Spring Festival

I have mentioned before how we have nonstop holidays starting around Thanksgiving...well, the holidays are about to conclude with the end of Chunjie, or Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year.  Tonight at midnight is the festival to welcome the return of wealth. 
Zoe, Jennifer, Ryan and I had dinner together just for fun; I made my own version of Hongxiao Rou or braised pork in a clay pot; roasted root vegetables with rosemary, mushroom brown rice and a fresh salad with my dressing.  I cheated a little on dessert and went with a chocolate mousse cake from Croissants de France; Zoe enhanced the dessert offerings by tartlets from Ichido. 
I had been a little nervous to prepare this food as Ryan is a pastry chef having worked in the Phillipine presidential kitchen...knowing his president personally...but he was very down to earth and fun to talk with about his experiences, including his being guarded while on duty in the kitchen!  Turns out they all acted like one big family, the guards even tasting the food and sometimes playing around with the chefs.
Monday to Tuesday my colleague Siobhan and I went with a group to Deqing, Zhejiang province, to another hot springs.  We were 11 singles: 2 Americans, 2 Phillipinas, 2 Germans, 2 Chinese, 2 Spanish and 1 Indian.  It was a lot of fun; the second day we went to the mountain waterfall hiking area called Anji.  It snowed quite a bit Monday night so we had some pretty spectacular scenery courtesy of Mother Nature. 



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