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府佶噸屑画餓音謹  

2013-04-05 22:05:32|  蛍窃 潮範蛍窃 |  炎禰 |訟烏 |忖催 匡堋

  和墮LOFTER 厘議孚頭慕  |
I went to a place I never heard of this Qing Ming holiday: Shao Xing 府佶

府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝

I never heard of the place before, except that it was basically one of the hundreds of small cities surrounding Shanghai.  Usually when you go to these types of villages, you're astounded by the quantity of garbage, the lack of manners and the inefficiency of traffic.  But Shaoxing was different.
 
府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝

Shaoxing is one of the many 邦 of China, or as I like to say in English, "water villages" of the south.  Southern China is littered with this places; but what I liked about Shaoxing is how they integrated the canals into the city.  The people here are using the boats as a mean of transport, not purely as a tourist gimmick.  The river of this city was initially used to brew Huang Jiu 仔焼, but with all of the pollution that's contaminating China now, I'd worry if this water is still be used to make my Chinese alcohol...
 
府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝
 
The place is also famous for 株狭遣, or as we literally translate, "stinky tofu."  The stuff really does honest to god stink (like I mentioned before), and the whole town literally just rank of the stuff.  Stinkiest place I've ever been.  I went to Shaoxing with two Japanese girls, and one of them was crazy about the stuff.  Japanese people are hooked on being 'fashionable' and hip, but I think seeing a tiny Japanese girl stuff down stink tofu ranks pretty low on the 'in' factor.  Anyway, while she was scarfing it down I tried two bites and almost threw up a bit.  I think the smell is just way too much for me to handle.

府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝
 
Huang Jiu here is made in stone pots as shown near the motorcycle.  Unlike the normal amber Huangjiu, the stuff I had here in Shaoxing was black and looked exactly like soy sauce.  If you put soy sauce and this huang jiu in two separate bowls, I wouldn't even be able to tell the difference--until tasting it.  Shao Xing's Huangjiu goes down real smooth and heats up your body, giving you a strange sense of comfort--almost like a warm glass of red wine.  It was truly delicious, but since I'm broke I had no extra money to buy a tub of it and bring it home.  Too bad.

府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝

Stinky Tofu.  Everywhere.  People it shoving it down their mouths.  Yum
 
府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝
 
This cat was balancing on a thin piece of wood the width of a door frame.  And on a leash.  This has to be torture of some kind.

府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝

We accidentally stepped into a local neighborhood that was famous for its calligraphers in the past.  Each building had strange calligraphy written on the walls and it was quite the sight.  Although this was deemed as one of the 'tourist' spots, the locals were living their regular lives while ignoring the outsiders (i.e. weird tourists carrying cameras).  People were cooking food in the street, drying their vegetables outside to make pickled assortments, hanging up their laundry.  In contrast, when I took photos of their everyday life, THEY starred at ME.  They probably have no idea what it is about their everyday life, such as cooking food and doing laundry, fascinates me so much.  Ah, well.
 
府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝

A local calligrapher put their works up for viewing.  Since I studied calligraphy before, it was interesting to see the different styles on display and how they would write them on the fan.  ah.  I miss calligraphy
 
府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝

Many of the locals had birds out in cages hanging on the walls.  You can't see the bird so well in this photo, but it was a magnificent species.  I don't know anything about birds, but this one was was gorgeous.  They were singing on the walls. 
 
府佶噸屑画餓音謹 - maryhalloran - 拍敢頚朝
 
More calligraphy on the walls.  The person there that looks like a 12 year old girl is actually my 32 year old Japanese friend Inui-san from Kansai. 

The day before going to Shaoxing I drank like a sailor and drunk dialed until 5 AM, so when my alarm went off at 9 AM for me to go on my Shaoxing adventure I was half tempted to say that I was suddenly attacked by a cat and couldn't go.  But alas, I'm trying to become a better person when it comes to, well, becoming a flake, so I shook off my hangover and went on my way.  I almost ran away at the ticket counter because I was feeling so ill, but after sleeping on the train for 2 hours I felt rejuvenated.  Taking photos with my new camera was also awesome.

There's something about going on a trip with Japanese people.  I always feel this sense of peace and serenity that I lack when with foreigners.  I think foreigners are always on the go-go-go and want to do something crazy and random on trips, such as jump in a lake or something, whereas Japanese people like to have idle chat while enjoying (sometimes too much) the little snacks and cuisine of a certain area, taking in the sights.

I went with two friends, Inui-san and Hui.  Hui is one of my best friends in Shanghai and she's a crazy li-hai woman that could rule the world.  She's one of the main managers at Panasonic and, honest to god, she's way too cool to be friends with me.  Anyway, she's really awesome and successful, but at the same time extremely interesting and intelligent.  She's a born-in-Korea-Japanese, which means that she's bilingual in Korean and Japanese, speaks fluent Chinese, and her English is really amazing for a Japanese native.  Jealous.

Anyway.  Yes.  Traveling with Japanese people is soothing.  Although I was hungover to hell and wasn't even quite sure of the words coming out of my mouth (Japanese all day), I left Shaoxing feeling refreshed and new.  I think a quick trip out of Shanghai is definitely a necessity. 

My two friends were both from Kansai, so hearing Kansai-ben was also fun in its own way.  I think people from Kansai are tough, open, fun, spontaneous and warm.  In other words, not so Japanese.  晩云繁じゃないやろ??

Today K and I went to our special little place at 寄辛銘, a 噸屑画 pu'er teahouse that is, well, a little slice of heaven.  Walking in is like being transported to 1920's Shanghai, equipped with a sonophone, record player, and other Shanghai antiques that decorate the entire establishment.  It's super high-class, movie stars and politicians alike often frequent the place, and they only serve the best of the best when it comes to pu'er tea.  Needless to say, it's crazy expensive.  K and I always drink the bottom of the barrel (200 RMB for 8 grams), but it is definitely worth it.

K and I and chatted for 3 hours about everything.  The new scene of Chinese music, how America brainwashed the Japanese, how China is going to take over the world and the odd customs of Japan and China.  We came in when the sun was high, and left when the stars were shining.  There's something special about that place.  I could sit in there with a cup of tea and stare out into the teahouse gardens for hours, with nothing but a notepad and pen and my thoughts. 

"My dream is to become rich and then have a place like this because my office.  I'll have meetings and develop plans here."

I smiled and drank more tea.  Of course, a possibility.

"Of course, you're going to help me too, right Mary?"

"No doubt about that," I smiled. "I'm at your service."

Like the typical Shanghai-nese we are, we went to the nearby local establishment and had ourselves a piping hot bowl of 碕付汎, braised pork, along with 慨裕暇, which is basically the equivalent to eating stir fried clovers--it's the most Shanghainese thing you can order ever.

Walking home, I looked at the fruit vendor, the noodle shop, the convenience store on the corner, the bicycle repair shop, the glass vendor...  I heard the rain fall, felt my stomach full of delicious cuisine, my body warm with pu'er tea.

"I do get tired of China," I breathed.  "But someday I'm going to look back on these days in Shanghai and miss them so much."

"Isn't that the truth," he replied.  "Isn't that the truth."

I sent off K in the rain.  I looked up to the red sky, down my empty street and back into my housing quarters.  Two cats scattered across the entrance to my house and I heard the musician below me playing piano.

Shanghai, I really hate you sometimes, but for the most part--I love you.
  得胎宸嫖
 
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