Thursday, May 13, 2010

Misc. Pics

Here are some miscellaneous pictures of my apartment and school. (Edited to add: this apartment is extremely large and luxurious by Chinese standards of living.)

I bought "friends" for my plants, one for the big one and one for the small one.

Here is a picture of my bedroom taken just after I arrived here; the laundry room is just an extension of the bedroom so I had a lovely view of my laundry, and the room absorbed the heat from the windows that make up the outside wall. The second photo shows the new curtain I had installed between the two, it makes a huge difference both in appearance and in temperature, for which I will be tremendously grateful when the summer heat arrives.

More pics of the apartment. First shot is taken from the front door, as you can see there is one long main room that is both living and dining room, and the kitchen is an alcove attached to it. Clockwise you can see my plants, the TV, the refrigerator, the kitchen, the air conditioner, the water dispenser, the sofa, and the dining table. The door to the bathroom is directly to my left, and the door to the bedroom is on the left between the plants and the TV.
A closer look at the kitchenette. From left, rice cooker, stove, sink. The stove is brand new, which is great. From what I gather, the previous male teachers who lived here never cooked at all. In the left corner is a microwave which cannot be seen in the photo.
View of the living room from the kitchen end. Clockwise from left: sofa, dining table, radiator, front door, coat rack, plants. The door to the bathroom is around the corner to the right at the far end.
The bathroom is a small tiled room, with a drain in the floor for the shower. I have a handheld shower mounted above the blue mat that is stuck on the wall. You can see my makeshift drain cover in the corner, it does help to keep the smell down. On the right is the radiator and the sink, on the left is the toilet. There is a small hot water tank above the toilet; without a low-flow showerhead, I have to shower efficiently or I run out of hot water. The red bucket doubles as a cleaning bucket and a water reservoir, as colleagues have told me that the water was shut off a few times in the last year, sometimes for several days. I'm hoping that it won't happen but keep water in the bucket anyway.

This is a mystery grain that I bought and cooked. At first I thought it was millet, but I realize that the grains are much too large to be millet. Anyone know what this is?

These pictures were taken at the main school. The first picture shows one of the staircases (the place is laid out like a maze above the ground floor shops), on which is a picture of the school's mascot overlaid with "inspirational" sayings in English and Chinese.
The next two shots are of the women's toilet at the school. Note that we have SOAP, which is a rarity here. I don't think any of the children use it, but I certainly do!
The toilets flush with water, but the plumbing is not an enclosed system, rather goes down into a hole or pit of some kind and then down to the sewer. As the weather warms up, the smell of these bathrooms on days when several hundred children are at the school is becoming pretty ripe.
Toilet paper is not put in the toilet but rather in waste paper baskets, apparently because the sewage is used in the farmers' fields. If that doesn't make you wash your food, nothing will.


  1. Scary on SO MANY levels... yikes...

    THe grain "looks" like quinoa but a bit bigger than the batch I have here. I'll dig around :)

  2. Looks like un-hulled Millet, trying to post a link but it gets goofy here...

  3. Chef, thanks, I just had a little google image search and I think you are right. :)

  4. I can't get to that link because it's still the google frame, but searched millet and this looks to be right:

    From the pictures, quinoa is kind of flat like a lentil, the millet is round and looks exactly like what I had.

  5. It certainly makes you very grateful for the standard of living we have. Here is a wiki about millet at first glance at your picture, I intially thought barley but that is a pretty obvious grain. According to the wiki, millet was/is a common grain for China. Out of curiousity I did a search on millet recipes and there are a lot out there!,1-0,millet,FF.html
    I like to try new grains and have used quinoa and bulgar wheat before so this may be a new one I look into... It is very rich in vitamin B.

  6. Thanks Dmom, I will check out the recipes. A friend is ill so I'm thinking to make some chicken soup today, maybe I will use millet or barley instead of noodles.

  7. UPDATE: I have gotten interested in whole grains lately and revisited this. I believe this grain is 高粱米 [gāoliangmǐ], which we know in English as sorghum.