I visited Cheung Chau today, a small island off the coast of Hong Kong and came to the realization that I'm getting older and perhaps not as adventurous as I remember being. Good news is: I'm fine with that.
This story's culprit shown in Exhibit A. Comic relief provided by Exhibit B.
After some slight heart palpitations from an earlier experience on the island, I decided to reward myself with a beer and some tasty local cuisine. Peel-and-eat shrimp seemed like the perfect option -- until it arrived at my table. There were eyeballs staring at me and 4-inch antennas draping off my plate. I was having a hard time even looking at these little guys, much less eating them. What's my deal?! I've eaten shrimp heads before. I've even eaten raw shrimp right off a fishing boat.
Didn't seem to matter. As I evaluated my options, I realized I'd just have to suck it up (ha, no pun intended) and eat them. At least some of them. Figured if I didn't look down while I de-shelled them, I'd be fine. And I was -- until I glanced down to make sure I was grabbing the head to pull it off and green goo exploded all over my hands. I nearly lost it. How did I forget about the green goo?!
I took a deep breath, pulled off the last little bits and took a bite. Sand. He tasted like fishy sand. There was no way I was making a dent in that plate. And there was also no way I was just leaving a plate full of food. They're not so into the wasting of food here in the HK.
I realized that a cute little old lady next to me had clearly been watching this all unfold. We briefly made eye contact and I could tell she was silently laughing at me. She was also trying to get her granddaughter to laugh. She had used the paper from her chopsticks to make one of those birthday horns. She'd blow it in the baby's face and then make funny faces to make her laugh. I was admiring them (and her sweet invention) when she looked up, pointed the horn right at me and blew it in my face. She smiled and I beamed a huge thank you to her with my eyes. (Because they can speak Chinese.)