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Hot pepper, called 辣椒 (la jiao), takes many forms and is a symbol of Sichuan cuisine. This variety is called heaven facing pepper, 朝天椒 (Chao tian jiao), because it grows pointing upward; this type of heaven facing pepper is called dried red pepper, 干辣椒 (gan la jiao), which is most often used in Sichuan hot pot and to make chili powder.

China Mobile, the premier telecommunications company, has a miniature museum inside its main downtown office, one of the few places foreigners may register a phone card using a passport (as opposed to having a local register for them using a national ID). The museum’s “brick phone” is named dageda, 大哥大 ,which you may also use to affectionately call its owner who was seen as rich and powerful with such an accessory. Thus, 大哥大 translate both to “brick phone” and “boss.”

I stood in line at the gate, waiting to fly to Chengdu. The ceiling at the Pudong Shanghai airport looks like a work of art.

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