Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Sighting, a Polling, and Disbelief

Post by New Clark

A while back, I happened to witness the amazing event of a Chinese fire-drill in China. I was shocked, and since I was riding my bicycle and lacked a camera, I missed out on obtaining factual support to my claim of this sighting. However, seeing this event was not what surprised me the most.

I later notified my ex-pat compatriots about my fantastic find. I found it unfortunate that I got three different reactions to this information.

"You saw a Chinese fire-drill? That's awesome! We used to do those all the time when I was a kid and we probably made all the other cars wonder what the hell we were doing." – Response by a Coloradoan

"You saw a Chinese fire-drill? What is that? I've never heard of such a thing. Is that like a regular fire-drill but in China?" – Response by a Seattleite

"Cool, I haven't seen one of those yet. Where did you see it?" – Response by a Californian

Since, of the accurate polling of the three people I told, one actively practiced Chinese fire-drills, one knew what they were, and one had no idea what it was, I thought it might be prudent to inform people what a Chinese fire-drill is.

It's where you get out of your car at a red light, run around it and then get back in your car. Why do the Chinese do this? I'm not entirely sure; I'm still working on why their popcorn is sugary and not salty. It sure tastes good though.

Monday, April 12, 2010

yes, but will my hands be so fter?

note to self: when advertising hand cream called "la mer" in a massive mall display, make sure you put a big enough space between the two words.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

quick plug for wang wen

i went to see a great dalian band called wang wen (惘闻) play last night. i saw them play when i first got here in 2008, in fact i think the first live concert i saw in china. this time they were promoting their new album L&R and put on a great show again. hopefully someday they'll get a chance to do a US tour like local beijing bands carsick cars and hedgehog did a couple months ago. if so, i highly recommend you check them out. in the meantime, you can check out their myspace page here. just watch out for the sexual predators.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

qingming in shanghai

this weekend was qingming jie, or tomb sweeping festival, in china. even though it's apparently only a han chinese traditional holiday the whole country gets a three day weekend. i took the chance to make what has become a once a year trek to shanghai to visit friends. based on how many people were out and about at the newly restored bund on monday, there didn't seem to be a lot of tomb sweeping going on.

i won't bore you with a detailed play by play because nothing much happened. but while throwing an elbow at some chick that was in my way on the escalator when i got back to beijing, i realised it was sort of a bizarre experience, even though i had a great time. the entire thing (brunches, easter party, picnic in a park, beirut games) could have taken place in the US. for example, on monday evening before flying back to beijing i had a giant (delicious) burrito at this restaurant packed with laowai getting drunk on margaritas. i'm having a hard time believing that anywhere you can get decent mexican food counts as china. in beijing all we have is saddle cantina, where the tortillas taste like the pancakes they use with peking duck.

anyway, too much has been written about the differences between beijing and shanghai so i won't rehash that here. i will write about the bund, which just reopened to great fanfare after two years of construction. i hadn't been there for five years, and it pretty much looks the same to me, though shanghaiiers insist otherwise. i will say there are a lot more buildings over in pudong, including the glorious giant bottle opener, an apt dedication to laowai living.

on another note, the shanghai metro is expanding at a ridiculously rapid rate as they get ready for the 2010 expo to open next month. the trains and stations, especially on the new lines, are all really nice, with fancy flat screen displays and google maps-type consoles you can use to look at the area around the station. once after brunch at a popular art gallery slash cafe area, we walked out to the street right in front of a brand new metro station that my friend didn't even know existed. meanwhile, the beijing subway is burning to the ground.