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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Xi'an--May 2016

Here's the thing.  I posted these pictures on my blog nearly a year ago as witnessed by the date.  Why text eluded me for all this time is anybody's guess.  I feel like this blog and I are at counter purposes.  It wants to soar and have a life.  I want to stomp on it and hear its whimper.  No, not really.  I love my blog!  I want to marry my blog and have its tiny little post it notes!!!!  I have nearly 9,000 pictures of  China.  You do the math.  If I want to do credit to each and every picture, I am going to have to forego sleep and eating for the next 17 months.
So I draggle on and on.
Back up to this ice cream.  There's a story here.  I just need to remember it!  I remember the cones cost $8!!!!  I remember they were uber delicious!  I remember we got them out of a portable van, and I recall that it was a family business, and the young daughter was Yale-educated!!!!  At $8 a whack I am sure they're on a warm beach somewhere by now.

We don't see these ear cleaners in the Jing, but they abounded in Sichuan.  Xi'an is kind of in that general direction.  I have never felt my ears needed this degree of cleaning.  That giant tweezer is a sort of "tuning device"-ish.

A straw man

Chinese paper cutting.  This woman is a master and a very patient teacher.  I have some in my scriptures to prove that I could do it.

Bread to the nth degree!

A very pleasant and jolly noodle craftsman!!

Noodle drying!

These are DEEEEElicious!  I eat them in our campus cantine with vinegar and beans.  mmmmmm...

Flat noodles--various on an oft-repeated Chinese theme.

Grinding of the peppers

Barrels of fermenting vinegar

And the goat end of a goat cart!!  I'll get back to you on this village's name.  Thanks to the Xi'an branch for letting me tag along on their branch outing!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Harbin, China--January 2016

We interrupt this glorious 80 degree April day to drop back in time and take you to a land in the north on a monstrously cold day in the past.  Lest you think shabbily of such negligence in keeping this blog up to date, let me hasten to add that at LEAST I'm doing it!  Right??  Catch up is a completely legitimate blogging activity.  Remember these smiling faces of Cam and Jerry.  Cam hails from Mesa, Jerry from Minnesota.  

We book these junkets with a guy named Marvin and hop aboard! It's always an adventure in China--made just that much more delightful because our fellow China Teachers do the same thing! This morning's outing took us to a tiger park!  I know!!  700 tigers, ligers, and panthers lounging in the minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit New Year's Day.  They are uncaged, but we WERE caged in a bus!

How do you top tigers?

Good question!!!  Next stop was a swimming pool for seniors.  Here's where my camera retreated into its warm inner self and really didn't come out until last summer!  I thought it was a goner, but one day it just thawed out!!  I'm still waiting for that to happen to me...cold, cold, bone-chilling cold...brrrrrr...

This pool was cozied up to and being fed by a frozen river.  We could barely tolerate this whole event.  I mean, come ON!!

I love these shots of my camera just slowly going into hibernation.  Colors start fading.

Someone took this shot of me holding a white creature.  I know not what it is, truly.  Some sort of arctic fox?  He was probably headed for a coat factory someday soon. Very docile.  I wanted to tote him around all day--tuck him down next to my heart, wear him like a stole around my neck.

World famous Harbin Ice Festival!!  Oh my...
"What cannot be described must be experienced."

Cam and Jerry.  Smiles gone.

All hail, Fellow Travelers!  Nary a sacrificed nose or digit in the lot!

"Let's Go Fly a Feng Zheng!!"

Sometimes Mandarin to English translations are spot on.  Such is feng zheng which literally means "upright wind".  We were invited to an international kite festival yesterday.  Many times we might get these invitations because our "western presence" (translation:  round eyes, funky hair colors, and distinctive western weirdness) adds flair and political correctness, but in this case we really didn't care because it was a heck of a good time.  Even the "lunch" (two McDonald's chicken sandwiches handed to us in their wrappers while we perched under a tree) didn't dampen our spirits.  Never you mind that we saw some exotic box lunches circulating around...

We each got to make a kite!  These gals must have paid extra because they got to color theirs.

We just cut our pre-printed ones out.  I was surprised they trusted us with scissors, but they did.  Just not crayons or paints. I am sure they debated glue.

Best in show, in my opinion, was this long-legged guy who rose so gracefully and flew majestically!

(Overheard in the planning committee meeting:  "Hey Ling!  Are we covered this year on architecturally-themed kites?"

Tiny little kites displayed in boxes.

And beautiful artistic kites displayed in a tent.

This must be the day everyone waits for to try out new funky kites!

Someone even appears to have had his bangs curled for the occasion!

 Sucker guy--a heck of a nice kid--until you put moves on his sucker...

 Not a great photo, but it lends perspective.  

This millipede had to be lifted up by another kite.  Just as it looked like it might take flight, the wind died down.  We had a heavy date with a couple of Mickey D sandwiches, so we had to go.

 In spite of my lime green loincloth, this young lady let me hold her kite.  That's why I like China.  It consistently overlooks my flaws.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley