Monday, October 29, 2007

tasty Korean food

It was nightfall and very cold by the time we return from the CCC excursion. We headed to a nearby Korean restaurant. It was a small mom-and-pop joint but well-patronised by Koreans, a sure sign of good food!We ordered the Oxtail soup, trademark dish of the place. It was simple and light and piping hot! wonderful for the cold night. Bibimbap was also very good. Robina scrapped the crispy and slightly charred rice layer at the bottom of the stoneware pot: her favourite!
The grilled mackerel was cheap and tender! and the tasty sauce went very well with the fish.

Catholic church with chinese characteristics

We went on a walk organised by Chinese Culture Club to Xishiku Catholic Church, also known as the North Church (北堂). This is the largest church in Beijing. The church was originally located in Zhongnanhai (opposite the former Beijing Library), on land bestowed by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty.
I like its grand Gothic style that reminded me of Notre Dame. There was a famous painting of Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus in Manchurian imperial robes; perhaps a Catholic localisation to win more Chinese converts. the blend of Chinese and Western painting styles is like that of Giuseppe Castiglione, Jesuit and court painter for Emperor Qianlong. In the church courtyard were Chinese pavilions.

There was a gift shop selling, amongst other souveniors, the pictures of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus in Chinese robes. Printed behind the postcards was Ave Maria in Chinese.
It was mass time when we reached the church. It was surreal to see the vaulted roofs, stained glass windows and so many Catholic nuns in Beijing. The priest gave a lively sermon on the church being an open church, open to all believers and church members, and with the coming Olympics, opened to all people from all over the world.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

local food lunch

our lunch outing to Malacca Legend, in the suburbs of Beijing. We ordered chicken rice, bak kut teh, hor fun, BBQ chicken wings etc.
Lay Guan and Beng Teck
Robina, Joyce and Jovien
Dudes with sunglasses!

Little Grebes in Beijing environs

We went for Malaysian food in Beijing suburbs with friends this weekend. the restaurant is located along a spathe of makan joints around a lake. Even in the gathering cold of autumn there were still many anglers dipping their lines into the water.

On my previous trip to get my chicken rice n char kway teow fix, I noticed some small shapes bobbing in the lake. ducks? turned out it was Little Grebes! they were swimming and diving for food.
this is the best I can do with my idiot-proof digital camera minus a big ass long lens.

I was also wondering why the birds were still hanging around Beijing. By rights, the Little Grebes should be on there way down south (even Singapore!). it's already autumn and getting chilly? they might even be over-wintering in Beijing since the lake does not completely freeze over and recent winters had been mild and relatively warm. effects of global warming? or are the birds getting alternative food extras from the many restaurants around the lake.

It was a pleasant surprise to see my old friends. I used to watch Little Grebes from my living room, bobbing around in a transient pond in the field opposite my flat in Punggol. now that pond is long gone and the field is occupied by a cluster of HDB flats. I remember that sightings of Little Grebes in Punggol grassland (now Punggol 21 or Mordor) and Lorong Halus used to cause a stir amongst birders in the 1990s. now I seeing the same cute birds in far-off northern clines while searching for roti jala, talk about globalisation!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sally and fren

We are dog-sitting for Maru for one week while his owners are travelling. Maru is a French Bulldog with large radar dish ears! he's quite sweet natured apart from the puppyish habits of chewing ankles (human!) and his own feet!
Sally the diva, couldn't stand being tormented by the frisky puppy who just want to play. She would jump from sofa to sofa since Maru is too young to jump up after her.

Alvin's spiel

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