Happy Memorial Day!

It’s Memorial Day, the quintessential Monday holiday, and the unofficial kick-off to summer. I hope you’re kicking back…like this guy, pictured here.

A lot of people lounge around the streets in China- on the back of wagons, on park benches, on little plastic stools….but this guy took his afternoon nap to the next level. This corner, which I’ve passed hundreds of times, had never been subjected to any piles of trash or old furniture. It’s not even really close to any major buildings. As you might imagine, it made for quite a confusing and interesting sight. I also find it funny that he took off his shoes. As if he was going to preserve the quality of the couch?

Anyway, I just got back from an amazing 2-day trip to Zhangjiajie, in the Hunan province. It was my first trip to Hunan, which is where my paternal grandmother was originally from- and I learned why that side of the family likes such spicy and salty foods so much!

Zhangjiajie is probably more appealing to the masses, however, for being the inspiration to the fictional backdrops of Avatar. For example:

In the last two days, I set foot on some of the most amazing landscapes I’ve ever seen, and visited what seemed like a surreal world. A lot of walking, hiking, and riding of cable cars was done. A lot of avoiding Chinese tourists was also tried, but alas it was inevitable to be drowned in the masses of matching group hats and portable microphone headsets. Still, it was an amazing trip. Pictures to come!

Down the Street

The DiploMan and I are somewhere fun this weekend, I’ll let you in on our adventure next week!

In the meantime, here’s a snapshot I took this week on my way to the market; I mostly like the pinks in the photo, but if it’s of any interest to you- those baskets and cages have all sorts of snakes and turtles and birds for sale. I’ve walked by these shops dozens of times, and not once have a seen a transaction take place. Good to know I’m not the only one freaked out by the lack of sanitation and regulation here.


Guys! Big news.

I found roma tomatoes on the vine at the market this week. What, you thought I was going to make some other sort of announcement?!

Seriously though, if you’re in Guangzhou, put on your shoes now and run to your nearest wet market, I want to know if you find them, too.

I bought a couple pounds worth, a total impulse purchase, but one that was far wiser than other impulse purchases I’ve made in the past (read: Richard Nichols pants, books on how to code CSS, a dog). The tomatoes were so perfectly ripe that I almost refrained from cooking them. Almost. I decided instead to give them a nice slow go in the oven. Slow roasting tomatoes creates an extra flavorful tomato that is ten times tastier, and a perfect compliment to summer pastas or salads…or simply slathered on a piece of crunchy toast.

In my case, I was looking forward to creating some breakfast meals in my new cast iron skillet pan. The tomatoes are sitting in my fridge now, ready to dance with some potatoes or eggs. I’ll let you in on how that works out, sometime in the next few days…

Slow Roasted Tomatoes


  • 1-2 lbs. small tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, etc)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dried Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, or Sage)


  1. Cut tomatoes in half. Sprinkle with a generous helping of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and whatever dried herbs please you- in my case, I used oregano and rosemary. Peel and crush a few cloves of garlic and toss into the pan. Douse with a good amount of olive oil, enough to coat the tomatoes and then some.
  2. Roast at 275 degrees F for 2 hours. Tomatoes should be shriveled but still moist. Allow to cool to room temperature, and store in a air-tight container along with all the extra juices, olive oil, and garlic.

Monday in Guangzhou

It’s Monday, I’m back in Guangzhou, and it’s already looking to be a busy week. I’ve got a few different projects scheduled, lots of writing to do, and tons of planning to cover the next few months.

Luckily I have a bit of company as I work from my desk…although he’s a little lazy.


And now he’s got his face smushed in the crack of my armpit. I swear, he’s sleeping like this.

I wish I could be a cat sometimes.