Posted by: apal1528 | 09/10/2010

Qionglai and the Baijiu Distillery

A few days ago I found some long lost photos from my time in Sichuan.

[retroblog] – Our good friend Ting introduced us to her friend Dylan while we were visiting her home town, Qionglai [邛崃]. Dylan was a really great guy. Only knowing us for about a day, he invited us to his house for dinner with his grandma. She was hilarious with her super thick Sichuan accent, she kept telling us to be careful that evening because we were going up camping in the mountains. The food was great too.

Ting and Dylan and some of their friends took us to this resort/camping area on Emei mountain. We stayed in a cottage and played mahjong all night. It was fun. The next morning they took us to this forested water park mountain with all these team building activities. For this one you have to walk head to head and hand to hand over this pool, only walking on chains. They failed.

This is all of us in front of the boat ride to get in the park.

After we were done wandering around the park we started to drive back to Qionglai for dinner. But as we talked with Dylan he mentioned his dad owned a baijiu factory. In fact, he said, it was on the way back. So we stopped and took a tour of the place. It was fascinating. If you don’t know much about baijiu, it’s hard liquor found only in China. It’s very strong and is typically eaten with food. You drink it from little thimble sized cups. I think it’s pretty good.

Here is the storage area where they keep the grains before they begin the distilling process.

Here’s the outside of one of the storage buildings. For this particular brand of baijiu, they age the liquor for up to 20 years!

These gentlemen are scooping the slosh from the boilers. Baijiu, as we learned, is typically made from 5 grains, millet, sorghum, rice, wheat, and rye. Different brands vary the recipe. In this factory, the slosh is boiled twice and allowed to cool and ferment.

Here the slosh is cooled over this platform with air blown under it by a fan.

The slosh eventually cools down and it is allowed to ferment for a certain period of time.

After the second boiling process, the slosh is distilled. Here you can see the fresh baijiu about to be released. They let us taste it. I actually like baijiu so warm baijiu wasn’t bad at all. It was very crisp.

This is an aging yard. I believe the small cans, the porcelain urns, and the large silo like containers hold different grades of baijiu. Perhaps aged differently or with slightly different tastes.

This is the delicious hotpot meal we had.. you can see the glasses of baijiu that Dylan’s father gave to us. It was delicious.


If you’d like to learn more about baijiu, take a look at this wikipedia article.

Posted by: apal1528 | 09/09/2010

Andrew’s Dig: China in Pictures

–This is a strikingly realistic look at the harms of unbridled capitalism in China. Pollution is everywhere there. Lacking any functioning environmental regulatory agencies, whole villages and cities in China are literally toxic dumps.  (China Hush)

–A historical look at the last of the Chinese dynasties. (China Expat)

–BBC Country profile, China. (BBC News)

–Japan has been the Asian GDP leader since the ’60s, but China is now the second largest economy behind the United States! Though China has surpassed Japan in quarterly figures in the past, this year seems to be the end of Japan’s reign. (Aljazeera)

–Chinese school bans certain hairstyles, including the ‘Japanese gangster pirate hairstyle’. (China Hush)

–Hanna blogs about China. (Tumblr)

Image: China Hush

Posted by: apal1528 | 09/04/2010

Winthrop

This weekend I met my family in Winthrop, Washington. It’s about 5 hours west of Pullman.. I drove up through Spokane and over highway 2 to the Methow Valley. It’s really beautiful up there. I want to own some land there someday.

Our apartment was right on the river.

My mom and my aunts and uncles went bike riding into Mazama. They actually made it all the way there this year… about 13 miles. But they woke me up to go pick them up for the way back.

It was so great to be with family. We were right next to a great winery and we had the best food thanks to my uncle and grandpa. It was great to have my long lost cousin Denese and her bf John up too. Hadn’t met John before and hadn’t gotten a chance to chat with Denese forever.

What a great weekend.

Horseback Riding.

Posted by: apal1528 | 06/21/2010

New Spring Fest Pictures

More retroblogging..

I couldn’t upload pictures easily over Spring Festival so I added a bunch just now to this post from February. Enjoy!

Posted by: apal1528 | 06/21/2010

China’s One Child Policy

Interesting. Does the policy actually do what it’s meant to? Seems not.

Posted by: apal1528 | 06/20/2010

Sunny Euphoria

I’m trying my luck at writing posts from my phone. It’s pretty slick.

I drove down from Seattle on Thursday night, it was about 21 hours. I drove just about straight through. I took a 20 minut nap halfway through then took a 45 minute nap just as I got into LA county. I was having delusional dreaming whilst awake dreams as I pulled off the freeway. It was scary.

I’ve been staying with my cousin Julie and spending time with relatives on my grandma’s side. It’s been fun. I’d like to live down here someday, maybe go to graduate school here.

The pool and North Cal sunrise.

Posted by: apal1528 | 04/16/2010

Chongqing

Chongqing was a ton of fun. Our good friend New Year took us to meet his cousin- we were grateful for the local guide. We ate tons of authentic hotpot and enjoyed the scenery. We stayed in this hostel. Definitely recommend it.

Chongqing is a must see.


At the train station.


Bullet train.


They squeegee it with olive oil to make it go faster…


Seats.


Found mountain dew.


In the car.


Chongqing


The city.


From the hostel.


Greg.


Chongqing hotpot is better.


Chill.


After hotpot.

Posted by: apal1528 | 03/25/2010

Guang’an

I’m doing a bit of retroactive blogging. I’ve been super busy and I’m just now getting to post some of the pictures.

This is in Guang’an. I didn’t take too many pictures but it was a ton of fun. We met New Year’s parents and some of his family. We had some great hot pot and even had a whole roasted lamb.. absolutely amazing.


Whole roasted lamb. And baijiu. Yes, we were wearing plastic gloves. I felt like we were at Tony Roma’s.


Lamby leg.

Posted by: apal1528 | 03/19/2010

First Weekend Trip

We’re headed out now for a small town called Guang’an for the weekend. A good friend of ours who we met the on our first day is taking us there, it’s his hometown. The weather is looking good, clear skies and 80 for the whole weekend.

Here’s a map.

It’s about a two hour drive from here. We’re feeling pretty thankful because the father of our friend, our friends name is New Year (his Chinese name is Liu Ye (刘烨) which sounds like how Chinese people pronounce New Year in English), has offered to pay for everything this weekend if we pay for the car out there. We’re pretty excited.

Until we return!

Posted by: apal1528 | 03/15/2010

Week Three

It’s been an awesome three weeks!

We’re all pretty well settled in to our dorms, classes are under way and we’ve got a really sweet rhythm going. I thought I’d write a bit about what we’ve been doing and what life is like here at SWUFE.

The dorms are good. There’s two women who live on the first floor who act as security guards, it’s pretty nice to say hi to them every time we come and go. In Chinese there’s a word that means Auntie, spelled Ayi and pronounced Ah-yee… we call them that. There’s two of us to a room and each room has a bathroom. The floors are stone so it makes it easy to sweep. There’s no heat or air conditioning so it’s been a bit cold in the rooms, but they gave us extra blankets so it’s been fine.

Here are some pictures.

The entrance.

The bathroom, yes it’s a squat toilet. But before you cringe, or perhaps while you cringe, click on this link and take a look at this very informative website.

This is my side of the room. It isn’t very organized.

The campus is really nice. It was all built in 2005 and it’s very clean and attractive. It’s pretty big, so bikes are a necessity to get around. We bought ours for ¥200, which is about $34.

This is the library. It’s nothing like Holland in Pullman, but it’s good for studying… but it doesn’t help that everything’s in Chinese.

There’s a cafeteria. You can get away with $1 for a good meal. It’s not spectacular though. It’s the cheapest and it’s edible.

There’s also a supermarket on campus for the necessities. Bottled water, cup-o-noodles and snack foods are all easily accessible.

The best place for good cheap food though is outside the east gate. There’s an overwhelming amount of little restaurants and stand with really good food. For about $2-3 you can get dumplings, noodles, stir fry, barbeque… so much food.

The east gate.

The entrance to the market.

It goes a long way.

Barbeque.

Our favorite place right now is actually this Northeastern diner. They have some really authentic and delicious food from northern China. They have really good dumplings and fried pork. We’ve gone there about four or five times now and they’re the nicest people, the owner’s wife always bothers us about not eating enough.

The owner.

His wife rolling dumplings.

The guys and the owner.

Fried pork. The authentic version of orange chicken.

Kid with a cleaver.

Classes have been good. We have quite a full load, myself and two others are taking five classes, but we have been three and nine hours of class a day. We get Fridays off though, which makes it worth the extra work.

We’ve made use of the schools rec center and track. They have basketball, tennis, and badminton courts. They also have a legit rec center with indoor basketball and a weight room.

We’ve done a bit of working out since we got here, it’s been nice. It’s only about $10 for a card to get 15 visits to the weight room. The only thing is that it opens at 2pm so you have to go in the evening.

So that’s the state of things here in Chengdu. We’re actually a little ways outside Chengdu, take a look at this map and you can see where we are in relation to the greater metro area. It takes about 40 minutes to an hour to get into the city, but thankfully there’s a school owned bus that goes about every 15 minutes for only about 75 cents.

I hope this was a good look at what it’s like here in Chengdu, there will of course be more blogs in the future.

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