the best is yet to come

Crawfish boils aka how to trick people into thinking you’re glistening, not sweating

Crawfish boils aka how to trick people into thinking you’re glistening, not sweating

The roar of the cicadas in the summer is deafening.

The past few weeks have been deafening, sweltering, and muggy. Seriously, Shanghai is a stifling oven cracked all the way up to broil. Actually, no, not an oven. That’s not excruciating enough of a metaphor. It’s been like living inside a slow cooker. Each time I leave the apartment, I have this fear that if I remain in the heat too long, I will be slowly (and deliciously) transformed into a prime Sunday Roast (sprig of rosemary included)

But in all seriousness, unless my AC is running non-stop (and I mean, non-stop. I turned it off one night feeling the ecological remorse and woke up at 3am drenched in tepid sweat), being inside is unendurable. Being outside is also unmanageable. It’s as if a radiator is pointed at you at all times. The scorching (not warm, scalding) air comes in waves. It’s a wet heat too, the kind where during a bike ride everything seems a-okay, yet the millisecond the bicycle stops, sweat pools in burning streams around your eyes, seeps through pores you didn’t even know your body had, and utterly decimates your make-up. My clothes are constantly clammy, my hair a salt lick. Even my toes are sweating. Toes. Did you realize toes could sweat? Up till now, I hadn’t either.

Tonight, D and I had dinner at Found 158, the new ‘underground’ bar area that – to me – looks like an emptied-out Roman bathhouse. We grabbed a few slices of pizza at Homeslice and ended dinner at Hooked, because the words Poke Bowl still make my heart beer a little faster, like it’s 2016 again. The poke bowl was mediocre, but what got to me was my poorly planned decision to dine ‘al fresco’. I realized my grave error a little too late, my thighs already glued shut to the metal chair and the nape of my neck beading with salty sweat before we even got our food.

On a lighter note, yesterday had xiaolongxia – which in Chinese are called little lobsters, but which in New England we call crawfish. Oh these little bastards are so good – through the meat-to-hard-shell ratio is really small. In Shanghai, these are boiled with Sichuan peppercorns, Chinese five-spice, cloves, star anise, oranges, and (rumour has it) a hefty amount of MSG. Utter delight cannot come close to describing how I feel about xialongxia. And it was oh-so delightful, because where we went, the crawfish and the beer was free-flowing and no one judged us for eating at least six plates each (we lost track after five.. ).

For you, little lobster, I will take any amount of summer outdoor sweat.


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