In, and off, the hot seat

IMG_20180316_111507The Cantonese can be an odd bunch. I do, in part, have a Cantonese upbringing and sort of believe it. A long time ago, my Granddad told me not to sit on a chair (any chair) that had been recently vacated. The heat from the previous owner is bad for you. Living in Guangzhou, this is the first I’d seen of it. A custom wooden chair with a liftable wooden seat pan. Just for the next user.
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Waiting for, which girl?

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Meat butchered, ends in a ‘balls up’

Meatballs and spag.jpgThe results of tonight’s cooking lay before me. Italian themed pasta dishes with ubiquitous meatballs. The meat itself has a story behind them. This was pork mince a’la Canton butcher in the marketplace. ‘That chuck of meat, minced’ my wife said to the butcher. And so doth the man did mince. Two chopping knives, blades as big as his hands. Meat was flying as he cut, and what meat fell off the board, was dutifully washed under a running tap. I had to turn my head to that but the guy was trying hard to make a profit. Pork, minced, it was finally scooped up on the side of one of the knives and plopped into a plastic bag. Why wash the meat under a tap? Well, according to the locals and my own observations, the old ladies of the district, “Ai-ye’s”, select their cuts of meat by fondling each and every piece of meat that they want to purchase. Maybe even the ones they don’t. The result is that the meat has more harmful bacteria per centimeter squared than the public toilet seats. Those familiar with South Korea, these women would be labelled ‘ajumma’. These women of Guangzhou are of that age, but without the age system that exists in Korea, they are seen as ‘older, married women’ though, without the pushy attitude of the Korean ajumma.

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The results of the night’s cooking? The wife thought the meatballs okay, while I thought they could have been more crisp. Need to try harder.


Personal care products, oddly matched

There are a lot of things I get to do in Korea, that I don’t get to do in New Zealand. One of those is to stay in a lot of motels. Motels are pretty cheap in Korea; one night in a motel would be I figure about 60 or 70 New Zealand dollars. To mirror what a fellow blogger has written about motel rooms, I intend not to follow, but to feature in this entry, the strangely mis-matched.
The room had the usual assortment of features that one would expect of a KOREAN motel/ hotel room, but the line up of personal care products leaves, well, explanation. It’s a strange match of products and purpose. Hairspray and facial balm might be one thing, but fly spray, maybe for the armpits if they’re smelling particularly wiffy at the time, is another.

Clean hands, inconsequential to H1N1

Koreans, I’ve seen never, ever cover their nose or mouth when they sneeze. Until recently that is. All that hoop-la about cleaning your hands isn’t doing nuts for the Swine flu situation. Only just this week, I’ve had my timetable disrupted, with one extra class and a speech contest cancelled. Real consequences; students have probably had the week off.

I caught a cold due to other things. My hands are sparkling clean. The only downside to all this is that my temperature hasn’t hit the critical threshold of 37.6 degrees Celsius. No sick day off, only rivers of snot flowing out from within. Where’s my day off?

A frenzied state of cleanliness equals 36.8 degrees

Just say ah...

Just say ah...

And just as well. The Principal, Vice-principal and some other body were at the front entrance of the school, surpervising something when I pulled in for work. I was quickly directed to have my temperature measured. If the said temperature wasn’t approved, I think the circle of supervision would have widened dramatically. Just another reason to avoid even speaking to the native teacher. Not that the Principal of the school says anything at all. He’s a little bit too stoic for my liking.

But also seen (and smelt) at other schools was the cleaning of ledges and the loos. You could actually tell where they’ve cleaned because you could smell the isopropyl alcohol in the cleaning agent. Now if only you could get the students to cover their mouths when they sneezed we’d be in the clear.