tasty bytes from China

March 2014
« Feb   Apr »
The Bike Guy
Filed under: General, Culture
Posted by: @ 6:01 pm


In China, there are supposedly two rats for every person and one bike guy for every bike.

This is mine.
He keeps my bike tuned up so I can ride the 45 second commute to my school without a hitch.

I don’t know his name or if he has ever hear of Lance Armstrong, but this guy knows his stuff.

He can tighten spokes and straighten out a bent tire for about the price of a Power Bar.
And he does it all while wearing a designer sports coat and screamin’ yellow baseball cap.



His bike shop isn’t as swank as Johnny Sockets in Chi-town. No bike helmets or bike apparel.

But you can get bike locks, breaks, spokes a chain, or tire tubing, most likely already with a few patches on it.

If you look real close, you can see the bike guy’s ancient oil bottle. It looks like its wrapped in the swaddling clothing that Jesus wore in the manger.


The cash register is a cardboard box, which is also very typical.
When it’s closing time, he packs it up and drives away.

The bike guys is usually open for weekends by the back gate of entrance one to Hu Pan Zhi Meng Xiao Qu on the weekends.

 Here’s the three wheeler tricyle also know as the re-cycle. This model is popular with the junk men .


comments (0)
Shine On!
Filed under: General, Kids, Culture
Posted by: @ 7:28 am

Kite or Feng Zheng flying is one of the most popular traditional sports in China.
It dates back thousands of years, a lot farther back than badminton or karaoke.


Along for just the fun of it, the Chinese will fly kites
to honor their ancestors, tying messages of hope to the tails.
the students at Kunming International Academy decided
to honor the
twenty nine lives that were lost at the March 3rd
Train Station Massacre
by making kites.


Bethany Birch, an imaginative teacher lead project “Shine On”.
figured out how to make the kites, where to get the material and even
orchestrated a kite ceremony with the neighboring Hu Pan Zhe Meng
Elementary school.

Students from both schools wrote messages of love and hope on the kites.

The kites were beautiful, but due to a lack of feng or wind, were a bit grounded.
So even though the kite building ceremony was a good idea that did fly, in actuality, it didn’t.


If you look closely, you can see  laundry hanging on the enclosed deck of the top floor apartment behind the town houses.
That’s where I live.
The shiny kites are a lot more fun to look at. Or to use as a hat.


So what does the Chinese word Feng Zheng for kite mean?
Feng means wind.
To break wind, as in fart, is fàngpì 放 屁.
That is also a Chinese tradition.

comments (0)
Filed under: General, Food
Posted by: @ 3:44 am


In spite of Kunming being the capital the world’s most famous region (Yunnan), coffee chains are popping up.
There are several Starbucks, McDonald’s Cafes, one bootleg Julias Meinl, plus all kinds of independent baristas.

But my favorite is Cafelaku.

While I just get a common cuppa joe, Cafelaku is famous for their cat skat coffee. It was featured in the movie, The Bucket List, where Jack Nicolson had a taste for coffee beans that had been passed through a civet’s digestive system.

Uh, not for me. I’m a Folger’s girl.

But if you do have a taste for pooppaccino or other cat skat specialties, you can get them at Cafelaku.

The Pooppaccino will set you back 128 rmb, or roughly twenty bucks.

comments (0)
A Pictureless Post
Filed under: General, Culture
Posted by: @ 5:35 am

Before March 1st, or 3-0-1, no one had ever heard of Kunming. But that night, I got calls and emails from people I have never heard of.
On Sunday, the city mourned over the brutal attacks at the Kunming Train station or “Zhan”, leaving twenty eight dead and millions speechless. It was a ghost town as the government as well as common sense kept people at home.
Many businesses were still closed Monday. There is still extra police protection surrounding schools.
Most people I know weren’t directly affected, but many had friends or knew someone who was.
The local coverage of the event was brutal. Keep in mind, in China, news stories routinely include footage of suicide victims, street brawls and construction workers getting a metal poles removed from their arms.
I can’t even imagine what was included in the footage that was censored.
More saddening than the graphic footage were the faces of those who had lost loved ones. One that I can erase from my mind is of a sixty year old wife who lost her husband and life- long friend that day, just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
All she had left was his ID card.
Though the stories were broadcasted in Mandarin, I understood them completely.
The language of the heart needs no translation.
Since we had a “lock-down” on Sunday, I took the opportunity to binge watch three complete seasons of Showtime’s“the L word”.
I think I’m now officially a lesbian.
Don’t expect me posting pictures of that, either.

comments (0)
Chinese Music Lessons
Filed under: General, Kids, Culture
Posted by: @ 6:29 am


I saw–or heard–these music students practicing in one of the music stores near the old stinky walmart in Kunming.

The harp thing is called a Guzheng. Most kids learn how to play a musical instrument, other than air guitar.
 It is very common  to hear musicians play traditional Chinese instruments in the parks.


Or, just play checkers.

comments (0)