Remembering 9/11 Li and Sara came to my apartment for a cooking party which started with a lesson in shopping for Chinese fruit and veggies. We met at the Farmers Market at the neighborhood Zhao Lan Yuan mall. Women huijianle nong mao shichang, zai fujiu de zhaolanyuan shangchang. We came home and arranged the fresh things for still life pictures. Here's a key for their identification:
- Jui cai Garlic chives
- Xiao Small onion, similar to chives
- Jiao bai Looks like big bamboo shoot, Water bamboo
- Cong Sweet onion, similar to leek but much stronger oniony fragrance and flavor
- Xiang cai Fragrant vegetable, cilantro
- Lu hao Wild
- Qing jiao Tiger claw pepper, Anaheim chile
- Bai luo bo Daikon radish
- Dasuan Garlic
10. Tong hao Looks like loose-leaf lettuce, similar to Lu hao
Red/Purple: (top row) Hongse/zise (ding xing)
- Zishu Purple potato
- Dasuan Garlic
- Huo long guo Dragon fruit
Second row: Di er hang
- Hong xian cai Beautiful red green veggie
- caogu mushrooms
- Hua Jiao Sichuan pepper also called pepper bush
- Qiezi Long skinny eggplant
- Da zao Chinese date, jujube
- Great Wall Cabernet sauvignon
Dishes Cai Top row: ding xing:
- Qiezi Eggplant with peppers
- Jiao bai Water bamboo
- Bai luo bo Daikon salad with cilantro
Bottom row: zui xiamian yihang:
- Hong xian cai Beautiful red green veggie with pink garlic
- Lu hao wild vegetable
- Tong hao wild vegetable
Dishes were served with small bowls of rice cooked with diced purple potato, which made it a lavender color, and Yu tou or taro root, Chinese potato and small bowls of mushroom soup mogu tang.
Just as we were sitting down to sample Li's creations (Sara and Cher were sou chefs, prepping, cleaning, chopping) and toasting with the liwu de yiping butao de honse de jiu, Evelyn, a new neighbor on the 2nd floor, rapped at my door bearing a plate of rhambutan fruit. Evelyn is visiting professor form Brown University in Rhode Islandhttp://www.brown.edu/, lecturing in the anthropology department. She speaks very good Mandarin. Founded in 1764, Brown University is the 7th oldest college in the United States with a current student enrollment of 8,000.
My internet was out, the entire southwest neighborhood, for some 'unknown' reason. I changed the duvet on my bed to the winter weight, fluffy one and washed the cover in my tiny washing machine and hung it to dry on the little sun porch.
This week Evelyn and I went to a fancy hotel downtown in the Chaoyang district to attend a lecture by a Tsinghua factulty director form the School of Economics and Management. After a lengthy presentation about the Tsinghua INSEAD dual degree program (in only 18 months you too can pay $90K and receive an MA from TU and one from INSEAD). The second half of the night's program was on "Challenges of the Chinese Economy and the 12th 5-year Plan." Before everything started we were treated to espresso and darling miniature current muffins as big as a quarter and the cutest little custards in porcelain dishes about the size of a large spoon, each with a couple tiny blueberries and little crumb of praline. Delicious! Everyone was networking like crazy, and it was big fun.
Some points from the lecture:
- The current rate of growth being experienced by China today is unsustainable. This is something known by the architects of the 12th 5-year Plan (2011-2015) who point out several problems but don't offer any solutions.
- The Chinese constitution contains some specific points such as:
- o party officials' salaries increase at the CPI rate annually, resulting in highly compensated bureaucratic officials.
- o The private to the public ratio shall never exceed 50%, currently at 50%, what happens if private sector growth exceeds to 51%?
- State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are used to balance many conditions since they are 100% under the control of the government such as employment and investment.
- Currently SOEs are starting merger operations with private entities which preserves the SOEs hegemony.
- o This is possible because private enterprise is having trouble obtaining loans/capitalization, contributing to this trend
- The current growth trend started in 1978 when Deng Xiaopeng was recruited out of exile. He instituted agricultural and industrial reforms to counter the disastrous results of Mao's Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Mao's official tenure 1943-1976, died 1976.
- o In 1967 Liu and his wife were under house arrest in Beijing and disappeared. In 1969 Deng was sent to Xinjian County Tractor Factory. Both men attempted to remove Mao from power and rectify many problems with the country. The Cultural Revolution was a method to combat Mao's growing numbers of critics and regain control of the country.
There are many technical aspects to the net trade income, the tole of the central band, money supply and Value Added Tax which I can't delve into here, but are fascinating. The lecture provided me with greater understanding of the current situation and some interesting details, all delivered succinctly and with humor.
This past weekend I spent a blissful afternoon at the little square park near the office with the big grotesque rock and antique planter. I sat in the hazy autumn sunshine and drew the big rock. Part of my WuWei (non-action) series I am developing. Little bits of bamboo in the background and wispy clouds indicated by a few lines. Next I brush painted the little umbrella trees and their bigger maple companions. This will be beautiful when the leaves turn color.
The Sophora japonica 'pendula' is also known as Pendulous Pagoda Tree or Weeping Scholar Tree. A weeping head is grafted onto and upright trunk. Creamy yellow pea-like flowers bloom in summer in large panicles. The Chinese maple, Acer discolor, is very similar to the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum.
My internet and Gmail have been going in and out since Thursday when I accidentally triggered something while researching articles for my bi-weekly media report. I don't even want to tell you what keyword started it this time.
The mornings are crisp now. The guard shack ladies were admiring the little pots of ornamental peppers, poking up purple and red in the sun. They are tearing up the main road in my neighborhood, the one that goes by the shopping street Zhao Lan Yuan, down to the Senior Center and Primary School, where it flooded during the one-day typhoon event.
On any morning on my way to work I pass the old 'playground' of Tsinghua, now used mostly for soccer. Many folks are out in the morning of all ages from toddlers to seniors, enjoying the fine fall weather. I saw a boy on his bicycle riding furiously around and around the track trailing behind him a string of kites. Darling!
Chinese yo-yo dou kong zhu, che ling, xiang huang practitioners can be seen frequently on the field, morning or afternoons, with their big spool shaped discs joined by a shaft. Grooves are carved into the discs which make a whirring or buzzing sound which they use to gauge the speed. Numerous tricks can be done by a skilled player such as: accelerate, lift-up, swing, elevator, toss-and-catch, stick grind, jumping, waterfall, jump and escape. More advanced tricks: cicada/fake throw, around the world, genocide/propeller.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_yo-yo
Because of the road construction, residents in my neighborhood have had to find new ways to come and go. I am sharing some pictures from the hutong.
Hui tou jian