Saturday, May 22, 2004

Finally went to Gou Lou (Culture street/drum towers) though we did not fully explore it today, I will be returning on my own to walk the streets and look more closely into the markets, shops, galleries, etc. There is some quite unique art items there, as well as practical items that are also art pieces. I had a chop made (a chop is the chinese way of marking a document as official, rather than using signatures) out of stone, and will likely have more made using other names/words.

I have a few photos which I will post asap, probably monday local time.

I also picked up the two shirts I had made. While they did not exactly match my instructions, they are very nice, fit wonderfully, and look a good deal better than either I or Dad expected. These two are made from a blend of linen and silk that feels very nice to the touch. Perhaps tomorrow I will commission more shirts, of a different style and fabric, and some slacks. This assumes that we can find the fabric I want.

Finally we looked for turtles for Summer, but did not find any she liked. One comment about the pet market we were at. First it is not one store, but as with all things in China, it is a collection of small shops. Because of this nature different items will be sold at different shops though there is a tendency to bring together like items in a given part of the city. So walking through the pet market I noted the sale of silverware at one shop.. make your own conclusions..

Also the pet market opens out onto a food court (for lack of a better term).. again draw your own conclusions..

Speaking of food, I realized that I had not yet commented on something that might well be on the minds of some. I have been using chopsticks at every meal, with very little difficulty. I use them when in the states for certain meals so I have had some practice, apparently enough that a few individuals here have commented on my abilities with them. Yeah I am proud and rightly so, given that the meals are such that one must work more to get food here than in the states. All the plates are brought out, and usually placed on a lazy susan so that everyone can just spin it and get what they want. You do not take a dish of something, you just grab a bite or two with the chopsticks.. sometimes this means skinning and deboning a fish with them, other times it means cutting (tearing apart) meat with them.. everything except soup is done with chopsticks.

And still speaking of food, today we ate at a restaurant owned by a friend of Summer (she has lots of friends..). The style is Hunan (I think) The meal we had was composed of a noodle dish, and what they call a hot pot. The hot pot starts with a broth (chicken and mushrooms for us) to which other things are added as the meal goes along. This is an interesting change from our normal meals, and the flavors are wonderful (which itself is not a change). Also we had as an appetizer of sorts, some dried beef (think beef jerky, but high class and flavor) and soybeans (no one calls it etimome here or in Japan, so I am told by the Chinese and Japanese here)

That is all for now.. tomorrow we are going to go to Textile City and look for fabrics, then return here so that I can give spanish language lessons and prepare for my presentations.

Oh but before I close this, I believe that I have not commented upon this yet, but I fixed a meal for us (Summer, Dad, and myself) on Friday, because Summer insisted that I cook for her (again). I have not fixed Texas Hash in several states, and three separate nations. For some reason it gives me joy to spread this dish, perhaps because it is a family dish that is found in no cook books, but is a fine example of a satisfying dish, as well as "peasant food." I even showed Ms. Jong (the housekeeper) how to fix it as well, so it is my hope that others in China may come to experience it.

And on that enjoyable note, I will leave off this post.

All the best to all.


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