Saturday, October 22, 2011

Obama-Mania.... and Fried Chicken

In the often-surreal world that is Asia, comes a new brand of pirated goods, "Obama Fried Chicken".

The NAACP would have a field day with this one :)

Apparently Mr. Obama, having found the Presidency to be less enjoyable that he imagined, has flown to China to try his hand in showing up the Colonel in the Fried Chicken game....

After reviewing his Presidential performance, I think I'll stick to Mr. Sanders.  ;-)

------------------>From the news---------------------------------------->
To OFC the current KFC China has issued a statement in English saying KFC has no relationship with “OFC”, and “OFC” has already violated Kentucky’s trademark, they will take legal measures.

There are a lot of people saying KFC has over-reacted, the students starting their own business, and it is very creative, KFC is being too serious.

(Adam climbs up on his soap box)


This of course, is one of the key problems in Chinese thinking... no, it's not really OK to copy people's ideas, even if that's just fried Chicken.

Why would anyone ever want to create something if someone else is just going to copy it and not be punished?

So in a land of over a billion people, innovation and creativity die... which is good for the west, because creativity and high quality are like the only weapon we have against cheap labor!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Adieu to the Beijing Belly

As fall approaches and the summer days come to an end here in Beijing, there are a lot of goodbyes for this old foreigner to say, one of which is to...

The Beijing Belly

(There she blows!!!)

It seems to be a strange combination of the 80's half shirt and the clampits. What it lacks in style, it gains is sure boldness, pride in one's... body... or something... and a general statement of "I don't care what you think, look at my better side!"

It strikes when you least expect it.

Relaxing in the park? BAM! Beijing Belly

Riding in the cab? POW! Old man with hairy belly button coming towards you.

Crossing the street! ZAP! Tear out your eyes to stop the pain.

Sigh... the short skirts will be missed... the Beijing Belly... not so much.

NOTE: These are not my pictures... I tried many times to do it, but it just felt weird to snap a dudes pot belly in open daylight. But exist it does, and catch you it will....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Don't Forget Your Purse!

Being someone who tries to be of the "modern world" and all that, I have made peace with (and frequently use) the whole "Satchel Bag" or "Man Bag" or whatever it is that people like to call it these days.


Coming into work one day, I saw three guys that made me notice a new trend (at least here in China) that I don't think I can ever embrace... Women's purses/bags being used by dudes?

Yikes... since I noticed it that day, I see it everywhere!

Guys... I realize it might be convenient but...  you GOTTA be a man on SOME things in life!

I know I know... it's a culture/gender learning thing right?

Yea, well, maybe for a reason, it's universal :-)

Suck it up and be a dude! 

We used to say "Don't forget your purse" when guys were whining and complaining.. I never thought it could actually be true!

Saturday, July 02, 2011


 As you may know, it rarely rains in Beijing, and especially in the last few years (I'm sure you've heard the news reports of drought over here).

So last week when it finally did rain, it REALLY rained, and the city flooded.

This is mostly because Beijing's drainage system.... NOT good.

Not because it's clogged or old or etc - it just DOESN'T exist in many areas, or it's totally inadequate in most.

I guess they decided they could design it for the most common rains in Beijing? It usually rains short and only a bit, so anything like an average NY rain will cause small lakes in the road.

A flood like this... aiyo....!

At first I thought the images were fake, but they ARE real! They are from the Chinese Twitter (Weibo).

One of my staff was unable to get a cab because they were either all taken or literally waved her off, saying they didn't want to drive in this mess and they were just going home.

She couldn't take the subway because her line was flooded.

So we had a dinner, hoping it would get better... and after dinner we remembered... Beijing's drainage system... not good.

After about 2 hours looking for taxis in the rain, she ended up sleeping in a hotel next to the office... and I walked home. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Graffiti = = Art?

I don't like graffiti, but if I need to see it, I'd at least like to see ART!

I should start off by saying that I NEVER liked graffiti, so I might be a bit biased here... but for me, little is  worse than the graffiti all over Beijing - and the patches of color from the painter that comes by once a week to cover it up!

In the first picture here, they actually painted the whole wall because there was so much graffiti on it (that's the gray/white stripe you see in the middle) but alas, days later it was covered again, so you can see the multi-patched paint over it, to cover the graffiti again.

I wonder how many layers are there? :)

Even the street is not safe!

The second picture shows that it's on the street too! And the same game goes on - with the painting first, then it's covered up, then painted again, then covered up...

So what is this graffiti?

Telephone numbers....!

Things like:

"lose weight - call this number"
"air conditioners - tel #"

 "pirated (stolen) satellite TV - tel #"
"fake tax receipts (for government taxes) - tel #"

Sometimes they JUST have a number!!

I guess Chinese people know what it's about?

I personally would prefer little flowers painted on the street or sunshines on the side of a building to this!

I don't like graffiti, but if I need to see it, I'd at least like to see ART!

I've only seen art graffiti in Beijing once, although I've heard there is a "place" where there is a lot of it.

3 years in a city and only phone numbers painted everywhere ;-)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Don't Eat the Seeds~

Not a terribly shocking or cultural post today... even I (as a New Yorker) get tired of complaining from time to time! ;-)

I just saw a really cool piece of art and wanted to share with you all - notice:

1 - it's actually art - meaning people see it and are impressed with it's design, not disgusted, confused or compelled to act like they see the "deeper meaning" :-)

2 - it looks really real! Even when I was standing there, I wanted to take a bite!

This was at a place called "Xin Guang Tian Di" (新光天地), which I think is a Taiwan brand of high-end malls.

They always have some sort of ridiculous show or store opening here, with wine, music, models and etc, out in the middle of the mall BUT roped off so that anyone walking by can see the people enjoying themselves but not dare to enter lest a guard stop you.

But on the top floor, they always have this open art gallery for people to walk around and look at. It's my favorite part of the mall, and open to snobs and common-folk alike. :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

~Fresh Air~

 The winter has been chilly, but snow-less as well, and being one who prefers to see snowflake-free days, I'm thankful for that. It's also been less than the freezing cold temperatures we had when I was back in New York during Christmas, so it really is difficult to complain there.

With all that said, the "clear skies" have been touch and go. And when the sky is a color other than blue, it can be VERY cloudy gray indeed.

Even skyscrapers that are a block away can disappear from sight in blanket of pollution and sand.

But hey, it makes for great photos! The lights from signs makes a cool hazy "glow" on the horizon... psychedelic. ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fresh Water (Part 2, The Beijing Edition)

Fresh Water (Part 1) can be found here

While pouring a glass of hot water from the tap (faucet), I noticed something not quite right with the shade of the glass as it filled up....

 Just after filling it up, this is what it looks like...

It's not mixed with anything from my side... just hot water from the tap.. yet.. I can't see the sunlit background behind it!

 10 seconds later... 

About the same, I used the flash this time.

You can see at the bottom, some transparency... it's slowly "clearing up"

 20 Seconds Later... 

We're at 1/2 and 1/2 now... woo hoo!! 
 30 Seconds later...

Is it getting more clear? I truly have no idea....

So I never use tap water for anything.

I think my maid uses it to wash dishes... yikes...!

I might want to ask her what the heck she thinks it is!

LUCKILY... I have one of these. :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

~Ahhh NTU~

I'm just taking a moment now to remember NTU - a great school, in a great city, on a great island. The first year I was there I hated it and wanted to quit. I'm glad I decided to give it another shot. :) 

Don't get me wrong, a lot of professors, rules and old systems pissed me off to all heaven, but in the end they taught me patience! :) Anyway, most people I met were sooo nice.

Just letting the pictures speak now - now that I'm in Beijing, I can say that the palm trees look very very nice!

The Main Road to the Library

The Main Gate
My Business School

Cafe near the business school (closed now) where I had a coffee and jam/toast
This is also where I learned how to say "Toast with Peanut Butter and Jam" 
ha ha

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Smokey would be a happy Bear

 A few times each year, they do a check of all of the fire extinguishers - I'm not sure if they replace them or what, but the result is large clusters of these extinguishers left out in the open for 1-2 weeks.

In the US, they would either be:
 1- Stolen
 2- Damaged (boom!)
 3- Fire Foam fight... yea!!!

So I have to respect the fact that none of them ever seem to be touched. I've always wanted to shoot one off just to see what it's like... and it would be handy to have one in my apartment...


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fresh Water

While in Taiwan we had a really cool water machine - it made water hot, cold and filtered it too... to an American, this is all very new and cool stuff.  After a little while, we noticed a... not so fresh taste to our clean water... after opening it up with a screwdriver (which took a long time) we found out why... 
What is it exactly?

Not sure... some sort of filmy dusty residue...

Needless to say, we stuck to bottles after this ;-)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The people on the sidewalk, the cars on the road.. the scooters EVERYWHERE

The pictures here are what the sidewalk on almost every side of my college campus in Taipei looked like. If there is one thing I remember vividly about living in Taiwan, it's the motor scooters.

At the time I was there (fresh from New York) I considered them a blight on the roads (and the sidewalks, for that matter!).

They were constantly weaving in and out of traffic, onto the sidewalk and between walking pedestrians, and just causing general havoc. Never mind the noise and (for the bad ones) exhaust! Even the cute little Taiwan girls drove these things!

The picture below I found from Google, but not because I didn't see them, just because I never snapped a picture when I did.

It was quite common to see a family of 3 or more on a scooter at least once a month, driving along the city street as calm as Mary Poppins... I'm not sure how... but somehow they never got in a wreck!

I have to say in parting though, compared to Beijing, the traffic there was timid and well behaved - 我的天啊。。。 I'll stop now... ;-)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Taste Testing for Dollars~

When I first came to Asia, I used to believe that this sort of thing was totally innocent - "Hey, Asian people didn't realize what it looked like to the perverse 老外 from NYC", I imagined, " better to keep quiet and perhaps share a snicker with a few fellow 外国朋友".

5 years later, I still have no idea  if they know what we (come on - admit it!) see here or if they just see a model eating a hot dog-like thing.. but that's not really the sad part... I'm actually getting used to it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Who Said Snow Globes were Tacky?

Even when I was a little kid, I never really liked snow globes... at first, I was always upset because I wanted to touch the little trains or snowmen inside and I couldn't. Then a few years later, I just found them to be annoying and a bit cheesy. In a bit of fear, I realized the last December that I miss them, which might mean I'm passing into another phase of old age... but that's another story!

I always go to Sanlitun (a foreign favorite in Beijing) on Sunday for brunch. Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I was shocked to see what might be the biggest snow globe in the world! 
Hmm... ok, well at least the biggest I've ever seen... The minicooper is real and operating. The house is about as big as my apartment in Hong Kong was. :-P

One thing I can be sure of, this baby wouldn't last 5 minutes if it was placed out all night and day in Manhattan... FREE MINICOOPER!

Oh... I should say... I hate minicoopers. But for obvious reasons (besides being cute - which a lot of Chinese girls I know love) it is growing in popularity here.

Note: A few weeks after taking this picture, I was walking past this again and saw some people in the house! I don't know what they were doing... I could only see all the feet... I just put my head down and went to brunch. heh heh

Friday, February 05, 2010

~Let it Rain, Let it Rain, Let it Rain~


I was looking through some old photos of the office when I came across this little gem... this is the pantry of our office - you can't walk around in it... all blocked off. :-)

This is what happens when it rains in Asia - people don't close up their umbrellas, they leave them open to dry... for hours... walking into the pantry for a cup of coffee in the morning... this will wake you up quick!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ommmmm (Ugh)

So I started doing this Bikram Hot Yoga class in January. Mostly for something different - I started doing Hatha Yoga (very slow, relaxing yoga style) about 10 years ago, but I wanted a switch.

The room is HOT - over 100F!!  Plus it's humid... they have little spraying hoses that put a mist in the air all the time - the result is pretty gross... people are sweating all over the place.  The first time I did this class, I literally almost fainted twice. I still get light-headed, but not so bad.

I thought that might be a good thing to be in this weather (because rapid heartbeat and sweating mean weight loss, and I'm not getting any younger)! Turns out that this is not the case really. Most websites say you won't really lose weight (bummer!)

So I just finished my third class tonight, and here are some of my thoughts.

No weight loss, that's true. I am am slowly shedding pounds and getting muscle, but that is because I do Thai Boxing 4 times a week - starting Hot Yoga didn't increase that at all. That said, some muscles I didn't know I have DO hurt, so something good is happening there I guess.

One strange thing I did notice... I can breathe REALLY well now!

I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back, this can only be because of the Yoga class in the furnace-like room.

It started when I was running for boxing class... Usually I do well anyway, but suddenly I felt like I could fly or something - I had allll kinds of energy! My lung capacity was much much larger... no comparison.

Then the next weekend I was singing (yep, singing) and man... I was BELTING it out there! I could take huge breaths of air and really just let it all out (much to the pain of my neighbor I guess!). I also noticed that during these times (running and singing... ha ha) my body automatically straightened right up... I didn't do it on purpose, it just happened. Cool stuff. :)

Anywho... I'll keep mixing in the yoga for awhile and recording any results... having expected nothing, it's cool to see something this quickly. If all else fails, I can just go back to my Hatha. :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Move Over, Doublemint Gum~

Another little gem handed to me at work - a snack food of some kind.  I thought it was gum and happily took two sticks, only to find out when I trie to eat them that... it was NOT gum...!

Actually, I don't know what it was... it might have been meat... or vegetable... I couldn't tell.

Whatever it was, it was definitely in a state of highly processed bliss...

I took a bite, no real taste as far as I could tell. A bit grainy... strange texture.

I really would have liked some Doublemint!