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Monday, July 6, 2009

Country Life

I went back to my maternal grandfather's ancestral village ... here are some photos to share with you.

All the houses here have one layout: a huge metal door leading to a little foyer area (usually with tile work on the wall, this one has the Chinese character for fortune and propserity), then leading to a small courtyard, surrounded by the living quarters. One thing that's great is, almost all houses use solar panels for hot water.

Vegetable garden outside the house. In an attempt to out-do each other, most villagers no longer have spare land (as the village McMansions take up almost all the land) to plant vegetables so they make do with little plots next to the house.

Water sink... sometimes water pressure gets low (again because villagers try to outdo each other and elevate the houses so much (so that they'd be higher than their neighbors) that they can't get enough pressure sometimes.)

Country meal: Northern Chinese do not (or rarely) eat rice, instead they prefer congee made with "little rice" which resemble cous cous more than regular rice. Also, they love mantous (or mou mous as they call them here). Mantous are kind of like the northern Chinese equivalent of bread.

A game of chess

Shopping for lunch at the outdoor market (yep it's fresh here!)

See the bundle of veggies on the scale? It's a type of herby vegetable. It looks like dill but doesn't taste like it... they love to make vegetarian dumplings with this type of veggie.

Yay, my favorite! This type of pancake is unique to my ancestral area. See here the pancake maker folds up the dough into little squares, then his wife sprinkles sesame on top and then the squares are slapped onto the sides of the barrel...

Here they are! Golden and crispy on the outside...

...and layery and airy on the inside, so good!

Village life passing by...

Peering over my aunt's shoulder on the way to the market with skyscrapers and construction cranes looming in the horizon... most likely our village will be confiscated by the government (probably in collusion with developers) to make way for more skyscrapers... our farmland was taken away a while ago, and is now part of a master planned community complete with an artificial lake (eye roll)... But if they take away our ancestral village and force us to move into concrete blocks, I will fight until the very very end with the developers! Ahhhhh, charrrrge!