slaughter of a man; the disastrous economic strategies that evolved in that glowing amber head had dealt a tortured death to tens of millions. Yet beneath that taut, unyielding skin had also breathed a man who had, against incredible odds, inflamed such passion and loyalty in his people that a vast and diverse country had united and, with almost no material resources, had overthrown the foreign superpowers that threatened it.
The embalming of Mao’s corpse had been an anxious affair, according to his personal physician, Li Zhisui, who recorded the procedure in his book The Private Life of Chairman Mao. The problem was that neither Li nor anyone else in China had attempted to preserve huma