Wednesday, March 12, 2008

General updates

For the next month or two, my job scope is rather attractive. I am to divide my time between studying of the construction, operation and control of the Tianjin plant, and researching and simulating the flow patterns in an inlet manifold.

For a geeky character like me, part time applied research in a technically challenging area is very much welcomed. Computational fluid dynamics can be a pain in the fanny (note: informal American English for buttocks, not vulgar British English for female genitals) but once set up properly, the outcome is like an enlightenment.


The office in Tianjin is a small operation housed in a converted apartment unit. When there are no senior members from other branches around to take us out for lunches, the staff would cook in the office’s kitchen.

Yesterday was my first day around when there are no subcontractors or directors to have lunch with. There were only 3 of us in the office, and I had acquired a reputation for being able to cook (even though I had only cooked once for the housemate/ colleague in Shanghai).

Thus I was invited to conjure up a meal in a kitchen I was not familiar with, using whatever was available in the fridge. A quick browse around the kitchen revealed a good supply of noodles. Noodles are good- they cook much faster than rice.

So lunch will be some form of dry noodles, because I find the soupy kind boring.

I found frozen pork, thus the noodles’ gravy will have thinly cut pork strips like what one might find in some HK style noodles. There was an ample supply of garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce. Then I found black fungus, so some went into a bowl of hot water to rehydrate and then cut into slivers.

The knife block was sufficiently well furnished with a variety of knives (cheap things stamped from stainless steel sheets; nothing good about them) and a sharpening rod; the chopping board was a luxuriously large wooden slab. Working the knife through half a bulb of garlic and slicing the pork brought back a satisfaction not felt in a while.

It was also quite fun to formulate a meal plan based on a walk-through of the ingredients available.

The washing was done by the receptionist.


Yesterday was uncommon in that I dreamt. It was quite an uneventful one - I was sharpening a knife.

I miss my knives; they are in Melbourne. Not that it would be feasible to carry 3 kitchen knives around with me to every port of call…

Hopefully the blades are serving humanity well; there’s a chance I might see them in the not-too-distant future.