New Foods

Over Spring Festival, many of the food stalls closed, so I was forced to find new things to eat at work. Oh no!  The horror! I have to experience {gasp} new food!

Just behind the training center, there’s a market.  Behind that is a short alley that has several food stalls.   Many of them sell “bing” — bread.  Though it’s not always what Americans would consider bread.

At one stall, there’s da bing (“big bread”).  It’s large flatbread (about the size of a large pizza crust) that is “baked” on a flat griddle.  It’s then painted with different oils (red pepper, for instance) and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  They sell it by the kilo.  It’s quite tasty–especially if you get it fresh off the griddle.

That same stall also sells what I can only describe as a hashbrown burrito.  Half-cooked “hashbrowns” are wrapped in a shell like a burrito or eggroll.  The potatoes have chilis and chili oil in them, so it’s spicy.  This is usually served cold.  It might not sound like much, but it’s actually quite good.

At another stall, they sell jian bing (“pan-fried bread”).   I’ll have to get a video of the woman making it.  Each one is made to order.  On a flat griddle about 24″ across she drops a blob of thick batter, and spreads it around with a plastic spackling knife.  It’s paper-thin.   She then cracks an egg on it and spreads it around.  Then come the insides:  A spoon of a sweetish brown jelly (possibly made from mushrooms), chili sauce, greens (scallions and kale), and some finely diced peppers.  If you’d like, you can get meat in it (usually a grilled hotdog, cut in half). It’s then folded in half, a deep-fried bread it placed at the fold, and the whole thing is rolled up and cut in half.  It’s light, sweet and spicy, and warm.  A perfect light lunch.

Up to our Eyeballs

This past week has been a bit more than usual.  We have 6 teachers: 3 Chinese, 3 American.  One of the Chinese teachers is out for 2 weeks for minor surgery, and another vanished because of family issues.  That left us with 1 Chinese teacher to cover the work of 3.  Luckily, one of the American teachers speaks Chinese, so he was able to step in and take some of the classes.  And our general manager stepped in to teach a few more.  That left the the last two of us (Americans) picking up a couple of the basic classes, and whatever we could from the 3rd American.

It’s not a huge load, but it does get a bit confusing.  Hopefully things will be back to normal next week.

A Bad Week

Dehydration, crappy weather, and the worst (and most unusual) arthritis flare-up I’ve had in 2 years have joined forces to keep me down for the past week.   Work and (attempting to) sleep have pretty much been the sum-total of my life.

The arthritis is down to a dull ache, and I’m no longer breathing sandpaper, so I think I should be back to normal.