Day the Eleventh – 28 August

  • I have a train ticket to Beijing. I even made a little query at the kiosk as to how big the difference is between second and first class, to be met with a “first class is really expensive”. Not sure if they were being snotty appraising my economical situation through the way I look, or just plain informant.

  • To get this ticket, I spent the morning ringing around official vendors to ask for details on what to bring, etc. Turns out I could have skipped all that and just rocked up to travel shop. They just needed some sort of ID – passport okay – and that was that.

  • It also did mean that I spent ages outside this morning.

  • After a few days of Arctic sub-30 C temperatures, it’s 35 C again today. Better than 37 and certainly better than 40, but still. HOT.

  • Someone tried to give me a brochure for English classes. Don’t get me wrong, I might need them, but maybe not with the “Wall Street English” system.
  • So I arrive at the office near noon, all red in the face, and keep fanning myself for a good hour before my face stops emanating heat.

  • Good job I got that flyer-fan last week.

  • Writing under way in a big way. Feels good. I can do this.
  • Email tennis this morning. I am currently winning. This means that I’ve sent emails but nobody has replied yet. Bugger.

  • Missed lunch. Starving. (Before anyone starts scolding: I did eat a combo of snacks to keep myself going.)
  • Primary schools open for business again next week, and lots of mummy staffers have brought their little ones in today. In my office, two mega-cute girls, five and six years old respectively. Both refuse to nap after lunch. Fortunately(?) I had a late night last night (using VPN to access journals, ‘cause I’m groovy like that) and deck regardless of kiddie sing-songs.

  • Today has been (is still) mostly about writing (and GBBO), but I did visit the wet market and some adjacent little shops on my way back to pick up a few bits and bobs, and decided to take some photos for anyone who is interested. Don’t think I’ve ever catalogued a China-trip this way, but then I suppose it’s not my usual summer-holiday-with-the-family either…

Spotted at the bus stop: I need that hat.
The plaza in front of the museum. This is the aftermath of a week-long music event with “The Voice of China”, sponsored by Harbin Beer, Volkswagen, and some other companies. I wouldn’t really have minded had their marquees and backstage area not blocked almost all of the stairs to the bridge, so you had to walk around the whole hoopla to get across.
The back of my train ticket. I am to bring ID, ticket, and myself on the day of travel. Luggage (one? Multiple?) must not exceed 20 kgs (for an adult), and dimension-total must not exceed 160 cm. This applies to all high-speed trains in China. Now you know. Thank me later.

Market time!

Miscellany shop. You can see that it’s crammed, but you can’t see that it was SO HOT in there. I will show you what I bought later.
Fruit and veg for what must have been over 100 sq m. Paradise.
Home made (and some wholesale) noodles and vermicelli. These were in kiosks on the periphery of the greengrocers’ space, alongside flour and rice shops, with equal multitudes of variety.
Chinese charcuterie and butcher’s in the background. There were fewer of these, but in a hall just smaller than the greengrocer-hall.
Fishmongers and other seafood occupied a hall similar to the meat products, but with very slippery tiles. Depicted is a… pool? with live shrimp. If you want to buy, you get a net, and pick your own. We once bought some shrimp that really fought for their lives and kept jumping through the weighing and until… well, the COOKING.
To end on a less morbid note: did anyone say “tea”?
  • Finally, when I walked past the markets yesterday I was baffled by an intense stench at the end of the street that I could only smell in a circle of radius 2m or so. Today when visiting in daylight, I discovered a stall selling stinky tofu 臭豆腐. Mystery solved.
  • Also, not a fan.

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