One of the best places to eat in Food Alley in Jindezhen is at the Noodle Man's place. This gentle noodle maker, his wife and two beautiful little girls run this little restaurant. He makes the BEST noodles. He makes them all from scratch. You can have them as soup or stir fried. They are spicy and tasty. Here is a video of the noodle making. You can catch glimpses of his wife and girls, too.
Jingdezhen is all about ceramics. There is a wonderful ceramics museum with kilns, pottery makers of all kinds, shops, and on and on. I managed to get some video of one of the artists trimming a pot. For those who don't know about ceramic process, the wet clay is formed into a shape by throwing it on a potters wheel. The pot is then dried and then it is trimmed to make it's final form - thinning the walls and making the foot of the pot the right shape. In the states the trimming is generally done when the clay is "leather hard" - firm but not completely dry. Here, the pot is trimmed when the clay is "bone dry." This man in this video is using the traditional methods all around. Notice how he makes the wheel spin at the beginning. No power except his own. My potter friends can probably find all kinds of things to correct in my description of this process, but watch the video and you will get the idea.
Our hotel here in Jingdezhen is called the Holiday Hotel....not to be mistaken with the Holiday Inn. It is brand new. In fact last June when Joe was here it wasn't even started. I would not exactly call it finished. The room where we are staying is more or less finished, but there are big parts of the hotel that are still under construction. Certificate of Occupancy? We don't need no stinkin' C.O.!
We are on the top floor with a great view. That part is great. The weird thing is that the wall that separates our room from the adjoining room doesn't quite reach the front wall so there is a 4 inch (or so) gap. You can't see through to the adjoining room, but you can sure hear! When the guy staying next door turned on his TV late at night it was like it was in our room. He also smokes and I was convinced he was blowing smoke through the gap. I woke up on the night smelling smoke and then was worried that this guy (dubbed Smelly Greasy Guy) was smoking in bed. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to believe this as people smoke everywhere here.
SGG checked out today so perhaps no one will be in there tonight.
We are here in Jingdezhen, China after having traveled from Lexington to Cincinnati to San Francisco to Hong Kong to Shanghai to Jingdezhen. Whew, a long trip. Thankfully it wasn't all at once! This morning we went in search of breakfast and found a street near the food market with stalls selling all kinds of steamed dumplings. We ate a few from this one and then a few from that one. They were beyond wonderful. Tender dough pockets filled with various fillings - some meat some vegetable. Savory. Spicy. Mmmmmmm! The bamboo steamer baskets are stacked high over woks of boiling water keeping them all piping hot.
After stuffing ourselves on the dim sum we wandered through the food market. It was bustling. They were selling anything imaginable that could be cooked. Piles of incredible produce; tanks of fish, turtles, eels, and frogs; a huge variety of peppers and other spices; meat of all varieties; cages of ducks, chickens, pigeons; eggs of many colors and sizes.
I guess the culinary tour of China has officially begun. With a vengeance.
Because we will be returning from China on election day (we will be watching returns in a hotel in San Francisco) we went yesterday and voted absentee at the Clark County courthouse. We had to hurry because they were scheduled to close at 4:00. We made it in by the deadline, completed the paperwork and the very kind worker from the Clerk's office led us to a small room where the voting machines were set up.
She had to do some set up on the machine to make sure our vote was attributed to our precinct. While she was getting things set up I noticed that this was the same room that stored the marriage records for the county. The marriage records are recorded in books that are labeled with dates back to 1793. Standing there looking at these records we also noted that the older ones are also labeled "white" and "colored". This is a part of history that I obviously don't like, but it is what it is.
When I stepped into the voting booth I pushed the button to select a straight democratic ticket. Before I pushed the "Vote" button I stood there for a moment and checked to make sure that I was good with all of the choices. My eyes fell on Barack Obama's name and tears welled up in my eyes. The significance of voting for this man who I feel is (without any doubt whatsoever) America's best hope for the future while standing in a room where marriage records were divided into "white" and "colored" was overwhelming. I stood there savoring the moment, collected myself and pushed "Vote". A very proud moment in my life.