1/6/2007 8:25 am
I’m hoping this will go with the internet issues we still have. I had to compress the photos so they aren’t so clear. This is another adventure with BoBo and Zoey, the high school girls we met.
New Year’s Day, 1/1/2007. BoBo and Zoey (my high school friends) came to visit and I learned to make dumplings! When I had gone to visit their school the girls had asked if they could come to see our boat on New Year’s Day. They have so few days away from school, but they would be home in Jingan that day. When Randal and I knew we would have time on the 1st text messages were exchanged ( with Lillian’s help) and we arranged the visit. This really is a great compliment to us, I think. The girls live at school and only return home once every 2 weeks, but chose to spend it with us.
10 am the girls arrived at our hotel. They had brought Randal and me Chinese bank bobbleheads, a smiling Chinese man and woman, both in glasses. It is very cute and when I look at it I will also think of the bike riding frog couple that my sister gave me but is in Roanoke. Zoey and BoBo had also brought food to make dumplings. We left the food in the hotel cooler and walked off to meet Randal who was already at the Yard. The girls, Lillian and I walked over to the ferry. Little did we know what was in store for us. Everybody in Jingan was also on their way Biajiao. There was a larger than usual crowd waiting for the ferry and maybe that should have given us a clue about the street scene in Baijiao, but it didn’t. The ferry was crowded, but not terribly crowded, not crushing crowded. But when we got off the ferry and made our way from the little terminal area to the roads of Baijiao it was bedlam! I haven’t been in a crowd like that since I went to see a Sly concert at UMass long ago. It was a mix of people, bikes, motorbikes, motorcycles, three-wheeled trucks, big trucks, cars, and hundreds of people crammed into the street, sidewalks, everywhere. It seemed like the motor vehicles were stopped in their tracks in the middle of the road. Everything and everyone else moved very very slowly along the street edge and sidewalks which were also full of little shops and stalls of people selling things. And it was hot too and there was diesel smell in the air. Horns were honking. But no one got mad and no one yelled and no one got hurt and eventually we all made it to the major intersection where we turn left to go to the Yard. Whew!!!
We arrived at the yard and were welcomed by Bill, Stella, Randal and “Dirty-faced dog.” Many of the workers were off for the day. Randal gave the girls a tour and they took lots of photos and video and made us pose lots of times. Bobo and Zoey officially tested the bunk beds for the first time. They saw how the radar and steering work. Bobo, who had been a little reluctant to walk the dock over to the boat and climb aboard was climbing one handed and taking photos by the end of the tour. While the girls and I were taking more photos Lillian was learning more about the boat. Each visit she learns something and may well be ahead of me. Lillian is also very good with the computer and has taught me about working with photos. (Once upon a time when I worked in the library I knew how but just haven’t done it in so long.)
After the boat tour we all went to eat lunch in the yard canteen and as usual it was very good and I ate too much. (Not a good idea when we would be making dumplings later.)
Randal wanted to keep learning the boat systems, but Lillian, BoBo and Zoey and I returned to the hotel to make the dumplings and to use our computer to copy the pictures I had taken on the school visit and the pictures they had just taken at the yard. Computer whiz Lillian actually did the computer work. Then we went to the 6th floor kitchen to make dumplings. Lillian made sure we had everything we needed and then went to use the hotel computer to make another c copy of the photos for Zoey. Well Zoey took the lead in the dumpling making. There was meat to chop, mushrooms to wash and chop, turnips or parsnips (no one is sure) to peel and chop and lettuce to wash. Giant cleaver in hand Zoey chopped the meat and BoBo and I worked with the vegetables. All of the ingredients (except the lettuce) were mixed together and Zoey added chicken bullion, salt, and soy sauce. Then we took a little round flat (1/16th inch) piece of dough about 3 and ½ inches in diameter. We put about a rounded tsp of filling in the center and then folded all of the sides up in a special way Zoey could do very well and BoBo and I as well as we could. When they were all filled it was time to cook. Garlic had been cooked in a little oil in a big pot ( to add flavor) and then water was added to the pot and brought to a boil. Dumplings were then added to the water to cook. How long? Don’t know because I had to go to our room where I had forgotten my phone. But I think it must depend on the filling and the thickness of the dough, but not long. I don’t think I was gone longer than 15 minutes and when I got back my bowl was filled with dumplings, cooked lettuce and broth. And of course they were wonderful. Everyone had a few helpings, we had made lots, and then it was time to say good-bye to the girls. They had to go home, bathe, get ready and then take the bus back to school where they would spend the evening studying. They take university entrance exams in June and if they are successful (and I’m sure they will be!), they will go to a university in September. I know Zoey says she hopes to go to university in Yunnan Province west of Guangdong Province, the province that includes Zhuhai, which includes Doumen, which includes Jingan where our hotel is located. Yunnan according to the atlas is China’s south western most province and Zoey says is very beautiful and that’s why she wants to go there. She and BoBo want to study history.
There are lots of dumpling recipes on the web, just link dumplings and New Year. They are lots of fun to make and taste really good.