May 27, 2009. Dragon Boat Festival Eve.

Zongzi Maker with Zongzi
Zongzi Maker with Zongzi

The weather was great today. It was clear, sunny, and not too warm. The humidity was very low. It drizzled a couple of times, but barely enough to wet the pavement. When I did my laps I barely broke out in a sweat.

I stopped by the night market on my way home last night and bought bananas. I ate two last night and two this morning for breakfast. Had hot, black tea.

Last night I walked home from the park on the opposite side of the road from usual. There is a row of restaurants, maybe 8 or 10 in one block. On the sidewalk in front of one of the restaurants was a trash bin full of oyster shells. The oyster shells were huge and appeared to be uncooked. They looked great. It made me think of the Oyster Bar. I decided to eat dinner there tonight, but when I went there, they didn’t have an English language menu, and no one spoke English. I’ll try again some time with Vivian and Martin.

Tonight I bought lychees and apples at the night market. Lychees must be in season. Everyone had bushels of them. A few weeks

ago I don’t remember seeing any. The little tangerines I like have completely disappeared.

Tomorrow is the Chinese holiday called the Dragon Boat Festival. According to the Shenzhen Daily, the holiday is celebrated with bull fights, horse racing, sparrow fighting, folk singing, and sheng blowing (a musical instrument). It falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

To celebrate, people eat triangular shaped balls of sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed. It is called zongzi. I ate one this evening. The rice had some sort of beans mixed in and was lightly seasoned. It was pretty good, but messy. They had similar things in Vietnam, but they were sweet and were eaten year round.

The holiday is based on some ancient event when a beloved official or philosopher fell into a river. A bunch of fishermen got into their long boats to rescue him before he was eaten by fish. They threw zongzi into the water for the fish to eat instead of the person they were trying to rescue.

I checked the Shenzhen Daily for activities going on in town, but it didn’t mention anything. Maybe tomorrow… I’d love to

see a sparrow fight.

There is a great controversy brewing here. As I have noted before, almost everyone hangs their laundry out to dry on their balconies. This is true of the very high end places as well as everywhere else. It seems the government is trying to encourage people to purchase clothes dryers to help stimulate the economy. This has gotten the environmentalists up in arms. They say drying clothes in the air is the most eco friendly way to do things. It uses no electricity and results in better smelling laundry. I put my money on the enviro-wackos. Most apartments are too small to waste space on a dryer.

About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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