Monday, December 7, 2009

It's really December??

Sorry, it feels like it's been quite a while since an update.  Two weeks ago now it was Thanksgiving.  I've been preparing for the holiday season to bring on waves of homesickness - but I survived Thanksgiving pretty well :).  A fellow American over here invited me to Thanksiving at their house.  There were a few American families and we had turkey, stuffing, corn casserole, cranberry/apple something (it was really good) and apple pie.  I know there was other stuff but it's been more than a week now and I forgot to take a picture of the table.  Needless to say I wiped my plate clean!  It was great having food from the kitchen, because my kitchen is basically for decoration only.  I provided a couple of bottles of wine for the evening.  Probably for the best that I didn't bring food.  There was no football game to watch afterwards, but it was a really great evening.  AND the next day was a national holiday in Singapore (unrelated to Thanksgiving) so it was nice to have a free day.

One may ask where you find turkey in Singapore.  It does pose an interesting question since many kitchens are without ovens or have only small ovens.  Our turkey was from the local school - a guy has a catering business and every Thanksgiving prepares turkeys for sale.  You pick up your turkey, fully cooked and sliced, yet whole.  Yes, they peel back the skin, carve the turkey so it falls off and then put it all back in place, full skin in tact.  It looks like a whole turkey but is ready for eating.  I thought it was interesting....

The additional day for the weekend was also really great considering that Saturday afternoon I had to fly to China for work.  In China, I was travelling between a few cities.  There is a bullet train that goes between them, but in some cases there was only one train per day, so it limited your travel options.  Still though it was a very convenient way to travel.  Here are some pics from the train station in Beijing and my train ticket.

I arrived in China to a hazy fog and chilly air.  Yes - I got to pull out the few winter wear items I brought with me! :)  In Singapore, it just does't feel like December.  I see the sweaters and boots here in the stores and wish I could get another Grandma sweater like I love :). 

Anyway, because it was so warm I packed my jacket in my checked luggage.  You have to take a tram from the terminal to baggage claim and there was one Chinese woman, waiting for the tram, who looked pointed and laughed at my bare arms.  It was brisk (is that the right word?), but not frigid.  I tried to say "I'm not stupid, my coat is checked" but I don't think it helped much.  I was sure thankful though when got into the well heated tram.  Would have been sweating if I had my coat on.

Driving in China can be dangerous.  At least in India there is so much traffic that your top speed is minimal.  We started through one intersection and then this huge line of dump trucks decided it was their turn (on a red light) to cross the intersection.  Right in front of us like 8 trucks went across.  When they'd finished, our light was now red and the rest of traffic came to t-bone us.  Luckily they stopped.  It was sooo odd though.

Sometimes eating in China can be hit or miss.  They certainly don't waste any products, which can lead to some exotic table dishes (exotic at least to us Americans).  However I ate well on this trip.  Here are a couple of dinners - one Chinese at the hotel and the other Korean at a restaurant.

The dark looking things on the left on lettuce are mini-eggplants. Not my fav.  Next clockwise: A smoked fish, broccoli florets, smaller individual fishies, chicken stomach, some veggie and down in front is I think pork or something.  Really all but the mini-eggplants were good. 

Difficult to see the details here.  We had beef, pork, mushroom caps, sliced sweet potatoes, a broth soup, a spicy rice and beef dish and some other stuff I can't all remember.  The chopsticks here were flat, metal and much more difficult to use.  Otherwise I tend to get compliments on my new found chopstick skills :).

I also had a "hot pot" dinner, which is kinda like fondue, and we cooked raw meat in boiling broth.  There were lamb meatballs, thin slices of various meat types, mussels, mini-squid (these were really funny - flat blobs when raw and little bobber looking white balls once cooked).

I don't know what the deal was but it was foggy for most of my trip. And not hazy, like pollution, actual fog.  At one point we could only see two dash lines painted on the road and could barely get to the train station.  However, it cleared up a little one morning in Tianjin.  Look at the awesome clock they have.  Tianjin looks like a very fun town.

And I'll leave you with a little friend that I often see after a rain.....

1 comment:

  1. That is a snail...right? So cute! Better than the wormies that come out here!

    Love your jacket -- so cute!! Your hair has grown a lot!

    The food looks sooo good, I can't wait to try it! That is funny about what they do to the turkey before eating it!