When I think of Chinese food, I think of Chinese takeaways in New Zealand… I am pleased to report the food in China is much better than Chinese takeaways in New Zealand! Less deep frying and a little less oil (its still pretty greasy though – I really don’t know how the Chinese stay so slim!).
When we weren’t working in China we seemed to be eating. Our host Mr Mai took us to some very nice Chinese restaurants that were surprisingly quite different to the Chinese restaurants in New Zealand. The menus are more interesting too, check this out:
No, I didn’t order the ‘Give Birth Menu Beef’ it sounded plain scary!
Another restaurant we went to was rather interesting… it was a pick your food while you order restaurant. There are a lot of these in Thailand where you pick your fish you want to eat, but Ive never seen it taken to this level. This restaurant had soooo many different types of seafood (many Id never heard of before) and a few bits of livestock.
I can usually handle picking live seafood and eating it (except that time in Bangkok) but this took it to a new level. I couldn’t cope picking out a cute fluffy bunny rabbit and then 30 mins later eating him up! No way!
OK, I know this is a little bit hypocritical… When I eat a nice cut of lamb I do know deep down that it was once a cute little fluffy lambie skipping merrily in the New Zealand countryside enjoying his/her youth without a worry in the world.
But still, cute fluffy bunnies!?!
A highlight of our visit to China was when Mr Mai took us to the tea shop. The tea shops in China are sooo cool, unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me – next time I will take photos.
So we went into the local tea shop (one of many down the main shopping street) to find it loaded with fresh tea, dried tea, tea cakes and all the tea accessories you would ever need.
Before you buy you can try… so we tried a couple of different types of green tea. The fresh green tea is so delicious; it’s a lot smoother and tastier than the dried stuff…. Its absolute heaven. Ok you coffee drinkers out there… compare a cheap supermarket instant coffee to a top of the line coffee in a top class cafe… that’s the difference we are talking about here!
Mr Mai was very generous and bought dad and I some gifts from the tea shop. I got a lovely cup (perfect for the office), a tea making set (little jug, sieve…etc), lots of yummy green tea, a beautiful little tea pot (that is too pretty to use) and some little Chinese tea cups the size of shot glasses.
We were met by Winnie (the lovely lady who works in the office who speaks English VERY well) and she dropped us off at a very nice hotel. Seeing as the standard of accommodation is usually so low when I am backpacking I love staying at posh hotels and am like a kid at Disneyland (I don’t stay in them often, so its still novel for me!).
The funniest thing about my hotel room was the two ‘fire masks’ at the top of the cupboard (see above). Now seriously… a fire mask? My room was so close to the lobby/main exit I would have just legged it if there was a fire (not bothering taking the time to mask up). I must admit, I did wonder if these masks are for a purpose other than fire?!? Here is a close up, what do you think!?!
Ok, so the trip to China was for work… but even though it was a work trip I was soooo excited about going because it’s was the first time I’ve been to China. For some reason (not sure wyy) ever since I was a little girl I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to China. I plan to go back sometime soon for some travelling, but in the mean time I am really enjoying these little work trips. The place we stayed in at China is called Jiangmen, it’s a little city (by Chinese standards) about 2.5 hours by ferry from Hong Kong. Its quite an industrial area and there are many manufacturing factories there (we were visiting one of them). While I saw a few westerners in the hotel its not somewhere people generally go for a holiday when they are in China.
Here is a map (click to enlarge):
Well… 2 more sleeps till my Hong Kong and China trip. I am so excited. Not as excited as I would be if it was a 100% holiday trip, but I am still VERY excited. I’ve got my Chinese visa which is very exciting as it is helping me fill my passport up (I am up to page 30 now) and my tickets. I’m almost ready to go. I got my coat dry cleaned and washed my merinos… but I don’t know how cold it will be over there. Looking at the internet it could be between 10C and 15C… but I cant remember how cold that is! Is that woolly coat weather? Am I going to regret taking my new bright red ‘woollen’ coat I got made in Vietnam? I hope not, really want to wear it!
For the 2nd time in my life a 2 week holiday has led to a significant change of plans! The first time I was on a 2 week holiday in Thailand (from NZ) and got a job at the Embassy and I stayed 2 years… this time I have managed to find a great job which will enable me to work from ‘home’ (well, Dads home), I will get to go to China and I will earn a salary!
The new job is doing similar stuff to what I was doing in NZ, I will be analysising a new system for a manufacturing company in China, doing some development of the system and then seeing it though to implementation. I have committed to 6 months at this stage but if it works out and I enjoy it I might do this for quite a bit longer and flag the teaching in South Korea idea.
So… the new plan is now:
- Go back up north for 1 week to finish up at the school
- My friend Albert will visit from Belgium – so I will have a 2 week holiday with him at the beach
- After Albert goes, I will start working full time in my new job!