Saturday, January 28, 2006

Day 148 - mostly frittered away updating this blog, and getting HUNGRY, in Zhongdian

0 km etc.

My intention was to stay here a day and EAT copiously.

But it is Chinese New Year's Eve.


Every restaurant, shop, and mantou-seller in town has pulled down their shutters to celebrate the New Year behind closed doors.

I am STARVING. I have walked round town twice and finally found a shop that is open. The only item resembling food on sale there was 716 biscuits.

These biscuits have an interesting history.

They were originally developed as ammunition for the People's Liberation Army's revolutionary 716 calibre machine gun, the first weapon of its kind in the world to use a rectangular barrel. Naturally the ammunition it used had to be rectangular too, or, more precisely, cuboid.

And so the 716 pellets were developed.

The weapon was not a conspicuous success, but military commanders discovered that the specially-developed ammunition was almost edible. 716 rectangular 'biscuits' have been staple rations for PLA troops ever since.

They do a tremendous job at knocking the munchies on the head. One 250 g packet quickly eliminates any lingering sensation of hunger, replacing it with a reasonably strong urge to give up living.

So please, if you're coming to Zhongdian in the next 24 hours, bring me a tomato or something.

Many thanks. And Happy New Year.

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