Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Just another day

It was the first Monday morning of the school holiday…just like any other day for me...

After a not so good sleep the previous night (maybe the bed was too comfortable?), I went about doing the usual chores that I would usually do back home…woke the elder boy up (the younger one has got an internal alarm clock in his body), prepared breakfast…the usual bread with coffee or milk for the boys…but for once for after a long break, I got to send my better half to work in the morning.

After pottering around doing this and that to get everything organised, I left the kids in the apartment and went off to the nearby local supermarket to get some groceries. My boys were too engrossed with the monopoly card games they got from the friendly air stewardess the day before…after working for 2 hours on their assessment books right after breakfast, they were not too keen to venture out into the cold.

The temperature was about 6 deg C when I got out of the house in the late morning. A lovely sight greeted me in the cold, and yet nice and comfortable weather in Beijing….a colourful fruit stand!

Next to it was a messy, make shift vegetable stand…

A huge pile of Chinese cabbage by the roadside…definitely not a common sight back home…

There was a good variety of vegetables, from leafy spinach, to cucumbers, colourful capsicums, mushrooms, onions, etc…

What caught my eyes were these big red tomatoes…nothing close to their small, yellowish orange cousins back home. I asked the friendly Ah Yi (Chinese for aunt) whether these taste better than those small mini ones I spotted in another crate (which by the way looked like some expensive vine ripped tomatoes). She assured me that these bigger ones were good…she then pointed to a small pile of red, squashed skins on the ground behind where she was standing, and told me she just finished eating one (^_^''') I bought just two fruits to try, telling her I would come back for more if they were really good. I paid $1.60 yuan for two huge tomatoes which works out to be less than 40 cents in Singapore. I also bought some fresh white button mushrooms, which cost less than one third the price.

I took about 5 mins to walk back to the apartment...savouring the sights of this quiet neighbourhood, a great contrast to the bustling main streets just a few hundred metres away. I felt as though I am a local, I bet no one would think I am a foreigner as long as I don't open my mouth, haha! Even though I speak Chinese, my accent will give me away. The locals could tell from my accent that I am from the South, although not many would have guess correctly that I come from the little red dot.

I got back in time to prepare a simple lunch and my kids spent the rest of the afternoon doing art and craft…

It was the first time their Chinese calligraphy teacher instructed my elder son to practise writing during the holidays…being a very obedient student, he brought his brushes, writing materials and ink along. Despite having attended weekly lessons for the past 7 years, he still has got a long long way to go before he could master this Chinese art…

The younger fellow spent his time working on this mulberry paint artwork (mulberry paint is made from the bark of Mulberry tree). It is quite a tedious task trying to 'stick' tiny lumps of damp, pulp-like stuff onto the template with just tweezers and a pointer. There is actually a warning stated on the package…ie. kids shouldn't spent more than 30mins on it if not they may faint! Well, my child really enjoyed doing this craft, he told me he didn't faint even thought he had already been working on it for more than an hour ;)

After a light, home cooked dinner, my boys managed to persuade their daddy to play card games with them, while I unwind in the couch…playing my favourite role as a couch potato ;)

That pretty sums up my first day in Beijing…just like any other day, hope I didn't bore you to death! And oh, by the way, the red tomatoes were really good, I cut one into wedges and ate it like a fruit, even my boys ate them without a wince…I wouldn't say it tasted very sweet, but it was juicy and not sour at all, it definitely won't leave you with a tart tomato-y after taste! I could imagine having them for breakfast, lightly roasted and topped with some salt and black pepper :D

This post is published via email, I hope it works well, but my photos may not appear clear or sharp as they were all taken with my iphone. I will try to update this blog as regularly as I could...will love to share with you any interesting sights and food that I come across during my short stay here in Beijing.


  1. Sounds like a relaxing holiday. Your boys are very disciplined - very impressive.
    Please tempt me with China with more of your posts.
    Nice photos, by the way.

  2. Never been to Beijing yet, keep sharing more photos, thanks for sharing.

  3. Yes, you are very blessed with such good boys. Do update us on your stay in Beijing.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi ! I saw this old post about your attempt at making jam and was hoping you could share with me where you managed to get canning jars from.

  5. The photos are inspiring..........

  6. Wait till u see how HUGE the chinese cabbages will grow to as the months get colder! These are considered tiny!
    ps. If i can write (with a pen) half as decently as yr kid, i will be very satisfied liao!

  7. Hi Nik, I didn't buy the jam jars...I used recycled jam bottles.

  8. Where can I buy that mulberry art? It looks so cool!!