Day 521 In Beijing: Blue Tour In Cappadocia, Lunch time!

 

A vase, wine bottles and the cellar.

A vase, wine bottles and the cellar.

 

After we saw that pottery exhibition, the tour was set to have lunch.

Jill and I aren’t big fans of Beijing Chinese food.  It is usually quite greasy and very oily.

It tastes like the food is quite slimy and the vegetables don’t have a lot of flavor.

Since we tend towards vegetarian, it makes our choices quite limited or very expensive since the imported veggies and fruits cost so much more than the domestic products.

Since we’ve both been to Turkey before, we knew that we were in for a wonderful meal every time we sat down to eat and we weren’t disappointed.

The very cute restaurant we went to had a nice balcony overlooking the valley but the owners told us to sit inside since the bees were flying around outside and they’d bother us.

We took their advice and ordered our food.

Our group consisted of our friends from Colombia, three women from Holland, and then us.

Our guide, Sukru, took off and we all just hung out, eat and discussed our lives.

The food, as we guessed, was fantastic.

Jill’s main course was mushrooms with cheese on top of it and mine was a clay pot full of veggies in a red sauce.

And, of course, to top it off, we had baklava for dessert.

As we left, we realize that the wine cellar for the restaurant was dug out of the walls, just like our room back at our hotel.

 

Day 439 In Beijing: BAKLAVA!!!

 

I love this picture of a man and his art.

I love this picture of a man and his art.

We all know that the Mediterranean area is famous for Baklava.

Ask a Turk who makes the best and they’ll say, “Turkey!”

Ask a Greek who makes the best and they’ll say, “Greece!”

Ask an Egyptian who makes the best and they’ll say, “Egypt!”

Now, as an Armenian, I would say they have a point but they don’t.

Armenia makes the best Baklava.

However, I am a lover and not a fighter so I love baklava from everywhere and from anyone!

Baklava brings the world together and creates peace!

Jill and I were walking around Istanbul and just drooling with desire over the many different types of desserts and sweets in the windows.

There is, of course, lots of baklava, with different ingredients, but so much else to eat in both Turkey and Greece.

As you know, we are both vegetarians, and were sorely tempted to eat meat or fish, but stayed strong and kept our way.

As much as we would have enjoyed the momentary taste of it, we knew we’d feel guilty about killing something for our own pleasure so we supported each other and just ate more dessert.

We both think it was a fair trade off.

By the way, this may be a bit of a give away but I gained about 10 lbs on this trip.

Jill, somehow, didn’t gain an ounce.

I look like a Michelin man and she looks beautiful.

I’m a very lucky man.

 

Day 399 in Beijing: Meat. It Is What I Will Never Eat For Dinner In China.

 

Reminds me of Monty Python and the vomit scene.

Reminds me of Monty Python and the vomit scene.

Honestly, most of the meat in China is utterly disgusting.

I went vegetarian, on January 1st of 2014, and haven’t looked back since.

I honestly wish I had gone vegetarian before I arrived in China.

This picture gives you a good idea why I am one now.

You may not be able to see it, but there are flies on this pile of meat.

Close up of the assorted meat.

Close up of the assorted meat.

It is chicken, steak, and pork all mixed together.

And it was about 90 degrees, Fahrenheit, when I took this picture and the guy was driving around delivering to local stores.

My friends own restaurants but they import their meat from Australia, the USA, New Zealand or elsewhere.

They won’t buy local meat because they don’t trust it to be anything close to healthy or sanitary.

I don’t blame them and I appreciate what they are doing to protect us.

Simply said, I may eat meat in the future, but not while I live in China.

Day 384 in Beijing: EXCALIBUR!

 

King Arthur's court in Beijing?

King Arthur’s court in Beijing?

My buddy, Richard Ivey, wanted to know more about American Muscle Cars in China.  And Jill’s dad, Bill, also loves hot rods and rebuilds them so here’s a little something for you guys.

Jill and I went for a walk in search of the famous Xinyuanli wet market.

A wet market, for those that don’t know, and I didn’t know, is a place that sells mostly fresh goods and foods.

This means fresh meat, cheese, fruits and veggies.

We found it and it is amazing.

I will do a blog post on it in the near future but since I’m on my 10 day green smoothie challenge, and all I’m drinking is green smoothies, we didn’t buy anything there and I didn’t want to be too tempted by staying in it for a long time.

Suffice to say it is a huge market of pretty much anything you want.

I dub these, "Excalibur!"

I dub these, “Excalibur!”

As we walked around, looking for it, since we didn’t know exactly where it was, we happened upon this car.

EXCALIBUR!

I was a huge Dungeons and Dragons geek, and loved pretty much everything medieval when I was a kid, so I dig that they named this car Excalibur after King Arthur’s magical sword.

Interestingly enough, while researching this post, I found out that it was originally designed for Studebaker and then privately made by a company in Wisconsin.  It is also a very classy and highly original and elegant car.  Check out the link above for some of the facts about it.  Definitely American made with love and respect.

How one ended up parked on the streets of Beijing, I’ll never know.

Day 379 in Beijing: Ostrich Egg. It’s What’s For Dinner.

 

A great night with food, friends and frivolity.

A great night with food, friends and frivolity.

Yep, I’m a vegetarian and I was offered the chance to eat ostrich egg.

I have to admit, it was a conundrum.

I don’t want to eat meat, seafood or any type of egg because I find it to be immoral, environmentally damaging, and just not sustainable to the world.  I also feel better when I stick to be a vegetarian physically.  However, we do eat bread and pasta and they have egg in them.

Honestly, I really don’t enjoy thinking of the pain I’m causing animals when they are killed for my pleasure.

The slaughterhouses in the USA are pretty horrible and quite unsanitary.  I can’t imagine what the ones in China are like after shopping that grocery stores with raw meat, fish and other foods, sitting out in the hot sun.

Honestly, it is enough to make just about anyone go vegetarian if you pay enough attention here.

That being said, when Jill and I were offered to try some of an hard-boiled egg, we chose to eat it.

In reality, I’m not a vegetarian but I’m a self-labeled “hypocritarian” because I do give in to my desires and sometimes ignore what I morally believe.  Call it cognitive dissonance and be done with it.  Life is too short to stick to labels.

Personally, I thought it tasted quite yummy.  It was definitely “eggy” and also had some flavor like venison.

Jill, on the other hand, didn’t care for it.

The weird thing is the albumen was very much like a rubbery jello substance.  It wasn’t hard like chicken eggs or white.

Our friends, Francois and Dorota, told us they bought two of the eggs for 80RMB total.  That means two massive Ostrich eggs came out to about 14 USD total.

7 bucks for each ostrich egg.  Amazing.

As you can see, it takes some serious strength and skill to cut one open.  And a hacksaw.

Luckily, both Dorota and Francois are doctors at the same international medical services company where I work and know what they are doing.

The video is a bit long but worth watching.  It gives a good idea of how much work it takes to cut open an egg of this size.

 

Day 351in Beijing: Our Fakeamix Has Arrived!

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

Jill and I decided we want to eat more healthily and really wanted a Vitamix.

We’ve been vegetarians for 5 months now and wanted to take the next step.

I have a Vitamix back home, sitting and waiting for me, at my friend Sue’s house.

However, it weighs a ton and it is too expensive to ship over to China.

Therefore, we asked our friends Martin and Kenn, at The Local, and they suggested we buy the same ones they just bought a few days ago.

So, they ordered it for us and we received our new Fakeamix blender a few days ago.

It is almost exactly like the Vitamix I had at home and it works wonderfully.

It also only cost about 100 USD, which is a nice savings, and is quite easy to use, clean, and store when we don’t need it out on the counters.

Honestly, it is the little things, like having good friends order a blender for us, that make being an expatriate so much more enjoyable and easy.

Our Fakeamix is made by Hyundai and is actually more quiet than my real Vitamix.

This may be because the engine isn’t as powerful but it seems to do just fine for what we need as we mostly make green smoothies with it and it blends them up perfectly.

 

Day 335 in Beijing: Pizza A8 Pub And Chinglish.

 

I really love Chinglish.

Even if I hated Google, which I don’t, I’d love them for their translation software because I’m pretty sure 90% of Chinglish is formed by using Google Translate.

Pizza A8 Pub is a restaurant that Jill and I frequent about once a week and I’ve blogged about before.

They have incredibly yummy greek pizza and other vegetarian food and it isn’t as crazy as the other pizza/pub bars around I.E.B.U., which is the university across the street.

Being that the university is across the street, lots of drunk teens, and young adults often show up to the places around here.

That is fine but it does make for a loud dinner which is not what we usually want.

Yes, you can hear me saying, “These darn kids! They have no respect!  When I was a teen, we had to walk to school, 17 miles, uphill both ways!  And for shoes we only have wooden planks with nails pointing upwards touching our feet!  These kids have no respect!”

That isn’t what I mean as we’ve partied with the college students and a lot of our friends are college students.

We just like a little peace and quiet, sometimes, and Pizza A8 Pub affords us this.

Anyway, I’ll just let you read the different specials and let you comment on the Chinglish.

 

pub

Day 329 in Beijing: Construction Camouflage.

 

I worked construction for one summer.

I stunk at it.

I didn’t like it.

I really figured out that manual labor was not my thing.

I became a therapist.

I sit a lot.

However, I also have a modicum of intelligence regarding working in labor jobs and what seems reasonable.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but when one is doing construction that involves massive amounts of concrete, cranes and dangerous objects, I’m thinking camouflage is NOT the suggested work attire.

I have to admit that this dude’s fashion sense if fantastic, even if his survival skills aren’t quite up to par.

At least he is wearing a red helmet.

That might allow him to be spotted before he is crushed by coworkers who can’t see him because he’s hidden by his camouflage outfit.

I really don’t think I’d be wearing camouflage when doing construction.

Then again, since I’m vegetarian and I don’t hunt, I can’t imagine anytime when I would ever actually wear camouflage at all.  Scratch that, I’d wear camouflage during the Zombie Apocalypse, but that is it.

But, hey, that’s just me and my survival skills at work.

To each their own.

Day 313 in Beijing: The Speciality Ices the sand Nursing one’ health Machine.

 

Martin and the Fakeamix Blender.

Martin and the Fakeamix Blender.

Those of you that follow my blog know that Jill and I love The Local.

It is a great bar/restaurant here in Beijing, and the owners, Martin, Kenn and Jessie, are awesome people.

They are funny, kind and work 14-16 hours a day and yet never complain or get annoyed.

I doubt I could do the work they do and stay as positive and cheerful.

We love hanging out with them and we often play “Beeriocart” with them when they are taking a well deserved break.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jessie play so far and we need to get her in on the fun!

Beeriocart, by the way, is the video game, “Mariocart” but when we play we drink at the same time.  Mariocart is a car racing game that is a blast.  Martin and Kenn are amazing at it.  Jill and I?  Not so much.

The rules are simple: there are four players who race the cars around different tracks. The person that gets last place, usually Jill or me, has to do a shot of alcohol.  The person that gets first place also has to do a shot.  Now, this is a very fair way of dealing with winning and losing because if you suck, like Jill and I do, you get a little drunk and have fun.  However, if you are great, like Martin and Kenn, you get drunk and start driving worse and it brings you down to our level.  Well, not down to our level but it does give us a little edge once in a while.

Anyway, Jill and I have been looking for a Vitamix since we moved here and noticed that The Local had a Vitamix!

I bought a Vitamix about 3 years ago, with the help of my mom and dad as a present for becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist, and have done a 10 day green smoothie/juice fast which I loved.

Jill and I want to do one here but we haven’t been able to find a blender that is powerful enough.

I was hoping our problem was solved.

However, we soon found out that this was no Vitamix but instead, as I’m going to call it, a “Fakeamix.”

We asked them about it and they said it has been amazing.  They want to buy a new one since their’s is dying but they can’t find them anywhere.

Martin let us take a picture of it because the Chinglish on it is utterly hilarious.

I honestly love the look on Martin’s face.  It think it says it all.

Because who doesn’t want a blender that is, “A Machine Multiuse” and has the ability to be “The Speciality Ices the sand Nursing one’ health Machine.”

By the way, it is, as they openly declare, a “High Perform ance commercial Blender.”

Agreementness, would Eye have.  Question with out not, Perform ance.

 

Day 310 in Beijing: Pizza A8 Pub.

 

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

Jill and I recently went out to dinner and decided to try someplace new.

It is a bit difficult, since we chose to eat vegetarian only, but it is worthwhile because we don’t really want to eat meat anymore, because of the disgusting and horrific way that animals are treated, and we also just don’t want to eat living creatures.

Yes, plants are living also but very different so don’t even go there.  🙂

We happened across Pizza A8 Pub and thought it looked sort of cool.

It hadn’t been here a month ago so it must be fairly now to the area.

It has lots of different nations’ flags hanging from the ceiling and has nice Western music playing all the time.

This pub is next to a major international university so they are trying to attract that crowd as well as the Chinese nationals that want to hang out at the university and want to meet expatriates.

Jill and I decided to have a little pizza and one of the cook came out and actually gave us some french fries.

We thanked him numerous times and he smiled back at us and thanked us.

We did notice a group of three guys drinking beer.

That isn’t unusual in a college type bar/restaurant.

What was unusual was the guy drinking beer through a straw.

I can’t say I’ve ever seen that before.