8-Bit Blog: Weekend Edition September 14 2013

Saturday:

We had a very productive first few days visiting factories, so I decided to take a trip on Saturday to Da Fen, a famous painting village in the northwest of Shenzhen. This is where much of the art in the region is produced, and many students come to train here.

This is Richard. He works for our sourcing group, and is an avid art enthusiast. He even came to Da Fen to train when he was younger, although he realized pretty quickly that it wasn't what he wanted to do for a career. 

Richard and I walked through dozens of alleys and galleries admiring the brushwork of local painters. The area is quite large and we ended up getting lost pretty quickly. Neither of us minded though.

Almost all the painters were set up on the streets and in the alleys. Some of the best had spectators checking out their work. In these cases, I didn't feel so bad taking pictures.

We ended up seeing a slew of great artwork over the day. Unfortunately, most galleries and artists had a policy of no picture taking. So if you want to see more, I'd highly recommend taking a trip someday!

After spending the day walking around, we were pretty hungry, and stopped on the street for some cha shiu bao (known in the states as pork buns). These are warm pastries filled with sweet barbecued pork. They're often eaten for breakfast, but they're pretty delicious any time of day.

Sunday:

The next day was my birthday, and the sourcing team decided to take me out. In the morning we all went to play badminton, which seems to be a national sport. Everyone there was pretty skilled.

The arena we went to was huge, and had about 30-40 courts. The whole team was there, so we were able to play four at a time on two courts.

Richard and I squared off on a singles court before we left. I played tournament tennis growing up, so I was able to pick it up fairly quickly, but Richard is a verifiable pro (he's played several times a week for about 8 years). I did my best to keep up, but he was definitely taking it easy on me.

I didn't think very far ahead, and ended up wearing the worst possible shirt for a hot day of badminton (that line across the bottom isn't part of the design). We stopped at a sports store later so that I could pick up a shirt that wasn't drenched in sweat.

We all worked up a big appetite, and went to a local restaurant to relax and cool off. We ended up getting a private room (with an air conditioner!) and ate a fantastic meal.

Top left: sticky rice with pork bone. Top right: scrambled egg with red peppers.

Bottom left: fried potatoes served on a stone hot-plate. Bottom right: tofu and chicken with a soy glaze.

After lunch, the team brought out a birthday cake, which blew me away. The top was covered in mango and grapes, and the frosting was nice and light. Everyone had a pretty large piece, so we were all stuffed at the end of the meal.

Our private room had a Mahjong table, so we decided to play a few rounds after lunch. It took me a bit to learn the symbols, but I was decently competitive after a bit of practice. It's pretty similar to a game called Rummycube, which I played with my family when I was young.

Upon hearing the commotion, one of the ladies from another room came by to check out our game. She scrutinized our play, and tried her best to whip us into shape. I'm not sure we ever lived up to her expectations.

Overall, it was a great birthday, and a great weekend overall. Tomorrow it's back to work, visiting factories and figuring out assembly for the lamp. Good internet has been hard to find, so the next posts may be spaced out a bit.

Thanks for reading!

- Adam