Happy New Year everyone! I was lucky enough to spend over forty days in China last year, and think it’s an incredible country.
Last year, Mr Story and I went on a bit of an adventure. If you’d like to read more about it, have a looksie here. We travelled overland from Beijing to Istanbul, taking about a hundred days about the whole thing.
It was brilliant, of course, with lots of favourite moments, but also quite a few long journeys. On some of these long journeys, sometimes when my dinner was being cooked by my truck mates, sometimes with tea full of blackcurrant jam, I managed to do some drawing.
We’re putting together a book about our adventures – putting together what we wrote and took photos of on our trip, and in it, we’re also putting some of my drawings. I’ve just started to work them up, ready for printing, and this illustration is the first example.
We had so much amazing food in China, mostly from night markets and cooked in front of us, or in the bleary eyed morning when we managed to locate a stall with mounds of dough, some hot oil and some fresh greens, and a friendly woman to combine all three into an amazing set of fresh fried buns, stuffed with greens. But, being in a group and moving on every day, we often ate in restaurants and hotel breakfast rooms, and after spending the first two weeks inhaling the food, we reached a need for something different. I drew this illustration at some point during the first couple of weeks.
It’s meant with a great deal of affection – as a Marmite lover, I can appreciate that a local food is not to everyone’s taste. I think two weeks of constantly the same type of food is normally a limit, or at least a hump, that you need to navigate. I’ve experienced the same thing in Mexico and Italy – feeling if I saw another plate of rice, beans and guac, or another plate of spaghetti, I might explode. And then I carried on eating them, with joy. By the time I left Mexico I felt no meal was complete without at least two types of chilli sauce, and a mouth tingly from the heat. By the time I left Italy, I was disappointed if I wasn’t served spaghetti at least once a day. That’s not to say I didn’t fill myself with good bread and cheese as soon as I arrived back from Mexico, or a spicy curry impossible to find in Italy, but with food, familiarity does sometimes breed love.
Well…perhaps apart from the time when your truck mate, eating from a pile of knuckly meat, bones and sauce, picks up the head of a chicken with a chopstick through it’s eye socket.