Tuesday, April 19, 2011

19 Apr 11 China day 5

8:00 am Beijing local

Out of bed in into the shower. Nope, first stop, decided to see if I can find their hot water heater. Bingo! Crank some knobs, heat some water, turn Mr. Wong into jerky... Wait... What? Turns out the first knob on the left is for the central heat and the one NEXT to it is for the water temp. WTF? I had no idea. Ive never even HEARD of a set up like this. Turns out he's been going to a spa everyday since we've been here and hasn't needed to take a shower here. So I finally got a hot shower, had another breakfast of delivered Chinese yumminess, and head out the door. I find out after I come back that I inadvertently turned the house into an oven. Oops. Least Mr Wong had a sense of humor about it. Still feel bad though.

9:30 am

On this episode of "American Asian lost in China", we find our stalwart hero in yet other place he didn't expect. Thats right boys and girls! Tiananmen Square! Place was... Wait for it.... Gainormous! Seems everything Chinese is HUGE! ***remember that ladies ^_~***

Nice phallic representation of Chinese pride and power

Got to see the changing of the guard.

Some really Cool stone carvings

And a few really official looking buildings.

Being American through and through, I guess I had some mixed feelings about being in Tiananmen Square. I mean I respect the country of china but I've never been too hot on the ideas of communism and stuff, but I think that it works for a country the size of china. But standing in the middle of the vast... Courtyard? Not sure what you'd call it... I had this feeling in my gut... Or maybe it was just breakfast having words with me for eating it. So I went and took a dump. That's right ladies and gentleman, I crapped in Tiananmen Square! I backed one out! I laid some cable! I made my contribution to the cause! I torpedoed the Russian! HA!

Ok, most of you prolly didn't appreciate the last segment. That was service for some of my friends and readers (you know who your are). No more potty humor. AND! I didn't actually do it IN Tiananmen Square. I found a restroom.

11:00 am

Went to some garden thingy behind Tiananmen Square. It was purdy.

No idea who this is

1:30 pm

Lunch time! Finally got to fulfill a little tradition of mine. Every country I go to, I have to go to a McDonalds. Yup, foods the same. Forgot to look to see if they had anything special on the menu. Like Hawaii has spam and eggs, one country had pizza, etc. Think the only real difference I saw was that their idea of a medium soda was about the size of our small. Or the counter girl got it wrong. Quest complete! Did you know McDonalds is the largest land owner in the world? The Vatican being a close second? Did you know that Disney owns the 3rd largest navy in the world? Just a few useless factoids :).

2:00 pm

Off to the temple of heaven. See pic for some info. Oh hey, surprise! This place is huge too! Man, I think this is the most walking around I've done on any trip I've ever been on. It is a really beautiful place though.

This one expanse to get from one section of the grounds to another is a little over three quarter miles long. This was just one of many I walked.

So hey! Notice anything interesting about this map? It had a little red triangle at the lower right that is suppose to designate where you are. Can you see it on the map? No? That's cause it's not on the map... Anywhere! Front gate had a complete map with the red triangle showing you that you where at the front gate. NO other maps in the entire place has the red triangle!!! It was almost impossible to tell where you were! What really sucked was that if you thought you where heading in the right direction, you had a walk a really really long ways to get somewhere and figure out you were wrong. I was wearing a really big happy hat at the end of this little visit.

These birds are everywhere in Beijing. Don't know what kind they are, but they're gorgeous, trying to get a good set of pictures to maybe do some work on, but I can't get close enough, even with my telephoto, their pretty smart and don't let anyone get near them.

6:00 pm

RTB (return to base). Quick breather, then off to dinner. Yet another fancy Restaraunt. I'm not complaining mind you. It's freaking awesome!


Didn't know catfish were born with a spicy and mild side

Ribs! 'nough said!



9:00 pm

Here was a nice surprise, got to shoot some pool! Thats mr. Wong on the right, a friend of his he introduced me too in the middle, and the guy on the left is a dude who stands there all night and racks for you and takes any drink orders and stuff you may have. I could get use to this. Tables are really nice, great felt, narrow pockets though, 9 footers, and the felt is fast. It was weird shooting with the narrower snooker tipped ques, but it was do-able. And you can smoke in these pool halls! Hell, you can smoke almost e erywhere in china! It was freaking awesome!

So I've written a few of these blog/journal entries so far, anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do to make them any more entertaining or to improve them in any way? Excuse the potty humor if you didn't appreciate it, but hey, this is my soap box! Feel free to let me know either here or on my Facebook page. meanwhile, off to bed, gotta catch an early flight tomorrow, not sure to where.

And that concludes today's little adventures, tune in next time, same bat time, same bat channel.
It's good to be the King =)

Monday, April 18, 2011

18 Apr 11 China day 4

7 am Beijing local.

Out of bed again in into the shower. Man, I don't think they really even understand the concept of a hot shower! Breakfast delivered again. Wonton noodle soap and some other... stuff. I'm sooo gonna get spoiled on this style of living.

9 am

Down to business. Decided to put off all the running around that was suppose to go down today and decided to go to Mr. Wongs company to day to have a look around. He own a website based in china called www.artxun.com. Unless you can read and write Chinese, it's prolly pointless to go check it out. His website specializes in fine art, antiques, and various other things. Some of the talk I was involved in is the possibility of starting a website in the US much like what he already has. And what he already has has made him very wealthy. So I've been asked if I would be willing to be a buyer for his company in antiques and other stuff that is in demand in china, and to possibly help him get his stateside operation off the ground. Also if I'd be interested in being a manager of artists since I am one and I understand them and can connect with them. Sounds good to me, maybe I'll learn how to better promote my own work. So it was basically a full day of talking business and stuff at his office... Which I was actually surprised to learn that he actually hadn't set foot in his company in over a year. He doesn't have too, he's got a CEO in place and has things set up where he doesn't need to be there. Video conferencing and stuff is all he needs to do. Anyway, next order of business is for me to meet with some of the "masters" his company represents to see if there might be one I can learn from. Apparently, I only need a little guidance in my work to really be able to capture the life of my subject in my work. This is the whole reason why my trip is open ended. If I find someone who can teach me what I need to learn, I'll be staying in Beijing for however long I need to be here.

So, I guess we were suppose to go to shanghai or something via the bullet train, but it appears mr. Wong was misinformed or something cause the train isn't finished yet, so I guess that's out the window. Would have been nice to check out a super conductor train. Think I heard Terracotta warriors today somewhere... That would be cool!

6 pm

Food! Chinese hot pot! Went to a place that specializes in hot pot. According to this big sign... Thing... The Restaraunt was founded in 1903... And is now on the fifth floor of a gianormous mall. Progress I guess. It was soooo good, I think I over ate. Huge case of food comma.

Nice place! --->

<---Now THIS is a hot pot!

And THIS is a GIANT hot pot! --->

Parting shots:

They were selling these crickets at the mall next to the elevator. Crickets are suppose to be good luck in the Chinese culture. These things are huge! Their like 2 inches long! "That's not a cricket! It's a HORSE"

These... Condos, I guess they are, are everywhere in Beijing, slight variance in outside look, but the basic structures are the same. Most economical way to house so many ppl I guess. Mr. Wong said that building codes are almost non existent here. Luckily, the only natural disaster that happens here are small earthquakes. He said that if a six pointer hit here, more then half the city would probably die.

Off to bed, too tired, can't... Keep... Eyes.... Open...

It's good to be the King =)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

17 Apr 11 Beijing Day 3

On this episode of "American Asian Lost in China", we find our intrepid hero at the Forbidden City and Tower of Buddhist Incense (tho my drive tells me it was basically the royal summer house... Unless I misunderstood him... Which is a possibility. His Beijing Chinese to my ear is kinda like Boomhauers English to other English speaking ppl).

7:30 am Beijing local
Out of bed and into the shower... GAH!!! Waters freezing for f*cks sakes!!! Guess they don't believe in morning showers. Had breakfast delivered. Noodles, bumplings, and some other... stuff. Wish I knew the English names for all these tasty Chinese foods. Oh well. Met up with my driver at around 9:30ish. I like my driver dude, he's an older guy with sort of a sage like air about him, seems to know at least a little bit about everything. Reminds me of Obiwan Kenobi, too bad he just stares at me blankly when I call him that.

9 am
Get to the Forbidden City. This place is stoopid big! *ahem* 720,000 sq meters with 9000 bays of halls and rooms. 10 meter high walls 3,428 meters long with 4 corner towers. A moat 52 meters wide and 3,800 meters long. The shear opulence of the place is hard to comprehend, especially considering that it was much grander during the time of the dynasties when an actual emperor resided there. So, trying to write everything I learned of this place is just not conceivable so I'll just say that I found it amazing that all this was built basically for one man! Oh, and having 3000 wives sound like fun at first, but can you imagine all the nagging? Plus croaking young from VD (which apparently is how most of the emperors died) just kinda ruins the deal a little. Anyway, trying to get good pics of the various rooms was all but impossible with the usual pushing and bulldozing of people all around me. If someone wants to see, they simply push and squeeze their way up, so you can imagine how insane it gets near the front when everyone is fighting to get up there. Reminded me of roller derby. I almost lost it and threw an elbow or two a few times when someone would try to elbow me aside and basically try to muscle their way OVER me. Wish I had a taizer.


Lunch! Kept it simple, dumplings!!! Pretty damn good if you ask me, but Obiwan said they where prolly the worst in Beijing... And the most overpriced he'd seen. Not surprised since we got em at a little Restaraunt in front of my next destination, the Royal Summer Palace! Once again, stoopid huge. Really pretty though. Que the pushing and bulldozing! Now add some "stopping in the middle of doorways or walkways for no particular reason and holding up traffic behind you". I really think people do walk they way they drive. It got to the point where I was tempted to just run into people if they where going to be that oblivious to other ppl or their surroundings. Common sense and common courtesy apparently are endangered animals. I talk about it a lot, huh? You'd be pissed off too if you got a bruise on your ribs from this crap, and I don't bruise easy. Back to our story!

Basically hiked up another mountain again to get to the temple at the top, figured hey, prolly the only time I'll ever be here in my lifetime, so I should take as full advantage as I can, right? Musta hiked a total of about 15 miles or so today. Once again, ticket booths everywhere. Seems if there any conceivable way to say one place is different from another and of enough note, then their gonna make you buy a separate ticket for it. Least they weren't that expensive. Main gate was $60 RMB (RenMinBi pronounced rénmínbì) which, for those of you playing the home game is about $10 US, and inside tickets where $10 RMB. Downer of the day was that a lady working a booth bitched me out. Here's the story. This place has no maps, neither posted around the facility, or as brochures. There are a few signs here and there that have Chinese and English on them, but I think they might have planned and written by someone who spoke neither. Vague is an understatement. I wasn't the only confused English speaking Chinese illiterate wondering around that place. So I get to another booth thinking I had to buy another ticket. I see the sign that says "blah blah blah $10 RMB" and present my money. Lady looks at me and says exit in Chinese. So I ask where is the entrance, she looks at my and points at the sign (which I had seem too) and says exit again. I tell her I understand that, where's the entrance then. She yells exit at me then and calls me stupid. I just shake my head and walk on. Maybe misunderstood something somewhere in my wondering, but again, there are no signs telling where your going or how to get there. I wonder on a bit and decide that was about as far as I felt like going, so I turn on the digital compass in my watch and make my way back to the front gate taking a different path. I wanted to see if maybe there where things I might miss if I backtracked through places I've already been. Traveling is fun :).

6 pm

Dinner! Mr. Wong takes me to a place that has what is reputed to have the best duck in china, and after sampling the food, I'd have to agree... Tho I haven't tried any other duck in other place in china yet. But he said reservations where extremely hard to get. I have a feeling he spent a small fortune greasing the wheels to get us in tonight. There where a couple Ferraris parked out front and apparently we were seated next to a pretty famous Chinese Diva. Anyway, the food was incredible! The duck was perfect. Lightly crispy skin that melted in your mouth. Super tender and flavorful meat. Non of it overcooked. Amazing blend of sauces and garnishes. Hell, even the goose liver... sticks where really good. Back to the bat cave! Who knows what tomorrow will bring.