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Archive for November 17, 2013

China Gate Restaurant

IMG_1699So far my experience with Chinese cuisine here in Jeddah has been abominable. Would that be too strong? The sauces are too hot as in hot pepper. You could die! Or they are too sweet as in diabetic coma! There’s not much subtlety. They don’t know from soy sauce or sesame oil. I suspect that the cooks are Filipino so what do they not know that every wok jockey in NY knows? My Filipino nurses all laugh at me when I say this. But really the food looks ok but the taste is definitely lacking. The prices are high as in it costs what a moderate meal would cost in NY. No one pays like that in NY. I’ve tried about every fast food Chinese counter and restaurant that I have seen. There have been some reasonable meals. Spring rolls which seem to be the Middle East equivalent of samosa are wildly popular. Dumplings are horrible and poorly flavored. Don’t do it. Soup is way over starched thickened weak broth with nothing much of substance added. Enough….? So I chanced upon this all-you-can-eat buffet. They give you dessert and soft drink. It’s odd to see Waldorf salad and samosa included in the selections but they do have to cater to the target audience. There is a separation of the sexes with ‘families’ and ‘singles’ sitting separately but still comingling at the buffet trays. I guess I just shouldn’t see a lady eating. And to be sure they still wear their veils so it’s a bit of a mess to try to eat if you’re a lady. It becomes lift veil and chew, then repeat. The atmosphere/ambiance rates a zero and would get a minus rating if ever there was one. The whole place is dimly lit with fluorescent lighting. Ugh! But I’m here to eat and so I ignore the bad lighting.IMG_1701

IMG_1702The food is edible and if you pick carefully you can be fairly satisfied. Some of the sauces are red hot – beware. The appetizers are basic but I do enjoy the spring rolls, so I load up. Samosas are ok as well so go for it. French fries? IMG_1805

I like mine at McD’s so I avoid them at this restaurant. Soup? If you pick around the starch base you might come across some veggies and dry chicken. But it’s soup and I have some. IMG_1804The main courses are over burdened with cloying sauces. And the noodles – two kinds – are basically spaghetti without seasoning. It’s not worth eating overcooked noodles. So far I haven’t had indigestion from the warmed food. Salad with real leaves, lettuce, and that Waldorf looking thing are incongruous but some of the audience is gobbling this up. Dessert is fresh fruit and something sweet. One week it was rice pudding and the next it was mango custard.

Nudibranch Convention

IMG_4789I have seen these creatures infrequently and usually singly. We were swimming along and I found four – the fourth is just above on the coral and out of view. Maybe they were gathered to mate. They have rhino horns in the front and the frond in the back is for breathing. I read it somewhere. You want to have both ends in focus when you shoot. And I didn’t know there’s a footpod. Once again the first time you get an image you feel so lucky. After that you try for the classic image. No, I didn’t Photoshop and clone these three together. IMG_4696 a