Here is last night’s dinner.

Fried rice with tofu, ham, and Shanghai greens.

Fried rice with tofu, ham, and Shanghai greens.

I had gone to the market to pick up groceries, but I still had some greens and tofu left over from Sunday’s run, and I wasn’t about to let them go to waste.

I had some rice in the rice cooker (the first step to most dinners I make here) and was ready to make something of it.  So I took the tofu, cut it up into little cubes, sliced up some small Shanghai greens (you may know this as baby bok choy), and opened up a sealed packet of ham that had been in the fridge for a while.  I fried it all up with some garlic in a tablespoon or two of oil, added the rice, mixed it all together, tossed in a splash of soy sauce and ground some pepper over it, and voila!  There’s dinner.  Cheap, easy, and good.

Midday Market

7 Jul

Sunday and Wednesday are the two days I set aside for grocery runs these days. After my morning Pilates teaching, I had stopped to get some things at the supermarket, but I save the vegetables and such for the neighborhood market, as they are fresher and usually cheaper there.


Knowing that everything shuts down around lunchtime and for a couple hours thereafter, I decided to wait until 2:30 to head out. The sun was peeking out behind just a smattering of thin clouds, but somehow there was a respectable drizzle coming down, heavy enough to dampen my clothes (but not my spirits!), but light enough that a careful eye could watch the air currents through the movement of the droplets. It took me around ten minutes to arrive. Alas, I was still too early. I was able to grab some potatoes, and some greens, and a block of tofu, but the produce I wanted most were all covered up and unattended. Naptime wasn’t over yet.


I waited around and got to watch the market slowly reawaken. The butchers set out their wares again and turned on the lights over their counters. Vendors filtered in and uncovered tables covered with produce. A middle-aged woman sat up from her worn reclining lawn chair, rubbed her eyes, and started putting her change box in order. As the market eased back into life for the afternoon, I finished filling my red Trader Joe’s bag with young Shanghai greens, cai xin, and a bag of lettuce for the rabbit, and began to walk back home.

The other day, I was out by the market near campus and I decided to explore. I found a nifty little road that led to the main road of the neighborhood, which I had been to before back when I had no idea where I was. Today, I decided to take my camera and revisit.

After lunch by the south gate, I headed towards the Park’n'Shop, ducking into the metro station to cover some ground away from the heat. I arrived at the corner, and that’s where this gallery begins.

More Meta: TODO

5 Jul

I’m screwing around with more templates. I’ve found a couple I like but they’re a little buggy and I need to fix the CSS so large images don’t overlap the sidebar, and then I have to change some images from the default because personalization is a nice thing.
But now, I sleep.

  • Author: krysztov
  • Category: Meta

So Google Analytics lets me see a lot of information about what kind of people visit my site, and there are a lot of other tools to help me target my site to certain demographics to get more hits, if I felt so inclined.  I check it often, because I’m a huge narcissist.  They have a tool that tells you what kinds of search results your site shows up in.  Here are the top ten:


Okay, I get it, I say “fuck” a lot, I guess, but what in the world is with that second one?  I don’t even.

  • Author: krysztov
  • Category: Meta

Well, it looks like Guangzhou’s stifling spring season may have passed.  After a brief burst of typhoony weather right before Rachelle left for the summer (she’s safely back in California), the mugginess subsided and for the past couple days we’ve had clear blue skies.  Well, as long as you’re looking up.  Look far enough down the road and you’ll still see some smoggy haze, and it’ll likely get worse if the rain doesn’t come along and keep it down every so often.  So, the air’s drier and cooler, the sun’s brighter, I’m done with classes, and Rachelle is away for two months.  Looks like there’s nothing left to do but explore!

But not today.  Yesterday I made a market run while the Ayi was doing her thing, and to kill some time I wandered along a road to see where it was I had gotten lost previously.  I found a lot of nifty things to take pictures of, and completed a nice big chunk of my neighborhood mental map, but the sun was pretty damn hot.  Even though I thought I had drunk enough water, the heat and sunshine caught up with me, and I stopped sweating and got a headache, and some nausea, and I went to bed early and woke up to my alarm.  And after breakfast and a brief Skype with Rachelle, I couldn’t stay awake and fell asleep again until noon.  But I’m feeling better, and when I went out to buy razor blades I was sweating normally, so by tomorrow I should be back to normal.  Hooray!

Oh, yeah, one more note.  There is a little switch on our bathroom wall which, when activated, turns on a water cooler.  If you leave it on, your electricity bill will skyrocket, but you do need it for short periods of time in the summer.  The water tanks on the roof get extremely hot, and I could not take a shower even with the hot water turned off until I had chilled the pipes for around five minutes.  Yeah, pretty toasty around here.

Happy Fourth of July to everyone back home!


2 Jul

Rachelle has gone home for the summer to visit her family and friends.  I’m holding down the fort.  There will be either many new adventures or lots of moping.

Hope everyone back home enjoys their gifts!

So no shit there I was, racing a bus on a wobbly bike and wondering how I was still alive.

Er, let me back up a bit.  One of my wife’s colleagues needed a native English speaker to record some stuff and I was on the short list.  She said the best way to get there was by bike, since it wasn’t quite far enough to warrant a bus ride, but was a bit too far to walk.  We don’t have a bike so I borrowed Sebastian’s.  He hadn’t used it in a while, so the tires were flat.  I took care of that though.

I met Xiaoyan outside the School of Foreign Languages and we set off.  Her bike had an electric motor.  My bike had a large, poorly attached basket on the front that wobbled violently every time I moved the handlebars.  She was speeding past accelerating buses through spaces not much wider than her bike.  I was screaming inwardly and wondering whether the traffic or their exhaust would kill me first.

On the plus side, I got an easy 400 kuai and now primary schoolchildren in Guangzhou will be taking final exams to the sound of my voice, so I suppose it was worth it after all.

Oh, yeah, when you’re pedaling hard, you don’t realize how much your body is heating up, and then you get home and stop moving so fast, and you can pretty much swim the rest of the way in the river of sweat that suddenly appears.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Rigel’s angry that we put him on a leash earlier, and he’s biting Rachelle.  On the face.

My wife, who is a writer who sometimes writes about China, said she wanted to write about our adventure yesterday.  And she did!  So here it is.

It was the day before Dragon Boat Festival and all through the largely populated town, not a person was stirring, except for the woman carrying a huge load of styrofoam.

Who needs gravity?

Who needs gravity?


So Rachelle and I had settled into our hotel room in Wuhan, tried to do some sightseeing before the conference began, were thwarted and frustrated and had the expected marital spat, and had returned home for a good night’s sleep on the hard hotel beds.  Pro Tip: Since Wuhan is at the center of China and most long-distance transportation passes right through it, it has been called, “The Chicago of China.”  This is a crap moniker, as a few moments trying to deal with traffic will reveal that it is, in fact, Pittsburgh, but with fewer bridges.  But I digress.

Rachelle was off to rub shoulders with her fellow academics, so I had the day to explore.  I took the Nexus, with some of the surrounding area pre-loaded on Google Maps, and a note from one of Rachelle’s students to assist me (best part ever: “P.S. If you think a Wuhanese is shouting at you, he is most likely not, because Wuhan dialect sounds short-tempered”), and took it upon myself to head, in an indirect manner, to 户部巷(Hu4 Bu4 Xiang4), a slightly touristy area full of food vendors, to explore some local cuisine, and maybe find some interesting sights along the way.