5 March 2007

weather, jiaozi, and other random nonsense

So yesterday's snow melted pretty quickly, but then last night the wind picked up and it's still blowing. According to last nights weather forecast on CCTV 1 (not the world's most accurate, I know, but still the best I've come across in China) we're in for a bit of a cold snap. It seems the temperature will hit -7 tonight and it's not expected to crawl up much past 1 or 2 degrees for the next few days. So it seems we're straight back into the depths of winter.

lzh just told me that one of her high school classmates told her that the snow in Yanqing is 20 centimetres deep.

Still, it could be worse. And here's more on the crazy weather.

Still need a proxy to get to LJ. The longer this continues the more it looks like an actual block instead of some technical hiccup. I won't tell you what proxy I use for fear of Nanny overhearing and blocking it. I've seen her block a lot of proxies over the years. Nanny is the control freak dominatrix from hell. Or Germany, whichever is worse. (Apologies to any Germans or residents of Germany: That's a bad joke based on weird stereotypes that somehow float their way down to the southernmost end of the South Pacific).

Well, I suppose I should offer some deep and meaningful cultural insights on yesterday's Lantern Festival, but I don't have any. It's one festival that always seemed to just pass me by. All I ever figured out about it was: Lanterns, riddles, yuanxiao (one of those annoying festival foods I never really liked) and another excuse to blow shit up. Yesterday afternoon lzh went down to A Bao's (our local 小卖部/corner store). A Bao said, "Yuanxiao? Who the hell eats that shit? Don't have any." So we wound up eating jiaozi instead. Can't say I was disappointed.

Trouble is, it was store-bought jiaozi we ate. Better than yuanxiao, sure, but still.... With jiaozi, homemade is definitely best. lzh buys the jiaozipi/wrappers ready-made from the market, but makes her own stuffing. Those are some pretty damn tasty jiaozi, I tell you. But her mum makes everything from scratch, and her jiaozi are the best I've ever eaten. Some of her aunts can also cook up some pretty good jiaozi. Oh well, store-bought jiaozi are still an easy lunch for me.

Oh, and I have to say: Whenever I see 手工水饺 or anything similar, whether on a package of jiaozi in a store or on a restaurant sign or menu, I think 'bullshit'. You already know what I think of store-bought jiaozi. Restaurant jiaozi are, well, potluck. Some are pretty good, some taste like they were scraped off the floor of the jiaozi factory three weeks after they were made. The best restaurant jiaozi I've ever had were at 百饺园 on 平山道 in 天津 (yes, Tianjin does have some good food. It's just not the food Tianjin is most famous for), but even those jiaozi, and they were pretty good, don't even come close to lzh's homemade jiaozi, let alone her mother's.

I believe 百饺园 has several branches, including one or two in Beijing, worth looking out for, if anybody's interested. But if you want the best jiaozi ever in the whole universe, you'll have to come up to my mother in law's place with me.

And in other news, my students are back. I can see I'm going to have my work cut out getting them to open their mouths and speak, again. But the start of the second semester always involves a lot of that basic groundwork you do at the very beginning of a course.

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