Thursday, April 30, 2009

Smelly moo juice

Last year's melamine milk scandal spotlighted the problem of tainted milk in this part of the world. But what I thought was interesting was the number of people feeding their children milk. Cow's milk to be exact. When I was living here 15 odd years ago, the only milk we could find was soy milk and UHT pasteurized milk (is that redundant? I am too lazy to find out right now.). The latter didn't taste right to the Westerners, although I could care less, so long as it was white and didn't taste beany, as soy milk did. And it wasn't sweetened and watery.

These days, there are "milk bars" with a cowhide (black and white) facade, just to make sure people understand that this ain't no soy milk bar, we are all about the cow, people! One of the other teachers says their milk isn't bad, and gave us a taste a few weeks ago. I was and am still a bit leary about drinking milk here, but I have to weigh the chances of dying of some horrible kidney problem or having brittle bones from the lack of calcium. Hmmm.

After leaving my rented rooms a bit later than normal this morning, I signed in, and decided to go find myself some breakfast. I walked a few blocks, and saw the milk bar, busy with customers. Ok, some milk is calling my name (Mila, moooooo, drink me moooo). I grabbed a bottle, not really reading the bottle, plunked down cash and went back to the office. I unsealed the cap and poured myself a cup. Hmmmm, sniff, sniff, what is that smell? Why does this milk smell like sulphur? I was about to pour it down the drain when I looked at the label and saw this "Egg Milk".... I see. I would have thought eggmilk would be a bit richer, creamier, more eggnoggy. But maybe they just figure people will smell the egginess and think, right, I'm drinking an egg in my milk. Taking a sip, it tastes more like a light condensed milk, not too bad really, but the smell is a tad problematic for me. The ladies at work seem to like it though, so I will leave the bottle for them. Brittle bones, oh my.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New tastes

I am constantly told "you look chinese" and there's an underlying sense of expectation that I speak chinese, not to mention know all there is to know about living in China. I usually shrug my shoulders, try not to confuse the person with explanations about the diverse origins of Chinese Filipinos (overseas chinese is the phrase they understand best, yes, I have returned to the motherland, comrade!), and move the discussion to another track. As for speaking, they usually realize my chinese is still a work in progress, although one of my students said it wasn't bad (hahahaha).

One of the aspects of living in China that I'm going to do more of is tasting different specialties, depending on the region. Wenzhou is more of a seafood town, and I've been told their fish is very good. Strolling through town on days off, I normally spy a diner selling "fish balls" or "fish ball soup", this makes me think of our own fish balls at home, which look like balls! Here, they don't, more like fish nuggets, or rolled up willy nilly and plopped into a bowl of slightly acidic (vinegar probably) broth and a sprinkle of green onions. It is a very fishy taste, no ginger to mask that sense of, yes, you are eating fish. I can imagine that this wouldn't be a favorite among non-chinese eaters, who don't revel in the smell of fish. I would prefer some ginger myself but all you get for a side dish is some pickled cabbage at best.

Among food blogs, Appetite for China has been my go to source for good eats in China. Diana Kuan has been cooking and teaching in China for a couple of years now, at her base in Shanghai. Through her blog, I was alerted to the mulberry season, and managed to find the first fruits in the market near my apartment. They look like elongated blackberries, but the flavors are quite mild, somewhat astringent. Be prepared for stained fingers that won't wash out easily. She recently posted about grass jelly, a black gelatin that is supposed to be good for the health. I've had it in the past with coffee, but didn't think too much about it. I'm now having a couple of tablespoons mixed into my tea steeped drink, slathered with a healthy dollop of condensed milk. A pleasant way to start my morning while I read the morning news online.

The apartment complex has all sorts of vendors, and yesterday afternoon, I came across a mobile cart selling what looked like sushi. The man placed a sheet of dry nori (seaweed), had a large container of rice, and smaller buckets of pork floss, shredded cucumbers, peanuts, pickles and fried dough. It's sort of like the California roll, but no avocado. For 3 renmimbi (P21), you get a large roll, made while you wait, a tasty snack or light lunch.

There are some things that aren't Chinese at all, but make my heart palpitate in happiness. When you live in another country, you try to eat as local as possible, but after awhile you miss things from home or whatever makes your tastebuds nostalgic. I told friends recently that I was thrilled to see a Haagen-Dazs cafe here, they have most of my favorite flavors, and quite a dessert menu. They have this special tea set with cute little ice cream sandwiches on a tea caddy, three stacks high. I've taken refuge there once after a long walk and it was pleasant to sit watching people walk by. Yesterday, I discovered that Beard Papa has opened its first outlet in town. A complete surprise and since it's still in its early days, the pastry puff is still light and crisp, unlike the puffs in Manila that have turned all dense and bready. What I am eyeing in the Beard Papa store is the adorable bento box carrier they have in the display. Bright yellow with the cartoon face of Beard Papa on it, I must have it for my bento collection.

I have a lot more taste exploring to do!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hop on the bus, gus

8 hours to Xiamen, 8 hours to Shenzhen, 16 hours back to Wenzhou. All for four stamps on my passport. Whee.

What can I say about the sleeping buses of this wonderful country? There are the sleeping pallets, a cot that wouldn't fit anyone beyond 5'7" and whose top bunks I really don't like clambering up on. There are the quilts and questionable pillows; do they ever get washed? I suspect not. There are the passengers, a majority are men, mostly adults (haven't had the pleasure of a vomiting child next to me yet, oh dear, I just know that now I've thought of it, I'm bound to have one the next time around), and not too many (if any) foreigners. I was probably the only non-Chinese on all the buses I've taken thus far and I don't stick out too much if I don't open my mouth and ask questions. The other aspect of my fellow passengers is the basic level of hygiene they observe. There's no telling who is going to take their shoes off and perfume the air with foot-halitosis (you must take your footwear off at the time you get on the bus, and place them in a plastic baggy. That reduces the amount of dirt tracked in on the buses, but not necessarily reduces odor problems.).

Finally the bus drivers and conductors - most of them are quite solicitous, demanding, and helpful when needed. One steward made sure I was heading in the right direction at Shenzhen, and the bus drivers always recommended I put my backpack into the luggage compartment. I would still take it inside with me, and use it to protect me against any pallet bugs that the last passenger may have left behind.

Over the last 10 years China has built up its road system, the highways are laid out, north to south, east to west and so on. What might have taken me a day to get to in 1996 now only requires 8 hours. If I took the train, it would take me 12 hours. So I chose the bus as my form of coast to coast travel, even with horrible memories of being bounced around for hours, being pecked at by my neighbor's chickens, or hearing the sound of a child puking me behind me. Since the advent of the sleeper buses, there's a bit more room and no chickens have clouded the door of my trips so far. But the last couple of days, I've truly wondered if I have the strength to deal with any more nauseatingly foul body odor, smoking (which turns out to mask the smell of feet if only for a couple of minutes or two), and bus toilets. Here are a few lessons I must remember for future trips:

1. Wear long pants, long socks, and long sleeve shirts. Not merely to add a layer of protection against the linen on the bus, but because they love blasting the ac even if it's 10 degrees celcius outside. A couple of layers helps, and something like a hat to cover the head is doubly useful.
2. Bring the ipod portable charger, there isn't anywhere to plug in the usb charger.
3. The public bathroom at the midway point isn't as bad as I have come to expect, definitely much better than trying to balance oneself over the hole in the bus lav while the bus is roaring down the interstate.
4. One Snickers bar is insufficient caloric input on an 8 hour journey. The salad lunch at the Helena May (muchisimas gracias to J!) on the other hand kept me from rushing towards a bowl of murky soup at 10 pm (a third of the way into the 16 hour leg).
5. The name of the bus station doesn't necessarily mean it's in the same district. Case in point, Shenzhen has a few large bus stations, and the one I needed to find to head back north, Futian Bus Station, wasn't in Futian District, rather it was in some other part of town. Imagine my near heart attack at getting to the end of the line (on the Shenzhen subway), believing I was at the right area only to be told that I would have to get back on the train and head in the other direction. WTF!!!! Amazing Race, believe you me. I had to catch a 5 pm bus, and it was 4:50 pm.
6. Have a sense of humor and imagination. They're sorely lacking at midnight but as one sensible and wise man said, if you lose your temper, then you are merely showing the lack of insight into yourself.
7. Endeavor to create a smell barrier that will reduce the feeling of gagging when the smell of ripe feet or even more foul bathroom aromas penetrate one's consciousness. I bet I could make a fortune if I found something like that.

In the meantime I am back in the comfort of my temporary home, washed and disinfected my travel clothes, and glad not to have to go forth and stamp for another few weeks.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What if...

I recall watching a Richard Pryor movie sometime in the 80's where Mr. Pryor was given a gazillion dollars with a rather big catch - he had to spend all of it in one month! If he did, he would win even more gazillions of moolah; if he didn't he would lose everything he bought and go back to the tedium of his previous life (something very pedestrian I'm sure). Sometimes when I'm filled with ennui, I imagine that scenario - you get a call from some company that tells you "we've chosen you for this task: spend $100 million dollars in one month, and if you manage, you will be given a billion dollars!" - what type of stuff could you waste all that money on?

For the foodie in me, there's a list of the 8 most outrageous (but a few of them are quite pretty) kitchen gadgets, including an 18 karat white gold screwdriver, and an artsy wave grill. The one that I want right now is the TurboChef, which I thought they promoted on Iron Chef America, since how do they manage to make those dishes in less than an hour without the help of some superduper fast ovens? I think all kitchens should have one! Maybe with my imaginary loot, I'd buy myself one and get all my cooking obsessed friends one too! That way if I lose the bet and don't end up with the bazillions, I can still go to their apartments and broil a turkey in an hour!

Friday, April 17, 2009

My knees go weak

"Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

"The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me - perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

"Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

"But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours - always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

"Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again."

- Sullivan Ballou, 1829-1861

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I have been hankering for cake. But chinese cakes tend to be either one of two kinds: dry and frosted with sugary sweet frosting, or dry with no frosting (but something weird and crumbly inside). Without an oven of my own, not even my trusty turbo broiler, how was I going to get by?
A talk with a student confirmed that there was a cake shop near the office, unfortunately I wrote it down on a class list and forgot to transfer the information to another sheet of paper. What a ditz! So I was pleasantly surprised to see a plate with a slice of what looked like strawberry shortcake sitting next to my computer after I had done a class. Cake! A layered cake with frosting, and as I bit into the cake, it wasn't dry or crumbly. And the frosting wasn't too offputting either, more like Coolwhip. It also had some fruit bits in between the layers and a few custardy tidbits scattered in and around the slices. It was quite yummy, and a relief for someone who needed, nay, ached for cake.
However, what I thought were strawberries turned out to be something totally different. Yes, they are fruit, but tomatoes??? Saladcake, anyone?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Other than making a few discoveries a day while living here (there's a Sephora in town!), I am also learning a few things about how things work. For example, I bought a map from a street vendor the day after I arrived and I'm happy to say it's getting a lot of use. It lists which buses run around town, and I can save a heck of a lot of money by taking the bus into town, rather than taking the cabs. Buses do stop at designated bus stops here, and won't just let you off anywhere you feel like it. How I wish our buses back in Manila were the same.

I also wish our supermarkets would consider the pay for shopping bag rule they have here. If you don't bring your own shopping bag, you have to pay 3 mao (approximately P2.10) for every plastic bag your stuff gets put into. I think forcing the customer to pay for plastic makes a point to reuse your plastic bags or bring totes! Since so many of our local supermarkets are selling canvass totes, why don't they give shoppers a small discount or a free gift if they use the darn things?

Tomorrow, I will go to the library with two of my fellow co-workers, I hear they even have movies for rent, so I don't have to spend all my savings on buying up a collection of dvds!

Top of the heap

This was an eye opener of sorts. The Philippines ranks number two in overall number of foreign born workers in the US according to this immigration and job article in the New York Times. When you go through the individual job descriptions, there are only two types of jobs where we don't figure at all, Skilled Construction and Construction Laborers (which is interesting since we send so many construction workers to the Middle East and around Asia), otherwise we are always in the top ten, and naturally in one area - Nurses, we top the list. We send the second most number of Doctors (after India), come third in the number of Policemen and other Protective Workers. What did surprise me was seeing the Pinas top the list of Accountants! Goodness, all those mathematical minds at work, figuring out who gets a tax break, world dominance indeed. Health care and taxes, quite a grip we have no?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The dumplings and noodles in my neighborhood

From 1994 to 1996 I lived in the city of Xiamen, Fujian province, ostensibly to learn Chinese, but also to figure out what I was going to do with my life. The Chinese language classes were interesting, although 15 years later I find myself struggling to remember so much of what I never used. What has stayed with me was a love for real chinese food.

There is a great deal of regional differences in Chinese food, and what has spread around the world have been the hordes of Cantonese and Sichuan cooks (and very few chefs) dominating a global landscape of fried rice, sweet and sour pork, and something called General Tso's Chicken. Who GT was, no one knows, especially no Chinese I've ever spoken to. In N. America, there are too many mediocre chinese restaurants and take out counters that destroy any sense of what good chinese food is; in S.East Asia, we are so much luckier, but even in a country like the Philippines with our cultural and demographically strong presence, there are as many bad chinese restaurants as there are traffic jams in a day. And since most of our ancestors came from one province in China, Fujian, we don't have a good variety of chinese cuisine. Not too many good hunanese or sichuan restaurants to fan the flames of the chilli heads, neither do we have the hot pots from the north, or a flurry of hand pulled noodle shops. And let's not forget that there's only a couple of places in Ongpin that serve decent dumplings (jiao zi).

Being back in China for the time being, I am determined to try as many dumpling and noodle shops around. For one, they're cheap. I can eat a plate of 10 dumplings for as little as 4 renmimbi, sometimes 6 renmimbi (appr P28 to P43). A bowl of noodles costs about the same. And a plate or a bowl is hearty, it will keep you going for a few hours, no need to add more stuff down your maw.

In the two weeks I've been based in Wenzhou, I've scouted the lanes for what could be good places to try a plate or a bowl of my favorite comfort foods. I can't say that I've discovered the best, but my forays around my neighborhood have been productive to say the least. I hope to get in the good graces of some of the places I've been to so I can ask the owners to let me take a photo of them doing their magic. The owner of the Lan Zhou noodle shop I was in recently worked the hand pulled noodles, pulling the dough into magically thin threads in less than a couple of minutes, then tossed it into the boiling broth. I've found that Wenzhou dumpling soups come with a few dried shrimp and a hearty helping of seaweed in the broth.

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a northeast dumpling place, Dong Bei is also the name of the dumpling place in Ongpin, but these dumplings were a different animal, they were stuffed, full of vegetables and meat, and a plate of 15 pieces overwhelmed me. I was a very happy puppy popping in a dumpling at a time, dipped in a blend of black vinegar, soy sauce and dried chilli peppers.

Today a stroll down a neighborhood lane led me to a place that made a good plate of fried rice with vegetables and egg, but what made my mouth water was the spicy bowl of boiled fish in spicy sauce and topped with chunks of dried chillis. Shui Zhu Yu, I heart thee. But I will have to come back to try it out another time. The apple cheeked waitress was kind and made sure I had hot water to wash down my meal.

The days are getting warmer, the nights are perfect for exploration, and my tummy is happy to be filled with chinese goodies that I love.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chinese stories

In the last week, I've learned quite a few things about chinese culture, stuff that I know I had never heard before:

1. After a blind date (set up by professional matchmakers), a chinese man will show a girl that he wishes to continue seeing her by giving a monetary token, usually 200 renmimbi (approximately P1400), placed in a red envelope. It is taken as an insult if the man only gives 100 rmb or less (sort of like a slap in the face). Why give any money at all if they don't want to see the girl, I guess is what the standards require.

2. Seems like there are a lot of "witches", healers, among the older society. Some of the students have told me that their mothers took them to white witches when they were younger, typically after some medical mystery that the doctors couldn't figure out. Only one student told me of a male witch. And a good number of the students seem to believe in superstition, or at least had unexplained experiences.

3. I discovered that I had been accosted by a nun! On one of the first days of my stay in this town, I was walking around near the train station and an older woman grabbed my arm saying she wanted to give me something. Fearing for the safety of my belongings, I managed to wriggle out of her grasp. A few days ago, I was trying to explain the difference between a monk and a nun, and I was told that there are a lot of nuns who make you pay for something triffling, something they foist on you demanding money but at the same time saying it is a good luck charm. Hmmm. The nuns in Xiamen never tried stuff like that on us before!

On a slightly disgruntled note, my office's nice clean girls toilet is under repair, it seems to be taking a long time for them to tinker with whatever needs fixing, and I have to either wait till I get home or submit to the squat toilet. Aiyiiiii!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The balcony

My favorite spot in the apartment is my balcony; on a warm-ish day, I can hang up my laundry, get a bit of morning sun, sip a cup of freshly brewed jasmine tea, and watch the people, my neighbors, go about their business, not to mention peer over and see how messy the first floor neighbors' backyard extensions are. Yesterday morning, I spent a good thirty minutes soaking in some needed Vitamin D, and wondering about the people in my neighborhood. There's the older couple, perhaps 60 or so, relatively healthy, but getting on in years. The man brushes and waxes a pair of shoes, his wife folds his quilted jacket sleeves up so they don't get streaky with black shoe polish. Their garden/lanai is quite neat, full of healthy plants, and the marble tile looks clean. If my calculations are right, they have lived all their lives under the current regime; his build makes me think he must have done some heavy lifting in his day, and I wonder if he was a kind man, to his family or to people who crossed his path. Did he purge anyone from his unit? Do they wonder what would have happened if their families had brought them out of the country early on?
To my left, the other first floor residents have a bit of a pigsty in their backyard, the little section I can see is full of empty plastic bottles, some laundry, and the entire area is bare concrete. One fellow comes out, and looks to be scratching his scalp intently, going over every inch with both hands, shaking dandruff out of his scalp maybe or just massaging himself awake. One of his fellow housemates comes out in only his underpants to toss out some used water.
Across the path and to the right, the front door opens and a child stumps out, carrying the trash. He lugs it over the front lawn, dumps it there and starts pouting. He's exuding sheer unhappiness, and then slumps back inside, leaving the garbage out. The tip is actually down the path, another fellow brings old flowers out to toss, but the little boy's bag's remain on the grass. About 15 minutes later, a middle age man comes out holding three large bags, he keeps the door open for a bit, then I see the same child carrying more bags behind him. They don't speak, but I sense this could be the dad. The man barely gives the boy any consequence, they are both carrying a load, but the child is probably no more than 7 and he's got his hands full. The man walks ahead, doesn't check if the child is following, and with some stumbling, the boy follows him down the lane and to the left of the main gate.


I have two patio chairs on my balcony, I washed them down a few days ago and they come in handy in the space. What I discovered attached to one of the chairs, however, gives me pause. I think they are handcuffs, but they don't have any keyhole, so I am not sure if that's the purpose of their nasty looking grip. I can't remove them from the chair, and it gives that particular seat an ominous presence. What person or thing was forced to stay in that chair? Why are there tape marks on one metal arm? Or have all my previous literary readings of this country colored this simple tool? It could just be something naughty, forgotten in the corner of the 4th floor.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Food finds

A, one of my many co-workers, took me to buy a cellphone today. One crazy hour later, we finally exited China Mobile with my 400 renmimbi (approximately P2800.00) Nokia; the system to buy and set up the phone sure is insane here! Suddenly, I missed going to Globe or Smart and just getting a phone.

After the to-ing and fro-ing for the phone, we went into the heart of town to try some of the local delicacies. A said she wanted me to try a specialty of Wenzhou called "hun dun", a clear soup with pork dumplings. We went to a celebrated diner called Chang Ren Hun Dun, which looks to be a family run little place that has gained fame for being the best hun dun diner in town. The soup is good, clear, flavorful, and a bowl that cost us 5 renmimbi (rmb), approximaly P35, was brimming with the pork dumplings, fresh vegetables, and seaweed. I would say this is the best find in this town, good value for the rmb/buck. A also bought a large bun made of radish, pork, and egg, called deng xiang gao, with a nice crispy crust. It is a good accompaniment to the soup. The fried dumplings, guo tie, were ok, filled with pork and chestnuts, but I think I prefer the beijing or northern dumplings more.

On the street, people walk around munching on little pancakes (bings), I found a lady who made hopia style biscuits filled with a chewy mochi filling. It's a bit dry at first bite, but once you get into the nice chewy center, it's a great little treat as you walk around, dodging the cars, bikes, and other pedestrians. Other vendors sell uber-large bbq sticks of meat, and another popular snack seems to be this rectangular grilled meat on a stick; no, it's not Spam, but I haven't tried it yet.

A said I should try some nuts, I thought it would be some special local nuts, but they turned out to be roasted chestnuts. They sell them with this plastic disk that helps you cut it open. Good golly miss molly, use your teeth people!

We walked up the street as A wanted to show me the largest mall in Wenzhou. I was ready to be less than thrilled, but I showed a lot more enthusiasm when I saw on the corner of the mall, Haagen Dazs! Yes, my ice cream needs are safe. I treated A to a scoop of coffee ice cream, while I had a scoop of strawberry and a cappucino, a much needed caffeine boost. It was a bit more than I had budgeted to spend today, but sometimes a small splurge is absolutely necessary.

Friday, April 03, 2009


I got home last night, a long day. Put in an extra three hours of overtime to cover one of the other teachers who didn't get back from a trip. I sat in my chilly living room, waiting for the heater to do it's magic, and looked up at the wall. The previous tenants left a lot of stuff behind, and the landlord said they were mine to do with as I like (or at least I think that's what he said in chinese). They left a woven wall hanging, picturing some seaside in blue and green. But what they hung on the same peg makes me smile. A hula hoop. I haven't had one in years!
It's a three day weekend here in China, many of the locals will head to their villages, pay respects to the dead, it's the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend. Sort of like our All Saint's Day in November. Because I also get three days off, I will attend to a few household duties, get that kitchen in order and cook myself a soup, something hearty to ward off the cold. Maybe go to one of the three wine shops nearby and see if there's anything worth spending a few days salary on, or if that doesn't prove fruitful just buy myself some sake I saw in the convenience store (sake, baijiu, etc, all in our local 7-11), and keep warm under my quilt.
Or take down the hula and whittle my waist away. Hula championships, here I come.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


My apartment is in the 7th block, inside a massive apartment complex. All the buildings are 6 to 7 stories tall, and I'm in the middle, 4th floor. No elevators, so if I have to lug anything heavier than a few grocery bags, I'm going to be in contention for a weight lifting contest pretty soon. So far though the heaviest I've had to drag up is my backpack, which didn't wind me up too much.

The apartment is approximately 82 sqm, large for one person, as expressed by all the ladies at the office who have either helped me in finding an apartment, or when they start gossiping among themselves. I'm the newest face around here, so it's natural they get all in a twitter over what I'm doing. So the 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment, with a dining room, kitchen, and a small balcony for hanging clothes is more than enough space for little old me, given the cramped conditions of most of my fellow chinese co-workers.

The place came furnished, and that was a godsend. There's a large bed in the main bedroom, a bunk bed in the smaller bedroom (it was the kids' room, a lot of the toys they didn't want to bring when the last tenant moved out are still on the shelves). Dining table, 4 chairs, a refrigerator (that is still a bit stinky, must do another washdown with baking soda and hot water), a sofa and arm chair set in plasticky light blue leatherette, glass coffee tables, a large a/c-heater, and the dominating feature in the living room is a large tv with all the doodads for blasting really loud music (speakers and some machines that you twiddle for sound). I wondered why anyone would just leave this stuff behind, but I guess they moved on to flat screen and higher end goods. In any case, I don't have cable, and I will either electrocute myself trying to figure out how to connect one plug to another so I will stick to reading, surfing online, and tossing strange ingredients in the one pot I found in the cupboard.

I miss my cat.

Pike Market Peonies

Pike Market Peonies