A quiet but industrious day today. Before New Year there is a designated day to clean the house, although it seems Mr and Mrs Leung have been cleaning and mending and making and painting ever since I arrived. Windows have been replaced, doors mended, constructions constructed, flags hung and there is a quiet frenzy of DIY. I hope not totally in my honour.
I cooked a simple lunch of cauliflower cheese, with left over bits and pieces I bought to do cooking with my friend’s little son Aaron who is 5. Very cute but doesn’t like eating much, so we played a game of I like, you like, we like, no like, where we used flash cards to work out foods that we all liked (not many) and made dinner together. It was a hit, in the sense that he loved the whole planning, chopping, grating, stirring cooking process, but still he did not eat his own creation, a smiley face of vegetables au gratin. No matter, he ate enough simple pasta to fuel him through a couple of days. And he loves oranges and cheese, so he’s more or less got most food groups covered.
The virus from Wu Han is starting to frighten everybody and I’ve been given boxes of face masks and have watched the South China Morning Post video on how to thoroughly cleanse my hands and put my mask on so it seals correctly. Bad timing as so many coming into HK for Spring Festival. Hopefully it won’t turn into a full blown SARS type epedemic and I will not be quarantined when I return to non European UK, I wonder if it will be chaos at the airport with those of us coming from China being pulled off in one direction, and the citizens of Europe having to go through a lengthy screening process. Heaven help you if you are a European coming from China, will they let you in? Will everything change at midnight on 31st January? Will we all be runing around like Cinderellas as our clothes turn to made in England rags as the clock strikes midnight?
The sun is still shining as I type at 4.04pm It is 23 degrees outside. Unheard of since it’s meant to be winter.
I was going to try and swim but Mrs Chang, our neighbour came round, first with cake, then a huge cat (not edible) , then a plan for us all to eat hot pot together. So I accepted it all, and offered to feed the big cat, King Kong, whilst they go to Singapore for 2 weeks. I don’t know how much this cat eats, but I’m guessing a lot as he is the size of a dog. There are loads of cats here, one neighbour has 9 apparently. Cat lover I may be, but I ain’t signing up to feed her brood should she decide to go on holiday. So instead of the swim, I ran, in 23 degrees, working up a big sweat and an appetitie for the hot pot (sometimes known as steam boat)
goose intestines, anyone?
sea cucumbers that look like small grey ……
sea cucumber’s intestines
fish something else
soy bean steak
and yummy fresh greens and parsley freshly picked from Mrs C’s allotment.
Hosts very kindly asked “Did I mind if they cooked the meat things in the communal hot pot broth”, knowing I am vegetarian. A sort of rhetorical question really. As I had contributed zilch to this communal endeavour it would have been very rude to say anything but No, and can’t see that they could do anything else. But boy was I mighty relieved when the intestine thingys went in right at the end, after I’d had my fill.
Ngoh bao le! I’m full. Very useful Cantonese phrase for such an occasion.
The bits I ate were delicious though. Ho mei. Delicious.