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Published: July 16th 2007
Imagine a world where Gordon's Gin is only A$11 a bottle. Nice.
Then imagine a world where tonic water costs much the same.
Oh well. It's Zac to start off first on this entry.
So, are you all going in the City to Bay run on Sunday September 16? I am. Well, replace 'City' with 'a treadmill in our local gym in Beijing' and 'Bay' with 'that same treadmill in our local gym', and just omit the word 'to' and you get the picture. I will be running 12 km on the spot on that Sunday morning to be part of that event in spirit. For those of you outside Adelaide, the City to Bay run is an Adelaide tradition that is growing every year. And since I have never ever done it, I figure now is a good time to start. (Sounds a bit like Howard's never ever GST back in '96 or whenever it was.... now I'm leaving myself open to criticism from political nerds. Like Dad. Or Steve). So sometime in September you will all be seeing a blog with photos of me looking very sweaty on a treadmill. But somewhat buffer than
those flabby pygmies either side.
Which reminds me. In the gym there are motivational signs: One says that 'when you are ripped, people will look up to you and ask you lots of questions'. I guess by 'ripped' they mean 'fit', not 'kinda like a foreigner except without the looking up to you bit'. And one sign says that the main reason for guys to workout is to impress the ladies, and given the wacked out ratio of guys to girls since the introduction of the one child policy (IT'S A POLICY NOT A LAW, oops, only made that mistake once...), most guys will never get laid so I guess that they are trying everything they can.
We both now have a few classes, which have opened up more opportunities for classic names. We already mentioned Simba and Viola in the last entry. However, when it comes to names, the Chinese only seem to deal with extremes (did I say names? I meant life), and by that I mean that there are only a handful of normal names used, so they are unbelievably common, or ridiculous names that we struggle to keep a straight face when we say. For
example, in one class of 8 people I have 2 Lindas and 2 Sarahs, but then there are two good friends, a guy and a girl, called Apple and Banana. Try not giggling at that when you address them. And I met a guy called Smeagol today. Frodo next week I suppose. Geez.
On a different note, we have been reading articles from 'The Age' regularly since getting the internet, and it seems that there is a little scrutiny at the moment in regards to the safety of Chinese products. First there were 24 brands of toothpaste in America banned, then some dodgy mobile batteries found in southern china, which have caused injury or death (No Mum, please don't call us about it - Sof). We think danger is a serious problem in China, and have compiled a list of the most dangerous things in this country .
1. Bottles of beer at 25c
2. Magnum ice cream with little chocky extra bits on the outside at 70c
3. If we each skipped a Chinese lesson for the week, we could buy a whole bottle of Gin with the money we'd save
4. The noodle house has these amazing
pancakes that are probably so loaded with carbs, at the rate we eat them we'd be fatter than we were in Germany if we stopped hitting the gym everyday
5. A jiaozi restaurant with 60 different types of jiaozi that we have never tried
6. The afore mentioned magnums come in a 5 pack
It's just as well that Hell Hunt isn't in Beijing. (Remember the doors on the ceiling?)
Sof here to take over....
We went to a TEA SUPERMARKET... better than that, we went to a TEA CITY!!! I was in heaven! It's the place to go for any type of tea under the sun, from all over China! Not to mention the vast array of teapots and accessories, that will keep me happy til the end of time! There is even tea furniture to buy (no, not furniture made from tea), where you can serve your guests from elaborately carved wooden tables, which have drainage holes for excess tea. It was incredible. This whole adventure was aided by some newly found chinese friends who kindly drove us there and back, as well as taking us directly to the shop that they thought was the best.
So THEN, we sat down for some tea tasting.
Tea tasting in China is an experience. Like wine tasting, but classy wine tasting. So much care is taken is washing the leaves (you never drink the first batch), warming the cups, washing the cups with both water and tea and serving with elegance, all the while having the advantages of each type of tea recited to you poetically. Every type of tea has different benefits for your body, as well as appropriate times of the year for drinking it. The whole ritual is so relaxing and it is a great way for Zac to practise his conversation skills, and for me to learn some new words!! You even get 'drunk' drinking too much tea. It's true! Apart from desperately needing to pee at the end of the tasting, you feel quite heady, especially if you haven't eaten anything.
On the contrast to Magnums, beer and noodles, tea can be quite expensive. The tea house that we visited sold very high quality tea, and the price matched. But it is so worth it. The experience alone is worth so much, before you even take any tea home. We
would have spent over an hour tasting tea, and the salespeople are not pushy in the slightest. It is a philosophy that different teas suit different people, so everyone chooses a different one that they like.
We were so lucky to go with our chinese friends, as they had already made an aquaintance with the salesperson. So, she allowed us to try their "King" tea (translated from chinese), of which only 2 kg are harvested biannually. It is not for sale, but she said it would be worth approximately 3000 yuan per jin (approx. $500 per 500g). However, she kindly gave us 2 free samples of it to take home (as well as tasting it), which will make 2 teapots worth. I felt very special. In the end we bought some green tea and some delicious white tea. We also purchased an "ever-boiling kettle", which maintains water at 90 degrees, the perfect temperature for making tea. I am still looking around for a perfect tea set. Maybe an adventure back to 'tea city' next weekend?
Til next time...
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