I visited with Professor Jie Meng, her husband Shi Yao, and son Menglong Yao in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China for five days. It is my fourth time to visit with them.
Zhengzhou has serious air pollution, but it was vastly improved over my last visit. They are spending a lot of money to control it. Several times I saw trucks spraying water on the streets to keep the dust down. A huge subway project is nearly over – in the past it was a major contributor. I saw blue sky for the first time here – clearly improving.
I met Yao’s new girlfriend Melanie during a buffet lunch in a 5-star hotel. She is back from many years in Australia. A very charming young lady.
We all went to see “The Secret Lives of Pets” – subtitled in Chinese. The theater was in a very modern building with many high quality stores and three stories of restaurants. We had a hot pot lunch. Some of the items we cooked were mutton, beef, cow vocal cords (moo), black mushrooms, unknown veggies, sliced bull penis (not tasty), and preserved eggs.
Another lunch included Professor Helen Mao, a fellow teacher at Jie’s university, and her son. I first met her when she was a visiting scholar at Salem State – Yao’s friend Professor Gu brought her to my house for an evening.
Jie is a fine cook, and we had wonderful meals at home, including noodles, veggies I did not know, and more.
Zhengzhou is typical China – a mix of stores and such that would make Boston look old fashioned, and shops and businesses reminiscent of the 1920s. But even there, Yao bought take out food scanning a QR code generated by the shop with his smart phone. He also bought theater tickets and meals the same way.
The weather was hot most of the time, with highs around 36C (100F), and lows in the above 21C (70F). And humid.