It turned out to be a sumptuous feast, although I am hard pressed (like pressed duck?) to say what everything was, apart from the fish fingers and some delicate stir-fried asparagus. Oh, and the lamb. I was determined to get lamb kebabs, a street delicacy I had enjoyed years ago in Beijing. Never made it to the Muslim quarter where they are on offer, but there was an excellent lamb barbecue included. Satisfied my craving.
The craving for meat was, I think, even stronger than a craving for sex among our group of many married-but-traveling-alone people out on personal spiritual quests.
One day back in Wudang, some of our meat eaters, invariably Type O blood types, NEEDED chicken. I helped again, to order a whole steamed chicken. The Type O's became tooth-gritting vegetarians though when the chicken was proudly presented in a huge bowl of steaming broth, seasoned with big slices of ginger, scallions and garlic, naked and with head and feet still well attached. (Did they expect KFC in Wudang? This was rural China.) It was the best chicken I have had since I raised my own free-range broilers and I think we all needed the chicken broth for our colds, to say nothing of simple physical strength.
But back to Xian, after our little farewell banquet at XMFR which came to the extraordinary and extravagant $10 US per person (I missed the big formal free farewell vegetarian banquet later that night), we discovered the best ever Starbucks in the world, in the Bell Tower area in Xian. The waitress in XMFR couldn't understand us when we asked for "cha," but the cute Chinese barrista who looked like Jet Li was able to deliver a perfect "caramel macchiatto" without any questions or misunderstanding.
Then we closed the afternoon, my last before flying down to Hong Kong, with a stroll through an alley of fresh seafood and ...other things. A vendor grabbed up a handful of some...squirming...appetizers , grinning, saying "You eat!" "Bu yao, YOU eat," I said. I suppose thumb-sized larvae are a good protein source, but suddenly I had a desire for cabbage! I guess a whole steamed chicken I can handle...I've dispatched and plucked the things. Come to think of it, I've dispatched my share of big cockroaches too, but,"Bu yao...YOU can eat 'em."