A Travellerspoint blog

December 2008

2009 New Years Beers N Noodles To You All

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, The Festive Season [/i] Part 2 - New Years 2009 Mate![/i] Ha Ha Ha! Just like when I was writing my Christmas Blog. I am sitting comfortably and warm before my computer and Luo Wei is out like a light. Happily for me, this time she is sleeping soundly on my couch right behind me. What a lucky boy I am! Poor little bugger is so tired, she got here mid afternoon today and has been sleeping ever since. I've written about her work hours before so I won't bother you with that but over the last two months they have also included two or more hours of dance practice every day. She has today, tomorrow and most of Friday off but has to work Friday night, all weekend, all next week, all next weekend and so it will continue until the end of term for her. The end of term! Yes let's talk about the end of term shall we! Mine finished at two thirty this very afternoon and I am now free until the middle of February 2009. I will head to Xian with Luo Wei on Friday and sadly we will part there and I will head to the very south east of China to Guangdong Province where I will have my passport renewed. I was going to fly but the thought of kicking back on the train relaxing for two nights before I begin walking six hours a day like I usually do is just too much. I love Chinese trains. I just have to decide between Hard Sleeper and Soft Sleeper. But on the other hand I dare say that I probably won't have a choice and will be lucky to get either. So it's now 11:00pm on New Years Eve 2008. I have a case of beer cooling in the fridge, a sleeping Chinese Beauty on my couch and one hours left of yet another fun filled year in the life of Living The Dream here in Mysterious China. I could have been out at a bar partying it up like everyone I know both here and back home but instead I chose to stay home and watch my little Peach while she slept some well deserved sleep. We could have gone out for a huge festive dinner but instead when Luo Wei woke half an hour ago I made us both a steaming bowl of instant noodles each. She the stewed beef from the green pack and me the seafood one from the blue pack. To each I added a whisked egg to make it all the more special. What a beautiful evening! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane <u>I'll leave you with the text message my sister sent me a moment ago.</u> Before the sun sets on the year 2008. Before the memories fade. Before the networks get jammed and long before I get pissed enough to get naked and lose my phone. I'm wishing you all and the happiest of happy New Years! To my beautiful family and all my happy friends from all over the world. All the best in 2009, may your Beers N Noodles shine! </b></b>______________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant The album was 'No Quarter' ______________________________________________________

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya


2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

2009 Happy New Year Noodles &#38;amp; Beers Toya

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Happy Xmas Beers & Noodles 2008 Mate

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, The Festive Season Part 1 - Christmas 2008 Mate! Here I sit comfortably nestled away in the Xiangzimen Youth Hostel in Xian. Luo Wei is sleeping soundly back in the hotel room after a big dinner with her friends. Sneaky little bugger was supposed to be out partying until the wee hours but happily for me she surprised me with a gentle rap the door . I rose in fear that it was the cleaning lady who had come to force herself upon me and when I realised my mistake and that my Boxing Day virginity was safe, I broke the chains that separated my little squeeze and myself. Let's talk about Christmas presents. I'm sure we could all submit a list of strange Christmas presents we have received over the years but this year I got what doesn't really sound like a 'strange gift' until you actually sit and think about it. The first came when I was one hundred percent sure that the school had forgotten it was Christmas. I knew that the cities End of Year Dance was on the evening of Christmas Eve but no one had mentioned it to me. I only knew as I had seen several female teachers return to school still clad in their beautiful tight silk dresses during the day. I asked several students' whey they were dressed so. They told me that there was to be a dance performance that evening. Before I left the office I mentioned the silk dresses to the other English Teachers and they raced about trying to find out why the beauties were dressed so. I then hinted that I already knew and that I would love to attend the dance and happily I was promised that a ticket would be hunted down for me. Several hours later I got a call to come to the door and waiting for me were the schools leaders who wanted to present me with my Christmas present. And so came my strange present. I was handed a waist high pre-decorated Christmas tree. I know it doesn't sound strange like maybe a box of lego. Or maybe even porn flick or two from your girlfriend's mother. But isn't it beneath a Christmas tree where your presents are supposed to go? Aren't you generally supposed to buy the tree yourself and then spend a bit of time decorating it? Like in any culture that adopts another's festival, things are going to be missed and usually it will be an important part of the festival or celebration. Well, maybe not THE most important thing but the little things that make it what it is and has taken centuries to bring to life. Things like getting together as a family and hunting down a Christmas tree and then either making or buying the decorations and then on a certain date during the festival getting together as a family to decorate the tree. This you do together and you do it that way for all of your childhood. You then start a family of your own and pass it down from generation to generation. It is these important things that have been skipped here in China and the only thing you can do together as a couple or a family here is to go to the store and choose your pre-decorated tree because that's how it happens here. All trees come decorated and all you need to do is choose your colour! Talk about turning Japanese! So after three thousand, three hundred and thirty three photos of me and the Christmas tree we set off for a big diner with the School Leaders and some other 'names' from here and there and afar. The food was delicious, the company was awesome and the chatter non-stop like at all Chinese dinners no matter how big or small they are. After dinner we moved about twenty meters and were all soon sitting in the city hall. What was to follow was just as beautiful as all the past Dance Performances I have been to in China. The colour, the elegance, the moves. To me it's like being in a movie or even a dream. No matter how long I live here it will always be something that will come across dream like! After the performance I said my good byes to everyone and headed out for a walk about town. The city was a thrive of activity and the vibe was almost electric. Families were racing around with pre-decorated trees purchasing anything that flashed and glittered and if that couldn't be found then it only had to reflect light. Children of all ages (including myself at one stage) were chasing each other with cans of spray foam squealing with delight at the freedom and fun they were having. By this I mean, they had the evening off school. Usually they race home around 5:30pm for dinner They then have to be back in the classroom by 7:00pm There they stay until around 9:30 - 10:30pm, every night except Saturday night! Christmas day for me was spent in bed keeping warm until around two as there wasn't any heating. Finally when the heating arrived I rose to spend the rest of the day on my computer chatting to friends from here, there and everywhere on MSN, QQ and Skype. Such a sociable little bugger I can be at times! I spent Christmas night out on the town walking around again and took myself out for Chicken Burgers for my Christmas Dinner. When it comes to Christmas I'm not afraid to spend that little bit extra (hahahaha!) Anyhow, it's time to wrap this up as my Steak Sandwich has just arrived! Along with another cold stubbie of Jim Beam and Cola. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane PS: Over Christmas I received an email about the 'Origin' of the Twelve Days of Christmas' song from several people. I loved the whole idea behind it and decided I'd look into it and add a few more things. I was so happy to get these emails as they finally made sense of one of the most senseless and stupid songs I've ever heard. Some people say that it's all a load of rubbish and that it is just a normal Christmas Song. Maybe those who question it have never actually read the insane lyrics to this song! Maybe those who question it have also never tried to sing this crazy song. You seriously have a much better chance of singing a Slayer song. They also have some insane lyrics but at least they make sense! Call this a normal Christmas Song? Surely they can't have heard it! But now it all makes sense. Now they very much have the script for National Treasure Part III. But sadly because of me everyone now knows the ending. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus mate! Sheezus, I had to give it away didn't I! Heaven forbid!

PSS: There are a heap of photos at the end like usual _____________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by George Thorogood The album was the 'George Thorogood - Anthology' _____________________________________________ <u>The Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas</u></b> You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas". To most people it's a strange yet delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But supposedly it had a quite serious purpose when it was written. Some believe that it is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts. Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to be a Catholic. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head. Or hanged, drawn and quartered. A rather peculiar and ghastly punishment! I'm not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disemboweled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb and the remaining torso. The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..." The Twelve Days of Christmas is probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians who are not part of liturgical church traditions. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th with the following day considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th). In these traditions, the twelve days begin December 26 and include Epiphany on January 6. The origin and counting of the Twelve Days is complicated, and is related to differences in calendars, church traditions, and ways to observe this holy day in various cultures (see Christmas). In the Western church, Epiphany is usually celebrated as the time the Wise Men or Magi arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). Traditionally there were three Magi, probably from the fact of three gifts, even though the biblical narrative never says how many Magi came. In some cultures, especially Hispanic and Latin American culture, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings (Span: la Fiesta de Reyes, el Dia de los Tres Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos; Dutch: Driekoningendag). Even though December 25th is celebrated as Christmas in these cultures, January 6th is often the day for giving gifts. In some places it is traditional to give Christmas gifts for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Since Eastern Orthodox traditions use a different religious calendar, they celebrate Christmas on January 7th and observe Epiphany or Theophany on January 19th. By the 16th century, some European and Scandinavian cultures had combined the Twelve Days of Christmas with (sometimes pagan) festivals celebrating the changing of the year. These were usually associated with driving away evil spirits for the start of the new year. The Twelfth Night is January 5th, the last day of the Christmas Season before Epiphany (January 6th). In some church traditions, January 5th is considered the eleventh Day of Christmas, while the evening of January 5th is still counted as the Twelfth Night, the beginning of the Twelfth day of Christmas the following day. Twelfth Night often included feasting along with the removal of Christmas decorations. French and English celebrations of Twelfth Night included a King's Cake, remembering the visit of the Three Magi, and ale or wine (a King's Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA). In some cultures, the King's Cake was part of the celebration of the day of Epiphany. It is certainly possible, in fact probable, that this view of the song is legendary or anecdotal. Without corroboration and in the absence of "substantive evidence," we probably should not take rigid positions on either side and turn the song into a crusade for personal opinions. That would do more to violate the spirit of Christmas than the song is worth. So, for the sake of historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge the likelihood that the song had secular origins. However, on another level, this should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation. <u>On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>A Partridge in a Pear Tree</b></b> The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34) <u>On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Two Turtle Doves </b></b>The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world. <u>On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Three French Hens</b></b> The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13) <u>On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...</u></b> Four Calling Birds</b> The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ. <u>On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Five Gold Rings</b></b> The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world. <u>On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Six Geese A-laying</b></b> The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1). <u>On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...</u></b> Seven Swans A-swimming</b> The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11) <u>On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Eight Maids A-milking</b></b> The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10) <u>On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Nine Ladies Dancing</b></b> The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness, 6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22) <u>On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Ten Lords A-leaping</b></b> The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17) <u>On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...</u> Eleven Pipers Piping</b></b> The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans. <u>On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Twelve Drummers Drumming</b></b> The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting. <u>Epiphany, January 6 </u>An Epiphany Devotional</b></b> Perhaps, when all is said and done, historical accuracy is not really the point. Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God's grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was only a secular "nonsense song," they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world. After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

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Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Today Is Dumpling Day & Winter Solstice Festival

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Happy Happy Dong Zhi (or Donzhi) to you! Today is the Winter Solstice Festival and you guessed it, its also about food. Happily for me the food consumed to celebrate it is Jiaozi, or dumplings which I gorge myself on regulary. I was told I HAD to eat Jiaozi today as they help stop your ears from freezing and falling off.

After my four hour walk out in the villages to the west of Shangzhou I was nearly too late. But now it sounds like a good idea to help my ears stay on tomorrow! For those who are interested below is some information on the history of this festival and below that there is a rather funny article written by a man on a mission to eat more dumplings than the average Chinese person. Sadly though he missed out on eating dog meat dumplings!

Dumplings! I freakin love dumplings!

Some of the best times I've had here in China had something to do with dumplings. I've spent many days with friends relaxing whilst we as a group spend hours making, cooking and eating dumplings. The dumplings I make are usually the first to fall apart or end up being used for spare parts for other peoples dumplings. But on other hand there have been a few occassions where I was an obsolute champion dumpling maker.

And as the old saying goes; Its not the dumpling, its what you do with it that counts Below you will find a link to one of my more memorable dumpling making days.

November 2007 - Lets Go On A Picnic Chinese Style! Bring The Wok![/b] [b]Mate, have you ever been on a Chinese picnic? Let me tell you about the Chinese picnic I went on today. First step is to buy as much food as humanly possible. Second step is to pre-make nothing at all. Third step is to carry it all there, then make it and eat as much as possible As early as 2,500 years ago, about the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), China had determined the point of Winter Solstice by observing movements of the sun with a sundial. It is the earliest of the 24 seasonal division points. The time will be each December 21 or 22 according to the Gregorian calendar. In the Chinese idea of Yin and Yang, Yin symbolizes feminine, negative and dark qualities of the universe, and yang masculine, positive and fiery qualities, and when something goes to one extreme it then goes to the opposite. Winter solstice in the northern hemisphere is the shortest day and longest night. After it, days become longer, which ancient Chinese thought meant yang qualities would become stronger, so should be celebrated. The Winter Solstice became a festival during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and thrived in the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279). The Han people regarded Winter Solstice as a "Winter Festival", so officials would organise celebrating activities. On this day, both officials and common people would have a rest. The army was stationed in, frontier fortresses closed and business and traveling stopped. Relatives and friends presented to each other delicious food. In the Tang and Song dynasties, the Winter Solstice was a day to offer scarifies to Heaven and ancestors. Emperors would go to suburbs to worship the Heaven; while common people offered sacrifices to their deceased parents or other relatives. The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) even had the record that "Winter Solstice is as formal as the Spring Festival," showing the great importance attached to this day. In some parts of northern China, like Beijing, people eat dumpling soup (HunTun or in the west we know it as Won Ton Soup)) on this day. It's said that in the Han Dynasty, when Hun tribes attacked China's borders, two tribal leaders were the fiercest. One was named Hun and the other Tun. So when people made food to offer to their ancestors and celebrate the festival, they called the dumpling soup they ate huntun to show their hatred for their enemy. In other parts of northern China, such as Henan, people eat dumplings in honor of a famous doctor named Zhang Zhongjing (150-219). Zhang is remembered not only as a brilliant physician but as being very kind to the poor. According to local custom, one year the winter was so cold that many people in Zhang's hometown of Nanyang suffered from painful chilblains. Seeing that his small clinic was no longer able to accommodate an ever increasing number of patients, Zhang asked his brother to put up a tent in the village square. A large cauldron was placed inside the tent to prepare medicine, in which Zhang had dumplings stuffed with mutton boiled. Every patient got a bowl of the soup with two dumplings, and their chilblains disappeared in a day or two. Zhang's mixture soon became a popular recipe, and when he died, people began to eat dumplings on the day of the winter solstice in his memory. In northern China, many people eat mutton and dog meat because these are believed to be hot yang foods, bringing warmth to the body and dispelling the cold of yin. In parts of southern China, people eat tangyuan (rice dumplings), a kind of stuffed small sweet ball of glutinous rice flour. Tangyuan can be used as offerings to ancestors or gifts for friends and relatives. The Chinese word tang (meaning "soup") sounds like tuan, which means reunion, while yuan means perfect and happy. The entire phrase tangyuan therefore symbolizes "tuanyuan" (family reunion), and eating it at the winter solstice signifies family unity and prosperity. For luck, some families prefer to have pink tangyuan mixed in with white ones. In other parts of southern China, whole families get together to have a meal of red beans and glutinous rice to drive away ghosts and evil. According to one tale, a man named Gong Gongshi had an evil son who died on the winter solstice. After death, he became a spirit that made people ill, but Gong knew his son was afraid of red beans so he taught people to cook red bean rice to keep him at bay. Noodles are also popular in many areas; as the days get longer there is a saying that each gets longer by the length of a thread. So noodles specially made for the festival are called Long Thread Noodles. Though Winter Solstice Festival used to be considered the second most important festival after Spring Festival, its importance has decreased with urbanization and growing interest in Western festivals. In attempt to stem this, the government has decided to apply for the Dragon Boat Festival to be listed by UNESCO as a piece of World Heritage, and some experts suggest giving days off for traditional Chinese festivals such as Mid-Autumn Festival, Lantern Festival and Winter Solstice Festival. The Winter Solstice rice dumplings could be used as sacrifices to ancestors, or gifts for friends and relatives. The Taiwan people even keep the custom of offering nine-layer cakes to their ancestors. They make cakes in the shape of chicken, duck, tortoise, pig, cow or sheep with glutinous rice flour and steam them on different layers of a pot. These animals all signify auspiciousness in Chinese tradition. People of the same surname or family clan gather at their ancestral temples to worship their ancestors in age order. After the sacrificial ceremony, there is always a grand banquet. Consisting of, you guess it, dumplings!. Ok, the following is an article I found but lost the page so I have no idea where I got it from. I added it as it is rather amusing in a dumpling sort of way...hope you enjoy! </b> Shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, dumplings stuffed with pungent leek, with crispy celery, with pleasantly bitter winter cabbage, steamed dumplings, boiled dumplings, dumplings fried in the pan until they're golden brown. [/i] [/i] Dumplings by the dozen, the hundred, the thousand.[/i] [/i] I am on a mission to eat these dumplings. During a week in Harbin, I make a daily tally and realize I am consuming far too many. Then I look at the next tables over and see that I am an amateur: Chinese half my size are consuming twice my complement of dumplings, washing them down with Hapi beers as frigid as the air that blows in each time the front door opens.[/i] [/i] In a country where geography so often dictates cuisine - lamb and pork reign inland, seafood on the coast; noodles orient toward the harsh north and rice to the more temperate south - the dumpling is a gastronomic ambassador across China's regions, ethnic groups and even religions. [/i] [/i] In the far northwest, Muslim Uighurs wolf down mutton dumplings as enthusiastically as Cantonese gulp open-topped shumai in the southeast and Shanghainese savor soup dumplings - elegantly twisted morsels full of pork, flaked crab meat and scalding liquid known as "little dragon buns." [/i] [/i] "When you think about it, it's the perfect food," says Oriental Dumpling King waitress No. 005, known to her friends and family as Huang Yibo. Chinese restaurant staffers tend to be identified by numbers, which can reach a dizzying six digits - a combination of the remnants of communist bureaucracy and the Chinese obsession with numerology. [/i] [/i] Huang watches as her colleagues - behind sanitary glass, of course, in keeping with the new China - toil in the dumpling version of Henry Ford's assembly line, racing to keep up with New Year's demand for, count 'em, 33 kinds of dumplings. "They get calluses on their fingers from making so many dumplings," Huang says. I ask in my most polite Mandarin but am denied entrance to the inner sanctum. Too busy, they say. But would you want a hulking, bushy-bearded foreigner running roughshod through your dumpling operation? [/i] [/i] Sated - at least for a few hours - I bundle up in a coat that makes me resemble a large version of the morsels I've just consumed. Dumplings, it turns out, are (along with clear Chinese sorghum liquor known by its deceptively innocuous name, "baijiu," or "white wine") another great inoculation against a Harbin winter day. [/i] [/i] At one place, called Dongbei Ya, or Northeastern Duck, I order three dozen: pork and cilantro, fresh shrimp and boiled cabbage. "Are you sure you want 36? That's quite a lot. Can you eat that many?" the waitress says to me, smiling but defiant. [/i] [/i] "Could a Chinese person eat them all?" I ask. "Probably."[/i] "Then don't worry about it."[/i] [/i] [/i] (Dumplings are really cheap, too. My total - 36 dumplings, two Cokes and a pot of tea - comes to about $3.20.) [/i] [/i] The diminutive dumpling, I'm told repeatedly, helps cut the cold. For one, the cooking methods retain heat. Unlike quick-fried wok cuisine, whose heat dissipates in a minute or two, something steamed or boiled is the perfect conduit of warmth from hearth to stomach. All the Chinese characters for the cooking methods used to make dumplings - steamed, boiled, pan-fried - have four small apostrophe-like critters at the bottom, signifying flames licking up from a stove. [/i] [/i] Then, of course, there are the ingredients. Globs of meat and vegetables pinched into robust dough - not exactly standard Atkins fare - offer the stick-to-your-ribs potential that can give a guy the get-up-and-go to walk, say, a few blocks across Harbin's frozen cobblestones without turning into an ice sculpture himself ("Dumpling-Sated, Bundled-Up Westerner in Repose"). [/i] [/i] Pungent mixes of soy sauce, black vinegar and thick and seeded red-pepper paste.[/i] [/i] I'll admit it: When I lived in China as a child at the end of the 1970s, I overdid things a bit. The dining hall at our foreigners' compound made Dumplingfest a Sunday staple, and I'd go for lunch and eat 40 of them. Then, for dinner, they'd pan-fry 'em to make sure they all got used. I ate 40 more, appreciative of the increased oil quotient against the biting Beijing cold. [/i] [/i] In those days, Beijing dumplings were a special occasion. [/i] [/i] Families whose entire home was a single room gathered in communal cinderblock kitchens and formed their own dumpling brigades, with children mixing filling and pinching dough while mothers and fathers manned huge pots of water heated by wood and coal stoves. The result, a weekend feast, was a vast difference from the melancholy vegetables and slivers of tough meat that each day usually brought. [/i] [/i] By my final day in Harbin, I waddle out the front door of Oriental Dumpling King, feeling lucky that I fit through. Across the way, Central Dumpling King is just as crowded, and the eternal faceoff continues. I realize the winner is, of course, me. [/i] [/i] My final count, in six days: exactly 367 dumplings. I am ready to go home. [/i][/i] Beers N Noodles toya....shane _________________________________________________________ The Soundtrack to this tastry treat was by Johnny Winter The album was 'The Very Best Of' __________________________________________________________

Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments


Delicious Dumpling Moments

Delicious Dumpling Moments

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

A Pre-Christmas G'Day & a Catchup Coffee

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Just thought I'd drop in for a quick catchup and to say hello. Happily last weekend Luo Wei and I finally got to spend another weekend together. She's been busy hosting a variety of English Competitions at her uni, which of course continue over the weekends. So Friday night we boarded buses that took us on separate picturesque journeys through the wild mountains that surround both our abodes. Where better to meet than Xian's ancient city walls. What better to do next than head to the Hostel for a giant club sandwich and an evening full of smiles. We spent most of the weekend out and about shopping for a new jacket for Luo Wei for Christmas (which was her first present). I know she won't have time to read this so she won't know that her main present will be a mobile phone. For the last year she's been using my old Sony and most would know that I lugged that thing all over China for three years. Now the screens about to go, the camera no longer works and you pretty much have to bash it around to get the charger or the ear piece to work. Getting it to turn on is another problem entirely. That now takes an actual kick start! Saturday night we met up with Ying and his Gal and we headed out for a most deliciously mouth watering Hotpot. We spent a few hours chatting about this and that, much of which was about New Zealand. Some time in the next few weeks Ying will be heading there to visit friends for a month or so. We will probably catchup again during Spring Festival when I head to Kaifeng City with Luo Wei.. Ying is from Zhengzhou which is the capital of Henan Province and only an hour away from Kaifeng. While we are on the subject of me having another few months off to travel, I've been told I finish teaching at the end of December and that the new term begins around the end of February. I can't say that will happen and I'm preparing to finish teaching around the middle of January and as to when the new term begins? This is China, no one actually knows just yet. If people actually knew and others found out, that would give the masses the power to plan ahead. My guess is that the powers that be in Beijing are still waiting for the moon to tell them. Like I said in my last blog, my sixth Chinese New Year in China will be spent in and around Guangdong Province eating Cantonese Cuisine and renewing my Passport. There are several villages I want to visit that are full of Hakka Peoples Earth Buildings. For those that don't know what I am talking about check the following pages out. They would have to be some of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life. I saw them in a documentary when I was just a wee boy. A few decades later I moved to China and then to Fujian Province and took a friends advice to go see some strange houses. When I arrived I began jumping up and down yelling paragraphs of strange things my Chinese Driver thankfully couldn't understand. There were the very same houses that blew my mind decades before. But this time they were real! Yongding and Hakka Peoples Houses Adventure Part I - Photos Yongding and Hakka Peoples Houses Adventure Part II - Photos Yongding and Hakka Peoples Houses Adventure Part III - Information Also as its been a few years since I've seen the ocean I think I will spend some time visiting the coast where I can run naked (feet hahaha!) along the beach and build sandcastles. Between now and then I will be a very busy boy! I found all ten years of the X-Files in Xian on the weekend and as it only cost around seven or so Aussie Bux I thought to myself, why not spend some time with Spooky Mulder and Scully the Skeptic. It's been along time between beer and pizza's for us. Wednesday nights were for a decade of my life dedicated to only one thing, beer, pizza, friends and the X-Files. That is actually four things but I'm sure you know what I mean. Though LOST has nearly taken its place, the X-Files still sits at number one on my All Time Best TV Shows list. I also finally found the latest BOND film in English too. The three I found prior were 'in English' until you put the disk into the player. Somehow two of them sounded very much like Chinese and the third sounded very much like Russian and all of which I was assured that were in English 'because it said so on the back cover'. And to keep the Chinese on the ends of their chopsticks. The Russian one didn't even have Chinese subtitles, they were in Thai. The other night I actually started typing up the blogs for my Inner Mongolian Grasslands and Sand Dune Adventures from last summer but now I just don't know where I will find the time to finish them. Last night I watched half of the first season of the X-Files and with nine and a half still to go maybe I won't ever get them finished. Before I wish you all Pre-Christmas Beers N Noodles I want to send out a HUGELY HUGE or even HUGER THAN A HUGELY HUGE congratulations to Mick Evens who recently turned into a Mr & Mrs with his sweet. It is times like these that sometimes make you want to pack it all in and head home but that second passes and I simply move on. Hoops mate, that would have to be one of the best 'Best Man' speeches ever! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-FXFWv8z3w</b> Seriously, the man is now married and I have never met his wife. In fact there are several friends that over the past four years have married. Some of which have had kids that I have never had a chance to say Kutchie Koo too. Life moves on and waits for no man! Live in a rice field or marry your sweet and have a few kutchie koo's! A wise man once said, Do That Which Blows Your Hair Back Young Fella! Beers N Noodles toya.......shane

PS: Over the past few years I've only written about 'health' on several occasions, usually when I'm deathly hungover or once or twice when I really was sick as a dog. Thankfully though the 'real' occasions only lasted twenty four hours. For those who have along with those who have never travelled to places like China, Laos or Thailand sit and imagine what it would be like to be hospitalised in such a country for reasons no body can find yet the pain you are feeling is real and so are all the other things that are happening to you.

This beer goes out to one of the Travelpod Greats who at this very moment is laying in a Thai hospital for reasons no doctor can find. Developing country hospitals mean just that...developing hospitals. So click here and read about ScottWoz and then sit back and try to comprehend what would run though your own mind. I'd be freaking out if it happened to me back home and I was laying in a modern sparkly clean Australian hospital.

Here's hoping that it is something simple! So simple in fact that a few Beers N Noodles can fix it!

When we caught up a few weeks ago I found out that Scott has fallen for Asia in a big way and like me has decided to kick back and stay for awhile. Health huh, where would we be without it! Probably at our parents place being fed pumpkin soup and if your mothers pumpkin soup is anything like my mothers, then thats really not a such bad idea!

I wonder if she could get some through Customs! ______________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the almighty Fear Factory The album was 'Fear Is The Mind Killer' ______________________________________________

A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup


A Quick Catchup

A Quick Catchup

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)