Friday, March 23, 2018

Flowers and Rinds on a Park Bench in Jiangmen

Yesterday I saw red silk-cotton tree flowers and tangerine peels drying at two neighboring places. Today as I passed through a park I noticed the two items sitting out together.

Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flowers and tangerine peel on a park bench

Nearby, I noticed a couple more flowers on the ground.

Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flowers on a walkway

I picked one up and then saw something fall to the ground with a thud. I picked up this fresh red silk-cotton flower as well.

Shortly after that, I saw another flower off to the side.

Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flower on the ground

And now I had three hefty flowers in my hand.

A passing duck did not display any similar interest in the flowers as it swam by — not so surprising since ducks don't drink five flower tea.

duck swimming in a lake past Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flowers

Looking up, it was easy to spot the two trees that had produced the growing number of flowers I noticed on the ground.

flowers in a Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) tree

As is often the case, I wouldn't have noticed the flowers high up in the otherwise barren trees if it hadn't been for the flowers on the ground, especially since the trees were intermixed with leafy trees of other types.

Although I was now the proud possessor of three fine flowers, I realized I probably wouldn't be able to put them to good use, such as five flower tea.

So soon there were three more flowers on the bench.

tangerine pee with more red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, kapot) flowers on a park bench

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sun Drying Flowers & Peels in Jiangmen

Yesterday shortly after going outside in Jiangmen, I saw more red silk-cotton flowers. These, though, were being dried in the sun.

Bombax ceiba (red silk-cotton, kapok) flowers drying on a chair

Around the corner from there, more red silk-cotton flowers were drying.

Bombax ceiba (red silk-cotton, kapok) flowers drying on the ground

Possibly some people are planning to use them to make herbal tea. The flowers are also used for soup and congee.

Next door, another item was sun drying.

tangerine peels sun drying on the ground

Xinhui, a nearby district in Jiangmen, is known for its dried tangerine peel, used in a variety of foods, soups, and teas. So it wasn't surprising to see these tangerine peels on the ground, even outside a mobile phone repair shop.

I saw these three examples of drying during a brief outing which didn't cover a lot of ground. Undoubtedly, more could have found on that sunny day in Jiangmen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bountiful Bombax Ceiba Flowers

Bombax ceiba (Red Silk-Cotton, Red Cotton, Kapok, 木棉) flower on the ground

The previous post included a single photo of flowers I saw in Jiangmen. Around this time of year I have come across these flowers before, mostly in southern China. I took the above photo almost exactly one year ago elsewhere in Guangdong province at the Guangzhou Orchid Garden. Although the flower isn't an orchid, Guangzhou is a particularly fitting setting since this is the city's official flower.

The scientific name for the tree which produces the flower is Bombax ceiba. The tree is also known by a variety of other names in English such as red silk-cotton and kapok. The name "kapok" is used for some other trees as well, such as Cochlospermum gillivraei and the more closely related Ceiba pentandra, also known as the white silk-cotton tree. So it may be better to avoid using the name. At least in this region, the typical Chinese name is 木棉 (mùmián), which literally translates as "cotton tree".

Whatever you want to call the tree, I welcome seeing the large deeply-colored flowers. And they are one of the key ingredients for Five Flowers Tea (五花茶 - wǔhuāchá) — a traditional herbal tea common in Guangdong and Hong Kong which I drink simply because I enjoy its strong bitter flavor (no sugar, please).

I didn't mention any of these details before because I wanted the earlier photo to stand alone. But viewing the photo while sipping some Five Flowers Tea would probably work fine.

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Riverside Haircut in Jiangmen

If you desired a riverside haircut alongside Dixi Road (堤西路) in Jiangmen today, you were in luck.

man getting a haircut outside on a riverside sidewalk in Jiangmen, China

man getting a haircut outside on a riverside sidewalk in Jiangmen, China

Both this barber and another similarly set up nearby had a steady stream of customers at the time. A 5 yuan (about U.S. 80 cents) haircut in a setting like this is hard to beat.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

To Be Fed or Not To Be Fed on Two Wheels in Jiangmen

A moment from today on Xingning Road (兴宁路) in Jiangmen:

man and small girl riding an electric bicycle

A similar moment with an edacious contrast:

man feeding a boy a snack while they ride a motor scooter

Perhaps the girl had already finished her food.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Time Rex

pedestal missing most of a once-attached stone sculpture of an animal

Yesterday I was thinking about putting together a picture-heavy post about a temple I had recently visited in Jiangmen, Guangdong. I thought it could make for a good change of pace from previous posts.

Then I took a look at Twitter.

My reentrance into that world happened to be shortly after the first reports of Donald Trump firing the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. I quickly got sucked into the drama of various people trying to put the pieces together and figure out what it all meant.

I use the word "drama" because, admittedly, that's a large part of what kept my attention. Yes, the news was quite important. But ultimately, if I hadn't learned about the details for another day or two, there wouldn't be any negative effects for me. There was no likely decision I was going to make during that time which could have been impacted by it. If anything, it would be beneficial to wait. As news breaks typically some of the information is wrong and many relevant pieces are missing.

Sure, it could have been different if I desired to contribute to the discussion. But in this case, I wasn't planning to.

I followed along on Twitter nonetheless. I clicked links to stories that quickly became outdated as new information came out. Watching it all play out was stimulating.

Once I pulled myself away, there was too little time left to put together a post.

So, in the end, Rex Tillerson was still gone. And a chunk of time I could have used more productively was also gone.

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Return to the New Year

The day after International Women's Day many of the related promotions at stores and restaurants were over, though some continued. For Topsports, that meant a return to the "Happy New Year" spirit, even though 2018 began two and half months ago and the current Year of the Dog began almost a month ago.

2018 Happy New Year sign at Topsports in Jiangmen

 May Day is just so far away . . .

Friday, March 9, 2018

Food, Shoes, and Jewelry: International Women's Day Sales Promotions in Jiangmen, China

In past year's I have shared some of the International Women's Day sales promotions I have come across in Zhongshan, in Jieyang, and in Guangzhou. At the moment I happen to be in Jiangmen —another city in Guangdong province. So yesterday I spent some time walking through several shopping malls and nearby shopping areas in the city. There was no shortage of promotions for the holiday, though many stores had no sales or had unrelated sales, including lingering Lunar New Year promotions.

As in past years, one noticeable aspect of the promotions were the various names used to identify the day. Yet I didn't see a single example where the standard Chinese translation for International Women's Day, 妇女节, was used. Instead, Chinese names which would translate as "Goddess Day" (女神) and "Queen's Day" (女王) were common. Some places went with "女人节" which could also translate to "Women's Day" in English. And a number of stores included the day's name in English, often going with "Queen's Day" or "Women's Day".

Chen Yan in Sixth Tone mentions a possible explanation for why the formal name in Chinese was avoided:
More and more young Chinese women are shunning International Women’s Day, a problem that is partially due to nomenclature. Women’s Day is translated as funüjie, a word that contains a term that youngsters increasingly use to refer to older, married women and that connotes a certain frumpiness and a lack of sophistication.
That still might not fully explain the choice of Watson's — a health & beauty care chain store. They went with "我们节" which could be translated as "Our Day", seemingly quite a big difference in meaning. But there's a catch. Written in pinyin, the first two characters are "Wo men".

Watsons Women's Day promotion

Just to be sure, I asked an employee and she confirmed that indeed "Wo Men's Day" referred to International Women's Day and was a cross-language pun. At the very least, it strikes me as a curious choice.

Whatever name stores settled on, the promotions went on.

So if you were seeking a Women's Day special for Californian-style food in Jiangmen yesterday, you were in luck.

Hey Farm restaurant Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Other Western-style food options were available as well.

Seasons restaurant Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Seeking something Asian? Well, there was Thai.

Thai restaurant Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

And if you wanted Yunnan-style, there were options as well.

Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Baked goods? No problem.

Madeli bakery Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Some tea? Loving Tea beckoned the goddesses.

Loving Tea Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Shiny Tea did as well.

Shiny Tea Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Seeking something simple and healthy? There was a fruit store that didn't miss out on the day.

Fruit store Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

There were many options for clothing.

YMR clothing store Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

G2000 Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

OU Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Shoes and hand bags were on sale too.

Losiny Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Losiny Queen's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Dusto Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

ZuSOON Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Topsports Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Glasses? No problem.

Loho Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Along with a number of other jewelry stores, both China Gold and Hong Kong Gold had promotions.

China Gold Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Hong Kong Gold Women's Day promotion in Jiangmen

Seeking health & beauty care products without a "Wo Men" theme? Mannings, a chain similar to Watsons, went with the more typical "Queen's Day".

Manning's Queen Day promotion in Jiangmen

And, yes, you could go to the supermarket for some Goddess Day savings.

Vanguard Empress Day promotion in Jiangmen

Finally, while several nail salons I passed didn't have a promotion for the day, IMP Nails was ready for Queen's Day.

IMP Nails Queen Day promotion in Jiangmen

So finding an International Women's Day deal in Jiangmen, and elsewhere in China, wasn't at all hard yesterday. But not everybody in China thought that was a good thing. And so on International Women's Day, some feminists who criticized how the day was observed were censored.

The promotions went on though.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Gentm Woman in Jiangmen

Perhaps there's some symbolism in this shirt I saw in Jiangmen, China, today on International Women's Day.

female mannequin wearing "the gentm woman" shirt


More about what I saw here today . . . tomorrow.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Late Night Buds in Jiangmen

In response to a photo of riverside eating and drinking in Jiangmen, one question was "Budweiser?"

Yes, those are bottles of American Budweiser beer on the table. Those there weren't the only people drinking Buds. And on another night at this dining establishment — 星期五 (Xīngqīwǔ — Friday) — I drank a cold one myself while looking out onto the river and waiting for some roasted fish.

bottle of Budweiser Beer next to Jiangmen River

Chinese-brands Tsingtao and Harbin were available as well. I went with Budweiser since it seemed fitting for this outdoor eatery which prominently featured the beer on its signage and menu.

Friday "星期五" roasted fish outdoor riverside outdoor eatery in Jiangmen at night

Most of the nearby riverside options similarly feature Budweiser.

roasted fish outdoor riverside outdoor eatery in Jiangmen closed during the day

outdoor riverside outdoor eatery in Jiangmen closed during the day

All of these places only open at night, which fits the mould for a type of place I personally associate with serving Budweiser in some parts of China. In Jiangmen, I have also noticed Budweiser advertised at multiple karaoke establishments.

"Unleash your true self" Budweiser ads in Jiangmen

So if you want to sit by the Jiangmen River and drink some Budweiser, there are options. And if you want some roasted fish as well, you're really in luck. The ginger squid is good too.