Baby, It’s Cold Outside

sarah li cain-mumbled jumbles-baby its cold outside

I forget how windy winters are over here. I’m not trying to complain, really. I think I just need to get used to this weather again. I’ve been drinking a wackload of water and I still wake up dehydrated. I’ve tried finding coconut water here to no avail. It makes me miss the fresh coconuts you can get in Thailand. yum!

I do enjoy sitting in cosy PJs and drinking tea while watching the snow blow by. I love looking outside the window and seeing scenes like the one above.

Who says that winters are drab? There is beauty everywhere you look!

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Winter Scenes

My husband kindly took me to Ohiopyle State Park this week since the weather’s been letting up a bit. I was excited to soak up the winter scenes since I haven’t experienced them in years. I also forgot how slippery ice can be! I got teased (rightly so) about being scared to trample on the snow. Thank goodness there were fences on the icy steps or I might have fallen over a not so safe cliff by now. I passed by a lot of places where I’d really like to take some winter portraits of friends/their pets, but I’m not sure who would like to brave the cold for me.

Photos from the jaunt below:

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Sha Tau Kok

Inspired by David’s post, I took a little trip to Sha Tau Kok.  I wanted to not only explore the newly opened parts, but try to get to Zhong Ying street and go through that border into Shenzhen. It is one of the four border crossings onto Shenzhen, and apparently it used to be quite the place for illegal activity.

I took the mini bus at Sheung Shui station fully expecting to just get off at the last stop. Silly me forgetting some parts still needed a permit to get through.  The bus stopped right before the gates and a police man stepped on.  I quickly apologized and left the bus. Then to top it off, it started raining, and I did not have an umbrella with me. The whole trip wasn’t looking so promising.

Luckily, it stopped raining, but the humidity came…yuck.  The sky was grey and spitting but I after half of hour of walking I was pretty much ready to go. I think I ended up walking for about two hours because there was so much to see.  And I’m sure I still didn’t see all!

I walked around trying to find anywhere to head onto Zhong Ying street (briefly put, this is a street which borders Shenzhen and HK, and you can walk freely there, but you used to need a special permit but those, as far as I know, has been lifted.) but no avail, I accidentally wandered onto the road where cars/buses/trucks drive into Shenzhen, and got more questions from another police officer asking me where I was going.  Feeling semi-defeated, I walked towards the mini bus stop and found a little stand selling tickets into Shenzhen. Only cost 20 RMB. Bad thing was, they bypassed Zhong Ying street! Tried to ask if there was a way for a bus to take me there, but nobody knew.  Ended up going into Shenzhen and walking towards Zhong Ying street, and I would have had to cross immigration again if I wanted to walk there. Of course, I just ended up taking a bus home.

If you are up for looking at older areas in HK this is definitely worth a visit. If you do live in Shenzhen I`d recommend crossing from Louhu border then taking the mini bus.  The Sha Tau Kok border on the Shenzhen side is in Yantian district and takes some time to get there. It took me about 40 minutes to get back to the MixC in Louhu district without traffic. In my opinion the bus ride through Shenzhen is kind of boring as you`re just looking at highways, but in the HK side you get to see a bit of Fanling (which I hear has some interesting places to frequent as well)

Photos of Sha Tau Kok below:

Loads of abandoned buildings. This one had a second floor but I wasn`t about to risk it considering I had bad luck that day.
Loving the old bikes. They could do serious damage if they hit you!
I wonder how long it took this building to get like this?
If you see this intersection get off the bus, you’ll need a permit to enter from that point on.

If you are interested in seeing more, head over to part 2!

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清补凉 – Clearing Tonic

I loathe this dampness in the air, it’s literally sinking into my bones and makes me want to crawl into bed and hibernate until spring. It’s times like these where soup is my choice of meals.

This year, I’ve ventured into the world of Chinese soups. I’ve been drinking some at the restaurant I frequent, and have poured supermarket aisles to recreate some of them, with success so far. There’s a wonderful blog called The Chinese Soup Lady if any of you are interested (there are vegetarian versions available which I might try).

I’ve been pestering one of my coworkers for other ingredients which I quickly forgot. Luckily, I happened to pick up this ‘soup packet’ at the supermarket last week which was pretty much all the items she mentioned.

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If you literally translate this soup means ‘Clearing Tonic’. It is said to aid in digestion and improve health.

Here’s an image of all the ingredients out of the pack (excuse the dirty dishes!):

sarah li cain-mumbled jumbles-clearing tonic02My coworker also recommended snow fungus, which I also bought happily (so glad these ingredients are cheap here!)

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I grabbed my half chicken, some leftover chicken bones (always have some in the freezer just in case I decide to whip up broth/soup) and away I went!

I literally rinsed the herbs, and peeled the longan (the brown round thing) and set a pot of water to boil.  Put all the ingredients and cook/low boil for two hours.

The soup came up sweet and thicker than I thought. I’m thinking it was the gelatin from the chicken bones and joints.

Trust me, it is delicious! My only complaint is that I wish I had a bigger pot.  Still, it is enough for 3 small bowls of soup for me to bring to work and savour during break/prep times.

yum yum.

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The Battle with Humidity

ugh. As the weather is getting hotter and hotter,  a wackload of humidity follows. I had planned a bunch of walks to baishizhou and around the older neighbourhoods behind my house, but when I’m out the door, a five minute walk just ends up taking me straight back indoors, where it is nice and cool. I was shopping for presents this past weekend and I was drenched by 10am. My yoga routine has also gone to the dogs, since it is so hot I get dizzy even with the air conditioner on. There is wonderful mould growing too, yuck!

What to do? A lot of people are getting sick from this, and I’m sure other people are having the same issues. Here’s what I do to cope with the humidity here:

1. Stay inside as much as possible – yes, it is the obvious one, but the pollution here plus the humidity here is ready to send anyone into crazy spells. I usually find routes (if I’m walking and doing errands)  where I can walk into buildings for most of my walks. You wouldn’t believe how many buildings are actually connected to each other in Shenzhen.

2. Drink lots and lots of water, and avoid juices/alcohol/caffene until evening – I got crazy drunk once during the afternoon, at a wine festival, and I only had about six sips of wine! I learned my lesson quickly after that. People also get dizzy/overheated/dehydrated and you’ll just wind up doing your body more harm than good. If you do consume these types of drinks, at least make sure you’re not going outside for long after you drink them.

3. Bring an umbrella and use it when it is sunny – I probably won’t get away with this outside of Asia, but when it is absolutely scorching and sunny, you need something other than a hat and sunscreen to get the sun away from you. It helps me cool down a bit more since it the sun is not shining down directly on me.  The only downside to this is when there are millions of umbrellas and you have to navigate through the crowd with yours.

4. turn on the air conditioner (if they are seperate units) even if you are not in the room, but not all day of course  – this helps get the moisture out of the rooms in your home. Those disposable demunidifiers also work wonders, and there are ones for your shoes in case you sweat lots in them (and don’t wear socks!)

5. Wear breathable, light, and loose clothing – Work is hard enough without having to chase after kiddies or walk in and out of the classroom (our hallways are outside) and sweat is just plain gross. Then awesome things like heat rash appear (mmmmmmmmmmmm…………).  And heat rash is just not fun, nor sweating and having to deal with the itch. Do yourself a favour and just prevent it.

Those are about it. Do you have any additional tips to deal with the humidity?

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