October 1st "National Week" holiday.
Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
101Trip End Oct 08, 2012
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Played quietly the gamut of songs I still remember, while experimenting with the unique virtues inherent to classical guitars (haven't had one in years). The classical guitar is much more about rhythm than a steel string, each click of your fingernails on the wood adds a certain drumbeat to the music. Classical guitars have more room on the fingerboard for fat fingers (a plus for me) therefore makes a cleaner sound than the finicky steel stings I've played for 20 plus years. They are easier on the fingers as well. They are quieter. Most good classical players I know; like Willy Nelson, never use a pick and neither do I. The classical guitar is what I started with, and it's probably what I will continue to play for the rest of my life. Finger picking my new Chinese classical, in the rain has brought new dimensions to my previously stagnant guitar playing ability, it's nice to enjoy playing the instrument again. Still love the sax, but it's just too loud to play in an all cement building. My neighbors do mention that they hear my sax playing, but they don't mind since I stop by 9:00 PM, and I know how to reasonably play the instrument (one neighbor told me this).. But it still bothers me because I hate to impose my music on anyone, nor do I feel particularly talented since I haven't practiced much since the end of June. I will have next week to jam the Sax since most neighbors are leaving for national week, but after that I will need to rent a practice room at the local music store, or play in some of the outlying parks where no one goes. I only need a couple weeks of an hours practice per day to get back to where I was
How do I get the time to practice the Sax, Guitar, Writing, Cooking, and Reading? By not working like a dog 24/7. I think only very dim witted souls should subject themselves to grabbin' dollars every free waking second of their lives. I knew fellow teachers in the past who had side jobs, worked weekends, worked summers, just so they could gather more money. Maybe this sounds judgmental, but to me this sounds like a terrible way to squander one's life.
But of course me thinking these judgmental thoughts is unfair. Some people enjoy constant work for some reason. I must respect this, though I will never understand it. Nor do I understand how a person can live without ever working at all? This doesn't include retirees, students, and housewives/husbands of course. Maybe I will marry a brilliant Chinese woman and stay home and be a house husband!!!
Spent the next three hours reading Grisham's "The Broker", which is one of his most exciting works since "The Firm"
Sunday morning, having a cup of "Lipton" brand tea as usual (fancy Chinese teas cost too much and taste like seaweed to me), while contemplating a semi-wet trip to the Metro Market. It's no longer raining but there are many puddles of water mixed with mud and/or shit that I will have to avoid. Plus, the cars might be skidding around too much for my liking. I plan to go a few kilometers, assess the situation, then decide whether I should continue or not
Had an exciting trip to the Metro, not too much shit in the road except for one part. The cars were obnoxious but no skidding. Once in Metro I focused on stocking up on curry making stuff like a decent bean-cooking pot (the meat here makes one consider being a vegetarian), a square butcher knife, which is great for chopping onions, garlic, ginger, ect., and a wood cutting board. I also bought a kilo of red beans, a pound of Madras (Southern Indian hot) curry powder, some Mongolian fire oil, two pounds of tomato paste. I also bought a bottle of Cuervo gold a two pound jar of the best french mustard, more tabasco sauce, black pepper, baking soda, Ham sandwich stuff, giant jar of plum jelly, all for a mere 750 RMB ($110 US), now I'm set to eat cheap dinners for a long long time. I can buy most of the curry ingredients local and now that I have the proper bean pot, I will hardly touch meat once the ham runs out. Meat should be a condiment anyway, not 3/4ths of the main course. I did find a shop close by that sells veggies and tofu which I like. Maybe try the spinach curry (Sagg Aloo), the Cauliflower curry (don't remember the Indian name), but I have lots of Indian food which I love to eat everyday
Came home and had a big salami sandwich on french bread with goulda, then fell asleep for 2 hours while my feet were numb from lack of circulation. There is a major circulation issue with me, which is why I fail the EKG tests. We have two foot massage places nearby that I have been wanting to try. I have never had a massage of any kind in my life. I heard from another teacher that these are legitimate message places (no happy endings), so I went to the one around the corner. They put in in a comfortable room with a TV and remote, brought me a hot glass of tea, then the masseuse came in and stuck my feet into a container of 110 degree F water with herbs in it. She then preceded to punch my legs from the waterline up to my upper thighs, after 15 minutes of this she puts my feet on an ottoman and cuts my toenails (can't see an American women with the guts to do that one!), then painfully worked my left foot for about 15 minutes, the feeling came back to the foot and it hasn't felt better in years. The right foot had knots in the soles which she beat the heck out of until they went away, this was not just a touchy feely type thing
I have two more pictures here, one of the Chinese version of "Arm & Hammer", this one had me laffin' in the middle of the store, so I bought it of course
Now that I am home, I plan to have another sandwich for dinner so the french bread doesn't have to get tossed. Tomorrow will be a spicy red bean curry with fire oil to ensure it isn't as wimpy as the Dum Aloo's were.
Spent much of the late afternoon/evening making the "Rajma" or red bean curry. Out of all the beans I've tried, I tend to like the red beans the best. The recipe for this is nearly the same as the Dum Aloo or potato curry, except that you boil the beans separately until they are nearly tender before adding them to the curry sauce. Serve over rice or with Naan bread. This dish is completely vegetarian, could be vegan if you leave out the butter. I just kinda do what the Indians do.
(Enjoy the Curry Making Video)
The next day I was exploring parts of Xiasha, when I ran into the most incredible park I have ever seen. This park is located behind my University, across a major street. The park itself must be about 40 acres and has classical chinese curved bridges, piers, pathways, lakes, and many sculptures (all but one seem to fit the park)... Plenty of places to sit and read or make out with your lover, and both seems to be popular here., I wanted to sit and read, but I forgot my TP so I had to return home and take a nap for a while. When I came back, I missed my opportunity and it was too late to enjoy reading so I just drove around and took pictures of the place. This is the best park in town. The one near my house is a close second, but it's not nearly as large, and with fewer Tea Houses.