Fresh Goji Berries

Have you ever heard of goji berries? They are becoming popular here, in Italy.

Leaving aside the fact that marketing gives them miraculous properties while increasing 5000% the original price, I have always wondered why it’s always dry, it’s not fresh, even when you buy it in China. I am curious to taste them.

The answer is easy, and I discovered it by looking at the documentary below this article (audio in Chinese, subtitles in English). Simply… the berries are very delicate, the skin is very fragile, so they are dried immediately, for preserving them. The only way to try a fresh one is to go personally in deserts of northwestern China during the harvesting period and collect them yourself. (Read: I probably will never have the chance to taste them)

Work in China

July 2nd, 2013. I am drinking an iced watermelon shake, sitting on a bench, in the shadows of a tree. I am in a public park in a city that would be unknown to most people. I relax, I watch other people enjoy their day.

Suddenly a girl comes to me and say “Excuse me, do you speak English?”
I answer, with my heavy Italian accent: “Yes, of course, why do you ask me about that?”
“Well, we are searching for an English teacher, if you need a job, just call this number”, she says, giving me a business card.
I wasn’t expecting such offer, so I just say “uh… but… but… my tourism visa expires next week”
“Don’t worry, if you come to our office, we can sign some papers and give you a working visa as soon as possible”
Very shyly I say: “Well… I’ll let you know”

I never got a such job offer like this, on the road, I wasn’t even searching for a job.
Probably, with a foreign teacher, that english school could brag with future students “hey, we have foreign teachers, we teach real english”. Probably some parents will pay a big extra to give to their kids the right education, at any price.