The Chicken and The Lotus

Oahu Travel Blog

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My temporary roommates

The Chicken

We woke up late and lingered around the house. Terumi had mentioned going to Chinatown the day before, and it's always interesting to see what the Chinatown looks like in any given place... because there is always one in any given place. Slowly, as the morning burned away everyone got up and we took turns using the bathroom. It was kind of amazing to think how many people were sharing the same apartment. Dustin and Terumi were in their bedroom, Sophiya and Jungin were in the spare bedroom, and Chris and I were in the living room. That made six of us, and with Dave flying in tomorrow, there would 7 of us all squeezing into this place before the wedding.

Eventually (remarkably) everyone got ready and we all walked down to the garage and piled into one car.

Risin' up, back on the street, Did my time, took my chances...
Somehow I got shotgun and Chris got stuck in the back with the three girls. Not that he minded. I have to mention that parked next to us was this blue beetle with a white tiger painted on the doors. PHUCK YEAH. Dustin scrounged around inside the car and came up with a CD. He popped it in and blasted Eye of the Tiger and we peeled out of the garage. He said that car belonged to some Thai chick. More power to her.

We drove through downtown Honolulu with all its old colloquial administrative buildings and came out into Chinatown. I have to be honest... it looked a lot like the Chinatown in LA. We parked and entered a courtyard with Chinese banners flying overheard and took a table at a little dumpling shop in the corner. Steel and DORSH were already there.

Being lame in Chinatown
I got the impression that this was an authentic Chinese place, one, because everyone in there besides us was Chinese, and two, because the menu was in Chinese. That didn't stop Dustin and Terumi from ordering a bunch of dumplings for everyone. They'd obviously been there before.

The dumplings came, and I'm sure you, my fellow traveler, know how adventurous eating Chinese dumplings can be. If you aren't the one ordering the food, it's kinda like letting your hand hover above the chocolate box and grabbing one at random when you eat... You're never sure what you're biting into even after someone tells you that it's chicken. I mean, that's funny, it didn't really taste like chicken, did it? Well, I enjoyed a few and stomached the rest.

The Korean girls ordered something and out came this little bowl of rice with a perfectly gooey orange chicken foot resting on it.

The infamous chicken foot over rice dish, very popular in small circles I've heard
I said, "Uh oh, there's a chicken foot on your rice. You might want to get a new one before the waitress leaves." They just looked at me and shook their head. Terumi said, "Oh no, they like chicken foot. It's a popular food in Korea too." I was flabbergasted. Here I was in Hawaii, a place I definitely wasn't planning on encountering any strange eating habits, suddenly confronted with a honey-coated CLAW of a chicken in a little bowl of rice sitting in front of me being refered to as food. Damn.

I mean, you have to try it.

Once.

Try everything once.

Damn.

So I made Jungin take a bite just to prove that it wasn't a radioactive chicken foot, because there are some things even I won't try, and a radioactive chicken foot is one of them.

Jungin liked the chicken foot...
She nibbled off a finger (A FINGER!!) and didn't even grimace. She scooted the bowl over in front of me and I watched her to make sure she wasn't going to just spit it out when my head was turned. Sure enough, she swallowed, so I took my chop sticks and picked up that chicken foot and brought it to my mouth.

There it sat. A couple inches from my mouth. Right there. Just, looking at me. A perfectly good foot. I mean, it could've been thrown away like a normal inedible part, but no, not this foot. Here it was. Waiting. I looked around the table. All eyes were on me. I managed a smile. I opened my mouth and clamped two teeth onto a little solitary toe. Oh god... a toe. My tongue hid as far at the bottom of my mouth as it would go. I pulled.

Me... not so much
Just a little give and suddenly a pathetic pop as the knuckle relenquished its prize. The toe fell into my mouth and instantly a layer of saliva swashed into my mouth and coated the top of my tongue separating taste bud from toe. I placed the chicken foot back into its bed of rice and took a tentative chew. A small crunch and I imagined that it was probably close to what chewing a human ear might feel like. My right eye started to water.

"MMMMMMMM!" I exlcaimed, wiping the tear away. I smiled and made a big deal of swallowing. "That was..." and I made an OK sign to the rest of the table with my hand cause I kinda gagged right then.

"...totally fucking unnecessary," I whispered into Steel's ear.

Christian looked at me and seized the chicken foot from in front of me.

Chris wanted to eat the whole damn thing and we had to wrestle it out of his hands so everyone could try
Evidentally, chicken feet were popular items in Mexican cooking because Chris looked at that poor little thing like he wanted to massage it before devouring it. I had to remind him that others were waiting to try it too or else I think he might've swallowed the damn thing whole.

By this time, Jungin had pushed another bowl in front of me. It looked like a little bowl of fat and broken bones swimming in grease. I asked Terumi what it was and she said it was goat tail. Goat tail! "Boy, does nothing go to waste in China?" I asked aloud. I have a tendancy of letting my ignorance get the better of me when confronted with strange foods. I sighed and dug through the bowl until I found what looked like an "intact" section of tail. I brought it to my mouth and sucked out the marrow.

Goat tail in small bowl with gag reflex
It tasted like dog. I shook my head and passed the bowl on.

Somehow the question came up of what year were we in according to the Chinese calendar. Some people said it was the year of the dragon, someone suggested the year of the horse. But I'm the year of the horse and they run on a cycle of 12 years, so I knew it wasn't the horse. I called over our waitress, this middle aged Chinese lady, and asked her, but she just smiled at me. I tried several ways to explain to her what we were asking, but she obviously didn't understand English. I'm a teacher and I thought maybe I could make her understand by pointing to my watch, making a circle with my fingers and then neighing like a horse and then pointing to me. She looked at me and I neighed again. Suddenly a look of realization came into her eyes and she reply with a well-practiced, "Sorry we don't have that.

That's what I want to know too.
Only have this," and she pointed to the menu. Everyone at the table cracked up and I shook my head and waved her away.

We were about finished by then and I was thoroughly queased out anyway and was craving a cigarette. I held out though. We lingered about in the sun talking. There were signs everywhere in the plaza that said no smoking, but DORSH in typical DORSH fashion lit up right next to one. When I pointed the sign out to him, he let out a loud "HUH?" and got distracted by something else immediately. I wandered off with Sophiya and Chris through a gift shop and we saw t-shirts that said Year of the Rat. So... it was the year of the rat. What the heck do rats sound like? We got bored of Chinatown, said goodbye to Steel and DORSH and went back to the apartment, grabbing some amazing sunset shots along the way.

Hawaiian sunset 1


The Lotus

This was the only night (Wednesday) that all of us were going to have the chance to go out together. Thursday night was the bachelor party and Friday night was the night before the wedding. The Korean girls wanted to go clubbing and Chris and I really didn't care, so Dustin and Terumi threw out some ideas. Dustin had a friend who was DJing at club down Kalakaua St. called Lotus. "That's where all the Japanese girls go," he said and winked at us. "あ、日本人の女が大好きだ!" I said and Chris shrugged his shoulders. The girls liked the name.

I borrowed a collared shirt from Dustin. We got ready pretty quick but the girls took forever. I raided Dustin's freezer and found a bottle of vodka.

"You want us to take a shot? I don't know..."
I hadn't done straight shots of vodka since I turned 21, so I cranked up a few shots for us and we grimaced our way through them. Finally the girls came out looking like they were dressed to kill. I poured them half shots but Dustin grabbed the bottle from me and filled them up to the top. I raised my eyebrow at him and he grinned and giggled maniacally the way that he does. It didn't seem to phase the girls any though, because they grabbed their shots and downed them as if to say, "This all you got?"

We all left together and walked down Kalakaua Street. Hot girls in lingerie walked up and down the street trying to feed their Ice habits. We came to Lotus and loitered outside, waiting for Steel, DORSH and Blake to meet us. While we were waiting, one of Terumi's Japanese friends met us.

"Well OK!"
Her name was Rina and she was adorable. Rina went inside and arranged a discount for everyone. Steel went in a paid for everyone anyway. I walked upstairs and made a mental note to ask Steel what he did for a living.

It was still pretty empty inside, random people gathered in a random corners, hovering near the dancefloor but too embarrassed to start dancing until the place filled up a little more. The DJ was playing some foo-foo house. We got a round of drinks and took over the couch area with a big group. Chris bought a round of shots for everyone and we toasted to Dustin and Terumi. A few more drinks and we were feeling pretty cozy. I started chatting up Jungin, the younger Korean sister. She spoke very little English and no Japanese, so it was kinda like communicating with my Japanese students way back in the day.

Jungin getting funky on the stage at the Lotus
Sophiya and Terumi found me later and told me that they've never seen her speak so much English before. They praised my communication skills but I stopped them and held up my beer. "Praise this," I winked.

The music picked up a little and I dragged the girls out to the dance floor, one by one. Bring the girls and the guys follow. Dustin mentioned earlier that Steel was quite a dancer and could pop with the best of them, so I went and found Steel and encouraged him to show his stuff. He busted out a little robot action and we all cheered. I pulled the Korean girls and Terumi up onto the small stage on the dance floor and before we knew it the whole dance floor was packed and jumping.

The night was suddenly fun and wild and the alcohol was flowing.

Jungin, Terumi and Sophiya yelling at me to stop taking pictures of them dancing
.. and like most fun and wild nights, it's a little blurry trying to remember the details of how the night went on. I kept talking with Jungin which is kinda funny because she's so reserved and sweet and innocent, and she seemed to really be letting loose for the first time since I met her. Walking around I found Steel sitting on the couch with this Japanese girl with hair down past her ass and I grabbed Dustin and we threw him the OK sign from across the room. Chris and DORSH got into some altercation with the bartender. Another round of shots, lots of pictures, Sophiya getting a little jealous that I was talking to her sister, Rina trying to get us to move on to a new bar as the Lotus started closing up.

We found ourselves downstairs. I looked at my watch.

Rina pied-pipering the homeless to flock around her and dance
It was almost 2am already. As we were waiting for everybody to come outside, a homeless man who kinda reminded me of Grover from Sesame Street came by and latched onto Rina. I thought we were going to have to protect her, but that girl's got some GUSTO and took care of herself. She talked to him and when he handed her a recorder, she didn't hesitate to put it to her lips and play it. I don't know what was more surprising, her playing a homeless man's recorder or her playing it so well! We finally got moving and went next door to another bar called Mad Dogs. When the homeless man started following us up the stairs, Rina turned around and told him that he couldn't follow us anymore but thanked him for letting her play his recorder. He bashfully said You Welcome and walked away.
Steel and Rina
I was amazed.

We didn't get far though. The bouncer wouldn't let Sophiya in through the door because she was too drunk. I carried her down the stairs and we walked across the street to another bar that looked to be a total cockfest. It had a big banner above the door that said WELCOME PROBOWLERS. Once again, Rina arranged a discount at the door (only for the girls this time) and once again Steel went in first and paid for everyone. Inside, it was exactly what I expected to find. Blaring hip-hop and a bunch of attitude. Drinks were only a buck though and the dancefloor was made up of multicolored light squares just like the old disco floors of yore.

If we weren't trashed before, we certainly got trashed now. We formed a circle on the dancefloor to protect the women in our group from the you-know-whos in the bar.

Soon to be newlyweds, Terumi and Dustin
Steel made a play for Rina but got shot down. Chris tried to kiss Sohpiya but he too got shot down. I tried talking to Jungin but everytime Sophiya somehow found us and started a conversation with me. Ah, drunken halcyon memories, more pictures and a 4am Bob Marley set from the DJ before we were dumped onto the street again.

The next question was the age old 4am question when all of the clubs are closed and there are no more afterhours to go to: Food or home? We weren't yet ready to go home yet so we chose food. But no one could decide on where to go. That was unfortunate looking back, because before we knew what was happening, Rina and Terumi had grabbed a couple of taxis. Confused, we piled in and were driven across town to a Korean restaurant.

5am Korean food - Just wish I was home with a bowl of cereal right now
Sophiya had latched onto me in the taxi and I helped her drunkenly stumble from the taxi. The girls went inside and the guys hesitated outside. A little too late perhaps, but we looked at each other wondering why we had come to a Korean restaurant for food.

We went inside and the girls had grabbed an entire room to ourselves, and sat down at a long table with grills in the middle. I didn't want anything when the waitress came, but Rina must've ordered for everyone because a feast of weird foods came out and filled the table. Sophiya sat next to me and insisted on feeding me. I was nauseous and placated her with small nibbles here and there, but the truth was I could barely stomach the rice, let alone raw beef and kimchi. Sophiya looked at me and smiled.

5am Korean food - This is so good! Are you gonna eat that?
I could feel her lavishing attention on me, but I wasn't sure if she was doing it as a competition thing with her sister, or if she was just drunk. Also, I knew that Chris, sitting across from us, was looking sheepish trying not to notice. Sophiya finally admitted that I reminded her of her first love and suddenly got very touchy-feely. Oh boy. I thanked her politely and made a resolve to behave myself because the ball she had just dumped in my lap would only lead to hurt feelings. I drank as much water as was refilled in my cup and continued nibbling on my rice.

Finally the check came out.  $120... Oh my god. I knew that I was expected to split it even though I maybe ate about 30 cents worth of food. But it was silly arguing about it because we were all there on Dustin and Terumi's behalf and it would've been poor form not to pitch in.

5am Korean food - I want to jump Paul's bones
I forked out a dearly-missed $15 and left to smoke a cigarette with Steel.

The time had come to go home. The girls, still in high heels, wanted to take a taxi but there were none around at that time in the morning. So we started walking in the hopes of finding one along the way. I had to practically carry Sophiya down the street because she kept stumbling. Eventually we found a taxi but not all of us could fit. I offered to walk and Chris joined me. As we walked home, there was a little animosity coming from Chris, but I was too tired to deal with it. The walk was nice though.

We got in and everyone was pretty much in bed. Except for Sophiya, who came out in her underwear and was talking loudly on her phone, walking around the living room and finally sat down on my bed on the floor.

Almost 7am and almost about to take a taxi home
Chris and I looked at each other. I knew what was up, but there was nothing we could do for it. She thrusted the phone at me and told me to say hello. I reluctantly said Hi, and sure enough, there was a guy on the other line, who just as awkwardly said Hello. I figured it was probably this 1st love she had told me about. Chris and I turned on the TV and waited for Sophiya to finish up so we could crash out. She hung up the phone and lingered a while, pulled me out to the balcony at one point. The sensual Hawaiian night washed over us. For an awkward moment I had the opportunity to kiss her, but I didn't. I mean, I hope I'm not making her out to sound too desperate - it's just that she was drunk and obviously reminiscing about the past... not to mention that she was Terumi's maid of honor and we had to share the apartment for another week, so in my mind there was no way anything was going to happen.
Hawaiian sunset 2
Besides, there was a girl back home that I had a crush on. Finally, she sobered up and went to bed. Chris and I flipped through the channels for a bit but the sun was already starting to come up, so we turned off the TV and passed out.

thenewextrememimi says:
haha, yours is awesome but i was referencing the same blog that Jenn79 had linked in her comment. i guess i was responding to Jenn responding to you talking about the same stuff that that blog was talking about.... now i'm confused. But i'll definitely be back to read more of your blogs -- nice to see someone put actual thought and humor into what they write!
Posted on: Mar 27, 2008
carpefunk says:
If your "love that blog" comment is refering to my blog, then THANKS! If its refering to the link you so shamelessly plugged in MY blog, then, uhm, yeah, I guess I'll check that out ;)
Posted on: Mar 26, 2008
thenewextrememimi says:
omigod, i love that blog! i like how it teaches you to rip off white people for their ipods:
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/19-travelling/
Posted on: Mar 25, 2008
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My temporary roommates
My temporary roommates
Risin up, back on the street, 
D…
Risin' up, back on the street, …
Being lame in Chinatown
Being lame in Chinatown
The infamous chicken foot over ric…
The infamous chicken foot over ri…
Jungin liked the chicken foot...
Jungin liked the chicken foot...
Me... not so much
Me... not so much
Chris wanted to eat the whole damn…
Chris wanted to eat the whole dam…
Goat tail in small bowl with gag r…
Goat tail in small bowl with gag …
Thats what I want to know too.
That's what I want to know too.
Hawaiian sunset 1
Hawaiian sunset 1
You want us to take a shot? I don…
"You want us to take a shot? I do…
Well OK!
"Well OK!"
Jungin getting funky on the stage …
Jungin getting funky on the stage…
Jungin, Terumi and Sophiya yelling…
Jungin, Terumi and Sophiya yellin…
Rina pied-pipering the homeless to…
Rina pied-pipering the homeless t…
Steel and Rina
Steel and Rina
Soon to be newlyweds, Terumi and D…
Soon to be newlyweds, Terumi and …
5am Korean food - Just wish I was …
5am Korean food - Just wish I was…
5am Korean food - This is so good!…
5am Korean food - This is so good…
5am Korean food - I want to jump P…
5am Korean food - I want to jump …
Almost 7am and almost about to tak…
Almost 7am and almost about to ta…
Hawaiian sunset 2
Hawaiian sunset 2
Hawaiian sunset 3
Hawaiian sunset 3
Oahu
photo by: five11d