Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pictures From Beijing

I thought I'd post some pictures from Beijing this week since everyone likes photos.

First we'll pay a little game of "What Is This Fruit?"



These are some pictures of the fruit and veggie market I go to to get my fresh produce in our neighborhood.  We can buy almost everything we need here for about half what it would cost in the expat grocery stores.


And he offers some meat, fish and tofu. Not sure I trust this food though, I don't think it was plugged in, just some ice inside the cooler and I've seen the true meat markets where this meat probably came, in  not air-conditioned halls with the meat lying out all day long.  I think Chinese people get food poisoning more often than they admit. Otherwise us Westerners are just wusses. 

And the super clean knife and washrag for cutting your meat. See all the water and soap??? 

And the old fashioned scale for weighing everything.

A little impromptu gambling at 10:30 in the morning for these construction workers not working. You can see their trucks, they were playing with cards and small bills.

This guy, his job is to keep the small motor cars, e-bikes, bicyclist and pedestrians from crossing the road when it isn't their turn. Anyone NOT in a car pretty much ignores traffic signals, making already horrible traffic even worse, getting in the way of the cars on the road.  Supposedly they starting giving our tickets to curb the "jaywalking" this week.

Here is one of the tricycles that ride in the bicycle lane and don't normal follow traffic rules. This guy even carries dogs as you can see by the white fluffy dog on the right side of the back seat.

Chaoyang rider

One large tree, ready for delivery. I hope they don't have to go far, I'm not sure the truck can handle the tree.

trees in Beijing

Here is a little democracy at work. The owners within the compound are upset by something the developer of the compound is doing so they made this sign and hung it up in our neighborhood. If anyone reads Chinese I'd love for a true translation, but my understanding is they are calling the development company liars here.

fighting for their rights

I took a photography class last week so here soon I'll have some pictures via my good Nikon, versus all my iPhone pictures to share. I hope you enjoyed! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Food and Eating in Beijing

I'm picky when it comes to food. I'm better than I was as a teen, and even my 20s, but I'm not the easiest going when it comes to food. When I was in middle school I wanted to be a vegetarian, it didn't last.  Fortunately, I'm older and wiser now, and a little more ambitious when it comes to trying new things and what I eat.

What Do We Eat?

Candy aisle in Jenny Wang's
Luckily, Beijing has a lot of options for Westerners. I'm not sitting here eating rice and noodles every day like some of you may imagine. I'm also not eating dog, cat, horse or any other crazy animals you can come up with for Chinese stereotypes. We eat almost as if we lived at home.  Minus chicken and eggs right now thanks to the H7N9 bird flu.  

You can buy pretty much anything you need, for a price. Dairy and meat are very expensive, compared to what I am used to in Ohio. Dairy is about 3-4 times more expensive, most meat is at least double the price I would pay in Columbus. If you want something that is imported like boxed cereal you can easily pay $10 a box. Vegetable that Chinese use, in general, are really cheap.  I bought veggies the other day to make dumplings (that is a whole other post) and everything I bought cost me $1. 

Grocery Stores in Beijing

The places I shop at for groceries are Jenny Lou's, DD's Market, and BHG.  I buy most of my meat from a butcher called Schindler's.  I prefer to cook because a lot of the places that cater to expats, while they try their best to taste authentic, just seem to be lacking.  I can't handle one more bad hamburger, or disappointing guacamole.  I have found really good sushi here though!

Oh My!

I think I'm going really well here and then I see an article like this and it makes me want to become a vegetarian. China Arrests 900 in Fake Meat Scare.  I'm hoping the places I shop are immune to these types of scandals and situations but it just freaks you out.  Beans and rice for dinner anyone?

And to make matters worse, just last week I had read about this, Arrests in 'Gutter Oil' scandal.  This is one reason why I don't eat at street vendors and you have to be careful about the restaurants where you eat.  I'd like to think we only eat at grade A restaurants, but again it just makes me a bit squeamish.  

Overall I think we eat really well here, I was expecting and hoping to lose a few pounds while I was living in China and unluckily for me, I haven't. I guess I know how to cook good comfort food.  

If you've made it this far, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Let me know what you think of the food scares and if you're surprised by what we are eating!