Tuesday, January 13, 2009
We Won't Stop Till the Pigs Off the Block
Ok ok I've been a pathetic blogger but I'm gonna catch up now. All at once from my notes. First of all some more details from my last post. As you all know the point of this trip is for the kids to investigate what it means to be a woman in China and to that end we went to two woman owned businesses. The first was one of China's first organic farms started by a woman as a second career after she was already in her fifties. All sixty of us were herded into a big hall with the company's founder at the front at a dais with the translators and a flock of microphones. A Chinese television crew was also on hand and after interviewing the assistant principle of the school they took turns interviewing all of the students of color about their views on Obama. (Chinese people love Obama because his name is so easy to say in Chinese). Every two people were presented with a tray of strawberries and a weird kind of yellow watermelon from the organic farm. The strawberries knocked but all of the kids had been trained with many meetings to fear all uncooked, un-pealed foods in China and since my job description was still a little unclear I decided it was up to me to save some face for our hosts and took one for the team by eating about 150 strawberries. So, fighting a sugar head ache I waddled and sloshed my way to the next farm which was much smaller and run by a younger and much more eccentric woman who had closed her textiles mills in Dubai after 9/11 to sink all of her money into a small organic farm outside of Shang Hai. This woman was AWESOME. She never stopped running, laughing madly, jumping around and talking a mile a minute in a mix of english, mandarin and arabic. She gave us a tour of the farm which included ducks, geese, puppies and as I mentioned before the piglets. These pigs were unbelievable. Some were buick sized with long tusky teeth and heads the size of washing machines, there were pink tight skinned adolescents with puppy like energy and of course the little piglets. There were white piglets, little spunky bristly black piglets and pink piglets so perfect I did not think they existed outside of Disney movies. So we saw the piggies, sent the kiddies off to various family farms to eat with chinese people and the chaperones all stayed behind and got to work depopulating the farm of the little cuties we just met. We ate one of the best meals of my life. Chicken, killed minutes before, eggs so rich that they were like custard, goose fat dumplings, and of course ten dishes of port. BBQ pork, salted pork fat, pickled pork, a soup of pork bones and cured fish. All in all it was over fifty, maybe even over sixty dishes all served with a never ending supply of homemade hard liquor that the proprietress had made herself from farm grown grapes and japanese sour cherries. The head woman challenged us to finish ten full glasses and as we got more and more sloshy everyone started toasting everyone else egging them on to drink more. I had the pleasure of watching Bear, the Drama teacher, red faced from the booze try to get the translators to tell a principal of a local school who was one of our hosts that he had "a beautiful face and laughing eyes". I was in paradise. Shoveling pig fat into my smile, washing it down with goblets of strong sour drink and sweating bundled up against the poorly heated farm house. Everything is rosy.