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People’s Park

(Hanna took all of these photos.)

Jon, Henrik and Emily at People’s Park.


Parks are really a gathering place, especially for older people. You can see lots of people playing cards or doing Tai Chi.

Cold Stone Creamery just happens to be very close, so we had to introduce Hanna & Henrik to the best ice cream in the world!! There is a couple Cold Stones in Sioux Falls and I was thrilled to find out they are in Shanghai too!

Grilled over disabilities?

Yes, the literal translation is correct. None of my Chinese friends were able to figure it out either (a Korean word, I think).

If I negotiate, can I have the daughter and father too? Once again, the literal translation is correct as far as anyone could tell.

Cowboy food

When the SDSU group was here, this was one of the snacks served. Cowboy food is good for the SDSU group, I guess!
Cowboy food is a literal translation. Yvonne explained that it meant something like “on-the-road food”. My interpretation would be “trail mix.” It was sunflower seeds roasted with a sweet coating.

Minna’s Wedding

A couple weeks ago Jon and I were able to attend Minna’s wedding. Minna works at Daktronics in HR and also tutors me in Chinese occasionally. There didn’t seem to be an actual ceremony like we usually see, but just a large celebration, speeches from the family and the biggest meal I have ever seen! The dishes were piled on top of each other and kept coming long after everyone was stuffed.

Minna and her husband. She started out in a white, Western wedding dress, then changed to a gold dress, then finally changed into a red traditional Chinese dress. (Red is lucky in China, while white is the color for funerals.)

The guests all signed this, which was then cut up and names drawn for prizes.

Shelley and Sue (both work at Dak)

Yolanda, Gina and Chris (all from Dak)


Keyframe with the couple

Cody (Dak salesperson) and his family with the couple

A new dish for me – soft shelled turtle.

Ryan and Jon drinking baijiu (white wine, but really strong alcohol)

Minna toasting at the table. The couple toasts every table.

Spring in Shanghai

It was nice enough today to just wear a sweatshirt. These row houses are right next to our apartment complex. They also taken all of the burlap wrapping off of the trees.

These things are cabbages! We noticed they were planted in winter, and for a few months they just sat there, in the ground, looking like cabbages. (It seemed a little strange to us to use cabbage as a decorative plant.) Now the tops have grown out a lot and they look fine.

More potato chip flavors – Stewed Eggplant and Fish with Onions! I am happy to report that they both taste good. Luckily, they taste nothing like fish!

Seafood

We ate at a seafood restaurant in Zhuhai on Monday night during the Asia-Pacific regional meeting.

Cracking oysters

You can pick your dinner right out of the tank.

Macau trip

I spent almost a week in Macau and Zhuhai.

Wednesday Pete and I met a client for supper at the casino who she is the brand manager for. We ate the Japanese restaurant there, and it was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had! The chef gave us a starter that was a rose bowl covered with wax paper. We peeled the paper off and it started smoking, as if there were dry ice in it. It smelled like a very fragrant wood smoke, and in the bottom was smoked salmon with a special sauce.

The client loves sashimi (raw fish) even more than I do. We had a great platter that included blowfish and a fish with huge eyes (I can’t remember the name), plus the standard tuna and such. We also had Oumi beef, which is similar to Kobe, but even better according to the chef. (Yes, the chef cooked special dishes for us that weren’t even on the menu.) He also showed us the certificate that proved it was Oumi. He said many places may claim they have Kobe or Oumi, but they don’t have the proof. It was the most amazing beef I have EVER had. By far. (Sorry Dad!) The next morning she told us the bill was a bit more than expected – she implied that the beef alone was somewhere between $300 – $400 USD!! Of course she was way too polite to ever tell us what it actually was.

For more information on Oumi beef, click here. If you are in China, click here. (It’s the same site, but on Blogspot so it is blocked on the mainland.)

Friday night we went out for dinner with the Macau office.

Adam, Jon, Dan, Anthony, Carol, Rosa, Yvonne, Geoffrey and Pete at an Italian restaurant.

Pete, I and Dan at a bar in Taipei (another island in Macau.)

I somehow managed to lose my voice on Tuesday, and it was gone for an entire week! When we saw the “Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil, See no Evil” monkeys, we had to take a photo. Pete was tired of hearing the girls all week, and I couldn’t talk, so it was easy for us to be like the monkeys!

Street Meat

This guy was on the street one day and I said I wished I had my camera out quick enough. A few days later, my boss Dan got the photo. He said: Right on the main road. You pick out your chicken or pigeon, and he butchers it right there. Mmm Mmm Good.

Menu Chinglish

I haven’t posted any Chinglish for quite a while. On menus, usually the translations are literal. So they aren’t quite Chingish – just interesting names for dishes!



Around Yuyuan Gardens

Traditional red lanterns on the “street of small commodities.”

Street food – grilled chicken and squid.

Making bouzi… (steamed dumpling.) Very famous and tasty!

Merry Christmas!

Jon cooked a delicous meal consisting of rack of lamb, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I made an apple pie for dessert. Yummy. (We started looking for a turkey to roast a little too late. The only one we found was too big to fit in our oven!)

Our mini-tree.

Mom, Dad and Jared opened their presents in front of the web cam while chatting on Skype. It is our tradition to open gifts before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It was that time for them, but Christmas Day for me.

My dad. He was just elected to the national Farm Credit Services of America board. His term starts January 1st and will last 3 years. Congratulations Dad!!

Las Tapas

Last Friday, Jon got some good news so Dan and Sai invited us out to celebrate. (I can’t say what it is until it’s been announced officially.) We went to an “Entertainment Street” near their new house with lots and lots of restaurants and bars. We ate at a place called Las Tapas and we thought the food was great! The sangria was not made traditionally at all, and not that good, but really potent. Think jungle juice.

Indonesian food

A few of the MIB guys took us to a very local Indonesian place. They brought out about 20 different dishes of food.

These little fish were fried and crunchy. It seemed a bit strange to eat the whole thing, bones and all, but they were pretty good. I also had a papaya shake. One of the best things about the Indonesian food is the fresh fruit. I have never gotten to experience fresh papaya, mango, etc. like I have in Asia.

Perk ordered a drink that had a lot of different fruit, jelly-like stuff and various liquids in it.

I had been making fun of Perk taking photos of all of his food, but I had to do the same when I ordered a fresh strawberry shake. Just ground-up, fresh strawberries. Yum.

Steaks

Home-grown beef is one of the things we really miss here. Jon bought four steaks the other day, at over $10 per steak. Ouch.

I made him bring back baking supplies that are either impossible to find or super-expensive here, such as chocolate chips, pecans and lemon flavoring, when he went back to SD recently. I also had been craving salt-and-vinegar chips so he brought back those. I’m so lucky to have someone smuggle things home for me. :-)

Random stuff

Everything is a bit of an adventure when you are living in a country with cultural so different than your own. At the store I saw Wasabi flavored chips and also “Red Wine Chicken.” I couldn’t resist. Jon will like the wasabi ones. I tried the Red Wine Chicken. I can’t taste any wine. They do taste like chicken, grilled or barbequed chicken. Interesting. I wish they had Salt and Vinegar though! Other flavors include ketchup, cucumber, tomato, prawn, and potato (aren’t they supposed to taste like potatoes?)

This is pretty near our office. Nibe. Just do it.

Saturday Shopping

Aileen, Maggie, Louise LV and I went shopping. Aileen is looking for a qipao to get married in, someday. She lives in the states now and works at corporate, but is learning project management here for 5 months. I thought these things looked interesting, so Aileen bought some and showed me how to eat them.

The outside has a peel and is a fleshy. When you apply pressure opposite directions, it tears open. The inside is like a white mandarian orange. It is very sweet.

Lane’s trip – July 15th

Lane Munson was at Dak Shanghai for about a week. On this day we took him to Yuyuan Gardens, which has lots of traditional architecture and tons of little shops selling mostly to tourists. We had some jiaozi for lunch. They have beer girls that walk around with a cart of beer too. The girl is always covered head to toe in that beer’s brand.

Unfortunately, about 3 days before he left, he got food poisoning. Really bad. After an IV and multiple shots and pills of antibiotics at the Worldlink clinic, he was doing a bit better. He is pretty sure it was from some chicken. I’ve noticed they don’t cook chicken here like we do at home. If you are eating a leg, there is almost always red meat by the bone. (I’ve stopped eating chicken if it is still on the bone.) Poor Lane. What a way to end his trip.

Jon and Dan could probably live on jiaozi. They are steamed dumplings and there are many different kinds. It’s the food that had the big story about how someone was making them from chemicals and cardboard in Beijing. The government jailed him for false reporting.

Dan thought we should attempt a Chairman Mao pose. I think we just look silly. But – Dan is the chairman, if you had forgotten. Scroll down to July 13th for that post!

Chinese guys playing a game, probably Mahjong. Very common. (photo credit belongs to Lane)

Beijing Duck

A group of about 12 Dak people and family members went to a restaurant that specializes in Beijing Duck. It is so good! We ordered about 100 dishes as usual and were stuffed before the duck arrived. It was a nice place and even with drinks, it only cost about $10 per person. We actually got a certificate with the number of our duck on it.

Scorpion was on the menu so we all wanted to try it! It actually doesn’t taste like much – just crisp and crunchy.

1000 Arabian Nights

A bunch of us Dakkies went to an Arabian restaurant and ordered TONS of food. Before this came out, we were all stuffed already. It was a huge amount of various meats skewered.

Supper

Shelly, Axel (new Dak guy living in Hong Kong) Mina, Cooper, Mike H, Sheena, the Dak driver Mr. Huang, and me at supper. Beijing duck is the best!

Mr. Huang drives us to work every day, takes people to the airport and picks them up, runs parts around or errands, and drives visitors around to the sites. He puts in a lot of hours! He didn’t speak any English when he started, and is doing very well. Dak has a teacher come in every week and teach to all of the workers, and has another class for business English for everyone in the office. This morning Mr. Huang said, “Would you like to go to the Baileman?” and we all were amazed that he said it perfectly. I think he is a very dilligent student.

Sunday Shopping

Sunday we went to the Antique market. It’s most fakes and we have no idea what really would be old, so we just assume everything is fake. Lots of old-looking trinkets. We bought an old camera and a door knocker.

Across from the Antique Market was a Pet Market. Animals of every kind. They have big plastic aquariums – Jon will probably get one. They seemed very cheap! But nice and well-built. Notice the guy in his pajamas on the right. That’s pretty common to see. Everyone sits around, smokes and plays games in the markets.

Pet crickets – they are more like huge locusts. Dan said they are sold to fight. They don’t fight til the death; one just backs down. He said after it backs down it’s fighting days are over because its spirit is broken.

We also found some more waxberries! The last one we had were too old and very bad tasting. I examined these closely and tried one before buying them though. Good thing we have our hepatitis shots…..

Yet more recipes….

Mom and I are having so much fun with this project. I can’t wait to see how the whole thing prints out. Anyone interested in a book, email me! Kristal, a friend at work, said she is going to do the same thing with her daughter (who is just 1 now.) Jon leaves for China again Friday at 6 AM, so I will probably work on it a lot this weekend. Plans seem to be moving forward much more quickly now, which we are happy about!



1566 Visitors since I put my counter up. Stop lurking and make a comment!! :-)

Link from my brother

My brother Jared sent me this link today – he said it was very appropriate if we are moving to China. It’s pretty funny. Make sure your speakers aren’t muted.

More recipes…

Tonight mom reminded me that I had photos in my 4-H book. It took about an hour but I managed to dig it out of the boxes in our basement. Oh, the great Special Foods photos…. I look so hot in permed hair and Coke-bottle sized glasses. Those will be coming….

Jared’s first Special Foods recipe.

I made these last night – yummy!!

3 more recipe pages

Cherry bars are one of Jared’s favorites.

I love this photo of Jared licking the beaters – the look on his face is pricesless!

The background is a bit boring, but I don’t want them all to have fruit backgrounds. Maybe I’ll add a bit of texture.

Recipe Book

Over Thanksgiving Mom and I came up with the idea of putting a bunch of our favorite meals from the farm together in a cookbook. We’re using old photos and taking some too. Here are two pages I’ve put together so far. We’ll get it printed at Shutterfly and it will be hardcover. Let us know if you may be interested in one!

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The Always Cafe


Ritchie and a beer girl. We’ve seen these girls in various bars – they dress up in short skirts and tall boots and promote their brand of beer. Most of the American guys are quite a bit larger than the Chinese girls….


Ritchie thought it was funny that Jon was still working.


Jon and I – check out the new pearls!

(photos courtesy of Ritchie Hart – thanks!)

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Photos from dinner Tuesday

Emily, Maggie and Sai

Jon eats the duck head – not only fish are served with the heads here.


Judy, Dan and Ning

Sunday in Shanghai

We slept in until about 9:30. Dan had to get Lisa (his 14-year-old daughter) a new cell phone, so didn’t pick us up until about noon. We met Sai and Sally (Dan’s oldest daughter) at a new restaurant called California 101. It is a Japanese restaurant. It had about 10 different buffet lines, with mostly seafood on them, such as many types of sushi, California rolls, whole crabs, and king crab. They also had a grill so they’d cook whatever you wanted. I tried two things I didn’t like: stomach lining and bone marrow in a gel. They were both very chewy with and odd taste. There were two stations full of gelato, a chocolate foundation, and many little bite-size desserts such as cheesecake and tiramisu. At the drink station, along with pop and juice, they had beer on tap and bottles of wine and champagne. Even Lisa had a glass of wine and of champagne. (There is no legal drinking age here.) All of this for about $15 each. The whole place was gorgeous, with black leather seats, glass tables, and lavender sheers draped from the ceiling.

Sally has been talking Chinese lessons here, for four hours every day. She is really good. She wants to come back to teach English after she graduates from college. I would really like to learn the language. It is certainly not like Europe, where everyone speaks some English.

After lunch, we walked around this shopping complex a bit. Sai showed us the grocery store and started telling us where to buy certain things at. They had some interesting items, such as a whole pig’s face smoked. It looked smashed, but everything, including the eyeballs, was still there. I took a photo of Dan holding it up.
We walked around more shops in the subway station. Jon and Dan went back to their apartment while Sai and I got our nails done. I had asked to get them filled, but this didn’t come across as they didn’t speak any English. I pointed a lot to try to explain and they said they could do it. I sat down and she started putting stuff on my nails and wrapping them in tin foil. Then we realized she was taking them off! I wasn’t too happy about that but it was too late. So now I have a manicure instead of acrylic nails. My real nails are so weak – they really need new fake ones.
This took so much longer than planned that we missed part of looking at apartments. Amanda, the manager of the apartment complex that Dan, Sai and Ning (Chinese engineer) live in, showed us several different apartments. The complex has a pool, a gym and a restaurant too. It is very nice.
After having tea at their apartment, they decided we needed to go to the spa. Spas are very big here. We went to Sai’s favorite one, Spa de Regent. The entrance was very impressive. Over half the room was a pond with lilies in it! Two wooden brings crossed the pond. When we walked up the stairs to go to the massage room, red tea lights were burning on both sides of each stair.
After we were finished, we went to a restaurant/bar called YeeHaws. It was a piece of Texas in Shanghai, complete with country music, and billed as such.

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