At the risk of slipping into what China Law Blog refers to as a “noodle” blog, I had some thoughts while wandering around Tianjin the last couple of days before the Spring Festival.
YJ’s mother is the sweetest human being on Earth. She really is. But like an evil genie, when you are in her presence you have to watch what you wish for. Two weeks ago, in the course of a conversation about food, I mentioned that I really liked hongshao rou. You can guess what happened. The next morning, YJ’s mom went to the market and bought two kg of meat. For the last fourteen days, hongshao rou has been served every lunch and dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love hongshao rou, but a fortnight of marinated fatty pork is a lot for anyone. It’s getting to the point where I need a couple of EKG paddles and a heart stent just to get out of bed in the morning.
In order to compensate for my creaking cardiovascular system, I have taken up morning exercise namely, basketball. Each morning around 6:30, I pay my 3 jiao to play basketball at the local park. It’s early but the park is jumping, though I am usually the only person there who can’t remember where I was the day Mao first spoke from Tiananmen. Even on the basketball court, there’s a group of oldsters, the youngest one easily over 60, who play a regular game each morning. They are fabulous and there’s one guy (and here I really, really need video) whose go-to move can only be described as a cross between a running hook shot and somebody throwing a discus in a track and field meet, taken from behind the three-point stripe. I swear to God every time he does it, I keep looking to see where his collarbone landed. But it GOES IN. Simply amazing. Another guy, this one about 70, beat me in game of H-O-R-S-E when I failed to match his behind the back under the left leg reverse-hook layup. I really need to find a new sport.
Last night we did finishing touches on Spring Festival decorations and watched reruns of past years’ Spring Festival Programming. I gotta tell you, the white people dressing up and singing songs in bad accents routine has a real minstrel quality to it that grates on my nerves after awhile. I mean would anyone in the United States really stand for it if a Chinese guy became famous for dancing wildly and singing English songs in a bad accent while people mocked/cheered him? Um, never mind…
Also last night was the night to burn money for the deceased ancestors. The part of Tianjin where I am currently residing ain’t what you would call a fashionable address and with the abandoned stores, multiple fires burning on street corners, and the constant firecracker explosions, I kept closing my eyes and dreaming of Fallujah. One little scamp, after making me jump 10 feet in the air (which defies any number of the laws of physics) with an explosive volley not five yards from where I was buying water, ran past me and said, “Wo bushi kongbufenzi!” (I’m not a terrorist!) Well…that is a relief.
Finally, a very funny Chunjie story over at Sinocidal. Let’s just say that The Den in Beijing is never a good place to be making any kind of important decisions. Also, John at Sinosplice has a great rant about “10 Reasons I Hate Chinese New Year” for all you haters out there.
Since it’s Spring Festival and I will be busy with family matters, it may be a little quiet here for the next few days. I’ll check in when I can. Until then…
Happy New Year to everybody! 新年快乐！恭喜发财！