Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 9 (January 8)
I have never loved American breakfasts so much in my life. It provided another great start to my second full day in the People’s Republic of China. Today was full of agricultural related visits. It started with visits to the largest fruit, vegetable, and meat market in Beijing. These markets provide food for most of the large hotels and restaurants in the area. This was not something I enjoyed hearing since the markets were absolutely disgusting. Since there are very few regulations in China, the quality of the food supply is much lower than in America. Also, the poverty level in China made fruit, vegetables, and meat a luxury to most people. In the meat market, I noticed there was very little beef. Most of the meat was poultry, swine, or fish. This is because beef is more expensive than other meats. After visiting the markets, we went to Beijing beautiful botanical gardens. The gardens were a gorgeous showcase of native plants. Also at the gardens, scientists worked on developing better plant technology. They were discovering grafting, cutting, and other ways to increase plant and crop production. In America, we developed this technology years ago, but the Chinese are beginning to make significant progress in the plant industry. After another genuine Chinese lunch, (mostly rice for me) we went to tour a dairy farm on the outskirts of Beijing. I noticed that once again there were very few regulations, and even fewer regulations were enforced. Our last agriculture related stop of the day was to a soybean research facility. Although the language barrier was hard to overcome, it was nice to see the first clean and sanitary food production facility of the trip. For dinner, we experienced one of Beijing’s most famous cuisines, Peking duck. Peking duck seemed to me like an uncooked fajita. It is duck and cucumber wrapped in a tortilla shell and dipped in a peculiar sauce. Apart from the sauce, I believe it would have been a tasty meal, but the sauce was difficult to forget. Nevertheless, white rice was sufficient.

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