Illegal fruit

I had something happen to me twice this week that I haven’t had happen to me before.

In this area there haven’t been too many street vendors on the main roads since the Olympics, something about beautifying the city and whatnot.  They’ve been popping up more and more lately, although they aren’t as commonly seen as in other parts of the city.  The other day my Mom and I were sampling some grapes I was about to buy when the guy started pedaling away as fast as he could before the chengguan could get him.  The chengguan are a certain kind of police that give street vendors a hard time since, technically, street sellers are illegal.

Then tonight we were walking back to the school after our Sunday team meal and I was poised and ready to buy some cherries when the guy started up his motor and drove off down the street as fast as he could.  I guess the chengguan were on the way again.

Guilin vacation pictures

Jenny and Amanda arrived in Beijing yesterday and their jet-lagged selves are zonked out on the living room floor right now.  It’s been a longer-than-usual absence, but here are finally some pictures from Guilin.

All ready to head out to the airport!

Shire Hobbit coffee

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Jenny & Amanda to Beijing

My sister, Jenny, and her friend Amanda are coming to visit me in Beijing in May!  As I was booking Jenny’s flight via Air Canada, I was given the option of selecting a meal preference.  Here were the options:

  • Asian vegetarian meal
  • bland meal
  • diabetic meal
  • gluten free meal
  • Hindu meal
  • Kosher meal
  • low calorie meal
  • low carbohydrate meal
  • low cholesterol/fat meal
  • low sodium meal
  • Muslim meal
  • nonlactose meal
  • no salt meal
  • peanut free meal
  • raw vegetarian meal
  • seafood meal
  • special request meal
  • vegetarian meal
  • vegetarian/lacto-ovo meal

Air Canada needs a new byline and here’s what it should be:

Air Canada: perfect for the picky eater

I selected the seafood meal for my sister.  I’m sure the seafood in coach will be yummy.

(just kidding.  but I was tempted!)

Snowing in the new year

There’s a cold front in Beijing this weekend that will extend into this week.  Temperature highs are in the teens with lows in the single digits… brr!  Snow flurries were flying around last night and this is what I woke up to this morning:

This is the new and improved south gate to my school. These are also about all the Chinese characters I can read.

This is genuine non-government-induced 100% natural snow, unlike when I reported on Beijing’s first snow of the season on November 1 and November 10.  What do you do when your apartment is 60 degrees (because the heat really doesn’t work so well), it’s freezing and windy outside, and you don’t have any food?  Go to Korean BBQ!  Here’s the alley Anna and I walked down to get to the restaurant:

In China, biking is an all-weather, all-season activity. The more stuff on the back, the better.

Yep, we're still roommates! Badminton courts are on the left, tennis courts are on the right behind the buses, and the senior high academic building is straight ahead behind the trees.

Greg and Rachel loved Korean BBQ and introduced it to me during my first year of teaching.  Here’s how it works:

First, start with a pit of hot coals in the center of the table.

Next, put the raw meat and veggies on the copper grate over the coals.

Cook it the way you like it.

Now dunk the meat into the sauce.

As best as I can tell, there's sesame, ginger, and green onion in some kind of brown liquid that isn't soy sauce. It's good!

Wrap it all up in some lettuce...

And eat! 很好吃!

Are you hungry now?  Do you want to try some of this?

Unidentifiable cold green Korean appetizer - kimchi is pickled vegetable with strong spices