Tonight we’ve decided to stay at Joel’s girlfriend’s parents’ home in Xinings. Think of the most stereotypical Chinese house and you’ve got the image. Origami, lanterns, pictures of cats and fluffy dogs, ugly sandles. The parents are so cute! 78-year-old Grandma was there too. We had lunch for over 3 hours! They shoved food down me as if I was going into hibernation and wouldn’t be eating for months. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do the whole trip. I honestly thought I was going to explode. They must’ve made at least a dozen dishes. And one toast of Baizho after another! They’ve given me a Chinese name because Elly is too hard for them to say. It sounds kind of like nnie and means something like midnight concrete/clay/mixture. Again, we had to go over the whole vegetarian thing… they really don’t get it.
After we ran some errands around town, we came back home only to be greeted with the offer of even more food. At least this time it was a smaller meal of barley in wine and yogurt. Joel bought some movies about Qinghai life that are supposed to be really funny. We let Grandma pick out which one to watch and she chose the one that translates to ‘fuck wife.’ (We only found that out later.) It ended up being standup comedy so we didn’t understand anything- it’s all in Qinghai dialect. Grandma thought it was absolutely hilarious though. She kept elbowing me at the funny parts to laugh, as if I knew anything that was going on! I just smiled and laughed- but mostly at her.