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Contrasts

Contrasts

I just came back from the remote mountainsides, a journey sandwiched between two pearls of luxury. The progression went like this: Staying at a 5 star hotel in Yi Chang, taking bubble baths, and eating lavish buffet breakfast platters of sweet mandarins and buttery croissants, while enjoying a sweeping panoramic view of this rapidly developing [...]

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One small step into a tea farm,

One small step into a tea farm,

One giant leap into an exciting future for green teas. What I love about green tea is the vegetal flavor, the minimal to none processing,  the sparkling clearness of the liquor, the low caffeine content and the calming effect from the theanine. Now that the days are getting colder, the heat from a glass of [...]

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Nanjing: mooncakes

Happy Autumn Moon Festival: Mooncakes and corruption

These few days in Nanjing have been sickly humid and about 30 C, as is typical of these coastal Asian cities. Today, with the luck of the Autumn Moon festival, the temperature is a brisk, cool foreshadow of colder days to come. The mooncake market is for a large part a vehicle for corruption. Under [...]

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Social Networking in China

Many of my American comrades and myself included were appalled when we found that we could not access facebook, twitter, and the likes behind the Great Firewall of China. I mean, seriously, how cruel are the censorship enforcers of this country? Why would they ever prevent the innocent social interactions of people across insurmountable distances? [...]

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Yi Chang: Private dinner, tang yuan

In the footsteps of the famous:Hubei Province

Today, I was chauffeured to Yi Chang, put up in the same hotel that Kim Jong-Il and Henry Kissinger once stayed at, and was treated to a glorious dinner personally designed by the executive chef at the hotel in a private dining room replete with an automatic Mahjong table. What did I do in my [...]

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Rui’an: Xiao Peng’s little one

Final dispatches from Rui’an

Food in Rui’an had its ups and downs. Wenzhou does not have a distinct cuisine of its own (unlike Sichuan, Canton, etc.) and all the restaurants and grub shacks (where we ate for the most part) are operated by out-of-towners, who brought with them their cuisine and old school culinary know-how. On a sadder note. [...]

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Rui’an: factory boys

The bourgeois life in China

I’m in the little industrial town of Rui’an (瑞安) off the southern coast of China. It’s so small it doesn’t have a KFC. Just a KFC knock-off with a forgettable Chinese name. (KFC acts as the marker of civilization for China, as Starbucks does for America) The knock-off’s menu features some Portuguese egg tarts too, but [...]

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杭州 Chinese man rolls shirt over belly

Work, Perks, and Quirks

The stuff I do in the name of “work.” Let’s start going over big bonuses. As I found out first hand today, there is very little serenity in sitting on a tiny stool, an island within a mega-Walmart in Nanjing, face plastered over with an astringent face mask sans eye-holes, so that the only thing [...]

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Matcha cookies 抹茶餅乾

Lessons on cultural differences 第一

Edward (my tea party conspirator) and I were having an intense English debate earlier this morning , briefly interrupted by an insight by his  20-years-younger Chinese girlfriend, who bemusedly noted, “One of you start talking before the other ends their sentence. How can you hear what other is saying if you both talk at the [...]

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Nanjing: Xiao Long Bao

No leaf left uneaten

The foot masseuse thought I was preggers the other day. No, I just ate too many buns or something. When eating in China: 1. Warning to dieters: doing business in China always mean endless banquets and working lunches that turn into 10 courses. 2. Try to have 3 spoonfuls max of any given dish. Do [...]

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