Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Qing Not Kiss!

February 17th.
In the morning the shower decided to run cold. On checking the heat-on-demand box we found an E6 flashing. No idea what this means, but turning it off/on seemed to fix it. The buildings central heating is now on so the floor is now a few degrees over freezing in the morning.

The snow seems to be over; it is now sunny and cold. Supposedly it will warm up to 8-9 C by the weekend. In the morning we got a cab right away (amazing!) and Pavan successfully verbally requested the driver take us to the office. A great start!

For lunch we enjoyed a variety of dishes with rice again. This time we had the camera so we got photos. The best dishes are shown.

4th Right @ Nan Yao Tou

Guō Zǎi Níu Ròu - Spicy Beef In Broth w/Ginger Served Over Active Flame
"gwa tsai new row"

Spareribs in the best sweet/sour sauce ever

"Grass Carp" according to the translation program
A bowl of food big enough to feed 10.

Originally translated as Eggplant. Actually kind of pork-ribs. Very tasty. No eggplant to be found.

On our way back from lunch we bought nuts from a vendor on the side of the road selling stuff out of a van. He seemed excited about us as customers and let us try all sorts of stuff.

After lunch it was time for language lesson #2, this time with Eric Li. We drilled on some of our phrases again and actually managed some of them with very distinct tones. Unfortunately we can only do it after numerous tries with a Mandarin speaker telling us what is wrong but ... that's still better than before! Pavan was able to join the lesson this time. It was quite fun and it creates a nice break in the day.

The importance of tones became apparent when Eric broke down Qin for us:

    1st tone:
Qīn - kiss
    2nd tone: Qín - related to Qing Dynasty.
    3rd tone:
Qǐn - first part of bedroom (Qǐn Shì)
    4th tone:
Qìn - hard to explain apparently

The Active office address uses
Qín (the office allegedly has some Qing stylings) but Rod tends to say Qīn (kiss) when trying to pronounce it. This really brought home how easy it is to say TOTALLY the wrong thing. We tried and tried and eventually produced a few renditions of the office and our apartment addresses that Eric deemed semi-correctly toned. Hopefully after a few more lessons we'll start to be able to do this a bit more reliably.

We decided to work late again and once again went to the village to grab dinner. We had a Shaanxi specialty,
Chún Shòu Ròu Jīa Mó. See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfxhkmj7_52gc94v5cv for pronounciation and meaning breakdown. This time we got a photo. It doesn't look hugely impressive but it's very tasty.

Fresh out of the pot, pork ready for cleaver action!


It's cold and it's dark and it's OK 'cause I got my Ròu Jīa Mó

Ròu Jīa Mó

The buns for the Ròu Jīa Mó are cooked pretty close to on the spot in a barrel of fire with a kind of cooking tray attached at the top. As a result the bun itself is very fresh and still quite warm.

On our way back we saw some people burning stuff beside the road. It is unclear why. If they want to stay warm, this is not really the best place to build the fire and they aren't really huddling around it. We have seen this a few times now and despite enquiring with co-workers have nothing approaching a satisfactory explanation.

Mysterious Burnings


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