Yummy Food....

The other day when some people from accounting were in town, we went with them and the President of Lifetime China to a really nice place for dinner. These were taken with the iphone, so they aren't great. There was a reactionary heating spot on the table that when turned on with the soup placed on top it boils.

We each got a small pot of soup. Kenneth and Daniel got one kind (above) because Kenneth believes that men should eat certain kinds and women different kinds. I thought Daniel's tasted better than mine.  Then there were many different things to put in the boiling soup to cook, kind of like fondue.
These were like gyoza/wanton things filled with meat. You put them in the boiling soup to cook. they were the best. We loved them.

These two gray goo looking things were a shrimp mix. They look weird, but they tasted pretty yummy when cooked.
 That green stuff in my chopsticks is a light loaf like tofu. It tasted like soggy bread.
 These were noodles of different colors. You cooked them at the end so that they picked up the flavor of the other things you cooked.
This is rolled up lamb. This was really good. Unfortunately for one of the women who was with us, she didn't want to eat meat while in China, but the rest of us enjoyed the meat!

Dear Araves, Allens and/or Dicksons, if you make it over here, we will take you here.


Mailing things

So we got a bunch of postcards in Hong Kong and wrote them out to family and a few friends. It's taken us a few weeks to get to a post office to mail them. But now they are mailed. Here's how stamps work in China:

 What Daniel is using is not a brush. It's a flattened pipe. You have to actually GLUE! the stamps on. No licking or sticker stuff. GLUE!!!

This is the front of the post office. It's the original post office of Xiamen.

So there you go, in some ways China is decades behind us.


Dragon Boat races

On the 21st we went to GMA University to watch some boat races. They are kind of like the rowing races that we know, but with paddles and more people per boat. It was pretty cool, and we saw some interesting things besides. 

The first part of the adventure was riding the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), it's a raised road that only buses are allowed on, across the island and onto the mainland. It was interesting to ride a bus that was very crowded for for 25 minutes. I don't think I'm keen on doing that again. Then we got to the GMA University campus.

I thought this was interesting. Two old men lighting up.

These guys were carrying a duck. Just like a pet.

These were the beautiful pagodas at the lake. 

This was the flag. 

Here are some of the boats. There are big drums at the front of the boat that someone hits rhythmically. It was amazing during the races to hear the drums.

Here's a clip, listen to the drums.

This is Licy, from the office.

These are the boats they use. 

 They were pretty boats.
 After the races we went to eat Thai food at a local place, run by a Thai family. These were the stairs we climbed up to the room where we ate.
They were really steep.  

 Left to right: Mike (from Lifetime), his girlfriend, Sheva, and a friend from school, (whose name I did not get) and Yimi (from Lifetime) and Licy (from Lifetime). We really enjoyed our lunch. It was the best Thai food I've had.

Then we had to do the picture for them with laiwai's. Peace signs is a must. So Yimi, Mike's girlfriend, me and Daniel, school friend, and Licy. Mike took the picture. It was a fun day. It would have been more fun had it not been so hot.


I only got one real request about what you want to hear about. That is shoes. Do we always remove them and why. Yes, we do. All my shoes that lace are now loosely laced for easy on/off.

It is tradition here to remove your shoes. I didn't quiet understand it, besides shoes can be hard on your flooring. Now I understand. Here's why:

 Trash and other gross stuff. The Chinese people spit a lot. Like the gross loogey kind and spit on the ground. Disgusting. They clean the streets up with these natural brooms, which is a good use of natural resources, but they don't get the spit up.

And then there's my favorite. Small children here get started on potty training as soon as they can walk. They wear these little chap like pants - with no bum - that are open all through the crotch. When they need to pee their parents or grandparents stand them to the side and they pee in the street. We've seen them go in garbage cans in stores and the worst was when we saw a three year old little boy peeing in the isle of the store. Just out in the open. Lovely. Gross.

There you go. That's why you take your shoes off. It's tradition and polite - because it's not polite to track all the yuck into someone's house. Makes you want to take your shoes off, huh?


The infamous traditions

or the famous. But it's tradition. The Chinese foot massage. It's amazing. We have been to three different places and we like this place the best. Part of it is that it's in our complex. Very close to home. So here is how it goes down.

When you get there you pick which service you want. We now have the VIP card that gets us suites at Fortune Life.

We headed up stairs and down the hall.

 They get you situated in a room (ours had 5 beds - as there were 5 of us) and then they bring in HOT water. Mine was too hot this time and I had them dump in some cooler water so it was bearable.
 This place offers clothes to change into. Daniel's shirt is always really sweaty so he puts on the shirt they offer. Selena put the  shorts on because she was wearing skinny jeans. Then they wash your feet in this hot tea bath water.

Then they dry you off and work a little on your lower legs and thighs.
Sorry you have to see me from my perspective. They work fast, thus the blurry arms. Well sort of, fast plus low light I can't use a fast shutter speed or you get the bright white look, like Daniel above.
 Daniel getting his thighs rubbed.
 Once you get settled they bring you a bowl of noodles and some fruit. Some nights they have a deep fried tarro pie, but not that night. So the price includes dinner.
 They spend 30 minutes on each foot doing reflexology. It hurts so good. Then they put a cooling lotion on your feet that feels so good after the hot water and massage oil.
 Then another water bath for your feet.
 Then they spend 10 minutes on your legs. The work your joints and stretch you something fierce.

Daniel always groans when they do this part.  
 Cliff was groaning too.

 All the while you get to watch TV.
 Selena is much more flexible than the rest of us.
 Then they spend 25 minutes on your back and shoulders and neck. This part feels good. Cliff almost fell asleep. Some people do.
 Then for the last 10 minutes they have a bundle of hot rocks that they move up and down your back.
 Then they have you roll over again and they put it on your stomach and feet. It feels so good on your feet.

 This is the fruit we had. Apples, pears and watermelon. The watermelon here is amazing. Always so fresh.


Mango Ice

We got the idea that it was like a smoothie or something. Nope. It's this:
 It's a finely shaved ice pile with fresh, very fresh mangoes on top with what we think is sweetened condensed milk and mango syrup on top. It was delicious. We loved it.
 See, we were there, I promise. enjoying the very yummy dish.
Selena was telling us about the places you can buy it and that this location, just by us, is the best. This one has tarro on it. I don't love tarro, but it's popular in China. So there you go. There is also watermelon available.

It's something we will try to replicate at home when we move back. So yummy. I'll bet it's good with kiwi too.


A pleasant day

We took Danny and Cliff to Nan pu tuo to have a pleasant Sunday afternoon. We had good weather, unlike last week when we sweat nearly to death. Daniel had the camera this day and he had fun with the camera. So I'll just post the pictures.

 Don't pay attention to the fat Americans - just look at the cute Chinese girl - that is Selena. She is Daniel's assistant and we love her! She is so much fun and such a happy person. We did the peace thing because it's the Asian thing to do. I think it's genetic.
 This symbol, especially when in gold, means Buddha. It's carved into the stone.
 That's Danny and Selena going up the staircase.

These women were using a treadle machine to sew clothing for the monks. We used a translation app to ask them and then they tried to talk to us in Chinese. We said we didn't speak Chinese and they were talking and laughing. They didn't want me to take their picture so I stepped back and used the zoom. Sneaky?

Then we went to the pond in front of the temple and checked up on the terrapins there.
They were piling themselves pretty high on this door.
 There was one that looked stuck because none of his 4 feet could touch the guy below him.
There was a pile on the right corner and then the bottom guy decided he was done and took the ones on top of him off with him.
It was a good Sunday.

After this we went for Mango Ice.
Guess what? Come back tomorrow!! You knew that was coming though, didn't you?