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China Trip October 2013


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#1 Daniel

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:38 AM

Well, here I am again.  It's my third trip this year.  After a 17 hour plane flight from Chicago, a 3.5 hour car ride from Hong Kong, I ended up in Guangzhou last night.   I am staying at the Warm Yes Hotel.  The warm yes, is just the best name i have ever heard.  So, sight unseen, outside of a couple of reviews on Agoda translated from Chinese, I chose the place on name alone.. That and it is three metro stops away from the Convention I am visiting.  

 

The cost of the room is 120 bucks, US.  Which, is three times as pricey as the motel I stayed at in May.   I requested the Superior King Room which when I arrived at 11 pm last night, was not available.. So, they had me staying in the standard room which was pretty much on par with the 40 dollar room.. Well, with the exception that this room came with soap and toilet paper! But, last night, i was picking long black hairs out of the sheets.  The room was one of the dirties rooms I have ever stayed in.  I slept fully clothed and showered with my socks on.   I stopped at target and bought several pairs of socks which i throw out after using.  

 

Flickr doesn't seem to want to work in China.. Each time I come back, there seems to be a fresh list of banned websites.  I am kind of nervous that i won't be able to upload photos.  And with only two books packed, it looks like I will be downing lots of advil pms.  

 

I arrived late last night and went for a little stroll.. I ended up a fairly good restaurant.  I was just in Paris last week and i had several bad meals there.. Perhaps my expectations are higher but, i don't think so.  I can't say i have had an awful meal in China.  I have had ok meals and i have had mind blowing meals.  But nothing i can say was bad.  

 

 

Last night I had bok choy in garlic, some sort of really spicy chicken chicharrone with peppers, roasted pork with sour vegetables and a pepper steak with coarse peppers and 5 spice noodles..  For ordering from photos and knowing how to say chicken, beef, noodles, and spicy, I was able to bang out a pretty fine meal.. Dinner with 3 22 ounce beers, was 16 dollars.. 

 

 

Well, i think this may work so, if someone can tell me if you can see this, then i can post photos. this is the chicken

 

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This is the noodle with steak and coarse pepper and five spice

 

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Roast pork with sour vegetables.

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i am beginning to have a lot of business associates while i am out here so, hopefully they will  take me around the next couple of nights.. Tonight, I am meeting a friend at the Westin which the fanciest hotel in town.  

 

It is also the place that has some of the best Bejing Duck I have ever had.   

 

Lunch today consisted of a set meal at the complex.  For 4 dollars I had fried fish, spicy chicken, rice and steamed cabbage.  For breakfast this morning, I ate at the Warm Yes Hotel.   I forgot to mention, the main restaurant in the warm yes sells pizza.. So, pizza was part of the buffet.. So I had, shrimp dumplings, a slice of pizza, chicken on a stick and some noodles..   

 

There are these awesome stands right outside the hotel selling all sort of awesome Cantonese Dishes.. I will be going there from now on, before i hit the metro.. The metro costs 2 rmb or around 35  cents.  It was a pretty horrific experience as we were packed in there like sardines.. i will have to snap a photo of that tomorrow.. i pretty much felt like I got a lap dance from this large dude with ear hair that i could have braided into pigtails.  

 

So, maybe in a few days when I switch hotels, I will be able to provide photos until then, it's just my glowing personality. 


Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#2 balex

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:53 AM

Love these threads!



#3 bloviatrix

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:58 AM

We can see the photos. Hope you're over your bout of food poisoning.
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#4 Orik

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:43 AM

Great stuff, sorry to hear about the wormies hotel. 


sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#5 Daniel

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:22 PM

Thanks all.. Good news about the photos.. What I suspect is, flickr is just too much for the hotel's internet to take so, it automatically just pops up an error message.. 

 

So, dinner last night at the Westin's Fancy Chinese Restaurant was rather stellar.   Our host ordered for the table and though, they ordered nothing that I would have ordered from the menu, the food was fantastic.  

 

We started with hot and sour soup, we moved on to the exact style of Dish i had the other night but, instead of fried chicken, we had  fried shrimp, there was also freshly killed spotted snapper steamed in a soya sauce, these individual tin foil logs of eggplant covered in bonito flakes, fried shrimp balls, steamed bok choy and greens as well as a beautiful BBQ Chicken.   Perhaps I am missing a dish or two but, it was a really lovely meal.  Certainly because of the company and also because of the food.  It is always tempting to sleep in the lobby.  But, instead, I bought my 30 cent subway  token and headed back to the Frigid Rejection Hotel and Suites.  

 

Which by the way, when I returned, I got a call from the front desk reminding me, I owe them a room key which i lost.  This is not going to go over well i am sure.. Not to mention, i had a maid let me into the room as my room key was not working.  Moments later, I got a knock on the door from the manager. I explained the situation, that my key did not allow me access to the room.  She took the card out of the power strip and said she would be right back.  Of course, seconds later, i was left standing in a powerless pitch black room.  I tripped over my suitcase looking for the door.    I have watched the comedy and errors that occur by many of them being locked in to their single focused thoughts.   And it's usually at my expense and frustration. 

 

The westin is a hyper fancy hotel.  I think they are charging 660 US for a standard room.   No one at the table has a standard room, I can guarantee.  

 

Me, I am chugging along in the low rent district.. They finally change my room and i was pretty happy with what i got.  Showering with socks off, an extra pillow, I had two towels in the bathroom.  Everything was going along smoothly until , I noticed several mosquitos had been dry humping me for half the night.   Because of my poor eyesight and the poorer lighting, I have been just laying here with the sheets up to my neck and thrash violently when I hear a buzzing in my ear.   Unfortunately, i have had a zero percent success rate. 

 

Hot and Sour Soup:

 

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Here is a shot of the table.  I snapped a photo or  two as this was really not the place to do it.   

 

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It doesn't matter if you are in the fanciest restaurant or on the street.. When you see the waiter come out of the kitchen with a plastic container of some sort, there is only on thing that is going to happen.  And that is, something is going to die. 

 

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Here are photos from yesterdays lunch:

 

Meals are cooked and then placed in these sealed trays.

 

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I was less than excited but, the food was really good.  

 

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This meal would have been better than 80 percent of the Chinese Food served in NYC. 

 

I love the signage, can't get enough of it.  Just a gentle reminder of course.  

 

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#6 Behemoth

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:33 PM

You'd better enjoy your meal in 2 hours. Just thinking about all the wonderful ways this can be interpreted. 

 

Your hotel reminds me of the university housing they used to put us in when A had a teaching gig in Shanghai. I think it was meant to be relatively fancy in that it was reserved for Western visitors. The carpet had more stain than pattern, the shower smelled like an aquarium, the room reeked of cigarette smoke even though it was a non-smoking hall, and at 8am sharp you'd be woken up by the sound of the cleaning staff in the hallway repeatedly doing that back of the throat snort/hawking thing the government supposedly banned during the Olympics. And this isn't hotel specific, but the smog was so bad that once it cleared up on the fifth day we realized we actually had a nice view of the Pudong skyline...


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#7 Daniel

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:11 AM

Breakfast.  It was time to get out of the pizza restaurant hotel and do a little exploring.. Since my hotel is right outside the subway, there are tons of little stalls and food guys standing around.. 

 

My first attempt was a good one at this dumpling stand.. Guy had a big wok with a little pool of oil.. He was selling 10 dumplings for 3 or 42 cents, roughly.. They were delicious, i would say along the lines of a prosperity dumpling

 

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Next we found this little store front.. They were making pork shumai and these little mini bao tze, filled with juicy pork.  This was closer to 8 rmb for the pair. 

 

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One guy made the shumai, one guys made the bao

 

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A  good way to s tart the day for sure

 

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The buns were my favorite as i have never seen them so little before.. super juicy.

 

here are the shumai close up.. sorry if i am spelling it incorrectly.

 

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#8 splinky

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:47 AM

you are making me soooooooooo hungry! sorry about the skeeters


“One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh, no!', I said, 'Disneyland burned down.' He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.”
~Jack Handey

*proud descendant of cheese eating surrender monkeys*

 


#9 Sneakeater

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:43 AM

I know.

You read these threads, and even if you've just eaten, you're famished.
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#10 bloviatrix

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 12:41 AM

Those look excellent.
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#11 Daniel

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 08:56 AM

Well yesterday was rather uneventful.  We worked pretty much all day.. A lot of walking. There was no time for lunch so, we ended up grabbing something called, a chopped chicken sausage.. It was essentially fried chicken katsu in a hot dog bun with this mayo they called salad dressing.. The mayo tasted of coconut.  It was fairly horrible and depressing..  We also had something called a black pepper chicken burger. This was a fat piece of skin on chicken thigh with more mayo on a large doughy sesame bun.. 
 
After that, we had a few beers around 6 and i slept the entire night through.. I woke up around 6am..  Made down to the street for another round of bao tze and shumai.  
 
We worked a half a day as the convention broke early..  This allowed us  to walk around.. We went to this outdoor mall where there were monkeys and large durian for sale as well as, a few dogs in cages.  We kept walking until we came upon a Hunan Restaurant.  We were relieved to see a photo menu.  The restaurant appeared to be very popular.. There was a wait for a table.. this allowed us to peruse the menu and plan out our meal.. 
 
The food was worth the wait.. It was delicious.  
 
On the table they provided seaweed or some type of kelp in a very spicy sauce.. 
 
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We then had fried peanuts in Black Vinegar
 
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Cold spicy pig ears.. This was exceptional.. Lots of cilantro that added a nice freshness. 
 
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This is actually a Cantonese Dish but, hey, we are in Canton. I love this dish and am happy that i had a chance to eat it.  Super garlicky bean thread noodles over steamed scallops
 
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Spicy chicken with bamboo over a sterno.. super spicy oil was frying.  the table next to us started coughing from the fumes. 
 
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Greens with pork
 
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Ribs with gelatinous rice flavored with lotus leaf. the ribs were cooked with the rice.. the rice soaked up all the fat from the pork. there were parts of the rice that were super fatty and just delicious.  This was really great too.
 
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This is one of my favorite hunan dishes.. Fish head.. The fish head is split down the middle so, one side gets green the other side gets red..  The sauce is this wine, sauce and hot chile oil.  It's rich and sweet, spicy and sour.  So great.   
 
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i think there may be like an eyeball left in there.. 
 
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with 4 22's of beer, lunch was less than 50 dollars. 
 
These guys are make shift taxis that are all over the place.  In prior years when I stayed far away from the metro and real cabs are impossible to find, it is very easy to jump on the back of one of these guys and whip around the city.. It's really a fun thing to do.  Perhaps the older I get, the less I am inclined to do so. 
 
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Tonight, i plan on eating at the traditional cantonese restaurant and go on a boat tour down the pearl river..  But, I am just do damn full, we will see what happens. 
Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#12 changeup

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 04:22 AM

Ribs with gelatinous rice flavored with lotus leaf. the ribs were cooked with the rice.. the rice soaked up all the fat from the pork. there were parts of the rice that were super fatty and just delicious.  This was really great too.
 
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Those look pretty nuts. I haven't seen them on the Hunan menus in these parts. I have seen pork belly with rice powder, which seems like a similar net effect though.
 

i think there may be like an eyeball left in there.. 
 
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So technically I believe you are allowed to ask for a serving of noodles to be brought to you that then get dumped into the plate once it looks like the plate above (i.e. you are done). The idea is to get all the flavor up and into the noodles, which then finishes you off. When I have gone with Westerners, they never offer to do this. It's only after going with my Hunanese teacher, where she matter of factly said something along the lines of "we are ready for the noodles now", that they nodded and brough out a plate piled up with plain cooked noodle and dumped it in.

#13 Daniel

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:41 AM

Thanks for the advice on the noodles. I am not into tattoos or the fad of getting Chinese symbol tattoos but, if I were, my tattoo would say, "we are ready for the noodles now"
Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#14 Daniel

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:22 PM

"Mortimer, we're back!"

 

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After spending way too much time in that hell hole, called the Warm Yes, we boogied out of Guangzhou and ended up in the lap of luxury..  We flew in to Wuxi airport and made it into the Jinling Hotel in Zhangjiagang.   I spent the first 15 minutes just walking around the room, there is this lush carpeting and a beautiful bathroom with tub and shower, i have a changing room and that, bed, oh the bed.  

 

Just take another look

 

I feel like Julia Roberts in pretty woman.. I may take a bath and put on one of the robes. 

 

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I had a real shitty sleep last night, I have been awake for just about 22 hours now.   The day started with me waking up because of the mosquitos and not being able to go back to bed.  I'm going to miss those mosquitos, I worry about them.. I actually pricked my finger and left some blood behind.. I felt certain that the cleaning staff, if there is any, would miss it. 

 

Before the terrible sleep, I had a really fun time drinking on the Pearl River.. I never made it on the boat but, I was in the outside area over looking the pearl river.. there was no english menu and there was a miscommunication.. I thought i was buying one large 22 ounce of beer for 100 rmb but, it turns out it was 6 beers for 100 rmb. So, instead of going on the boat, there was a lot of beer to be drunk..  After drinking beer and listening to N Synce being blared along with various Chinese Covers of American Music.. Mother and child reunion being my favorite, I took walk around and ended up watching these people do kung fu under a bridge.. I will try and upload the video but, there were this guy and a girl with a whip and this poor dude holding pieces of paper.. The kung fu folks were splitting these tiny pieces of paper in half that the guy was holding.. Mind you, there was no audience, they were just practicing in the dark.  They also had spears and staffs and swords. It was pretty wild to watch. 

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This was my room.. It actually looks better than it was.. No closets, or place to put or hang your clothes.. I was finally able to unpack after 4 days.   You can not see the dirt, the stains.. There were tons of suspicious white stains all over that couch.  The room was perhaps 5 feet away from another what looked like an abounded building.. Around 3 am every night, a cat would cry for two hours straight.   Also, remember, this is the upgraded room.. The first room was by far worse.

 

 

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I waited until 630 and was heading towards a fancy hotel for dim sum when, the traffic was just too intense.   Because there was no doorman, i walked out onto a highway essentially with my luggage and flagged down a taxi.  I gave him the address written in chinese and we were on our way to dim sum.. Because of the traffic, i called an audible and with flapping my arms and making airplane sounds, I was able to signal to the driver, we wanted to hit the airport instead.    i was shocked he knew what I was talking about and not until I saw the airport, did I really know he knew what I was talking about.  

 

At the airport, around 830, i ordered breakfast/lunch/ a few beers.. 

 

In keeping with my, there are no bad meals in China, I was again proven right..  A pretty good meal for an airport.  

 

Greens, roasted pork, fried peanuts and this super spicy dried fish.   Not a bad breakfast at all. 

 

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So,  we made it to the hotel.. I went to the gym, ran 3 miles and did some weights..   A couple hours later, I was picked up and taken to a group dinner at a very traditional, village type restaurant, it was described by my host as.  

 

The company was strange.  Some weird dude from Copenhagen named Lars, his "female companion" and a few sales people..   Many people were drinking wine and sprite.  

 

Food starts flying out..

 

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I think that is roasted goat on the left.. a big thing of muddy fish in the middle with noodles, which was excellent. 

 

Then comes that really barnyardy meatballs in a strange green soup.. I ate it and enjoyed it this time.  A time when red wine actually went well with chinese food. 

 

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Meat dumplings in a broth.. Lots of chicken skin mixed in with the broth and the dumplings.

 

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There was dish that had beef slices over french fries.. It was actually pretty good.. the beef was good and it was in this thickened beef sauce that was served over the fries.. I really liked it. There was dried fish, there was these glutinous things that at first i thought were razor clams in this pesto type dressing.. it was not basil but, a green herb with oil and garlic that also went well with the red wine.. I was switching between red wine and beer.   They kept filling my drink so, guy to my right gave me wine, person to my left gave me beer.  There were local greens mixed with 1,000 year old eggs, stewed greens, rice with greens, spicy cabbage with pork, steamed shrimp with corn.. Lots of food, it just kept coming..  

 

Good food.  Not the best company but, sometimes, not be able to speak the same language is a good thing.   

 

Tomorrow, I get to hang with the chief of police again. 

 

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I feel like i am jumping all over the place.. i need to go to bed. 


Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#15 memesuze

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:39 PM

When I was getting ready for my recent trip to China, the travel clinic nurse warmed me about the daytime mosquitoes that cause one disease, and the nighttime mosquitoes that cause another. IIRC, malaria and dengue fever. As only one of those diseases could be "prevented" with a  vaccination, it ramped up my worry level a bit. 


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