Saturday, August 11, 2012
During my recovery from jet lag, I was able to post a few blogs about my trip to China, and I do have a couple more to post. Once I recovered from the flat out jet lag related exhaustion, I have had to stay focused on getting things done. There was no time for spring cleaning while I was neurotically preparing for my trip. Now it is catch-up time; first cleaning and organizing every room and closet in my house, then on to organizing and decorating my classroom. Unfortunately, I am very good at avoidance - I am easily distracted. So I have been getting on task first thing in the morning before other things call my name. Social networking on hold.
It has been good, though. I am not an official hoarder, but I have a tendency to accumulate things I no longer need. I also do not enjoy the task of housework. So I have been trying to get into the Zen of purging and cleaning and have been making huge headway emptying cabinets, drawers, closets, shelves, getting rid of what I don't use, scrubbing and dusting surfaces, and putting back only what I actually use. The all natural cleaning supplies are leaving things smelling fresh and airy. Clutter is GONE! This is such a great way to prepare for the new school year.
Of course I started with my Girl Cave so I would still be motivated to practice and I have been getting at least an hour in every day. It is such a great place to focus in on my music.
In addition to getting the house sparkly, I have been back to my walking routine - another victim of jet lag. Well, also of the HEAT! Now that it has cooled off, I can definitely go further and faster than I could when it was edging 100 and humid.
On another front, I did get my new camera. It is a DSLR Canon Rebel. I have been learning some of its features and still have a lot to learn, but I love it!
Today, I am going to a dollhouse expo with a friend. I have never been to one before and am looking forward to seeing what the 'pros' have done. Hopefully, I won't spend too much at the vendor booths. This will be a nice break from my cleaning projects and I don't expect to be distracted by a new project because dollhouse building is more of a winter project for me.
China? Do you want more, or are you bored with it?
Monday, July 23, 2012
At the end of our Li River Cruise we arrived in Yangshuo, a gorgeous rural mountain town where our cooking school is located. It was a very hot day, but beautiful day (think Cuba in terms of climate), and no AC in the kitchen. So while we were cooking, we were cooking!
Authentic Chinese food is nothing like the version we get in America. The thick sauces and prevalent use of breading and deep frying are not typical Chinese dishes. The actual cuisine of China is much healthier, although it has more sodium than I am used to eating.
We prepared egg wrapped dumplings, steamed chicken with mushrooms, red dates, and goji berries, stir fried pork with vegetables, Yangshuo eggplant, and steamed greens with garlic for our lunches.
We had to pay very close attention to our teacher, who would demonstrate the preparation of a whole dish, then we had to duplicate her cooking technique on our own.
Egg wrapped dumplings. These were filled with pork, mint, and hot peppers. Fantastic! Vegetarians could make them with tofu and lotus root.
Yangshou eggplant. I couldn't eat mine since I am allergic to nightshades, but I enjoyed sharing it with my vegan friends.
My completed lunch minus the dumplings which we ate as an appetizer.
We ate al fresco in the serene beauty of the Yangshuo mountains.
You can see why I'm glowing in my profile pic. It was the heat!
This was some really great eating and healthy, too. I prepared the eggplant dish, substituting the eggplant with fresh garden zucchini, for Mike and I last night. I am planning to make the egg wrapped dumplings tonight.
What a great opportunity this was!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Guilin, China is another place of great beauty that was on my 'bucket list' and I was not disappointed. We had a fantastic stay in Guilin and Yangshuo. We took a river cruise up the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. The day started out rainy but by the time we took off up the river it was a lovely, sunny day. As usual, it was HOT but the breeze along the river was refreshing and it was so stunningly beautiful that heat could not keep me inside the boat. I needed to be at the top of the boat, drinking in the sites.
There were water buffalo along the river's edge.
We started out thinking the sights were breathtaking, but our guide told us the beautiful part was up the river from here. Wow!
This is the image that they chose for the back of the 20 yuan bill:
We had the choice of eating from the buffet on the boat, or ordering fresh food from the fishermen along the river. Fresh and authentic food for me, thank you very much! The fishing boat pulled right up to our boat to deliver the fish.
And it was cooked on board.
Prawns, crabs, and a delicious steamed fish with vegetables.
After awe inspiring sights and a sumptuous meal, we pulled into Yangshuo where we went to cooking school. But, that's another blog.
Friday, July 20, 2012
There were two places on my 'bucket list' that we visited in China. One of them was Xi'an and the terra cotta warriors. Due to a long flight delay and our itinerary we did not spend as much time in Xi'an as I would have liked to, but I am very glad that we got to see as much as we did.
I hope this link works, it is a panoramic video I took of the excavation site. It really shows the depth and breadth of the site. The section that is excavated is only a tiny percent of the tomb. They do not want to excavate further until they have the technology to preserve the paint on the warriors and avoid the deterioration that occurred when these were unearthed. Right now, the emphasis is on reconstruction of the warriors and horses that were destroyed.
We also had time to ride bikes on the Ancient City Wall of Xi'an. Again, I could have spent more time there, but am grateful to have gotten the time that I did. Unfortunately, due to my camera dying, many of my photos from this point on are blurry. I do have a few that worked out.
These impressive guys were in the courtyard of our hotel.
This lovely music group set up in the parking lot at the Ancient Wall and performed. It is one of the enigmas of China. Beautiful music and costume amidst the diesel fumes and engine noise of buses in the parking lot.
We went to an outdoor theater performance and enjoyed watching the performers got their make-up on.
I really enjoyed Xi'an and could have spent more time there than we had. If I ever go back to China, I will plan some more time there.
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