Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Noodly fun

The one week May Day holiday starts today here in China though many people will be firmly seated in the department. I'll have to spend some time there this week getting my talk ready for the upcoming workshop at Beijing university.

Yesterday I went with a few friends to one of the best Sichuan hotpot restaurants in the area and had a fine feast of all the usual suspects one finds in the ma-la (numbing and spicy) sauce. It's always rather disconcerting to have the huang na ding fish, which is so freshly killed that it has to be held under the boiling oil for a few seconds to prevent the thrashing around from splashing the diners.

This particular restaurant has hand-made noodles, pulled to entertain the crowds. Take a peek at the video I took yesterday evening.

A Sichuan hotpot restaurant is traditionally loud and crowded with a frenetic atmosphere, waiters speeding about balancing trays piled high with ingredients to boil in the soup in front of you and a steady stream of baijiu (white spirits) flowing to keep the guests relaxed. Downstairs diners waited while playing mahjong and poker, relaxing with cups of tea before they were rushed to their tables.


Today is the (sixth) return of the Midi festival which was a lot of fun last year and a great place to take some snaps. The four day event is brining all the local talent out as well as around 20 international bands. Along with Goldie making an appearance in Beijing next week and my first real experience of Chinese theatre on the 11th it's looking like a fun start to the month.

Temperatures are now climbing to the low thirties having only just risen above freezing a month or so ago. We seem to have escaped the sandstorms which plagued much of North Eastern China last year though my flat still picks up a good heap of dirt if I keep the windows open for any length of time.

If you're worried about traveling for the May day holiday where you are, just remember that there will be almost 100 million Chinese travelling around the country here over the next week. The lines outside all travel agents are monstrous and, until they all get out of the city the roads are in gridlock. Happy May Day, everyone!


Anonymous said...

yep, jon

labor day is not the time to travel anywhere. better sit still and watch the people fill up all the tourist destinations on TV.

I've never personally been to such a hotpot place. Looks like fun, though you have to keep your eyes on the noodle guy, make sure he didn't touch the floor with it.

Unknown said...

Hi Peng,

I'm not sure that anything could possibly survive in the hotpot sauce, it's pretty lethal stuff.