joel (with help from Sarah on the bits about food) writes
Well, kind of: our friend Johnny was featured on NPR’s “Open Mic” Podcast, and their review of his CD mentions the band SYNTHAR (of which I am a founding and honorary member), which, they write, has members in “New York City,” (true), “Seattle,” (no longer true), and “Shaoxing, China.”
Things are good here in SX (hip abbreviation?) — last week’s typhoon (Krosa) was actually worse than the previous one, but now that it’s gone, we have, for the first time since we’ve arrived, perfect weather. It feels like early autumn in the Pacific Northwest — cool and crisp but warm in the sunshine with highs in the mid-70s — simply put, the best weather in the world! We’ve enjoyed being outside for the first time since our arrival, riding bikes to and from school, and, last night, floating paper boats in the canal with students from the university’s English Club.
Teaching is keeping us busy, but we still explore now and again. The highlight of this week: we bought French wine and Land O’ Lakes cheddar cheese at Carrefour (a French supermarket chain with 100 stores in China), or 家乐福, or Jia Le Fou. While we were on our quest for such things, we found ourselves in one of the swankiest parts of Shaoxing (Seattleites: imagine something like the U-Village, only with more high-rise apartments), where many foreign businesspeople and their families live. We saw the world’s cutest Pekingese puppy, more foreigners than we’d seen in the previous six weeks combined, and… get this:
A liquor store that sells, among other things, Chateau Ste. Michelle Reisling and Columbia Crest Merlot and Cabernet. Yes, Washington wines in a small town in Eastern China. This completely blew my mind. You know that thing, that thing everybody keeps talking about? Oh yeah, globalization? It’s totally real.
In cuisine news, we’ve eaten curried ramen at an uber-hip Japanese restaurant, supped on big bowls of shaved noodle soup (the cook takes a large piece of dough and shaves strips of it into a giant pot of boiling broth), indulged in different street food from various vendors, and have been enjoying some amazing fruit: sweet and juicy apples (from New Zealand), and the best Asian pears are in season right now – crisp and juicy and absolutely sweet. Get some now, they’re amazing.
We’re looking forward to a visit from our friend Suj’n in a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping to plan a weekend trip to Shanghai in the next month or so. More on those events as they transpire. We hope that you, friends and family, are well!