January 15, 2005

surprise festival

So this morning in my apartment, I heard some noise coming from Canton Rd. I looked out the window and sure they were setting up for a festival. I've been feeling sick the past few days and it turns out it is allergy/sinus related now rather than it being a cold so I figured it'd be good for me to head out. Several days ago, I discovered my heater does work (it just takes 15 mins or so to get going) but I am thinking using it was the cause of my allergy/sinus attack.
Anyway, I head outside to the festivities. I see 2 huge slabs of what I think is jadeite. It could be jade but these slabs were like 2-3 meters high, 1 meter deep, 1 to 2 meters across. Also, they were whitish/grey green in colour and if I recall right, true jade is green. In any case, very cool to see in the middle of my street.
There were some jade vendors in kiosks with many beautiful carved jade pieces. At one end of the block was a stage playing some Canto-pop. The other end of the street, for only about 45 mins was some old people playing Chinese folk music. There was one guy who played an instrument like a violin but it sat on his knee and was even smaller than a violin. Another guy played a wooden flute, harmonica or he used wood sticks to hit ceramic bowls in front of him filled with varying levels on water in them. There was a microphone being passed around the old people though on some songs someone would sing lead. The singing is really high pitched which I know isn't every Westerner's cup of tea but I really enjoy the sound when it is performed live. The old people danced around and sang together, it was very touching for me to witness. Eventually the Canto pop drowned them out so they stopped but maybe they were just getting tired.
I went to eat some breakfast. I wanted to get congee which is spiced rice gruel with fish and this is my favourite Chinese dish. But I decided to try something different so I went to my usual place that has a Chinese menu with English translation right on the table. I'm always hestitant to eat at places with a separate English menu because I suspect they leave some of the more interesting stuff off and probably raise the prices.
This place's menu has a lot of weird English... like the appetizers section is called "Strong Introduction" and it claims the restaurants bean products promote health and "dainty". What's even funnier with that is if you do order some tofu from them, the way they prepare it is really unhealthy- the amount of oil they use. One of the congees they have is called "beef shiver", I have no idea what that is, I usually just go for the fish slice one.
Anyway today, I went to try something different. I got a weekend special where you choose a type of noodle, " the driver noodle" and then "tie in" 2 or 3 other selections of meat and/or veggies. The cost for this meal is between 15 to 20 HKD, which is about 2.50-$3.00 USD. I chose the big deal noodle (which turned out to be ramen noodles, heh, snake butter (which turned out to be what I know as Chinese mushrooms, and very hot fish (which was just fish balls with black pepper in a broth that had lots of hot sesame oil in it). So I did feel a bit let down but I ate it.

Posted by Christine at January 15, 2005 01:04 PM

Hi, Christine!
Happy 2005! I am trying to catch up on some of your entries. I have been out of touch the past two months. It seems that you are adjusting to life well and are experiencing all that China has to offer. Hope you are well and aren't missing your friends too much. I misplaced your address..please resnd to me. I'd like to send you a belated 30th birthday present. xoxo Liz

Posted by: Liz Nagel at January 16, 2005 11:25 AM