Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pulled Noodles

This is a short video of Mr. Noodle stretching the dough to make La Mian (pulled noodles). I am hoping to find the time to have him teach me how to do this. His noodles are by far the best that I have had anywhere in China.

A trip to the decal factory

This is a common transport for ceramics in Jingdezhen. These pots have not been fired and are on their way to a kiln. I have seen this hundreds of times and it still blows me away.

At the decal factory you can have decals printed while you wait. Just outside the factory is an outdoor pool tent to help pass the time.

Around the corner is a street that has four types of businesses which include pottery tools, restaurants, salons (aka brothels), welding shops and kiln shelf stores. It is pretty strange mix of businesses. I inquired about prices at the kiln shelf store and found out that the shelves are really cheap! Most sizes and shapes are between $10.00 and $12.00 each. These shelves are pretty amazing as well, we have fired them in the wood kiln to cone 12 plus and have had no warping at all. I would love to put a bunch into a shipping container and send them home for everyone.

After waiting for the decals we thought about lunch at this restaurant and decided that maybe we should head back to our own neighborhood instead.

This is one of our local favorites. Mr. Noodle as he is known by all of us gringos. Here he is shaving noodles off of a chunk of dough and they fly straight into the boiling broth. After they are cooked in the broth they are stir fried to make the dish called daoxiao mian.
Hao Chi! (Good Eats!)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mr. Jin's big water jars

This is Mr. Jin doing his thing. He is a master of the coil and paddle technique. He has been making large scale pots most of his life. He learned his trade from his father in the family business.

Making large coils by rolling the clay back and forth between his hands.

Look at the height that he gets from a single coil addition.

Paddling the base after it has set up a bit. The rest of the pot will eventually be paddled into a beautiful bulbous form. This was part of a three day workshop that he taught. I have been trying to learn this technique but I seem to be hopeless for the near future.

Mr. Jin and I as he tries to give me some tips for my five futile attempts.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My China digs

Looking West out of my dorm room window on the fifth floor.

The Southwest view.

Looking towards the North. The local recycling center in the foreground and all of the ceramic factory stacks off in the distance.

Tony Clennell, my roommate inspiring me to keep blogging. He is struggling to make me a better communicator and I am trying to make him more tech savvy. We both have our work cut out for us.

My iron horse.
I fell in love with these antique bikes when I got here and immediately went out looking for one. While trying to buy mine the bike shop owners were having me lift up the bike and then lift up other cheaper bikes to show me the quality. There point was lost in the total lack of translation. Later I realized that they were trying to impress me with how heavy my bike was not how light it was. My bike ended up costing me 100 Yuan which is equal to about $13 US. The lunch room lady laughed at me and told me that I got ripped off. I should have paid only 50-60 Yuan. A friend of mine bought this style of bike brand new (much lighter) and he has had nothing but trouble with it. I ride my bike like it is a mountain bike. I wheelie my it, jump it off of curbs, and barrel down mountain dirt roads. The locals think that I am a total freak. To them bikes are for transportation. The only thing that has broken on my bike is the chain. Unfortunately, I was six miles up the canyon by myself just before dusk. No headlamp, extra clothes, or tools. Some things never seem to change.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Zip-line at the Great Wall

Looking down from the top of the zip-line.

This type of activity seems even sketchier in China.

Getting ready.

Looking back up from the lake at the bottom.

This is what we saw zipping down the line.
Donna and I were both attached to to one little carabiner.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hiking the Great Wall.

We headed 100 kilometers North of Beijing to hike along the great wall. We hiked from Jinshanling to Simatai which is a distance of 10 kilometers. I was very excited to see the Great Wall but did not realize just how great it would be. God I love puns. The weather was fantastic and the scenery was a lot like the Southwest. Some of the wall had been repaired while other parts remained in their natural state of decay. This project was an incredible feat. Being there really gave you a sense of the enormity of scale. Once we reached Simatai we had a chance to take a zip-line down to where the buses pick you up to go back to Beijing. The zip-line was a blast!

Getting ready to head up one of the steeper sections.

Donna almost at the top of that section.

Looking out from inside one of the watchtowers.

It went on and on for more than 3,000 miles--nearly impossible for me to imagine.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A real getaway!

Donna and I met in Beijing for a rendezvous and chance to checkout some of China’s historical attractions. We wanted to meet somewhere warmer and closer to the half way point for both of us but my visa would not allow me to return to China after leaving. Hawaii was sounding like a great option so that we could finally go on our honeymoon. Beijing is not what we had in mind so we are still waiting for our honeymoon. Twenty hours of travel and 6,000 miles for Donna. Twenty-three and a half hours and 1600 kilometers of train travel for me. The travel was long and tiring but the reward was definitely worth it. Seeing the love of my life after seven weeks apart was amazing. Here are some photos from our week together.

Donna in front of the gates to the Forbidden City.

The Temple of Heaven.

The mote of the Forbidden City.

Having fun at the Bell Tower.

Monument to the People’s Heroes at Tiananmen Square.