Monday, December 17, 2007

Want some Scampi with that?

As is so often the case, we are always looking for new restaurants to try, since the same ones over and over (Crystal Jade, that Korean place out in Hongqiao, Arch, Gourmet Cafe, Oh Dragon Restaurant, etc.) . . .well, they're limiting.

So yesterday someone came up with Scampi in the Infiniti Mall on Huaihai Lu as a possible place. So we show up there at 7.30 and the menu looks pretty good. (Except for the terminology confusion . . . it's not scampi. What they are serving is crawfish. Or 小龙虾. Crawdads. Mud bugs. Scampi is a method of serving shrimp - totally different type of bottom feeder).

So after some drinks we get the waiter over.

"We'll have a bucket of scampi laksa and a bucket of scampi new orleans style"
"We are out of scampi"

Are you kidding? We went through the whole menu . . . and any dish that had ANY sort of crawfish product - the bisque, the salad, the fritters - well, they were out of.

It's one thing to run out of a certain food item - it's a restaurant, these things happen. But the friggin' restaurant is called Scampi. Hello!

To add onto it, no one said anything to our table when we were being seated. You know like "Just so you know, we're out of scampi"

More reasonable people would've left, but people in my party were hungry, so other things were ordered. Lamb chops, "philly cheesesteaks," ribs. Meh. Honestly, I'd have rather gone to TGI Fridays.

So you're not going to see me back there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

1 week in Yunnan



For those of you unfamiliar with Chinese geography, Yunnan is the province that sits right above Myanmar, Lao and Vietnam in the far southwest. To compare with the US, you could think of Shanghai as the equivalent of say, Washington DC (east coast, middle of the coast) and then Yunnan would be like Arizona. So it's quite a bit away from here.

So why Yunnan? Well, originally, I was planning to go to Thailand, but since my friend Abbie (hi Abbie!) um, flaked on me, I had a week off and decided to stay in China and go and hike Tiger Leaping Gorge, since supposedly China's inevitable march of progress will see the damming of the Yangtze further upstream, backing the water up and ruining one of China's most amazing natural wonders. So I wanted to at least see it before it might or might not happen. Yunnan also houses many of China's 56 minorities - and so it would be interesting to see some Naxi or Tibetian or Hui or other minority culture in Yunnan. I didn't really have a plan, just a flight into Kunming, a vague idea of what I wanted to see and do and a small backpack with clothes and two books.

Still battling two seperate illnesses, I spent my first day in Kunming (the Yunnan Provincial capital) lying in bed and reading (Michael Chabon's excellent Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, lent by Colin Pine). Despite dealing with a funny stomach AND one serious chest cold, I spent the next day on the bus from Kunming to Lijiang. 8 hours worth.

Lijiang was both at once charming. . . and annoying. A super well preserved ancient village, it has the air of Disneyland about it - yes, I love Disneyland, but only in Anaheim. It's clean, looks like it was built in the last 5 years and all the charming ancient Naxi homes have instead become souvenir shops peddling Naxi attire, Yak Yogurt (tasty!), dried Yak meat (not so much), t-shirts, tour packages, internet usage, etc. etc. Lijiang is also OVERRUN with Chinese tour groups. The whole thing - bad hats, flags, megaphone using tour leaders. So that's not so nice. On the other hand, it's one of the most photogenic places I've been, and there's a nightly Naxi dance in the main square - which ISN'T put on for tourists, just a bunch of Naxi out having a good time.



I spent the next day recovering from at least one of my illnesses, and let myself get talked into renting a taxi for an entire day - which actually ended up working out okay. First we went up the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain - where there was a glacier park at the top of a cable car. Despite being overrun by Chinese tour groups - it was great to get up into altitude and cold and snow and wind and ice. Very refreshing. In the afternoon, I again let myself get talked into a horse ride. While it was touristy, as an individual traveler, I got my own guide, my own horse and got to set my own pace. Unfortunately, while the scenery was spectacular, I must have gotten the worlds' most hateful horse. We ended up (unwisely) taking a metal boat out onto a lake . .. during a thunderstorm. I've made wiser decisions, so not wanting to end up on the news (American tourist evaporated by 1.21 gigawatts of electricity!), we turned back early.



I left Lijiang early the next morning, catching a local bus to Qiaotou where the Tiger Leaping Gorge hike starts out from. With the sun beating down on me (it got hot) I made my way up up up the upper path, past the 28 bends (switchbacks kill me) eventually making my way to what could possibly be my favorite place to stay anywhere, the Halfway House guesthouse, 6 hours down the Tiger Leaping Gorge Trail.



With the most fun waitresses in China, and a gorgeous view of the mountains, we shared simple Chinese food with a table full of independent Chinese backpackers - who didn't really exist 10 years ago - but who are now roaming all over China. With a table full of Europeans and Australians and another table full of Chinese backpackers . . .all it took was for someone somewhat bi-lingual to close the gap and get everyone talking and. .. drinking beer together. Wait a sec, I'm somewhat tri-lingal. So after a bit of shyness was overcome, everyone got to talking and it was an enjoyable night.



Getting up in the morning to hit the second day of the Tiger Leaping Gorge Trail, we motored through to Tina's Guesthouse, then took the trail down to the water to see the Gorges up close. And man, they were spectacular. Just a bunch of white water and lots and lots of power crashing into the rocks. I could have stayed there all day, but the day was getting along, so we powered along the newly opened lower path, until the end when we had to go straight up the side of the hill for one vertical kilometer.



We ended up at Sean's Guesthouse - which is the oldest and most well known guesthouse along the Tiger Leaping Gorge Trail. I don't recommend staying there myself. It's shabby and run down and we suffered through some amazingly desultory service. From Sean's the next morning, we quickly undid the 24 km hike in a mini-van moving down a dirt road which took 40 minutes.

Getting back to Kunming the following day, there was one remaining thing for me left to do, and that was to try the famous "Across the Bridge Noodles" - there's a famous chain of restaurants in Kunming called "The Brothers Jiang" - and you can order about 5 different sizes, which come with different meats and stuff. The way it works is you walk up to the outside booth, order your noodles (6, 8, 10, 12, or 25 RMB per bowl - I chose 25 RMB) and go and sit down and a waiter will bring you your noodles. Actually if you order the cheap bowl, you have to go to the window yourself and push people around to get your noodles. Then they bring you this GIGANTIC bowl of soup and with the 25 RMB noodles, about 15 dishes with various things. You then dump the noodles, and all the meats and flavorings into the hot broth + oil, which cooks your raw meat. Stir it around, then enjoy.




Let me tell you, I came THIS close to staying forever at the Halfway House and not coming back to Shanghai. It was truly a magical place, and there's a lot more in the province to see . . . I'd like to head back soon

Monday, November 19, 2007

Linkin Park in Shanghai

Alright, I like Linkin Park. I'd seen them 3 times before in the US and I own all their albums (even Re-Animation) so when they were coming to Shanghai, I knew I had to go see them up at Hongkou Stadium.

They put on a great show, full of passion and it was a very tight performance.

http://player.youku.com/player.php/sid/XMTE3NDk1MDg=/v.swf

Here's the set list:

11/18/2007 Linkin Park Live in Shanghai full list

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

01 One Step Closer
02 Lying From You
03 Somewhere I Belong
04 No More Sorrow
05 Papercut
06 Petrified
07 Points Of Authority
08 Wake
09 Given Up
10 Don't Stay
11 From The Inside
12 Leave Out All The Rest
13 Numb
14 Pushing Me Away
15 Breaking The Habit
16 Crawling
17 Shadow of The Day
18 In The End
19 Bleed It Out

Encore:

20 The Little Things Give You Away
21 What I've Done
22 Faint

Friday, October 26, 2007

Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)

Okay, I realize the song is aboslutely infintile, but it's catchy as hell. And this video cracks me up



Spongeboy Cranks Dat Ho

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Let Go - Frou Frou and the California Golden Overtones

One of my favorite YouTube videos - the California Golden Overtones (Go Bears!) singing Frou Frou's Let Go





Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tha 1 to Watch



I love this guy.

Best institution in the nation! (Although Grimmy says it should really be "Best University in the Nation")

Monday, October 08, 2007

Yue Festival Rocked my Wig



One of the very nice things about staying in Shanghai over Golden Week was being able to attend the very first Yue Festival (Yue, as in Ying Yue - Mandarin for Music). With LA Latin Funk band Ozomatli and Brooklyn's Finest Talib Kweli, along with a whole host of supporting acts (YACHT!) it was a great day out.

I actually had a lot more fun here than I have at similar festivals in the US - mainly because it was crowded enough that you know that there's something going on, but it wasn't so crowded that you need to wait for port-a-potties or food or drink.



Ozomatli and Talib Kweli rock the house in Zhongshan Park above.

LinkTalib rocking the mic

Talib Kweli was amazing on the mic. It was great to see so many international acts and local acts putting on a fun filled day. The sun was out, it was breezy, the music was great - and hopefully money was raised for a very worth cause: Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots organization.

Let's hope the organizers come back next year.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Damn it feels good to be a gangster


Thank DeSean, Nate, Ezeff for a great win. Bring on OSU.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who has a working iPhone in Shanghai? Me. That's right me. Call me!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Advice for the very stupid

Which includes me - don't make a trip to Macau. . . on a Saturday . . .without booking a hotel room.

Thanks

Monday, September 03, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The changing of seasons in Shanghai

Sure some people mark the seasons with the calendar . . . or by the fact that college football is starting.

Me? I know the seasons have changed because today I saw my first chestnut roaster on Nanchang Lu.

16 hours until Cal vs. Tennessee.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Stewart went below (shhh.. .)

to light the captain's lamp.
The lamp that would not light/because the wick was damp.
The captain went below, TO KICK THE STEWARD'S ASS!!
SO FIRE IT UP YOU SON OF A BITCH THE GOLDEN GATE HAS PASSED!!
For California, For California,
The hills ring out the cry,
we're out to do or die.
For California, For California,
We'll win the game or know the reason why (team sucks!)
And when the game is over we will buy a keg of booze
and we'll drink to California 'til we wobble in our shoes.
So Drink - tra la la,
Drink - tr la la,
rink, Drank, Drunk last night, Drunk the night before,
Gonna get drunk tonight like I've never been drunk before.
Cuz when I am drunk I'm as happy as can be
For I am a member of the Souse family
Oh the Souse family is the best family
To ever come over from old Germany
There's the Highland Dutch and the Lowland Dutch
The goddamn Dutch and the Irish
Sing glorious, victorious,One keg of beer for the four of us
Sing glory be to God that there are no more of us
Cuz one of us can drink it alone, damn near
Here's to the Irish, dead drunk.
Those lucky stiffs - they had four-fifths.
A six pack too, of homemade brew.
And there was Grandma, swinging from the outhouse door
without a nightie.
And there was Grandpa, wishing he could come once more,
but he was 80 . . .

Don't you know sometimes you just gotta Go Bears!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yi Jianlian Signs


Get to Brewtown and show them what you can do, my Cantonese brother.




Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

One week to go . . .

1 week to go until this young man restarts his assualt on the secondaries of the NCAA. I, for one, cannot fucking wait.



Monday, August 13, 2007

We're Number 3! We're Number 3!

Shanghai's own Jiaotong University has released their (annual? semi-annual? bi-annual?) regular world university rankings.

The University of California, Berkeley (my alma mater) ranks number 3 in the world.

Whoot!

The rankings

STOP SNITCHING

That's right. I'm talking to you Cho Chang .

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Big Weekend in the city

First spent Friday night at a Xinjiang Restaurant with the NBA folks in town for Basketball without Borders. Then after a 30 minute search for a cab and ogling the Ferraris at the Four Seasons, we made our way over Barbarossa for drinks - didn't get home until 1am.

Saturday Morning, woke up early and went with my friend C. to the Shanghai International Tennis Center


Played 2 hours of tennis (poorly) with grumpy Europeans. Had lunch, then took a long nap - because at night we were going to see the Go! Team.








They really rocked. . . and it was SO MUCH FUN. Jumping. Sweating. Dancing. Probably the most fun I've had at a concert since the Mighty Mighty Bosstones in 97 at the Fillmore or Weezer in 1995. . . also at the Fillmore.



The last part of the weekend - I signed up with Bohdi Bicycles and the Shanghai Bike club to do some riding out at Dianshan Lake. I should really be doing work right now, but I'm so tired I might just go to sleep early and wake up to do the work in the morning.

GO! TEAM





Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bikes in Shanghai? No Way.

So my stuff finally arrived. After being packed (originally) sometime in July 2006. And then packed (for shipping) around February 1 2007.

So aside from the sheer amount of crap I own (my closet is literally overflowing right now - after throwing away a bunch of stuff in Houston, taking a bunch back to Sacramento and still
Link two boxes of clothes are sitting here) - the thing I was most excited for was to get my bicycle here. I've been jealously looking at all the people riding around the French Concession . . .so after unpacking for the last 3 days, I finally had enough room to re-assemble my bike and take it for a spin.

I'd say 95% - 99% of bike riders in Shanghai are using it purely for transportation. There's no join of riding, no one is enjoying themselves. That's fine - but it also means that everyone rides at a snail's like pace. S-l-l-l-l-l-l-o-w. But I suppose it's to be on guard for all the people who just run into the bike lane WITHOUT LOOKING.

I almost hit 6 or 7 people in a two hour ride . . . maybe I'm riding too fast, but people, you gotta LOOK. Sheesh.

I also saw a Maybach parked outside Mesa & Manifesto and a H3 Hummer with spinners.



Thursday, June 21, 2007

Who is the Champion of Shanghai?

So who went into the British Bulldog as first time pub quiz participants and came away with first place in the main quiz, defeating 5 other teams - including a team that has won many championships?

That's right. "E is for Idiot"

Final score? 71-68


Mucho props to my teammates who put up with my silliness and had us coming from behind to take the trophy. Although we got smoked in the Jackpot Round

Monday, June 18, 2007

Little Yellow Different

That used to be the tag line for Excedrin. Then a joke about how Chinese aren't like asprin.

Now? Well, aside from the little part - they're my new Nike Football cleats:




Bright, No?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Future of Chinese basketball?



So I was up in Beijing to do some work at Nike's All-Asia basketball camp, and we noticed this kid standing out with his play. HUGE smile on his face, very sharp both with passing and scoring, very high basketball IQ. Then we noticed his (listed) age . . .13.

Wow.

His name? Luo Hanchen. He currently played for Dongguan New Century.

(That's New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson he's with)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Audacity of Hope

I've never been much of a domestic political guy. From my first PoliSci 2 class at Cal through my years of living in Hong Kong, I always figured whoever the US president was didn't matter THAT much. I mean sure I preferred Billy Bob Clinton to Bush the Elder, but as long as they weren't making a huge mess of things, I would concentrate on understanding international politics.

Then came Chimpy McFlightsuit and the end of "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity"

It's funny how things work out - I voted for Gore . . .and Kerry, but neither really inspired me. In fact, with Kerry, I was just trying to keep Bush, Jr. out of office. So I was a little worried about the 2008 election. But this past week, I've made my choice of horses to back. I'm not sure he's going to get there, but I have the audacity of hope.




Two reasons I am backing my horse:

1. This fantastic article in the New York Times about Obama and pick-up basketball. You know I'm a sucker for basketball

2. I attended this meeting and Obama spoke over the phone with us . .. and he was fucking inspiring. Seriously. I'm ready now.





Sign me up.








Monday, May 28, 2007

The Best Dessert in Hong Kong


This is the best dessert in Hong Kong . . .which puts it very high on the list of best desserts in the world. No, I don't care what you think. And I will fight you if you disagree. So there.

It's Thai Basil (in Pacific Place Mall in Admiralty)'s Stick Banana Pudding with Honeycomb Ice cream. I would gladly stab a man to have these delivered to me at my desk on a daily basis. Both stabbing and delivery on a daily basis.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

By the way

This is a total scam.

We were on Huaihai Lu last week and were approached. And then again on Nanjing Road this weekend.

I mean I knew it, but this was confirmation.

The first bit of good customer service in China

This morning I was at the Bank of China to pick up a replacement Unionpay card for the one I lost (who knows where) and I pressed the number queue thing-y for the normal general public banking line. I had #144 and it was #103, so I figured I'd just plop down, fire up the iPod and watch the numbers tick by.

After about 15 minutes, the security guard/photocopy guy notices I have the pink sheet to pick up the atm card in my hand, grabs a number from a different line (report lost card), changes it with mine . . . I'm now number 903 . . .and the next one to go.

So thanks helpful security dude!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Dear Collective Sales People of China:

I will be 1000x times more likely to purchase something if you do not hover over my shoulder 2 feet away.

Thank you,


T.

Friday, May 18, 2007

How small is a teeming metropolis of 18 million?

I was out last night for post-dinner drinks at Face . . . and ran into my boss . .. in the bathroom.

This city is too small.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Hong Kong is an expensive city

Or at least has this amazing ability to cause me to spend money. Probably both are true. Aside from eating out and transport and internet access and beverages - this is what I purchased in my 5 days in Hong Kong:

  • 1 80gb video iPod
  • 1 white linen jacket at H&M
  • 2 pairs linen pants at H&M
  • 1 pair Nike Dunkesto casual shoes
  • 6 compact discs
    • Bright Eyes - Cassadaga
    • The Notorious BIG - Greatest Hits
    • Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
    • Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob
    • The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
    • Editors - The Back Room
  • Books & Magazines
I'm pretty sure I spent more in the last 5 days than I did in my entire time in Shanghai. Wow.

VERY LUN JUN

Lun Jun is Cantonese for 'clumsy' - it's also a pretty apt description of my day yesterday. I stayed with my friend and his wife in a really lovely apartment in Kowloon West (just over the Kowloon MTR station.) Since I was flying from Shenzhen to Hongqiao (Shanghai) airport at 2pm, I had booked an early bus from Price Edward to the Shenzhen airport leaving at 9pm.

I was thinking I'd get there early and buy a couple drinks - so the cab dropped me off at the Metropark Hotel . . . and I'd guess that I've taken about 2000 cabs rides in Hong Kong (almost 7 years of living there plus all the visits) . . .and this was the first time that any cab driver had given me his business card (as I was getting out of the car).

So I get out - and they immediately rush me on the next bus bound for the border - with this new bus changing system at Lok Ma Chau - so I didn't have time to get a drink. I just watched my video iPod all the way up towards Shenzhen (epsiodes of the Office) . . . and when we get to the border, I realize I don't have my little black Eagle Creek case. Luckily I come to my senses and run down the bus driver to get my suitcase off, but I'm still in a load of trouble. Dai Wok, as they say in Cantonese. Seriously - this is what's in that missing little folder:

  1. Passport - United States of America
  2. Passport Contains - Residence permit - People's Republic of China
  3. Hong Kong Identification Card (temporary)
  4. One plane ticket from Shenzhen to Shanghai/Hongqiao departing at 2pm
  5. One plane ticket from Shanghai/Pudong to San Francisco for July for a wedding
  6. Some 570-some RMB (around $60 US)
  7. The following membership cards:
    1. Six Continents Hotels
    2. California Alumni Association
    3. Golden Circle for Shangri-La's Priviliged Guests
    4. REI Membership
    5. Starwood Preferred Guest
    6. Hilton HHonors (Gold VIP)
    7. nwa WorldPerks
    8. Dragonair - The Elite (I believe this is now extinct)
    9. Continental Airlines OnePass
    10. Hyatt Gold Passport
    11. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
    12. Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club

So I would have been in a little bit of trouble. So I grab the business card out of my wallet and start dialing. Voice mail. Voice mail. Voice mail. Voice mail. I get a text message: You have less than $10 HKD remaining on your card (oh crap!). Panic begins to set in - I decide to get on the yellow free bus from Lok Ma Chau border crossing to the bus terminal - and to try to at least get back down to Kowloon/Hong Kong - where I could solve a lot of problems more easily than in the middle of the New Territories. Continue to hit redial. Continue to get voice mail, but catch bus back to Sheung Shui KCR station. Once I get there, I look for a Hutchinson Telecom office, but don't see one - reason that there's undoubtedly one in Shatin, so decide to get on the KCR and head south - and while on the train, fish the business card out of my wallet and *wait a second, I've been dialing the wrong number!*

Awesome. So I call - the cabbie picks up - knows IMMEDIATELY who I am - and arranges to meet me at the Chinese University in the New Territories - and after returning my precious stuff, I tip him $500 HK (about 70US), but oh, my, sooooo lucky he gave me his business card that morning.

Wow. So after that, I get back to Shanghai eventually and go out for dinner with some friends from Cal and Shanghai. As I'm getting out of the cab, I hear my cell phone ring, so I reach for it, it's not in my pocket, and the cab is taking off. Oh crap! You have my cell phone! Cabbie puts on the gas and tears around the corner. I run, see a friend, borrow the cell, call . . .call . . .call . . .after 3 rings. The fricking cab driver turns it off.

Dammit. So all in all, I suppose karmically I was going to lose something yesterday and it might as well have been my cell phone instead of my other thing.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hong Kong

You ever know you're in love with a city? I'm down here in Hong Kong during "Golden Week" and I miss and love this city.

Not to disparage my current residence, but I consider this place home. I'm so comfortable here. I've had a huge smile on my face since I arrived on Wednesday.

I'll explain more (with photos!) when I get back to Shanghai

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Top 25 Hip Hop Albums of All Time

So I'm participating (on the margins) over at Straight Bangin' s 25 Best Hip Hop albums of all time poll.

I emailed my list over to Joey, and he said "Thanks for the contribution . . .it's a unique list."

Heh.

I blame living overseas for 7 years. . . and then in Houston for 4 for any quirkiness in my list.

25. Jay-Z - Vol. 2 . . . Hard Knock Life
24. Nas - Illmatic
23. Jay-Z - The Black Album
22. Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
21. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
20. Outkast - Stankonia
19. Black Star - Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star
18. Erik B & Rakim - Paid in Full
17. Kanye West - Late Registration
16. Dr. Dre - Chronic 2001
15. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
14. NWA - Straight Outta Compton
13. The Roots - Things Fall Apart
12. Boogie Down Productions - Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip-Hop
11. Arrested Development - 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the life of . . .
10. Outkast - Aquemini
9. Public Enemy - Apocalypse '91, the Enemy Strikes Back
8. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
7.Beastie Boys - Check Your Head
6. The Fugees - The Score
5. Wu Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers
4. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
3. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
2. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
1. Run DMC- Raising Hell

There's a lot of stuff on there that hasn't shown up on the other lists - I think 3 albums by the Beastie Boys, The Fugees, Aquemini making the top 10, Dr. Dre's 2001, Arrested Development and Vol. 2 . . . Hard Knock Life making the list are certainly oddballs. Also I'm probably unique for having zero Tupac and Biggie albums - but truth be told, I don't actually OWN any Tupac or Biggie albums. I suppose with Soulseek and iTunes and bittorrent I could change that, but I haven't gotten off my lazy ass to do so. Yet.

But my list is my list - I just went with albums I could listen to over and over.





Monday, April 23, 2007

So Friday night I was out with my friend on Nanjing Dong Lu after a meal at a Japanese place (all you can eat, 158 RMB/about $20 US per person) and my way to find a cab to catch/his way home, we were stopped by these two girls.

Now normally, especially on Nanjing Lu, if anyone grabs or tries to talk to me I keep moving - the road is rife with scammers and touts and people who want to part you from your money.

These girls weren't much different - to me, but my friend started listening to their story. They said they had come to Shanghai from one of the provinces (Hebei? Like I said, I wasn't really listening) and they hadn't eaten in two days and could they get some money to eat. So my friend says, well, I'll take you to a restaurant and buy some food - and the two girls readily agreed.

So we walk to the local Sweeties (by the way? best Cantonese style roast duck) - and at this point, I take off to go sing karaoke with my friend D - so the rest of the story I get from C.

He says, apparently these girls were starving, came to the city to find jobs, but were unable to find anything - so needed a way to get home. So he took them back to his apartment (to pick up cash, you perverts - not for anything untoward) and then gave them 200 RMB (about $27 US) to take a cab to the station and then buy train tickets home.

And he said "well, they could have been scammers - but they really were very hungry" - they ate all the food he bought them - and he bought them 20 fried dumplings and some waters for the 20 hour train ride home. They took his business card and PROMISED to pay him back, but he told them to learn English instead and then send him an email.

What he ended up telling me later was - well, they could've have been scamming me, but look at it this way - if they weren't, they're going to remember me forever. How many people will remember you forever for the low low price of 200 RMB?

Was I too cynical and guarded? I don't know. But I thought it was good story.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

So I've been in Shanghai for about 6 weeks now. And I've probably met . . . outside of work . . . 40? 50? people?

Of those 40 or 50 people, a good 10-15 of them are Cal grads. You can't walk around without tripping over Cal grads. There's also someone from my dorm (Spens-Black stand up!) here.

On another note, go Rockets! Game 1 starts in 1 hour.

Friday, April 20, 2007

This must be like my 300th "started blog" on 6 or 7 different sites. But this one . . . well, it's going to be different. Don't ask me how, but I think I'll updating this one more regularily.

The question - what is the subject of this blog? Hell if I know, but I know there will be talk about the following:
  1. Life in Shanghai
  2. The National Basketball Association
  3. The Californian Golden Bears
  4. Music
  5. Travel
  6. Eating
  7. Pop Culture
  8. Whatever the hell I please

So stick around, or don't, but let's hope this blog does. Otherwise, it'll be just one more thing that I don't keep up with.