Friday, August 26, 2016

Guangzhou, China

So I am in Guangzhou, China in a “suburb” of Guangzhou called Renhe Town, in the Baiyun District.  I put “suburb” in quotes, because this is very urban.  Tenement like housing with apartments and flats, but with strong rural ties and beginnings.  It has its own market and Is very self-contained.  It reminds me of what Brasilia wanted to be, a utopian community where you never had to leave the building to get all that you want or need. 

Since I left the airport eight days ago, I haven’t seen a white person. Several people have spoken to me in English, one, my wife, two, a nine old Canadian visiting her grandmother, and last night a young woman working in the market where I’ve been accused of buying beer.  She said, “You like Beer?” Go figure.  I noticed tonight that she has a fifth of Jim Beam high on the shelf (as though it were special).  She asked, “Do you want to buy that?” She queried me about my living (read: staying) nearby.  I said yes.  But I won’t buy the whiskey till next week. 

When I am out on the streets often I see 4 or 5 year old children who look at me as if they’ve never seen a white person before.  I assume this is true.  One child literally asked me, “Why are you white?”

There has been a lot of family around my wife during my stay including several cousin reunions. There is a lot of visiting, for a couple of reasons, one being several cousins visiting from Malaysia.  When a lot of friends and family show up it ends up at the same local restaurant.  I have had Dim Sum and lunch and dinner (all more than once), and since I have been here before, most of a fairly sweet bottle of Chinese “Brandy” (whatever that means), compliments of my wife’s Uncle (we drank actual cognac together, last time I was here). 

I have been here a few times now.  I am starting to know my way around and know the neighbors and the shopkeepers, and they know me.  I am learning to find what I need, but still fear getting lost.  Right now I think we want to try to find a blender, and another pound of ground coffee.  We may have to wait till we get to Vietnam for that.     

Friday, June 17, 2016

Beef Short Ribs

4 Tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons Peanut oil
4 short ribs
2 sticks of celery with tops
1 sweet onion chopped
1 head of garlic cleaned and crushed
1 small bag of carrots
1 regular sized can of chicken stock or broth. 
1 large potato chopped
1 teaspoon thyme and marjoram
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 or to whole allspice
5-8 whole peppercorns
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Cut the short ribs in to thirds.  Brown in the butter and the peanut, and set aside.  In the pan add the celery, onion, shallot and garlic and cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Braise over low heat for about three hours.  Serve over rice, or not. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Big Rain.  We're in Guangzhou, China and it's been raining about 24 hours straight.  It sounds a bit like a discordant steel drum band. I think it's raining about ½-1 inch per hour.  It's a bit crazy but we managed to get around today without really getting too wet.    

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

South of the Tropic of Cancer

Although we are south of the Tropic of Cancer, yesterday it snowed in Guangzhou. No one I talked to could remember that happening before. Today, the sun is out for the first time since o arrived in China.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, January 18, 2016

Beer shortage in China ... it's really Jack that I can't find.

So it's pretty hard to find Jack Daniels here in China, and I can't seem to land in a hotel with a bar in it, and the stores don't seem to have any beer that contains alcohol or any wine that we can identify is drinkable. So I resorted to drinking Mou Tai, with a 3.2 % Tsing Tao chaser. It reminds me of gasoline mixed with the flavor of flowers. Followed by watery beer. I'm reminded of reading a book called "The Sex Lives of Cannibals". Chapter 5 is entitled "The Great Island Beer Shortages" or something like that.

It's near freezing here in Suzhou and since I'm on a tour, we are outside or on a cold bus, and maybe in some cold building. My joints ache.