June 22, 2012

Beijing foods

There is quite nothing like a perfectly roasted duck with bronzed crispy skin and tender, succulent meat. There are literally dozens of restaurants that serve this famous dish, and I had my first dinner in Beijing at Beijing Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant, a restaurant chain that is famous for its duck.  The area where the ducks were roasted was open for viewing by restaurant patrons and we saw many ducks inside the huge furnace.  Maybe I should learn some investment tips from Timothy Sykes and earn enough capital to bring this franchise into Malaysia.

(R) The beautifully presented napkin and menu

Ducks being roasted 

Among the dishes we had: Spicy Szechuan chicken (cold dish), stewed pork ribs with green plum, seafood soup in orange, fried prawns with spicy sauce, lobster noodles with traditional Beijing bean paste sauce, stir fried scallops with XO sauce and traditional Beijing snacks

The star dish of the night - super lean Beijing roast duck 

We then visited the shopping district of Wangfujing and at the north end of the pedestrian street is the Wangfujing Snack Street, densely packed with restaurants and street food stalls.  Little boothes covered by red and white striped canopies one right next to the other line the snack street as far as the eye can see.

There is a wide variety of food here, much of which originates from Xinjiang province, such as squid, fish, chicken and lamb kebabs.  For the more adventurous, there are scorpions, cicada, centipede and other bugs kebabs.  There are also ping tang hulu or candied fruits on a stick, dessert soups, fried dumplings, noodles, drinks, and much more.

Variety of snack foods on sale.  Most stalls sell almost the same things.

The next day, after visiting the Great Wall, we had lunch at Chiang Nan Mansion Restaurant (if my memory serves me right), with a luxurious dining environment.  Food was good, and definitely worth a visit.

Dongpo meat, curry lamb, lobster noodles in cheese sauce, Peipa chicken, steamed scallops with garlic, steamed fish, abalone with broccoli, stir fried mushroom with gingko, stir fried beancurd

 Other than these two restaurants, I had hotel food for the rest of the time I was in Beijing L

June 20, 2012

Great Wall revisited

I was in Beijing for work in May, and it is said that there are two things that one must do when visiting Beijing – one is to enjoy the roast duck and the other is to take a stroll on the Great Wall, and on this trip, I did both.  More on the foods in another post.

I had the opportunity to revisit the Great Wall of China at the Juyongguan Pass.  This is the most visited section of the Great Wall, being only 80km from central Beijing.  The claim the Great Wall is the only man-made structure visible from the moon is apparently a myth.  The apparent width of the Great Wall from the moon is the same as that of a human hair viewed from 3km away so it’s quite impossible for it to be visible from the moon.  In any case, it is still an impressive piece of work, and I was lucky to have beautiful, sunny, clear weather that day, compared to the gloomy and cold weather 12 years ago.

The stone inscription behind me says "Great Wall Hero" 

View of the surrounding area

And that was my only leisure time, as work beckoned…

When I came home a few days later, I was pleasantly surprised to find a cheque from the LHDN, being the refund of my excess tax payment for 2011.  Luckily I didn’t need to file tax extension 2011, else I wouldn’t have gotten the refund so promptly.

June 08, 2012

First exam in primary school

Both mummy and daughter survived Yiu Yiu’s first exam in primary school, which took place two weeks prior to the mid-term break.  She was given a list of pages of books to revise for each subject but as her mummy is a master procrastinator, we didn’t start revising until just a week before, when I frantically tried to prepare mock exam paper for her to practice, just like what I used to do during her kindy years.  Suddenly it dawned on me that I could just photocopy Yihao’s exam papers from last year, and so I did, and saved me the tears and stress of preparing my own J  In any case, her day care had been preparing worksheets for them to practice, so she should be OK.

In the course of helping her revise, I realized that her problem wasn’t in answering the questions, but on understanding the instructions, which would be in Mandarin, except for BM and English, obviously.  And so for Maths, I tried to help her identify certain key words like 一共有 (to add), 顺序 (ascending order), etc.  Turned out I needn’t have to worry – the instructions were read out to them at the start of each paper.  I wonder if it will be the same for the year-end exam.

She came back with all her papers the week before school holidays, and to my delight, did reasonably well.  No perfect scores in any paper, which she could have had if not for a careless mistake each for English and Maths.

Now that we survived her first primary school exam, can’t wait till she’s old enough to sit for the dmv driving test.

June 07, 2012

Fisher Price juke box toy

This was my elder sister’s birthday present when she turned five – a Fisher Price Happy Birthday juke box toy from the USA.

Almost 35 years on, the wooden exterior is crumbling…

But the mechanical parts are still working just fine, albeit a little soft.

I wonder if toys these days can last 35 years!

June 06, 2012

My 6.5-year old

My blog is gathering cobwebs!  Just so I dust off some of the cobwebs, here’s an update on my 6.5-year old.

She has a love-hate relationship with her sister.  She can be ultra-protective at times – when Yan Yan misbehaves and we scold/threaten her with a cane, and we ignore her cries, Yiu Yiu will get extremely upset and sometimes would even cry along with her, pleading for us to forgive her.  But she sometimes finds Yan Yan annoying nonetheless, and exclaims “She’s so annoying!” especially when Yan Yan wants whatever that she’s playing with.

One of the occasions when mei-mei didn't demand for what jie-jie was playing with

She’s prone to throwing tantrums when she’s tired, and since she entered Primary 1, it’s been rather frequent unfortunately, since she leaves the house at about 8am, and doesn’t get home until 12 hours later.  The poor girl must be so exhausted by the time she gets home.

She loves sending me sms whenever I travel for work, with sweet nothings like “Mummy, I miss you”, “Mummy, I love you” etc.  Or she would draw something for me to bring along on my work trips, so that it will remind me of her whenever I look at the drawings.

She’s becoming more conscientious with her homework, and would sometimes try to complete them at school in between periods, or after dinner at mum’s place while waiting for me to come home from work.  Once she was totally knackered and fell asleep right after her shower, only to wake up just before midnight with the realization that she hadn’t completed her homework.  Though I reassured her that she can continue sleeping and complete the homework the next day at daycare, she refused and woke up to complete them before going back to sleep.  She will remember to inform me whenever she has spelling/ejaan/ting xie so that I can practice with her.  She normally has no problem with her spelling and ejaan, but needs more help with ting xie.

That’s the positives, and the negatives include being unsure occasionally what homework needs to be completed.  I’ve given her her kindy homework pouch to bring to school, and she knows that she needs to place all homework inside the pouch, and yet sometimes she doesn’t.  She also has a “homework book” where she’s supposed to write down the list of homework and words for ejaan/spelling/ting xie but alas, that book is not utilized.  She prefers to write the words for ejaan/spelling/ting xie in sheets of paper torn from notebooks, which has a tendency to go missing.  I’ve lost count of the times I had to call her classmates for help, to reconfirm the homework as well as words for ejaan/spelling/ting xie :-(

She’s still savouring the freedom to buy whatever she wants with her pocket money, and on most days, spends the RM1 or RM1.50 (depending on whether I pack food for her to bring to school) that we give her daily.  Sad to say we’ve not been able to instill in her the understanding of the value of money just yet.  Hopefully she will soon, when she needs ebay cash.