Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ummmm... Lunch!

No this is no my trip to the Ningbo aquarium. This is not a trip to the Chinese version of Petco. This is however the menu for lunch.

My hosts picked me up at the airport in Ningbo on Monday and we drove the 1 hour drive to Cixi city. About halfway there we pulled off the road and into a restaurant that was a very large 3 story building but completely empty of guests. We walked into this room that was lined on one wall with several holding tanks, on the adjoining wall displays of the vegetables for today, on the opposite wall along the floor small plastic bins containing all sorts of live animals.

We selected some crab, fish, some chicken (it was prepared already) and a mystery meat.

The meal was tasty and we had a bottle of beer each - Snow lager - I never heard of it before.

The wall with the small blue bins was the most interesting. It had eels, snakes, a small bucket with a net over it with some type of quail in it - alive (for now) and moving around. I suppose this way the food is not wasted. If you don't cook it today you don't need a big freeze or refrigerator to keep it for tomorrow. And you absolutely know your food is fresh!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

You are here...

Ni hao!

I woke up every 2 hrs last night afraid i was going to miss my flight... travel anxiety I guess. Anyway, I am here.

The location is a little off on the map link - technically my hotel is the one shaped like a "H" at the end of the western most runway of the airport... the place mark on the map is a bit too far NNW from the actual spot (close enough for government work though).

Breakfast was good - 3 cups of coffee (kafei) and a mix of western food with Chinese traditional foods like boiled eggs in tea sauce (really turns a hard boiled egg tasty) some sort of Cornish hen chicken dish, sauteed bok choy and a creamy onion dish.

Well fed I'm off to the airport for my flight to Ningbo. Roy Cheng the operations manager is meeting me at the airport... more later.



Ground Stop...

I'm off to China this week to meet with our joint venture partners and this is how my trip begins.
Yep UAL157 is my flight. SFO is on ground stop but good news! That only affects domestic flights... er... wait a minute I'm flying international. What happens if I miss my flight? Well I can get booked on the next flight which is probably tomorrow.

This trip has been doomed from the start anyway. I won't make it to CiXi until Monday afternoon - make that wouldn't have. If I miss my connection in SFO my trip drops to 3days effectively.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Pilgrimage to Mecca...

It is said that one must travel to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. I went on Monday night.

Jim Neelys Interstate BBQ is arguably the Mecca of Memphis Barbeque. I'm not talking about grilling where meat is seared under intense heat and direct flame. I'm talking about Barbeque - cooking meat low and slow with raw wood fuels.

Interstate Bar-B-Que is located on the south side of Memphis amongst less than prime real estate. There are bars on all the windows and after 9pm they lock the door - they'll let you in, they just lock the door behind you. The parking lot has a guard tower that is manned during the busy times to keep watch over you're car.

Upon entering the dinning room you are hit with the smell of thick hickory wood smoke. That's when my mouth started to water. Then my mind raced - what should I have? I sat down, the Kansas v. Memphis game was on and the place was empty save three tables. Memphis was dead - except for the watering holes. You could have walked across I420 blind folded and been completely safe.

I picked a booth with a view of the big screen. The tables contain adds for business ca. 1990 beneath layers of polyurethane - I'm not sure most of them are still open. The walls are adorned with signed photos from celebrities, barbeque competitions, accolades from print sources and a Mohammad Ali shrine.

I was given a menu and picked the sliced pork and pork ribs combo, slaw and beans with a Miller Lite. They are known for their pork shoulder sandwich but I wanted to sample more than just that.
My food was delivered shortly. 5 pork ribs and about 1/2 lb. of sliced pork both slathered with sauce. Ohhh the sauce. Not too sweet, with a nice tang and thinner than I would have imagined. The slightly thin consistency ensured the sauce permeated the pork to be certain each sinew's smokiness was balanced with the sweet tanginess of the sauce.

The ribs were outstanding. when you picked them up you had to pry them apart slightly. The meat was firm and held together nicely. When you sunk your teeth into them you could pull the meat in your bite clear off the bone, clean. I'm talking there was not a shred of meat on the bone. But your bite only removed the meat nearest your mouth. It was amazing - I have never bit into a rib with that characteristic before. Check it out!


I have been to Mecca - and I will go again.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I Will Post AGAIN!!!!

Fear not faithful Blogophiles... I will post again... this damn new job thing has me pretty tied up.

Just to keep you entertained I'll give you a quick question, to which the first person to provide the correct answer (in the comments) will get a special blog post dedicated to them. Ok?

In cleaning out my new office I have removed how many 55 gal. trash cans of crap?

A. 3
B. 4
C. 6
D. 8
E. 11

Leave a comment with your answer - Deadline is Thursday, April 3rd, Midnight PST.