četvrtak, 10.11.2011.


Cooking breakfast for a crowd - Cooking boar.

Cooking Breakfast For A Crowd

cooking breakfast for a crowd

Jiuzhaigou is Getting Modern, and Crowded

Jiuzhaigou is Getting Modern, and Crowded

I was in Jiuzhaigou four years ago, and some changes have occurred since then. There is internet access, now. I am in the Sheraton Jiuzhaigou Resort hotel writing this message. The access seems to be about the same speed as Sam's Guesthouse in Chengdu.

I am not staying at the Sheraton. It is too expensive. I am staying at the Jiutong Hotel, which is cheap. I am in a four-bed dorm room, and it costs Y50 ($7) per night. Shared toilet, and shared shower. The Jiutong is located right beside the bus station, too. It was only a ten metre walk from the bus to the hotel door. Now that's convenience! The walk to the park entrance takes about five minutes.

I have also established myself with a food stall. It is the closest food stall to the hotel. So far, two dinners and one breakfast have been very good. The hotel has a restaurant, but the basic rule of thumb in China is: Hotel restaurant/banquet hall = mediocre; Food stall/street vendor = tasty and cheap. Plus, with the food stall, you can see the ingredients, and watch the cooking.

I bring my Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook (and my very rudimentary Mandarin from - "Ni huishou Yingwen ma?") and much fun is had by all! The proprietress is very friendly, and an excellent cook. There is a guy who works in the next stall over - selling tourist trinkets, packaged food, etc. - who hangs out. He loves to grab the book, and search for various phrases to try out.

Last evening, he found the phrase to ask if I wanted beer with my dinner. I showed him that I wanted "baijiu", which is the distilled Chinese white liquor. He went away and showed up a minute later with a little ceramic bottle containing about two shots of baijiu, which I bought for Y10 ($1.20). You actually have to break the ceramic bottle to access the contents.

For those unfamiliar with baijiu, it is an unusual and acquired taste. Many years ago, my friend Minzhi brought some to work, where we had been drinking sake (quality sake, not the cheap heated stuff) on Friday after work. We thought it was horrible! But, now that I've tried it a few times, I find that it can be quite good. In fact, on the plane from Hong Kong to Chengdu, I read in the paper that there is a baijiu equivalent to single-malt scotch or small-batch bourbon, and some people are trying to export it outside of China and build a market. The top-shelf baijiu can sell for $300-1000 per bottle!

Anyway, the photo is of me looking like a goofball on one of the Jiuzhaigou trails. I've been here for two days, after an 11-hour bus trip from Chengdu. The bus trip was a little nicer than four years ago. The bus was air-conditioned and had decent ventilation. I was seated near the front, and the only ones on the bus who seemed to be smoking were the driver and conductor. They even held it down to one per hour, until the last hour when the driver started chain smoking during the toe-curling descent from 3000m to 1800m.

The bus trip will probably get faster in the next couple of years. The windy mountain road is being twinned for the first third. The new road is much straighter, but, more importantly, if the road changes from two lanes to four, the busses will save lots of time because they won't get stuck behind slow-moving trucks and tractors. It could cut two hours from the trip.

Along the way, I saw a large billboard portraying skiing. I don't know if this means that a ski resort is under construction. If it is, then the residents of western Chengu suburbs may have skiing within a two or three hour drive.

Back to Jiuzhaigou. Another modern "improvement" is the addition of cellular phone towers throughout the park. There is phone service everywhere, but the towers are an ugly blight. Nothing has been done to camoflage them.

In two days I will make a detour to Huanglong. (There was no ticket available for tomorrow.)

I'll post this, and send some followup post with more photos.

If billy bragg owned a cafe.

If billy bragg owned a cafe.

I had a dream about Billy Bragg owning a cafe a couple of days ago, then this morning I woke up at 8am with 4 verses of a song in Billy Bragg's voice in my head, so I jumped out of bed and typed them up, then went back to sleep.

I filled the rest in today,
I'm not really making any points about Billy Bragg, here I'm only a little bit of a fan, but I think it turned out nice.

The lyrics if you can't read them are:

Old Maggie Thatcher she was a cunt
and Blair he was a liar
and still I often think of them,
when I light up my gas fire.

This machine may not kill fascists,
but it may cook them some soup,
and bacon and eggs and sausages,
and we'll all watch in the loop.

The crowds are gone for me now,
though I might whistle a tune
instead of a guitar and a microphone,
I have my wooden spoon,

They used to call me William Bragg
though a name it means not much
used to be known for my pop singing,
now I cook the beans and such,

Used to sing bout issues of the day
and tour from coast to coast
now I stay in this cafe
and cook up beans on toast

I love the smell of the chip butties
and of frying up the toms
I used to talk about social issues
those days for me are gone

when they bomb the yemen and pakistan
and Iran's a case of not if but when
and all the unions on the strike
it's as bad now as it ever was back then
with unemployment on the rise
and the tories rising too
with wars in irac and afganistan,
You may ask me why I'm through,

I'd fight the fight for socialism
through political social song
I'd like to talk about so-cial-ism.
but I wanted this all along.

I'm not out to change the world
I'm just cooking a full English
are you looking for a cup of tea?
are you looking for another tea?
Lets all ave a cupppa tea
that'll be seventy ppppppppppppp
are you looking for a cuppa tea?

cooking breakfast for a crowd

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10.11.2011. u 07:22 • 0 KomentaraPrint#

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