Armed with two new guide books we wandered in a new direction this evening in search of dinner. We settled on a Chinese restaurant which figured in both. Alas we should have known better. Although the menu was large and the prices were low, the food was not good. When the waiter asked whether I liked my seaweed salad, I answered honestly that it tasted like a strange sort of pickled red cabbage. Both my colleagues agreed that seaweed should be green and crisp but we were told firmly that by the waiter (aged all of about 20), that we were wrong and it was genuine Chinese seaweed. China was a very big country, bigger than Europe and by implication there was more than one way to cook seaweed. My colleagues did better with their hot and sour soup.
After that, my chicken and bamboo shoots also got the thumbs down. That was it, lumps of chicken (boiled) with about three slices of bamboo shoot, lying in a monosodium glutamate sauce. if you fished around you found some tiny slivers of green, eventually identified as leek. The tofu was more colourful but not much better in taste. Our waiter was a masochist and asked for another opinion. When we asked where was the colour and the other vegetables, he implied that chicken and bamboo shoots was just that. But he said this was the best Chinese restaurant in town.
We asked where the Chinese quarter was and were told in New Belgrade, obviously some way away. My idea was to go and see where the Chinese themselves ate, thinking of the Paddyfields in Oxford, advertised as "the place Chinese people themselves eat" It's my current favourite, especially as it does dim sum. The waiter dismissed this as the Chinese were a dirty people and one shouldn't go there. At that point, the ugly head of racism reared up and we stopped the conversation. It was sickening, particularly as we suspected that he had probably never even been near the area and was probably just going on prejudiced rumour.
For a change of mood we went off to see the "Earth from the Air" exhibition which was showing in the park near Kalemegdan. It's a fantastic exhibition of large photos in the open air, so you can see them from a distance (as from the air) and then go closer to see the detail and read the captions. Although I saw the exhibition first in Copenhagen and London (when we bought the book and the t-shirts) there was still a lot to look at and some new photos as well (from the tsunami damage). There was even one showing a graveyard of Iraqi tanks which had been destroyed by depleted uranium bombs in the First Gulf War and now were a repository of toxic and radioactive waste. But didn't they try to tell us depleted uranium was quite safe in Bosnia?
Finally on the way home we noticed there was a fantastic full moon, with the first full scale halo I can remember ever seeing. At least I thought it was a halo, but now I've looked it up it seems it was a corona. You can see the difference here. This is what I saw: