In every lifetime or every year for that matter, there is one period of time which destroys you and makes you realize how old you really are. For me? That time happens more times than not and it especially this last month. Summer has come to Guangzhou.
Birthdays, people moving to other cities or countries, art shows, the list goes on, I had one hell of a month in Guangzhou.
After a long day adventure to the South China mall along with a taxi ride which took me over most of Guandong province we headed back to GZ and went straight to Panyu to catch a photography / fashion show.
4 artists in total; 3 of which were fashion designers and the lovely Lisa May Loveless’ photo show at the MOCA. It was an amazing show with amazing talent. Lisa’s work encompasses her past years in China in a very personal and intimate perspective. I was completely impressed with her shots.
Of course, like any good art show the food and booze is free and in plenty. By the end of the night we had taken all the bottles of vodka and sparkling wine and created a fashion shoot of our own within the dressing rooms. A photo show is always the best inspiration for taking photo’s. Although I did miss out on the skinny dipping pool party I did have an overall great night and was ready for a full week of work and craziness.
Nathan turned the big 27, and the evening before was spent drinking oversized German beers at Wunderbar at the corner of Tiyu Xilu and Tianhe Bei.
The following night we headed to WIlbur’s which is a more western bar/restaurant of sorts. This neighborhood along with this restaurant is mostly built up from returning Chinese who spent a good deal of time in America. There is western restaurant and food influence as well as a gay flare that brings up the liveliness of the joint in comparison to most chinese bars.
Also known as Dragon Boat festival, is sort of a coming of summer festival but is also centered around the first known poet of China, Qu Yuan. This holiday is celebrated throughout many parts of Asia as well as China, and was just recently reintroduced into mainland China in 2008 after many years of not celebrating, although Macau and Hong Kong have been big celebrators. This holiday falls on the fifth day of the fifth month on the chinese calendar.
The typical celebration consists of eating Zongzi, drinking wine and watching dragon boat racing. Dragon boat racing is a human powered wooden boat in the shape of a dragon that has a drummer in the front of the boat to keep the pace, and steerer in the rear and many paddlers in between. This sport dates back 2000 years and can be seen practiced throughout Asia and the Pacific.
Zongzi is a rice dumpling made of glutinous rice, filled with a variety of fillings and then wrapped in bamboo, lotus, banana or other various sources and then tied in string and steamed. I have been calling these delicacies “chinese tamales” and have eaten them with Kenneth on the streets of Manhattan. There are many different shapes that the Zongzi can take and the shape usually is passed down through generations. Most typical is a 2 dimensional triangle, or a 3 dimensional pyramid shape.
Anne’s Aunt and mother invited us over for a Zongzi making party. The fillings which her family usually use are green beans, sweet pork sausage, pork belly, mushroom and of course glutinous rice mixed with 5 spice.
Starting with a long bamboo leaf folded into a cone, start with rice as a base and fill away. Once filled, top with rice, fold remaining leaves, add another leaf, and tie with a thin piece of bamboo string, all while trying to keep a beautiful triangular shape.
The shape is the most difficult part, and a friendly neighbor came by to show us his technique of wrapping.