Life in China 2017: A Picture a Day, May 23 – Pandas aren’t the only ones who eat bamboo; most Asian people also enjoy it! Bamboo shoots are widely used in Asian cuisine. We have just recently started eating these at home. You can buy fresh bamboo shoots in the markets when they are in season, but, if you do, you have to know how to properly prepare them for cooking because they have toxins in their raw state. We buy them precooked and packaged, so all you need to do is rinse them and add to your dishes. We just add them to stir fries. You can buy different sizes and whole or sliced. When we visited the Shanghai area in April, the young shoots were in season, and some of the restaurants had special dishes. The lower right corner of the picture was a delicious soup made with young bamboo.
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, December 18 – Cooler weather seems to bring out the vendors who walk around carrying their goods for sale in boxes or baskets attached to a bamboo or wooden yolk. They might be selling tofu, candy, fruit or something else. They usually have some kind of metal they strike with a certain rhythm which seems to indicate they are selling something. Even I have learned to recognize this sound and know to look for a vendorwhen I hear it! The sound reminds me of a cowbell! Today, we saw the man who is seated, taking a well-deserved rest since he had probably been walking along the lake before coming to the shopping plaza. I photographed the other two vendors last fall/winter.
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, July 25 – It gets really hot and humid here in south China, and while we are blessed with air conditioning, (which we use every night and almost all day) many Chinese families with lower incomes must adjust to living in the heat. I think many also choose to not use AC. The people who don’t use AC use bamboo sleeping mats. They come in different sizes as well as chair cushions and small pillows. There are two types; One is a type of tile, which seems to be the coolest if you don’t mind the harder feel (Chinese beds are much harder to start with though!). The other is thin strips woven together, often in patterns. I can’t personally recommend them for sleeping but I’m tempted to try, I’m always “drawn” to them in the stores and they feel very cool to the touch. A Chinese friend said she prefers the tile type, that it is cooler than the other. You can also wipe them down with cold water before going to sleep. Photos show the different types of bed mats and pillows and a screen shot of the weather on my phone at 6:15 today; Actual temperature 91 degrees F, Real Feel of 104. A couple weeks ago, the real feel was up to 113 degrees. (The temperature is normally in Celsius here, but I keep my phone set to Fahrenheit!).
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, July 16 – In Eastern China, cities have been growing rapidly since the early 80’s. It’s amazing how fast a building can go up! Watching the construction looks a little different than in the Western world because generally, bamboo scaffolding is used. It takes the bamboo 3-4 years to reach the maturity used for scaffolding. The bamboo is hollow, so although it is very strong, it is also flexible, which is great for an area prone to typhoons! Because the bamboo is lighter weight, it can be put up and taken down much faster than steel, and pieces can be cut much easier for special sizes. And, bamboo is only a tenth of the cost of steel. Today, the bamboo scaffolding is tied together with nylon or plastic strips. The men who assemble bamboo scaffolding, called “bamboo scaffolders,” are nicknamed “spiders” and their profession is a highly respected one because of the skill needed for the job. Here are a couple of good 3 to 4 minute You Tube videos about bamboo scaffolding in Hong Kong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwDIS_3RqxY
The pictures are, starting with the large one and going clockwise: A building in the next town, Dalingshan, with scaffolding up for maintenance work, a worker who looks like he’s polishing some metal on the same building, a pile of bamboo waiting to be assembled, close-up of how the poles are tied together, and the last one is actually steel scaffolding around one of the villas where we live.