Old China Hands lunch 8 November

Modest crowd

Our Old China Hands lunch 8 November saw a grand total of 25, due to COVID complications and other. It was somehow good to have a reduced crowd as CCTV4 was running around filming us and Morel’s Restaurant has a lack of staff.
Yeah CCTV4 is making (again) a documentary about me…

But food was great again. This time we saw pockets of French, German, Flemish and English speaking corners, making it pretty international…

Our Hutong Man

Once again Terry in the news. this time on BRTV (Beijing Radio and TV). who shows his Chinese skills and how he is part of the hutong community.

Link of the video clip is here.
Google translation (edited) from the introduction:
“Unexpected Beijing”  American Gao Tianrui, I am “Xichengyang Aunt”
BRTV Youth 21 October 2022
Gao Tianrui from the USA has lived in Beijing for 27 years. A few years ago, he set up his home in a hutong near Shichahai in Beijing, and developed a strong interest in the work of community volunteers. In 2017, he joined the volunteer team of “Aunt Xicheng” and became a member of the Ping An volunteers in Xicheng District, and became well-known. Wearing a red vest and a red armband he is regularly walking in the alleys of Shichahai, enjoying volunteering. His favorite idiom is “helping others.” For him, the Shichahai community is his home.

See previous posts here.

TCM explained 4.

Foot pads

In TCM explained 4. a focus on foot pads and brewing TCM special teas.
From a Chinese friend I received many boxes with foot pads and I do use sometimes, see pics.
I see many advertisements on media claiming foot pads can make you lose weight, remove toxins, and more. See one example on Amazon.

Do Detox Foot Pads Work?
The theory behind the pads is that when placed on the bottom of the feet, they absorb toxins, heavy metals, metabolic wastes, parasites, and even cellulite from your body as you sleep. By morning, the once white foot pads would appear darkened, which would supposedly signify that the pads had leached toxins from your body overnight.
Some companies selling the detox foot pads even claim these pads could treat a host of medical problems, including high blood pressure. They claim the pads could make your headaches, depression, and insomnia go away, and that they could even help you lose weight.
However there is no scientific data showing that detox foot masks have any true effect on the body.
So, detox foot pads are just a hoax.
And also explained in USA TODAY
“Cleansing foot pads do not remove toxins from your body, experts say – the foot is not a detoxifying organ.”

My teas

I weekly brew some teas, here one example. Ingredients: He Shou Wu, Luomozi (the fruits or the twigs) and pine needles.

What is Luomozi?
Metaplexis japonica, commonly known as rough potato, is a twining vine. Pale purple to white, star-shaped, 5-petaled flowers bloom from late June to August. Flowers are followed by elliptic seed pods which split open vertically when ripe to release numerous silky-haired seeds (reminiscent of milkweed) which are easily carried by wind to other locations.
The vine grows with unbelievable speed… as every year on my balcony. See the pics.
Parts used for medical purpose: whole plant, roots, fruits.
Earlier I brewed only the twigs, as pictured. This tea uses the fruits.

He Shou Wu (Fo-Ti) is the prepared tuberous root of Polygonum multiflorum, a plant that grows in the mountains of central and southern China.
It is a herbal remedy used to promote healthy aging and treat conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The plant sterols in it are called a “miracle cure” for prostate problems. It appears to absorb DHT at a rate no other plant sterol can compare with.
The top toxin is DHT or dihydrotestosterone. DHT is also known as androstanolone or stanolone,  an endogenous androgen sex steroid and hormone. DHT plays a beneficial role in the developing prostate but it can be detrimental in the adult prostate in that it causes pathologic prostate growth.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition in which the prostate grows and pushes against the urethra and the bladder blocking the flow of urine.
Before I used it in powder, now the roots directly.

Pine needle tea has a pleasant taste and smell. It is rich in vitamin C (5 times the concentration of vitamin C found in lemons) and can bring relief to conditions such as heart disease, varicose veins, skin complaints and fatigue.

How to brew? I use an electric water heater that has several operation settings, One is to brew TCM teas, taking several hours. Once done, I take out the herbs and keep the tea in several small bottles, in the fridge.

Beijing Workers Stadium story3

Gongti South and East

In Beijing Workers Stadium story3 a look at the less talked about developments in the Gongti area. Indeed TheBeijinger and China Daily have been showing some details of the Workers Stadium but little or nothing about the other constructions going on in the area. See earlier post.
Much more to come, stay tuned!
In the Workers Stadium East Road (gongti dong lu) a big rather strange building is taking shape. That is supposed to be the “China Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Hall and Rehearsal Facilities” according to some Chinese signs at the construction site. No details available…

In this design sketch, the concert hall is right on the left of the new stadium. The view shown is from the north-east corner of the gongti area.
In the same picture, in the upper left corner, barely visible, are 3 buildings, located at the south-east corner of gongti area. Most of those are on Workers Stadium South Road (gongti nan lu).
Those buildings are really a bit mysterious, nobody talks about it. On the construction entrance (gongti nanlu) they mention something like “Tennis, Swimming Pool and 9 other items including Museum renovation and Beijing Staff Sports Service Center”. The two buildings on that road are very big and empty inside, so I guess at least one is a swimming facility.

See the pictures taken since may 2021 until recently with the progress of those buildings. On gongti nan lu it all started with an enormous excavation pit, there must be a lot underground.
See the dates and the locations. They are now putting windows. I still have no idea about the huge steel beams sticking out.

Other constructions nobody talks about

Right in front of Morel’s Restaurant in the night of 31 May 2018 they were pumping mud into an improvised water basin. We guess it was related to the underground work for Subway line 3. The following day all was gone without a trace! Impressive!

What is going on in and around the Workers Gymnasium is also a mystery. See a nice recent shot from the gymnasium and the buildings being razed around it on the south-west corner of the gymnasium, very close to Julong Garden.
They might also break down the interior of the gymnasium, with many trucks taking away mountains of construction debris. Right now the mountain of debris are gone and the last trucks are picking up what can be recycled. But nothing to see outside of the gymnasium… so not sure.
The statues of the Stadium area are still at the gymnasium but are expected to be put back soon.
On Workers Stadium West Road (gongti xi lu, my street), also mystery construction on the sidewalk that started in July 2022. Soon in August steel structures came up. At least one of the 3 constructions spots would be an electric substation of China Grid for the area.
Also the new big gates of the Workers Stadium are rising up (north and west sides).


TCM explained 3.

Aromatherapy history and theories

In TCM explained 3. a focus on aromatherapy, what it is, its effectiveness, the different forms and implications for your health.
Do not misunderstand, I actually often use TCM, especially special home-made teas that I drink on a daily basis. But some aspects of TCM are rather doubtful in its effectiveness.

Aromatherapy is based on the usage of aromatic materials, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, with claims for improving psychological or physical well-being. It is offered as a complementary therapy or as a form of alternative medicine.
The act of burning incense has been an important ritual since ancient times. Believed to have originated in Egypt in the time of the Old Kingdom, it was once used by priests for fumigating tombs. Incense has a long history of being used in conjunction with ceremonies, rituals, and spiritual and religious occasions.
Incense burning was also discovered in India and Southern Asia as early as 3300 BC. Used alongside worship and prayer, it was believed that burning incense could ward off evil spirits while purifying the surroundings.

I remember assisting mass when I was young and the incense burner going around.

Aromatherapists, people who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of supposedly therapeutic essential oils that can be used as topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion. There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy can either prevent, treat, or cure any disease.
The point of aromatherapy is the smell of the products. There is disputed evidence that it may be effective in combating postoperative nausea and vomiting.
Now more about different forms of aromatherapy.

Incense sticks, cones and essential oils

Incense sticks are some of the most typical aromatherapy products. They are used to fill a room with sweet and aromatic scents, calming the mind and body, and more.

The Health Risks from Incense Burning are however serious: Harmful Constituents in the Incense Smoke – a scientific paper.
Yes, burning incense and cones is bad for you.
According to the EPA, exposure to the particulate matter (PM2.5 in particular) present in incense smoke has been linked to asthma, lung inflammation and even cancer. In fact, long-term exposure to incense smoke was found to be related to an increased risk for upper respiratory cancers as well as squamous cell lung cancer.
The findings, published in Environmental Chemistry Letters, showed that incense smoke is mutagenic, which means it can cause mutations to genetic material, primarily DNA. Compared to the cigarette smoke, the incense products were found to be more cytotoxic (toxic to cells) and genotoxic (toxic to DNA)

See a variety of incense sticks and cones; also essential oil diffusors, electric or using a candle, pleasant smell and not polluting.
The pollution measurement I did shows how bad the incense sticks are… and the particles hang in the air for a very long time!
Incense cones appear to be even more problematic for air pollution compared to incense sticks.

Fragrance sticks

Fragrance sticks are absorbent sticks which have been placed in a jar of fragrance oil. The stick draws up the oils and their scent evaporates into the room.
Reed diffusers are safer and healthier than many types of scented products. Reed diffusers, quite simply, do not make use of flame. This is not only safer, as it means that reed diffusers do not pose a fire risk.

I don’t like that one can find the complete sets but never the replacement liquid. So, sticks and container can only be used once and then thrown away.

Old China Hands lunch 7 October

Full house

The Old China Hands lunch 7 October came at the very end of the “Golden Week” of National Day (1 October). We were a bit worried about attendance but we had 34 happy Beijingers.
With all the restrictions and worries with the zero-COVID paranoia, many people in Beijing decided not to leave the city so Morel’s Restaurant had very busy days.

While we always loose members we also welcome new faces, some visiting Morel’s for the first time.
Food was as always great. See a few pics of the dishes.

Our Hutong Man

Yes, Terry Crossman again.

Another “Terry in the news” (19 May 2018)

See previous post about Terry.
He was also in Old China Hands stars.
I found one more video on CCTV-4:
《外国人在中国》 20180422 西城“洋大妈”
CCTV-4 Chinese International Channel
“Foreigners in China” 20180422 “Foreign Aunt” in Xicheng
Watch it here.

Next lunch

Next one is on Friday 4 November. Attendance is not open, advance registration with me is mandatory. All nationalities and backgrounds are welcome but only for “foreigners” (non-Chinese ID) with ten years of China experience. Next spring it will be our 10th anniversary!