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Posts Tagged ‘china’

A while back (ok, a LONG time ago, 7 months – this post is way overdue), I had the opportunity to travel to Xi’an when my mother-in-law came to see China.  Regardless if you have heard of Xi’an or not, you definitely know about it.  The discovery of the Terracotta Army in 1974 by a farmer drilling a water well is one of the largest archeological discoveries in the world.

Xi’an is a beautiful city that blends the ancient world with the modern.  It is the historic old capital of China as well as a modern, brightly lit, fun city.  My brother, who was also in China by chance for a conference was able to meet my MIL and me in Xi’an.

The main attraction is, of course, the Terracotta Warriors.  It is truly a site to see.

Terracotta Army

To be honest, pictures do not give justice to place.   It’s hard to understand the vastness of this one building until you have seen it for yourself.

I’ve heard it said that each warrior is a unique sculpture modeled after a real soldier.  In general I can’t agree or disagree because I’m not an archeologist working on the site. While scanning though my images, they all look “real” enough and everyone seems different from those around them – until I saw THIS GUY….

Stretch Wangstrong (Pronounced “Wongstrong”)

We all know the Chinese are a skinny bunch (with all the oil they put into ALL OF THE FOOD, I don’t know how).  But THIS GUY, really?  He’s got proportions 3 times worse than Barbie.  Figure it this way – with armor and clothing on, his waist is maybe 6 to 8 inches across.  I’m pretty sure that no human with such an unproportional body could survive – let along be a soldier.  By the position of his hands I guess he was a horse driver of some sort?  (Suggestions are welcome!)  Not to mention, I think his arms reach clear to where his knees should be…  Was there some strange stretching torture device in the ancient Chinese military?  Perhaps – after seeing this guy.  I will call him “Stretch WangStrong.”

I know – it sounds terrible in English… But Wang is one of the most popular Family Names in China.  (and FYI, it’s actually pronounced the same as WONG.  The ‘A’ in this case sounds like an ‘O’ as in “gong”.

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This past Friday husband and I went to an outdoor Chinese barbeque in FengCheng with a bunch of people.  I’m pretty sure the sign was supposed to say “SEAFOOD CITY”.

 

They had a huge assortment of food to pick from.

Chinese barbeque

Before this, I’ve eaten a variety of unique food… pig tongue, pig stomach, duck brains, fish eyeballs, chicken hearts…  but this takes the cake:

Lamb Testicle (Before cooking)

To be completely honest – it wasn’t that bad.  Would I order it again?  Actually, yes… besides it looked much more appetizing AFTER it was cooked, so I need to get a picture of that.

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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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I’ll admit, there were several things about being the woman in a marriage that never really appealed to me.  I used to love cleaning… until husband and I moved in together.  I grew up living with my mother, grandmother, and brother.  Great!  Three women to split up house chores, laundry, and cooking.  My brother, well… bless his heart… took advantage of all of that… hahaha!
Granted he had to deal with 3 women growing up, so I can’t say that I blame him…  He still takes advantage of it as an adult!  When we were back in Pittsburgh, he would come to our house, hang out, play video games with my husband…. AND bring his laundry for me to wash…  Then over Christmas this year in China,  my brother came to stay with us from South Korea (where he does research for his PhD in Electrical Engineering).  ….so what would you guess?!  He brought some dirty laundry for me to wash.  The reasoning?  We have a clothes dryer….  Granted, it takes over 2 hours to dry a load of laundry – and shrinks anything I leave in too long – but it is a DRYER!  Think about when you buy new towels or sheets…. They contain a crazy amount of lint every time you use them.  You dry yourself after a shower and feel like you need another shower to get rid of the fuzz that stuck to you the first time you showered.  I’ve always put towels through the washer/dryer a couple of times to alleviate the lint (and any remaining production chemicals & dyes).  …Fast forward to China…  It is NOT standard to use clothing dryers (AT ALL)… electricity is just way too expensive and most homes do not have a gas line like we do in the USA.  Fortunately, the company pays our electric bill so I have no issues running the dryer.  At first we had no towels and no sheets – – – and no dryer.   When you hang dry sheets & towels inside (only place we can do it), the lint gets everywhere.

This was before I invested in a vacuum cleaner…  It is a stupid follow-a-long with no rotating brushes.  I bought it at Metro in Qingdao… but guess what!  They don’t sell replacement bags for it!  And I could NOT find a distributor in China.   FIGURES.   Thankfully, husband’s boss was just back in the good ol’ USA so we were able to buy replacement bags for him to bring back over.

But I digress… between the lint and the cat hair from our dear little “piglets”, cleaning was D*** near impossible.  I wasn’t the first wife here to buy a dryer, and I’m sure I won’t be the last.

The funny thing – the store that sold (us wives) the dryers said they never sold ANY dryers until we showed up in Haiyang.  These things were special ordered from Qingdao and I had to wait 6 weeks for mine.  This time would have been prolonged if it weren’t for Miss Li, the owner of our property management company, who is VERY “well-connected” in our town.

Regardless, I have one, as well as a front loading washer to replace the provided one which tied our clothes in knots to destroy them…

Laundry Room

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