Sunday, September 3, 2017

All the things

On this trip and with my time in China sort of in its last hurrahs.... I've been thinking of all the things I'll do back in Canberra. More so how I'll do things differently. 

More walks in the park, more cheeky beers after work. Less screen time, less work time. More fresh flowers and more fresh air. Less time wasting and more doing. More movies and weekends away. More friends and more family (both related and by less genetic definition).

Monday, August 21, 2017

Slow roasted deliciousness

This recipe was modified from a bunch of different recipes - so lets just go with the following as tested, easy and tasty.

Get a slab of pork (well seasoned) and brown in some butter and olive. While it is browning (about 8 minutes or so) chop up a small onion and mince garlic. Add to pork and stir.

After a few minutes add some smoked paprika (about a teaspoon), some hot sauce (about a tablespoon), extra salt, pepper and a glass of wine or two (I mixed white and red). Bring to boil and add a tin of tomatoes (and fennel seeds if you have some). Place in an ovenproof dish like a clay pot (or if your started this shebang in a dutch oven extra points to you) 

In your heated oven (180) cook the crap out of the pork for about 3 - 4 hours. Check it every hour so that the sauce has not evaporated away and turn every hour.

Take it out of the oven and watch it fall apart in the most delightful way. Served with pasta after adding in extra slow cooked tomatoes and parsley. Or just eat a big slab of meat with polenta.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Old Fashion Bar

What a view, and cute deckchairs with an outlook onto the Guangzhou Opera House, astro turf, a cooling fan and even more cooling cocktails. 

Potential new hang - Old Fashion Bar. Perfect place to drown your sorrows when lamenting your decision to let a bunch of Germans steal your dog. I can recommend the Singapore Sling and the great company c/o my friend on the 19th floor.

Now the dog has returned, I can see this being to type of place to celebrate with your canine friend. I'm not sure of opening hours or address, but head to underground part of the Guangzhou Opera house and head towards the square.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Go slow, slow go

Sometimes life sneaks up on you doesn't it? I don't know, even here you can get into a rut of same old same old. Sometimes you don't realise how stressed you are, or happy (or unhappy for that matter) you're feeling.  And sometimes you don't realise how lucky you are.

It's funny because here life is both really easy and really hard. I don't for a minute take for granted how fortunate I am, but unless you live it, it's difficult to fathom just how isolated and rudderless you can feel. So much is just out of your control and there is not much you can do about it.

But in all of that also comes reflection and the realisation a bunch of folks near and far have got your back. In China some of those people are just a few floors or a mobike away -  others a call or an instant message away. Some of those people of late have saved my sanity. Proper.

And the good thing in all that (aside from the sanity saving) is that when I get back I'll have an extra posse of people in my corner - China folk (and peeps beyond) who will be there when all of this is done and that ain't bad.  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The weekend that was

How is it already Thursday? Time sure flies when you are in the company of the cutest temporary dog in the universe... The weekend just gone was about beers, dogs walks, coffee, dumplings, homeland  repeat. Mix in a trip to the flower markets and a spot of karaoke and consider that all a great combination for a successful weekend.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

At least you had the decency to blush...

The Hummingbirds. A band that has given me music that has spanned my lifetime.

Coming to China and picking out which albums to bring was a little like playing the game what ten records you'd bring to a desert island...except thats a stupid game because how would a desert island have a record player? 

Anyway, loveBUZZ by the Hummingbirds was on top of that pile of ten 74. It is such a wonderful album and has seen me through so many stages of life. An album I'd play getting ready to go out (to probably go see the Hummingbirds, or Ratcat, or Smudge, or You Am I, or the Welcome Mat). An album I'd play while painting and drawing in my uni years, with some cringe worthy results:

An album I'd play through breakups, new loves and new countries.

And here we are now a million miles away from Sydney town and the Hopetoun, the Lansdowne and everything else that was great about my city then. Hanging out in Glebe on market day selling stuff and then browsing Half A Cow for a new compilation or fanzine or both.  Scanning for Phantom and Waterfront Records specials in On The Street and then  (depending on what was on offer) driving into the city and parking my old Toyota Corolla right outside at opening time, to pick up that limited edition something something. Waterfront was always my first choice given there was always a place to park down that end of the city in the concrete and wind tunnels of George street. Sifting through the records while side glancing at who was about and working the counter that day but also watching the clock to make the first class at uni (and escape a parking ticket).

And through those years, there I was on the periphery, looking in at a group of people who were producing amazing music as we all travelled in similar circles... our small little world in a big city.  

That group is still there, much older and connected in a different way, which is how I came to hear about the passing of Simon Holmes. I'll leave all the words about Simon for those who knew him well, but the sadness spans far and wide. 

And today I'm thinking about that group of people and Simon's children and loved ones, including bandmates and friends - listening to his beautiful voice and those magical Hummingbird harmonies. Much love to those who are doing the same.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Chengdu - what we did and how we did it

So this is a kind of 36 hours in Chengdu (but not the New York Times version) because it would have been 40 hours in Chengdu if not for plane first piece of advice for China domestic travel? Always carry a book.

We stayed at Ascott Raffles - not really that central but also not too far away and for the price and the quality of the rooms, a comfortable stay. Not to mention the handy mall next door and the even handier coffee place about a 5 minute walk away (complete with resident dog).

Go to Wide and Narrow Alley - even though it's touristy it has great food and a fun atmosphere.  

We then found Charu Space which is a great Tibetan coffee place which also feature yak milk and yoghurt. It is in a kind of office block on the 16th floor in the middle of nowhere but is worth the visit. Calm vibes, eclectic objects, interesting view - Address: 四川成都市一环路南四段21号,A栋1单元1607, Building A Unit 1, Rm 1607, No .21 First Ring Southern Section 4, Wuhou District

And no trip to Chengdu is complete without hotpot! We went to one in Fushou Alley (Da Miao Hotpot) behind Marquis Palace. 

Day two: pandas. Get up early and head out to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Pandas. It opens at 7:30 and it's worth getting there at bang on opening time to beat the crowds.

Watching pandas make you hungry so why stop at one lunch? Just down the road from Red Beard Burger Bar is a great group of shops, including amazing dumplings....but save room for the best burger in China - 28 Zijing Dog Lu.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pimping for the pooches

On June the 19th a whole bunch of dogs (over 1000) were rescued off a truck just outside of Guangzhou. And without getting into the ethics of all of this, avid readers of this blog would see that dogs are much loved pets in big cities in China - you've met nearly 300 here! But (and cultural practices aside), there are still issues with how dogs are treated in China and this truck full of dogs is one big mess of a problem. 

And lots of people in Guangzhou are doing wonderful things to look out for these pooches, and even I have taken a few of them under my dog loving wing.  My lot are prime candidates for adoption - totally social, happy, friendly dogs. But in the meantime (while they wait to be health cleared) it costs money to board them and feed them and give them the medical care they need - and there are some hardworking people here organising all of that. But it's a pretty overwhelming task.

I'm trying to help out a little bit where I can. Checking in on my doggos, heading out to fundraisers and baking biscuits. Lots of biscuits. 

So here's the thing. I have lots of biscuits to sell. Wouldn't you just love some? Be honest, you'd love some based on the packaging alone! If you and I were in the same city right now, would you buy some of these dog treats from me, for your pooch or your best pooch pal? 

If the answer is yes, how about doing it virtually? Buy a bag of treats and I'll make sure the money goes to helping to G to the Z doggos. I'll also make sure your bag of treats gets to a dog in need. 

Small bags are 20 RMB (one coffee in Australia), medium 25 RMB (which are vegetarian and around $4AUD for ten) and large 30 RMB ($6AUD). Anyone in China can wechat me if you'd like to buy a bag. Anyone anywhere else - send me a message. Every little bit helps.

Here are the dogs you'll be helping: