Sunday, January 16, 2011

This and that

No, I still don't have my ticket to go home, as I'm still trying to figure out the proper procedures to break the cat out of the country. In the meantime, here are some random thoughts to tide you over.
Having lived in California most of my life, it has been interesting to see things change with the seasons here in China. One main street nearbywas lined with shrubs one day, straw-bundles the next. Ironically, I had never noticed the bushes until they were wrapped in straw, so I have no idea what they are.
I was somewhat surprised to see a Wal-Mart in Kunming city...
... but seeing this sign going up just around the corner from my apartment floored me.
The owner of the school took the five foreign teachers who will be leaving this month and two new foreign teachers to a popular local restaurant that serves the famous Peking Duck. All of the dishes there were delicious, and the Peking Duck was absolutely superb. This is high praise coming from someone who hated duck as a kid after watching what I considered family pets slaughtered for dinner...
The duck is cooked in such a way that the skin is brown and crispy, and the flesh inside tender and juicy (sorry, vegetarians). The duck is carved in bite sized shingle-like pieces and put on a platter, and served with thin crepes about the size of small corn tortillas. Each person got a small dish with a dark tangy sauce and some sliced shallots. The diner dips the duck in the sauce, puts a few pieces on the crepe along with a couple slivers of shallot, wraps it up, and attempts to eat it without squishing the sauce out all over the fingers. The chef then takes the rest of the carcass and makes it into soup which is then served. Waste not, want not.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Long overdue post

Sorry I haven't posted, the holiday season was crazy with a lot of extra work hours.

Today I went to the big supermarket, walked on the way there instead of taking the bus. The temperature has been hovering around 32 F / 0 C lately, but it's sunny and dry and it hasn't been windy, so it doesn't feel as cold.

I also went to the farmers' market, then came home and cooked up some Mapo Tofu (a dish I was first introduced to in Chinese restaurants in Japan), which is spicy tofu with pork and onions; it's my second time making it and it's so good I wish I had done it sooner! I have a "Chinese cooking for dummies" cookbook that has come in very handy, especially the "how-to" tips.

Getting close to the time to go home but I haven't gotten my ticket yet; I'm still trying to figure out how to get the cat on the plane/train from here to Beijing, as the domestic airlines will only take a pet as "baggage" but the weather will be below freezing so too cold to do that in February. From Beijing I can take a US airline and I can take the pet in the plane with me.

My classes for this semester are ending the next few weeks, some classes ended already. From now on there will be a lot of promotional classes, which is fine as I won't have to be creating any new lessons from here on out, that reduces my stress and workload.