Friday, March 28, 2008

Let's take it back to 2005!

Winter is near over, but the evenings are still brisk. It's best to stay out of trouble by staying indoors when it's cold, but what the hell. So I stroll down to the local bar on Cherry Street on a hunch that something might be going down. I have a few pints of PBR (they got it on tap for $1.50, yall!) and begin chatting with the local nobodies. After rapping to a hipster about hip-hop, I'm suddenly invited to a house party. He drops the 411 on me like this:

"DJ Riddle and DJ C booked a hotel room for the night. Not too many people know, and not too many people are gonna know. It's like that. The place is within walking distance. I'm going, but I can't stay too long; my wife needs me home before tomorrow. You down?"

That's Justin. I actually worked with his wife, though not directly. Her office is a floor up from mine. He teaches elementary school and she professes biology. They're into botanicals.

So I settle my tab, say my goodbyes and head out. Justin is glued to his fone during most of the trek, and when we get to the hotel elevator he tells me that someone has imported white rainbow. Upon arriving at the party, Mary Jane greets us at the door with a pleasant "hi." The room is incensed with an impenetrable haze of skunk weed. After walking two miles in the cold thin air, I take a deep breath. Moments later I start drifting away with the haze.

DJ Riddle is laying down some phat trax on wax that keeps the house bumping to the max! His skill is unequivocal. He's influenced by the deep house of Detroit, which allows him to drive the beat with an urban soul flavor. And it's so fresh and fat that the bass oozes through the speakers. He really puts his weight on it. And his glitch sequences are unique. Like when he mixes something with an odd tempo or an off-pattern time signature, he'll come in on it almost too late, but roll right over it. It's like, "Wasn't that 7/8 pattern 4/4 a second ago? I barely noticed the change. Nice." I'm not much into house, but that night my booty was. All the other patrons were steady grooving to the beat while it accentuated peaks of euphoria. All was good, until...

"Aw, shit! Where's Justin?"

By this time a lot more people had showed up. I must have danced with every Betty in the joint, had one too many jager-bombs and landed myself in an armchair. The ongoing party had shifted for me. I was hugging the ground after a smooth landing when I noticed that DJ C was spinning. C has a different style all together.

"Naw, man. You messed that up, dog. Yer shit is late!!!"

I didn't want to be the one to say so, and so C's sister's boyfriend (or some other dude for all I remember) began the trash talk. I hate angry drunks. It's one thing to trash talk in a playful manner, and it's another to be down right mean and hateful. C had taken the helm after Riddle and was doing his best to keep the flow. And he was doing a damn good job, but inebriation got the better of him. The other drunk dude was fueling his fire. I really don't know what happened next since I politely dismissed myself from the scene; it was the next day after all and time to go home.

Now dig this. I'm about to head for the crib when Jay comes up next to me and says, "Yo T. Justin sent me to make sure you get home straight. I don't care if you walking, riding...whatever. I'll get you there." A good weed man looks after his investment and treats you like his own. That's a lesson some you shucker mo-fuckers need to learn. See I know you cut yor shit with poison cuz yer attitude is no good, bitches!!! I want no part of you! You know who you is! Don't make me call you out! I cut a bitch! Shit.

I digress.

So I went home. And that as they say is that. I promised myself to blog about it, but I don't think this is exactly the blog I had in mind. Anyway, three years later I present you with the first chapter of T's "CHRONIC-TALES."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm in Canada eh.
Here're some comments on my visit
  • It was 1 degrees when I was there. I'm not saying that figuratively. It was 1 degree.
  • I was detailed by immigration for 3 hours when I got off the plane. They asked why I was in town, I said hookers and drugs. They didn't think that was funny.
  • Interestingly enough, when I eventually got to see an immigration officer, he said that if I would have said hookers and drugs, there wouldn't have been any problems.
  • Things are very expensive in Canada. It used to be ok when we had a good exchange rate. Now, it's just sad to use the US dollar.
  • I was watching the news over there. They covered news from around the world. That's right people, there are things happening than's outside of this country and what's on 'The Hills'.
  • Every one that's not American spoke more than 1 language.
  • There was a Japanese dude in my meeting named Hiro. I'm pretty sure he stopped time a few times when I was there.
  • I had my first experience where teleconferencing actually worked perfectly. There were a few screens and we could see and hear people in offices around the globe in real time. It was really cool.
  • I was all excited to buy cheap duty-free liquor. After the exchange rate, it was now more expensive to buy liquor at these place. Damn, the US dollar sucks.
  • I sat in the same seat there and back. The very last seat in the corner. Suck.
  • That's not nearly as bad as my co-worker who was stranded in Toronto. Her gate was next to mine, and I heard that O'hare had just closed down due to weather so no more flights. I waved and told her good luck. I wanted to buy her a bottle of liquor and say have a good night.
  • People, avoid O'hare like the plague.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

China - Day 6 part 2

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. Before we went back to the hostel, we were in search of some old school communist propaganda. I was pretty up on this and we got a lead from someone who lived there about where we could get this. It was surprisingly difficult to find which I found hard to believe. I really thought the propaganda would be everywhere and easily gotten. I need to update the stereotypes in my head from 1960 communism to this new more covert communism.

So we went to this area called 978. It was an art district in Beijing. This was pretty shocking for me. I didn't believe they would have such a large art district. For some reason, I just didn't think art and communism mixed.

Some random street art.

We walked around the place for quite a while. Going to art exhibits one after another. I was still all amazed about how cool this area was. There was so many different styles of art, and it was everywhere. I've got tons of photos of this, but I'll save you from having to look through them all. Eventually, we stopped by this one art place that also served drinks to rest up a bit. A few drinks later, on our way again.

At one of the exhibit halls we walked by, we saw tons of nice cars and lots of people. We went in to see what's going on. I'm still not sure what's going on, but I think there was someone famous there. This couple was having their photos taken, had some body guards, and a lot of press people. I tried being the the paparazzi with my new camera, but got totally boxed out.

Furdell and Pinzur, yes, I'm embarrassed at my decay box out skills.

Ok, now back to after we got back to the hostel.

We went back to the room to drop off the stuff we had bought during the day and then headed out to search for some dinner. We were just wandering around when I heard some bass beats. If you know me, you know I'm attracted to bass beats like moth to fire.

The bass beats took us to this open paved area. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this. There were probably around 50 old women doing this line dancing thing. Like country line dancing, but not exactly. The music sounded like old communist cheer music with a bass beat. These old ladies were moving around like they were high school cheerleaders. The whole thing was mind blowing.

The ladies were doing this dance and it seem they all knew the moves pretty well. Some of it looked quite complicated too. Of course, after a few songs, I decided to join in. I found out first hand how incredibly difficult the moves were. I tried and tried and never could get the moves down. I had a lot of the old women laughing at me, but some tried to help. It was so much fun. Random dancing in the middle of the city with these old ladies.

I talked to them a bit after about this and they said they're here nightly for 2 hours (7-9pm). There's someone that teaches/reviews the moves for the first part, and then they just go at it. It's actually an exercise program they have in the city. This was definitely one of the most memorable things during this whole trip.

Sadly, I don't have any photos of this. I thought we were just going to dinner so I didn't bring the camera.

After dinner, we met up with A again for drinks. She had taken the tour to the Great Wall today so she wasn't with us. We went to this bar we were at the night before, or maybe 2 nights before. The bars are getting fuzzy now. Stupid memory/alcohol. A lot of the people that were staying at the hostel all joined us at the bar.

It was a good time. It was quite interesting hearing about all these people from around the world and their stories. So of them still so young too. Really made me think about what I've done with my own life so far.

One of the things that A had mentioned the first night we were hanging out was that there was a couple of clubs that she wanted to check out. We had talked about going tonight. Those old ladies had already fired me up for the night. More dancing? You know I'm up for that.

We had a few more drinks, then we went back to the hostel to change. Soon, we were all piled in a club and was on our way. I was excited to see what the clubs in China would be like. We got to our destination and when we got out of the cab, I could hear the distinctive beat, beat, beat, beat... It's amazing how calming and excited that makes me feel. It's like a call telling me I'm home.

There wasn't a cover so that was pretty cool. At first, the place looked kinda dead so I was feeling a bit nervous. The room's music that we were in didn't match the big bass beats that was still coming through. We ordered a round of drinks and moved on.

Ah yes.. eventually we found our way to the main room. The place was pretty sweet. It had a large dance floor with private tables on the 2nd level over looking the place. The DJ was in a raised platform in the front of the room. I approved of the music. It was some sweet stuff being played.

It wasn't long till we all started dancing. The dancing was pretty good by our group I must say.

Now this is interesting. So it's a club. I was feeling the music, and the drinks, so naturally I thought I give it a chance with the ladies. It's a bit difficult being that I'm not good at this anyway, I can't speak the language (esp. picking up language), and they probably couldn't hear me because of the music. What's to lose huh? I found a few ladies that seem to look my way a few times and I went up to them.

As expected, I can now say that I've been rejected in 2 continents. It didn't work out too well for me, but I was happy I tried. This was not the interesting part though.

Throughout the night, I'm doing my thing with the dancing. I thought I got in a groove pretty well for a bit there. This guy that was hanging out next to me started talking to me. He seem to recognize the skills. I'm not sure what happened. Next thing I know, I'm up at his private table. We started drinking a lot of this whisky tea mixture which was incredibly good. I was getting a bit concerned there being just the 2 of us, but then more of his friends came up and we were all drinking.

Seems that he was looking for more people to posse up and thought I might be a good candidate. Unfortunately, due to my lack of speaking abilities, not really being smooth, and that I'm only in Beijing one more night, this kinda made me a non candidate. No matter though, I hung out for a bit longer and had a few more drinks and then eventually went back down to meet up with my friends.

We dance till the wee morning. I was pretty exhausted. Tomorrow is our last day and we have to climb the great wall. That should be painfully interesting.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

China - Day 6 - Part 1

We started the day going back to Tiananmen Square. There was one thing we didn't see yesterday. We had to go see Mao in person. That's right. The real Mao. In person.

Apparently, he's frozen or something in this case in this huge building in the middle of Tiananmen Square. People can go see him and pay tributes or something. This I had to see. Frozen dude. Who can miss that.

Sorry folks, but there're no photos here. The policy around that place was insane. We had to check our bags, photos, and belongings in this place across the street. You can't bring anything but your sincerity to his greatness coming into this place.

We lined up first to go through the security check. Then waited in another line in stacks of 4 to go into the building. Of course the lines were never in stacks of 4s. These are tourists that didn't understand what the commands were and Chinese people that didn't care so much for it. So, it was basically a mob.

We went into this huge room that had a giant carving of Mao that you can lay flowers by. You can buy those flowers from these museum people. Funny enough, they're plastic flowers so they basically just reuse them daily. Genius.

They told us that there is no talking and move through the area quickly. Oh, I was getting first date gitters. You know, like the time I went out with a dead guy encased behind glass under heavy guard. We walked into this darken hallway where we can see, behind what seems like a feet of solid glass, inside another casing, is Mao laying there. Just chilling.

We didn't have that much time to look at him, but he looked a little chubby and a little waxy. It's suppose to be the real Mao, but I don't know. Unless he's let himself go a little while in that glass, not sure why he'd look a bit chubby.

It was a bit disappointing considering the time it took to get it. The viewing took all of about 30 secs before we were escorted by the military police out into the gift shop. I hope my burial place has a gift shop too. Coins, lighters, memorbelia with my face on it. It'd be fantastic.

Next we went to a Daoist temple that was relatively nearby. This was a pretty cool place. I took over 100 photos at this place. They had all these rooms that had all these 'departments' represented in it. For example:
This is one of my favorite departments, "The department of implementing 15 types of violent deaths". Basically, if you've commit a violent deed, this 'department' will figure out your punishment. Usually, with something equally harsh.
Besides the signs, each of these department was in a little room with these figures in there.

Some of them are pretty cool.

There were lot and lots of these departments. Not all of the departments are all that interesting though. I believe there was a department of contracts. Department of forest animals. Bla Bla.. There are also a lot of rewarding good deed departments too. Face it people. Heaven or Earth, there's gonna be burcracracy.

We had some lunch at some good dumpling place. Off we went to our next adventure.

Next, we visited yet another very famous temple. This time, it was a Buddist temple. This one was a lot more traditional than the last temple. Pretty much the same as all the other ones. There were a couple of really awesome statues of Buddha. I believe there was one that was a couple of stories tall. Very impressive stuff.

I'm pretty sure it's bad form to take photos of Buddha and other types of deities, so not many photos here. What was kinda cool here was I was in this one room getting some prayers on (hey, when in Rome..), and these monks stood next to me and started chanting (it wasn't for me or anything, they just happen to stand next to me). It was awesome. Like religious chanty barbershop. I found it to be both very cool and calming.

We didn't stay too overly long here and after a pretty long day, we headed back to the hostel. Oh, the fun that was about to start.

To be continued.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pausing for a Station Break

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program for another edition of....

What the Fuck is wrong with you people?

In case you didn't know, here's what you need to know.

  • The dollar is at an all time low against most currencies in the world. That is a major problem people. It shows that this country is very weak economically. That is a really bad reflection on us. We can't buy other people's stuff, and being that we don't really do much manufacturing in this country anymore, that's really bad.

  • Being that things in the US are pretty much all on sale due to the value of the dollar, other countries are buying up shares of our most important companies, land, and other intellectual properties. This is bad people. It's not just about you paying higher prices for stuff. The country itself is slowly being sold off.

  • Oil has hit an all time high today at $111 per barrel. Oil companies are still making ridiculously record profits. When are you going to make the connection? Why are there still people driving around in dumb ass Hummers? How is nothing done about this?

  • Bees are continuing to die all over the US and no one knows why. Without bees, we humans are pretty screwed. If you don't know the importance of bees, go read a book. Just know, no bees = no fruits or vegetation = fucked humans.

  • There was a record heat wave last year here in the states, and this winter, there has been record snow fall all over the US and a lot of places in the world are experiencing similar temperature changes. Why do you think this is normal? This is not normal. This is fucked up. You don't go from one extreme to the other. This is especially not good for anything other than humans. We have shelters and A/C. Things in nature do not.

  • American kids are not learning math and science. We're fast falling behind all the other industrialized countries in the world. Especially India and China. Bill Gates today urged that more visas be given for foreign tech people to come into this country because we don't have enough in this country coming out of colleges. How fucking sad is that?

  • Oh, and there're so many damn reasons for this. Mainly, I blame all you dumb ass parents. Everything from 'oh, we're going to let little Timmy study what he likes' to 'God created everything. No need to study science'. You dumb fucks. First of all they're kids. Very few children here, in India, or China, starts out liking science. This interest is something that's nurtured. They study what you make them study. Stop trying to be their fucking friend. Get a book. Learn to be a parent.

  • I understand that there are a lot of good parents that are out there wanting to help out more with their kids. This economy is so bad now that many have to work multiple jobs or long hours to make ends meet. For this, I like to first blame the government and especially this administration. What the fuck? You spend 21 BILLION dollars a month in Iraq alone. You know what you can do with 21 billion dollars a month here in the US? Damn kids here can hardly read and can't do math or science. Is that really worth whatever the hell we're doing over there?

  • There has been a rash of school shootings lately. That's always fantastic. Yea, guns are great aren't they? You still think if everyone had a gun these things wouldn't happen? What the fuck is wrong with you? Why can't you learn there is absolutely no purpose to a gun other than to kill? There's no 'protection' aspect to it. A gun is there to kill. It might be there to kill an enemy, but it's still for killing. And you know what you illiterate SOBs, read the whole Amendment. In case you've never seen it and just go by what others say, this is what it actually says 'A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.' A well regulated militia. To the security of a free state. None of you dumb ass automatic machine gun carrying bastards are doing any of that I'm sure. You think all them crackheads out there with guns can even read the amendment? Gun rights are total bullshit. Admit it, it's purly an economic thing.

  • A report from the Pentagon this week confirms that there is NO fucking link between Saddam and Al Qaida. I'm waiting for that apology from you you stupid stupid fuck. Look what your megalomania has cost this country. Also, all you dumb ass gullible fucks who voted for him cause you think you're so damn important that someone will bomb you, thanks a lot. Please wear a patch on your clothing so when I see you, I can kick you in the crotch.

  • In 2 years, Russia will have the only space shuttle that can make trips into space because NASA will be dismantling/retiring the last space shuttle we have. There is nothing in the budget to create a new shuttle either. The US may have won the race to space, but looks like the Russians are going to win in the end. Way to go US government and all you people who don't like science and doesn't think NASA is important! God you people suck. No wonder the kids doesn't like science.

  • Bush veto a bill that would outlaw the use of waterboarding. There are not enough votes to overturn this veto. I suggest all of you that doesn't think waterboarding is torture to give it a try. If you think it's like a massage, then fine. Vote to keep it legal.

Have a nice day.

Monday, March 10, 2008

China - Day 5

Sometime while hanging out with Ann last night, we decided to invite her to spend the day with us exploring the city. I don't know if she was drunk or what, but she gladly accepted. I think everyone was happy she was coming along. We started a little late, not because of all the drinking the night before, but a traffic thing. The traffic in Beijing is horrible.

We were going to start the day by going to the Summer Palace. This was a gigantic palace that was outside the city that the emperors used as their summer house. It was a pretty impressive place. You know, just like my summer home.

The front door to the place was guarded by this dude. It's suppose to a Chimera of sorts that protected the place. I called him Frank. Hi Frank!

As I mentioned before, the place was huge. All the building were starting to look alike after a while. They pretty much looked liked this. It was all very impressive, but they really should've thrown some different colors around. Sure if you looked closely you can see the details are all different and all symbolic of different things. However, if I lived back then and was staggering around drunk trying to find my room, I'd totally go into the wrong building.

This is one of the more interesting things that I saw in the summer palace. Take a look at the photo below.
You can't see what it says in that little sign in the top right, but it's describing the glass thing in the middle of photo. This was actually a heater they used back then. They would burn wood in this little hole, there are pipes that went through the building, and it warms the whole place up. This was hundreds of years ago and they already had central air. Awesome.

There are just way too many photos I took around this place. It was pretty gorgeous. A great thing was, since it was winter, there were many people there. That was fantastic.

We stopped by a snack shop somewhere in the middle of the palace. These people thought of everything! Ok, maybe it wasn't originally a snack bar/gift shop. I had an ice cream cone. You know how long it's been since I've had an ice cream cone? Maybe I'm finally starting to feel a bit more relaxed here.

From the summer palace, we decided to go to the Forbidden Palace and Tiananmen square, but not before stopping for lunch. We went to this internationally famous place known for their Peking Duck. The place was super fancy, especially compared to the regular restaurants around. There were presidents (Nixon, Bush 42, Clinton, etc.) as well as other famous politicans from other countries on the wall. I think Pup was in one of the photos by the bathroom, but I'm sure what he was doing.

So this guy come out from the kitchen with half a duck. He slices and carves the duck with some expert precision. In no time, there was only bones left and a pile of duck meat. That was a pretty delicious meal. I think I took photos with someone else's camera so I don't have any photos of this meal.

On we go to Tiananmen square. It was pretty massive. I don't mean just big. It was ginormous. I couldn't even fathom when they fill this place up. That is a crap load of people. A friend had told us earlier that 1 out 5 people in Tiananmen was secret police. I guess yelling 'Free Tibet' would probably not a smart move here.

Standing here was very strange for me. I couldn't help but think of what happened here not that long ago. The protest, the oppression, and especially of the dude standing in front of the tanks. I will never get that image out of my head. People throw around the word brave like it was nothing.

They should just put the photo of the dude vs. tanks next to the word in the dictionary. I've often tried to imagine what he was feeling at that moment. I don't think I'm anywhere close to being that brave to even be able to imagine. I had all these images rushing through my head when I stood in the square. It was a bit errie. Ok, I digress.

Back in the square. This is the first time since being in China where I can physically see and feel the subtle oppression. It wasn't what I was expecting of course with large banners and signs, but it's there. It's in all the soliders that were around. It's in each guy that seems to just be hanging out cause you know he's secret police (I'm on to you bitch).

I wouldn've taken some pictures, but if they caught you taking photos of the military, it's good buy memory chip.

Eventually, we got to the gate of Forbidden City. I'm sure you've all seen this photo, but here it is again.

On we go to the Forbidden City. Once again, it's difficult to describe how ridiculously large this place this. All this built for technically one dude. Granted, that dude has like 100 concubines, but still. One dude. I'll let the photo do the talking.

See how tiny the people are? This is not because Chinese people are short either. The place is really huge.

This is one of those things that you have to see for yourself. There's really not that much to talk about here that you could read about in a travel magazine.

After we spent a couple of hours walking through this massive place, it was time to move on. The ladies looked in their tour guide book and decided to go to this night market thing. Basically, a bunch of street vendors everywhere.

There was everything on a stick, and I mean everything. Everything from Fruit on a stick.

To the less desirable... centipedes on a stick

I for one was not brave enough to try this. I felt bad for the guy that had to put a stick up the centipede. That must've been difficult. I did have my share of smelly tofu, meatballs on a stick, dumplings, and various meats on a stick. Even chicken wings.

After we had our fill of food, we grabbed a taxi back to the hostel. There was another night of drinking to be had. All was good.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

China - Day 4

We got up and got ready for our flight to Beijing this morning. This was pretty exciting for me. I don't think I remember the last time I took a domestic flight outside the US. It'll be fun to see the comparisons.
We took this new speedy train that they had built from Shanghai to the airport. It works on magnetics or something. Check out the top speed. 431km/h!!

The airport was kinda the same. No self check in which was a bummer. Who needs to talk to people anyway? There were only some slight difference between this flight and others I've taken in the US. The main one being that we all got food. Even though it was relatively short flight, we still got served food. Other than that, it was all the same.

We got to the airport in Beijing and was greeted by our driver. We were staying at a hostel and they had a person that would pick us up from the airport and take us there. He said that there was one other person that was riding with us to the hostel so we had to wait, but he said her flight comes in about 15min from now. No biggy. That 15 min kept dragging on and on. Soon it was about an hour overdue.

We were getting a bit annoyed by now. We were thinking about just taking a cab to the hostel. We finally made up our minds to do this after 75min in and was going to find the driver to tell him. Just like you'd expect, he had found this other passenger and we were on our way.

This other person was quite interesting. I think we were all quite glad we waited. Let's call her Ann. Ann was on a 6 month holiday, originally from Scotland. I don't know how she got to leave for a 6 month holiday, but that's pretty sweet. She was just travelling across Asia for fun.

After quite a drive, we got to the hostel. This was kinda exciting. I've never stayed in a hostel before. I have a lot of images of what it's like. Mostly from movies like 'The Hostel', but I didn't think that was that realistic.

It wasn't bad at all. It was very clean and warm. Since it's a 3 person room for the 3 of us, it was like staying at someone's apt or something. No big deal. I've heard you can stay in rooms that had a ton of people in there, now that would probably be a completely different experience than this. This was pretty much just like any other hotel stay.

Here's our room.

Doesn't that look like there's a person on the right side of the photo laying on the table? That freaked me out a little when I first saw it in my camera. Ok, that might of just been me, but it does look like a person laying down!

We put our stuff down and got ready to go out to do some exploring. My image of China has always been one that's fill with huge propaganda posters, big red stuff everywhere, and the 'down with the western pigs' slogans. Sort of like having this everywhere.

Yea, not so much. That was the only poster like that outside of souvenir stores. I want my propaganda damn it!! Where is my propaganda?!

The hostel was in a pretty cool part of town. There were a lot of neat little stores everywhere. A lot of times I wanted to buy something, but didn't want to bother with all the negotiating, so I just didn't buy anything. See how that backfires on you people?

Fortunately, I didn't have to negotiate the price for deliciousness.

Mmmmm... stuff on sticks.

We did some sight seeing around the area. There was a temple of something drums that we walked to although it was closed. I heard you couldn't bang on the drums, so probably no big loss in not getting in.

We had dinner and of course way over ordered. We probably ordered 2x what we should have. Luckily, food is cheap there, so it was still much cheaper than 3 people going to McDonald's. And much more delicious.

This wasn't even half of it!
So we went back to the hostel after dinner and we found Ann reading up on some travel guides. It wasn't too difficult to convince everyone to visit the bars around here. This was another thing that amazed me so far. There were a lot of bars around the hostel. I don't know if it's just because there are a lot of travellers due to the hostel or what, but there are a ton of bars around the hostel. Good for me!

We went to a couple of bars and had a few drinks. Nothing too exciting to report there. We then went to this one bar that had a menu full of cocktails. There were some unusual drinks there, but then they had some funny named ones.

These were 3 that we ordered. I believe one of them is called 'young girl', 'snowball', and I can't remember what the rest was called, but they were funny. Sadly, they didn't taste as interesting as their names. Time to move on.

We went to another bar. Unfortunately, nothing too interesting here besides the waitresses dressing like they were going to clubs. Not that I'm complaining, but there were other stuff going on in my head. For one, how to kick these kid's (had to be like under 18) ass (sitting behind me) for smoking next to me.

Eventually we finished up and went back to the hostel. We had a long day planned tomorrow. Hope I get to see some overt major communism propaganda!

Friday, March 07, 2008

China - Day 3

After being out the last couple of days, this was going to be a day of eating and shopping. The only sight seeing we were going to do involved food and cheap fake stuff. My favorite.

The day started with one of my favorite foods. Little steam buns! Uber delicious!

We walked around the commercial part of Shanghai. It really is not much different than walking around any large city. Even all the chain stores are the same. Nothing interesting here to report.

Our destination was the fake market. Everything fake you could possibly want. Bags, clothes, ipods, games. You think of something, they probably have a fake version there. They did have a lot of nice stuff if you know what you're looking for. Some of it was just ridiculously fake, but others weren't too bad. As with everywhere in China, you had to negotate your price for everything. This was kinda fun at first, but it got really old really fast. It's just so tiring to have to argue for every dollar. Then you go to the next store and find out they would've come down even lower on things. Sheese.

I'm not very good at price negiotations as I've found out. I just don't have the patiences. I know I shouldn't feel this way because they're always making money no matter how low they go, but I feel bad asking for something at a ridiculously low price. So, I probably got ripped off on everything I got. In fact, I'm positive I did.

After we finished our fake shopping, we went to this street that was full of street food vendors. It was like a dream come true. Everything on a stick!

Besides having everything on a stick, they had these buns that are like the ones above, but much larger and they fried them. The line for them were ridiculously long. I can understand why after I had one. It was a party in your mouth.
A lot of deliciousness was had at this street. Time to move on.

Next, we went to the People's square. Supposively where Chairman Mao had one of his major rallys or something. I didn't pay attention to the sign. The park is in the middle of a western-ish shopping area. I'm sure Mao is loving that.

This next part is pretty interesting. There was an area of the park that had a lot of people gathered around. Naturally, we went to see what's going on. What was going on was love the way it should be. Pimped out. So there are all these people lined up with posters in front of them. These posters were personal ads, and the people were matchmakers. It's like live!
The ads had the person's info like their sign, interests, even how much they made a year. Now, none of these people in the ads were actually there. It was always family or some type of 'representative' pimping out these people through the ads and photos. This was quite amusing. It's a shame I can't really read Chinese. I bet some of the ads were fantastic.

Eventually, we moved on to another part of the park. There were some amusment park rides with funny misspelled names. I think the rides were geared more for children as none of them really look that exciting. We kept walking and found this area that had a bunch of little tables and seats.

We found that this was a fun little finger painting-like thing that the kids do. Naturally, I had to get in on some of that. I choose a monkey to paint (they gave you the outside lines, you just have to fill it in with color). A couple of kids came by to see what we were doing and wanted to help. Ko's sister was nice enough and let the kids help her. For some reason, the children thought I was nice too and was about to start painting on my monkey.

I was all like. Noooooooo.. I can do it myself. Thanks! Go back to helping Ko's sister. Where're your parents anyway? Yes, I'm fantastic with children. Thanks to the lack of help from the children, my monkey turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

After we finished this, we walked around the park some more and got to the center of the park where the MOCA was. It's like MOMA in NYC, but in China. I'll talk about this more later, but I am very amazed/pleased at the number of art places they had around. For some reason, my idea of communism would crush things like art.

MOCA was fine. Art stuff. There was a photography exhibit that was pretty interesting. In one room, they were showing some visual art in a dark room with some seats. I wanted to sit after walking all this time and dragging around all the stuff we bought earlier that day. I was in for a treat. The film/exhibit was made by this Japanese dude. It was some messed up stuff. It was a bunch of disturbing stills set to some oddly errie music. It was pretty disturbing/awesome. I'm so glad I saw that.

We followed this walk in the park with a massage. No, don't be dirty. This is the regular massage. There's no happy ending or anything. Besides, all 3 of us were in the same room. That would've been kinda gross.

The masseuse sure didn't take it easy on me. It seem like she was working out some childhood aggression on my shoulders and neck. This was normal and all as I'm generally very tense so all massages or attempts for me to relax really hurts. I actually prefer the girlfriend massages where they're not really doing anything and just rub you around. Those are all good. In this case, I felt like I got my ass kiced after it was over.

From there, we went to meet some friends for dinner. It was hot pot! All hot pot all the time I say. The food was pretty good. It was fun with all the people there and all. There were a lot of people there. Funny thing is, they all spoke English. I believe most of them are Ex-Pats from an English speaking country, so that made the conversation very easy.

After dinner, we went to a bar for a night cap. It was a good time and some good conversations. For some reason, and this will be much more obvious later, whenever I ordered a drink, it always turns out very girly.

That concluded a long day of fun. Tomorrow, we head off to Beijing!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

China - Day 2

The day started out with a trip to the fabric market.

Anything you could possibly want that has to do with clothes is there. We went cause I wanted some nice tailored shirts. It was pretty fun. We got to pick the fabric, style, collar. I thought about getting 'Pup' monogrammed on my shirts, but I thought that might've been too much. I was excited to get some tailored dress shirts. Not just because that's awesome, but due to my giant head, I have a giant neck. So the shirts that fits my neck are usually for huge dudes. None of my shirts really fit. Not yet anyway.

We got fitted for the shirts, we were told to come back next week. When we were walking out, I noticed that you can get anything tailored there. There were jackets and coats. It was pretty smooth. I may have to get a tailored trench coat next time.

Off we went to meet up with some friends for dinner. We ordered this Chinese yellow wine. It wasn't all that, but we did get to pick the shot glasses that we drank from. I think this is a great idea. American restaurants, take note. Let the customers pick their own mugs and shot glasses.

Guess which one I chose?

After dinner we went to a bar that was close by. Nothing worth mentioning there. It was an average American-ish bar. The locals were talking about how there are all these seedy bars next door. They involved girls dancing on poles. It wasn't my idea, but I wasn't resisting either. We picked one out and went in.

For all that build up, it really wasn't all that interesting. I'm generally not interested in those type of places, but this one really just didn't do it. Sure, there was a girl dancing, and there was a pole nearby, but it was totally clean. There're dirtier girls on tour with Hannah Montana.

On we go to another bar where we were meeting more people. When we got to the club, the other group said they were going to be late, so we went to a nearby dive bar to wait. Pool was played, but nothing too interesting. There was this white dude at the bar by himself. Well, for a few minutes anyway, then he was swarmed by 5 Asian chicks. Things sure work differently there. That dude couldn't get the time of day around here. It's all about location folks.

We eventually headed over to the club. It was like any crowded club. Of course you all know I can get snobby on club music, but seriously, the DJ sucked. I totally should've taken over. There was me drinking till the bartender knew my name, and dancing with people from the other group, one who was actually quite cute. I showed her some of my salsa moves (I don't have any salsa moves except things I picked up from 'So you think you can dance', but it seemed to work). She invited us out for salsa dancing next week, but alas, we were going to Beijing.

After a while, the place was getting too packed so we took off and headed home.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

China - Day 1

It would be silly for me to tell you all the details of the trip. If you wanted that, you should've came along. That and I can hardly remember what happened earlier today. So I'm just going to tell you the highlights of what I remember.

14 hour flight to Shanghai. Nothing exciting there. Oh, I take that back. For our flight, we flew over Alaska and Siberia. Kinda like how the original Native Americans walked here. It was quite a sight. It was like looking at another planet. The terrain was so strange and white. I bet it was pretty messed up having to walk that in the winter. I stared out at that vastness quite a bit during the flight. I'm sure I didn't make any friends on the flight letting all that light in.

KO's sister picked us up from the airport. We went to her apt to drop our stuff off. We went straight to meet her friends for dinner then on to a very cool bar.

Shanghai was not a particularly interesting city from what I saw so far. It was like going to NYC or any other large city. Full of stores, people, and lots of taxi's. Funny thing about Shanghai, there are so many ex-Pats there. I mean a LOT. I think I see less white people when I'm in NYC. Most people spoke English too, so this was not really the experience I was looking for so far.

Things turned for the better when we went to Mokko's. It's a very small Japanese bar that served Sochu exclusively (a stronger form of Sake). I just drank and drank. It was so good. Even though my tolerance has dropped in recent weeks, it was still much higher than most of the people that was there. Jet lag my ass. It's drinking time.

My favorite part of the bar has to be the bartenders. They were very cool. Japanese people who speaks Chinese and a little English. Oh, don't get me started on how everyone in the world can speak multiple languages but here in the US. What the hell people. Anyway, for some reason, the bartenders almost seem anime-ish to me. All three had very distinctive cartoonish features. This is probably just the alcohol talking though.

So this is a very small hole in the wall Japanese bar in China. What kind of music do you think they played in the bar? That's right. Reggae. It was bloody brilliant. When the bartenders weren't working, they were just swaying and grooving. It was so awesome.

Here's a photo taken by a friend of the bottles of Sochu. They said they had about 150 different types. They can't import them so they fly back to Japan once every 3 months and bring them back. Can't beat that for service.

After the bar, we found a place that was serving meat on a stick. You know how much I love meat on a stick after a night of drinking. Little did I know, stuff on sticks is how they serve the majority of their food here.

Good time was had by all.
I'm back..... sort of

You may or maynot know, I've been in China the last couple of weeks. Trying to not get myself arrested by the secret police or die by the horrible pollution. Now I'm back trying to claw my way out of the absolutly idiotic amount of work that I have at work.

I'm so over this working thing. I was just starting to relax on the vacation too. Bam, back in this hell hole.

Well, if I get some time, I'll post about the trip and lots of photos (I took 557!)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

One night in NYC - Part 3

The train soon came to a squeaking stop. As expected, there wasn’t anyone on the train tonight. I was looking around at all the ‘Learn English’ ads that were covering the train. I still had a big goofy grin on my face. Inside, I was quite conflicted. I knew the night was about to end. Emma would get to her stop and leave. I couldn’t bare that thought right now as she sat next to me with her arm wrapped between mine once again.

We chatted about what we had to do tomorrow. That conversation was pretty short as neither of us really wanted to face that reality. For me, anything that involved Emma not being around my arm is a reality I didn’t want to face. My clients are the last things on my mind right now. The thoughts of suddenly coming down with something was a very fesible scenario in my mind.

I wanted to enjoy the now as they always say to do, but it’s so hard not to think what’s going to happen in a few minutes. When we talked, I couldn’t help looking at her. Not that it hasn’t already happened, but I wanted to make sure the image of her is firmly imprinted in my mind. Her voice, her mannerisms. Who knows what the future holds, but I knew seeing Emma again may not be for certain.

The doors opened after the train came to a stop. The next stop was going to be Emma’s stop. I had another 5 stops before the train stopped by my hotel. As the train slowly closed its doors, I was dreading this ride to the next stop. For the first time tonight, our conversation had stopped. The only sound was the train running over the uneven tracks. The metal on metal squeaks as it makes its turn.

The train slowly began to stop. Instinctively, I stood up and got ready for the inevitable goodbye. The train came to a jerking stop and suddenly, the speaker came on in the train. The conductor’s voice rang out from the fuzzy speakers. ‘This is the last stop for this train. Service for this train will restart tomorrow morning. All passengers please exit the train.’
Oh crap. What do I do? I didn’t know this train stopped here. I guess I’ll have to find a cab or walk. In this cold night, walking doesn’t seem all too pleasant. Hopefully, there will be cabs. You know, for there being so many cabs in New York City, I seem to always have trouble getting one. I don’t know it’s the areas I’m in or maybe it’s just me. Getting a cab in New York City is not a skill I’ve become proficient in.

As we walked out of the train station, Emma mentions that there are usually a couple of cabs by the train stop. She mentioned that her apt was very close as well. We got back to the street level and the temperature had significantly dropped and the wind has picked up. It was now getting unbearably cold with the wind tunnels the large surrounding buildings create. Looking around, there were not cabs to be found. Of course. I almost expected that with my luck with cabs. Actually, there was really nothing around anywhere for that matter.

I was beginning to get a little concerned. Not only because of the lack of transportation home, but I also really have to use the restroom. The cold is really not helping with this. After looking around the block for a few minutes, Emma decided it might be best if we waited at her place and call for a cab. I jumped on that idea for all kinds of reasons, but right now, it was all about the bathroom.

We walked a few blocks from the train station and she started walking up to the building with the small red door. She opened the door and we walked up a couple floors of stairs before stopping at the door with a faded 3C imprinted.

“I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I have 2 roommates” Emma commented as she opened the door. As we walked in, the small apartment looked as if it had been ransacked by pirates. “And they’re not the neatest people in the world” she said with a little bit of embarrassment. The room was filled with an assortment of bottles and magazines. There was some food on the table. It seems someone was doing some entertaining tonight.

“I’ve got a number for a cab in my room, hold on a sec. Oh, and the bathroom’s the door to the right”. I said thanks and rushed to the bathroom. Before I got to the bathroom, I heard a large moan followed by “Why are you in my bed?!” I really wanted to see what’s going on, but the bathroom had to come first.

When I came back out to the living room, Emma was looking a bit upset. She said that Steve is in her bed with a girl because their other roommate was in their room with another girl. This was obviously very upsetting to her and for good reasons. She handed me a business card with a taxi number on it and told me these guys are pretty reliable. They can probably be here in a few minutes.

I didn’t want to leave her in this state. She was obviously pretty upset with her roommates. The apartment was a wreck from the partying that was happening earlier tonight. Selfishly, I didn’t want a great night to be remembered with this ending. Also, I still didn’t want to leave her. Even with this crappy situation, she seems to be taking it a lot better than most people would. She was upset and frustrated, but not angry and unreasonable as most people would be. This was pretty refreshing to find a person that can stay calm like this.

I couldn’t think of anything to say. I wanted to be careful about what I was going to say in a situation like this. After all, I did just meet her earlier tonight. I wanted to be there for her, but not be creepy or overbearing, or something like that.

I tried to make light of the situation for a bit. Then in a half joking, half serious manner, I mentioned that she’s welcome to stay with me at the hotel. I did have a pretty posh room with a pull out sofa. Thank you rich clients. I expected her to smile and decline my offer right away, but instead she was silent. I was thinking this was either going to be bad or really bad.

Emma thought about it for a while. Even thinking she looked adorable. She looked out at the large windows that overlooked an empty parking lot then said “if you don’t mind. I can take the couch. I have a pretty early morning tomorrow so I can be out of your hair before you even get up.”

“Umm. Sure. Yea, great.” That was all I could get out of my mouth as an intense rush of excitement came flowing through my head. I wasn’t sure where this was going, but all I cared was that I would get to spend a little more time with her. I called the cab as she went back into her room to get some of her stuff.

She came back out in a few minutes with a small bag. Emma said with a smirk that she’s going to have to burn her sheets when she comes back and then she may burn theirs just for fun. The mood in the room seems to have lighten up a little. She went in the bathroom to grab a couple more things and we hurried downstairs as a cab started honking his horn.