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Archive for the ‘China’ Category

I understand that some people chose the non-traditional wedding, getting married on top of a live volcano, on a roller coaster, or while sky-diving.   I can even understand that some brides want a fairy-tale-princess-wedding in Disney Land….  But this one is really tacky.  I filmed it from our hotel room at the Shangri-La in Qingdao, China.

I’m trying to find good/funny background music for it.  Suggestions are welcomed!!

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Nice Pants

Sweet outfit dude. Next time wear your pink boxers under your creepy zebra pants.

 

 

This can't be that comfortable.

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It’s been a while since I’ve been able to go grocery shopping in Qingdao, therefore we are running desperately low on meat of any sort.  I can definitely get pork at any of our local JiaJiaYue supermarkets, but I have trouble justifying the purchase of meat that sits out all day being poked and prodded by masses of people who probably haven’t washed their hands in over a week and a half, and refuse to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing.  Call me picky, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. At the XinHai market there are several concrete bomb-shelter-like looking buildings full of cages of hens, roosters, and some other small mammals.  I hadn’t purchased one yet, because I assumed that I would need to kill and clean it myself.  I’m sure I could handle that, but plucking feathers off a bleeding-out chicken on a Wednesday afternoon just didn’t seem like my idea of a fun and productive day spent.

It wasn’t until last week that I learned they will kill, clean, and remove the lower digestive system for me.  Perfect!  I can handle that.  The rooster costed more than I would’ve expected (about 20 USD), but it was more than worth it to know it was fresh and only handled by one guy after it was killed, AND that I got to watch the who process.  This just isn’t something you see back home when you go to Giant Eagle (grocery store) to pick out a chicken.

I went with my friend A.  Her driver always helps a ton with these traditional Chinese things.  He asked if I wanted a boy or girl chicken.  Well that wasn’t a question I had ever been asked before?  I asked him which one was good?  The hens were much smaller, but the A’s driver picked out a big rooster and said they are let out to walk around more and the hens just sit around and eat.  Does this make it better?  I have no idea.  Now I want to clarify, when I describe these conversations that I have with just about any Chinese person in Haiyang, it’s usually a mix of my broken Mandarin, their local Haiyang dialect, and a lot of funky charades.  Thankfully, most of the drivers that work for us Westerners have learned a small amount of English, making something like buying live poultry MUCH easier!   But, as you can imagine, I don’t really know how to ask “will they take off the feathers and remove the sh*t from the rear end of that bird?”  Between my Engl-ese (opposite of Chinglish), and some creative chicken dancing, I usually can figure out what is going on.

After we picked out a rooster, the owner pretty much ripped the wings off to put it on the scale. I was taking video the entire time. If you are a fan of PETA, you might not want to watch these videos. Since I’m a fan of People Eating Tasty Animals, I have posted these videos and will share them with you.

After I paid for my bird, he slit the neck and put it into a rotating drum to bleed out.  From there my rooster and some other guy’s chicken were put into a vat of boiling water.  Unfortunately the other bird was still very much alive.  After that there was another drum for defeathering.  Also, notice the gutted dog hanging in the middle of the room.  This is the first one I’ve seen.  (This may be offensive to some individuals, watch at your own risk.)

And finally, removing the intestines, etc…

Alas, I brought my rooster home to the roaster:

Dinner

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 WARNING:  THIS POST CONTAINS IMAGES THAT MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME INDIVIDUALS.

DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU HAVE A QUEASY STOMACH OR SMALL CHILDREN ARE NEAR.

Meat table at the market

Delicious, Pig Heart

And finally, this pitiful creature was hanging in the “store” (more like a concrete bomb shelter)   where I bought a live chicken…

Yes, That's a Dog

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First came Arm & Hammer, a baking soda from the 1860’s.  It is a registered trademark of the American manufacturer Church and Dwight and probably one of the most common products in every home in the USA.

Arm & Hammer

The most common and readily available counterfeit at wholesale stores and large supermarkets in China is ARM & HATCHET:

Arm & Hatchet

 And then just last week I found this 2nd generation counterfeit at a spice store in HaiYang.  The only thing better than Arm and Hatchet is ARM AND TOMAHAWK!

Arm & Tomahawk

 

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From the December issue of "that's SHANGHAI" ... What better gift to give yourself for Christmas?

I seriously just found this yesterday.  Haha!

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First of all - they are STAIRS. Second, I'm pretty sure you have to be on some strong sh!t to slide carefully down them...

(Another old picture.)  This was taken at a restaurant that will be front and center during the 2012 Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China….

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YOU HEARD ME.

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while – it’s from Shanghai back in December at week 15 in China.

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PRIVACY!

For those of you who know me, I am usually a private, generally shy person.  Anything outside of my “normal” self is just a show.  I can pretend to be outgoing and social, but it is fake because I’m not comfortable that way.  Everyone is different.  I’m grateful that my husband understands and loves me all the same.  He’s a social person – much the opposite of me – but we are happy.  There is a balance between us.

I’ve never lived in an apartment before.  I lived at my mother & grandmother’s house my whole life – even through college in order to save money & buy a car.  Then I bought a house with my fiance (now husband).  I’ve always had a certain bit of privacy.  We purposely bought a home on the border of the  ‘country sticks’ for land and privacy.  After just about 2 years of living in our home, we agreed to move to China for 2 years…

Apartment living is “trying” to say the least.  Even though husband is a manager, we somehow live on the first floor – and EVERYONE can see into our home.  Apparently we arrived too late to get a better apartment.  It is nice and convenient to bring in groceries and furniture – until there is a small Chinese man taking a piss outside your bathroom window… or the landscapers walk around and peer into your living room window.  It’s pretty much a fish bowl.  One thing I never do is close curtains because I like natural light, sooo, peekaboo!  I see you too!  Also, the placement of our kitchen sink (and window) is RIGHT next to the main door to our building so anyone walking in or out of the building can see me all day washing dishes.

Adding insult to injury, the second and third floor residents can see the ocean… I KNOW it’s there, but the sand berm blocks any view.  As a photography enthusiast, I am devastated that I can’t see the ocean.  That was one thing I hoped to keep me happy here.

This problem is not unique to the expat village because almost all people in China live in an apartment – and the buildings are constructed ridiculously close.  I assume this is the reason why Chinese are so much less modest than Americans.  It is no big deal for a man to stop on the side of a busy main road in Shanghai and take a piss (not even bothering to look for a bush)…  Or a mother in Qingdao let her 10-year-old daughter drop her drawers outside of the Metro Supermarket and take a leak right along the busy road… or a woman in the sauna at a hotel in Shanghai take a complete shower with the door wide open while she talks to a topless old woman in a chair about 10 feet away…  Or a man take an…uhhh…. number 2 in the middle of the Forbidden City (maybe he was just showing his support for the Party?).

I wonder if there is even a translation for the words modesty, shame, and privacy in Mandarin?

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We’ve had our fair share of rare and unique foods here in China.  Everyone knows about the chicken feet – which I still haven’t had a chance to try, but there is SOO much to choose from aside than chicken parts.  As you know we had pig tongue and stomach on New Years Eve, and both were really good.  After returning home to Haiyang and getting our driver, he and his family invited my husband and me to eat lunch at their home.  The house was larger than the one we had seen in Shanghai, but much less comfortable and lacking most amenities.  As usual, the master bedroom is also the living room and we started lunch by sitting on the master bed, basically a hot water heated surface with a thin pad overtop, to drink tea.  Once lunch was mostly prepared, we moved to the dining room and took our seats for the food to come out.  At lunch was our driver, his wife, his mom and dad, and two of his dad’s old classmates (at least that’s who I think they were, haha!)
The meal consisted of a normal assortment of fish, pork, warm and cold vegetables, dumplings, and… silk worm pupae…   I had the intent to try these eventually but wasn’t really prepared for it at that moment.  His family seemed perplexed that we were hesitant to dive into the giant bowl of creepy looking brown insects.  I explained to our driver in my broken Chinese that Americans do not like to eat insects.  I think he understood.

Silkworm Pupae

Unfortunately the conversation at this lunch was irritatingly difficult.  I only speak basic conversational Mandarin and my dear husband speaks almost none.  He tries to use google translate on his phone to start a conversation – this usually causes more confusion than results.

I watched the mother and wife make dumplings for a little while.  I would’ve helped but didn’t want to mess them up!  The best part :  They were making them on the master bed in the master bedroom.   Yup.

Drivers Mother & Wife Making Dumplings

Drivers Mother & Wife Making Dumplings on the master bed

All of the food was really good.  I’ll admit that the Silkworms were not bad.  You don’t actually eat the outside shell, which is tough, but not hard or crunchy.  The inside was the part to eat.  There wasn’t much taste and it had a consistency between that of scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes.  Would I eat them again?  Yeah, I probably would if they were served at someones home (out of politeness), but I will never willingly order them at a restaurant.

As with every Chinese meal with friends, they served alcohol.  We started with some warmed up brown alcohol.  It was ok although I don’t know what it was.   There was some wine then another alcohol that tasted like a sweet plumb wine although it had images of deer and chickens on the front of the bottle.  I thought for sure there must have  been some animal parts in the brew…

We left there feeling very full and comfortable and VERY ready for a nap!

On a side note:  don’t think it would be that uncommon for a Chinese liquor to contain animal ingredients.  They do, after all, eat every part of everything that had ever breathed, swam, flown, walked, grown, lived, or is still living.  We did not have this liquor at our driver’s house but he has a very strong opinion about it…

I’ve seen it featured on two different TV programs.  First, it was a segment on National Geographic Channel’s The Witch Doctor Will See You Now.   The next time I heard about it was when my husband was watching an episode of “The League” (if you haven’t ever watched this show, it’s funny – you need to see it.)  So what am I talking about??  THREE PENIS WINE of course!!!!  I understand… you don’t believe me…

Ohhh, but it IS true!

ChangYu Three Penis Wine

Three Penis Wine Ingredients

This particular brand of Three Penis Wine contains a brew of seal penis, deer penis, and Cantonese dog penis.  The intent of this “wine” (really it’s more like rice wine/liquor) is to provide male virility to the drinker.  I found this small bottle at our local JiaJiaYue (the grocery store literally means “family family happy”).   No better way to make a family happy than to make your wife happy by consuming some good ol’ Three Penis Wine!  I picked it up and showed my driver.  Without skipping a beat he said (in slowly pronounced English) V e r y G o o d !   I giggled and bought a few bottles.  Now before I go on, my dear husband has not yet tried this stuff.  I had to!  In all honesty, the taste is much better than baijiu (white liquor / moutai).  It has a bit of molasses/sweet taste to it.  Put it this way – if you had no idea what was added during the original brewing process you would never know you were drinking fermented animal privates.

Life in the Middle Kingdom is never boring!

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