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toastykitten

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  • In response to the scandal of the Shanxi brick-kiln slaves, lawyer and activist Wu Ge (吴革) has submitted a proposed amendment to the Criminal Law defining and criminalizing slavery.
  • A recipe for okonomiyaki, courtesy of the Chronicle Books blog. Chronicle Books is one of my favorite publishers - whoever does the design for their books (many people, I imagine) are geniuses. It also helps that many of their books look really interesting and informative. I love okonomiyaki, and I wish there were a Japanese restaurant close by that served it. It looks like it's probably really easy to make.
  • Jackie Chan set to appear in drama set in Japan - a drama on the lives of Chinese immigrants in Japan's Shinjuku district. Uh, no comment for now.
  • Thank you, Jeff Yang: A Taste of Racism in the Chinese Food Scare - Nevertheless, China has been portrayed as a nation blind to hygiene and blissfully unconcerned about recent reports of food contamination. That's troubling, because it reinforces the notion that befouled food is the consequence of a foul culture. Chef and gustatory adventurer Anthony Bourdain may have said it best in a 2006 Salon interview in which he noted that there's "something kind of racist" about culinary xenophobia: "Fear of dirt is often indistinguishable from the fear of unnamed dirty people." Link from Serious Eats.
  • I cut my hand on my dad's butcher knife today. When I moved out, my parents gave me that knife. It is a dangerous thing - it's really heavy, and it's been dinged over the years, so much so that there isn't a straight line anywhere. You know how in Chinatown you go into the little shops with the ducks hanging in the windows? And there's the guy behind the counter chopping your roast pork and roast duck into pieces with simple, beautiful whomps? That's my knife. I hardly ever use the knife, but I took it out to slice some turnips the other day. My chef's knife just wasn't cutting it. It wasn't exactly going through things like butter, but I pounded the hell out of that thing. I'm telling you, my knife will cut through just about anything. I almost feel like a real cook with it.
  • Currently reading: Connie Willis' science fiction novel Doomsday Book - it is surprisingly engaging. I'm almost done with it, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I wasn't really expecting anything except a diversion, but it's got time travel into the Middle Ages and a spunky heroine. (I'm not a fan of the word "spunky", but I'm not sure what else works.) One thing I did notice - people spend a lot of time trying to get hold of people via the phone, and for the longest time, I was like, dude, does the future not have cell phones and the Internet? I flipped to the copyright page, and discovered it was published in the early nineties. So that explains it!
toastykitten: (Default)
Just read:

Roger Ebert's I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie - I adore Ebert, but I really do not need him to tell me what he finds erotic. There's a reason why MOST movie critics don't talk about it, Ebert. Anyway, overall, the book was really funny, and mostly well-written. He gets so hung up on logic sometimes, though, that I think he forgets to actually talk about the movie. Who cares what the alien bugs do or don't eat?

Marc Romano's Crossworld: One Man's Journey into America's Crossword Obsession. This book is not about all crosswords, but about one reporter's attendance of a crossword tournament run by Will Shortz, the guy who edits the New York Times puzzles. This is a fluffy and dorky book. I finished it over two train rides, and thought it was okay but not great. At least I found out why I couldn't finish any of the crossword puzzles in one particular book I bought my last year of college. It was probably edited by Eugene Maleska, who was apparently this puzzle editor who didn't like people putting in clues that are relevant after 1960.

Independent Publishing Deathwatch:
My magazine holders are starting to hold a lot of dead magazines. I have the following: Budget Living, Kitchen Sink, Arthur Frommer's Smart Shopping, and now Punk Planet. However, not everything is dead. I would totally subscribe to Monocle, if only it weren't so damn expensive.

Just watched:

John From Cincinnati - I didn't like this first episode much at all; this whole "mysterious stranger changes the lives of a family" felt like it was just trying way too hard to be weird and mysterious. I wasn't buying it.

Top Chef - The first episode seemed promising. I hated Hung, the guy who's friends with Marcel from Season 2. I know they're angling that guy as "person you love to hate", but I just hate him not only for being smug, but for trying too hard to be smug.

Mark playing Nintendo games. So I guess the patents on the games expired? He bought this console thingamajig and bought some games like Zelda to return to his childhood. He has a PS2 and he hasn't touched that in 2 years. But he brought this home last night and it's like he can't stop. It's so cute.

Online:
Virtual China's blog post on child slave labor in China.
Global Voices post on slave labor in Shanxi.
Jun. 1st, 2007 11:49 pm

links

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I enjoy reading SFist because it tells me stuff like 880 commute sucks the most - and why does it suck? People really don't know how to merge on very well. Also, the MacArthur Maze. Fucking death trap.

From Global Voices - pictures of Tai Hu, a freshwater lake in China that is pretty polluted. We went there on our tour, and I guess we got to see the non-polluted side. It sucks, because it's a gorgeous site.

NotCouture - new fashion blog. Drool over pretty things.

I totally WISH I could see this: Damon Albarn of Gorillaz fame collaborates with Chen Shi-Zheng to create a new version of the Monkey King. Animation, too!
toastykitten: (Default)
The news has been strange lately:

Ignacio De La Fuente, Jr., son of Oakland City Council president Ignacio De La Fuente has been convicted of raping and sexually assaulting four women, one of whom was 15 at the time.
However, even though he pled guilty, he still claims he isn't. And you know what his defense was? "They were prostitutes and they're crying rape for revenge over negotiations of payment." I can't believe they thought they could get away with that kind of defense.

A former lover of the missing wife of Linux programmer and accused spouse killer Hans Reiser has confessed to killing eight people unrelated to the case, prosecutors informed the defense last week.
Hans Reiser is well-known in the Linux community; he was accused of killing his wife, and now the former lover of his wife, who is also a witness for the prosecution, has confessed to killing 8 people in revenge for child abuse, and possibly a 9th person, too. However, he denies killing Reiser's wife.

China has been selling fake eggs as fresh eggs. UPDATE: This story is fake.
Apr. 25th, 2007 11:30 am

links!

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Am home sick today, but I can't sleep, so I give you links!

  • Latest issue of Jump Cut - this month's theme is China and China diaspora film. I have not read this yet, but it seems interesting, and an academic dissection of Kung Fu Hustle sounds like fun.
  • GreenCine interview with the stars of Hot Fuzz. I can't wait to see this movie.
  • Mike Daisey talks to the guy who dumped water on his notes. I really admire Mike Daisey's approach to how he handled this. Plus his act was really funny and it's stupid that he got so rudely interrupted like that.
  • I usually like 60 Minutes, and I'll even concede Anderson Cooper can be pretty. But I hated his "Stop Snitching" segment, in which he blames hip hop for being the cause of black people not talking to police. I mean, really, it wasn't maybe Rodney King or Amadou Diallo? Or even just the collective and justified distrust of police that police have done nothing to mitigate? Hip hop is not just Cam'ron, okay? I wouldn't talk to the police, either, unless I absolutely had to. I have no street cred to protect, but where I come from I've yet to see the police live up to their actual job descriptions. It was overall just lazy, lazy journalism. I'd go on but I think I would explode.
toastykitten: (Default)
I have to admit, I read this story only to figure out if the tour guide was any of the ones we had on our trip. And no, although I thought a few of the male tour guides were pretty close to cracking.
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Guangzhou was a short flight from Hangzhou. After everyone waited forever and a day for their luggage, we took off for our hotel. Some of the tour people were going elsewhere, and the rest were going to visit relatives either in Guangzhou, Hong Kong or neighboring villages. Getting to the hotel was a relief. All we did was sleep for the entire day, and my parents made arrangements with my cousin Nina to see us for dinner later.

You know what was also a relief? Speaking in Cantonese! In Guangzhou, I could be understood, and even find my way around if I wanted to. I felt like less of a stranger in someone's house, and more like I was home.

Guangzhou was hot and humid. We broke into a sweat every time we went outside, even at night. For dinner, Nina took us to a Macau restaurant, and it was the best meal of the entire trip so far. I don't remember much of what we ate except crunchy, delicious, tasty, tasty fried pork skin. Nina seemed pretty cool - she was a little older than my oldest sister, but still very nice and not motherly at all. She worked for Mary Kay, and was hoping to be able to get a work trip out to the U.S. It would have to be in Dallas, though. We found out then that she had applied to go to college in the U.S., but was denied based on the fact that her mother and one of her sisters already lived in the U.S., and the government thought that she would attempt to stay past her student visa. (Well, wouldn't you?) She had no way of seeing her mother except when her mother occasionally went back to China to visit, and that happens at most, once a year. Anyway, I later discovered that she was also divorced due to infertility, whether on her part or the ex's part was never determined. It was something that no one really talked about.

On the way out we bagged some leftovers and my mom got accosted by some beggar kids, who came up to her and pointed at her grocery bags. Nina stopped my mom from giving them anything, saying they had someone taking care of them and were there only to rip off unsuspecting tourists.

Afterwards, my parents got really tired and went to sleep early. Nina took me and two of my sisters out for a night on the town. We went to where all the "goo-wahk jai lui" kicked it, in a little shopping area that no tour bus would ever take us to. The shopping area was filled with the youth of China smoking, drinking, playing cards in the alleys, and totally not wearing deodorant at all. The uniform of the moment seemed to be crimped hair, baggy pants, sweatshirts and a cigarette. All the shops were really tiny and crowded, and smelled like a blend of alcohol and sweat. Nina was an expert bargainer, and helped my sister bargain to get some cute anime shirts and nice jewelry. I am in awe of her bargaining powers, because she held her ground no matter how hard the seller cajoled and wheedled, and she got what she wanted.  She was also going to take us to snack on some street food, but by the time we got there it already closed.

She took us back to our hotel and wouldn't let us pay for cab fare. We American-born haven't learned the stubbornness of holding our ground like they have. Oh well. Anyway, we promised to see her again if we came back, and hopefully she'll get a chance to come visit us.
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Hangzhou was our last stop before the end of the tour. It was also one of my favorite places because it was so beautiful and CLEAN. For the past ten days my snot had been coming out black, but it was actually starting to clear up a little here. We were given a terrible tour guide, who kept punctuating every sentence with "Ah"! Granted, the other tour guides whose Cantonese was not their first dialect did it, too, but they didn't do it as much as this one. "Ah! We are at the tomb of YuFei. Ah! He was a war hero. Ah!"

We were told by Leslie that the reason Hangzhou was so beautiful was because of Nixon's historic visit to China. Hangzhou was one of his stops, and he made an offhand comment about how it was beautiful, but kind of old-looking. So then the Hangzhou government decided to clean it up and make it into a really beautiful place. It is actually pretty crazy - if you compare it to the crowdedness and smog-filled cities like Shanghai and Beijing. You can actually breathe in Hangzhou, and have some semblance of a private space.

We walked around SaiWu, or West Lake, and also took a short boat ride that was pretty awesome. I loved all the landscapes, and we passed by several people who had rented their own boats for the afternoon. A Mongolian tour group passed us and started singing loudly in their own language - they were wearing their own country's clothes - furs and all - and all of them had very red, sunburnt faces.

After the boat ride was a visit to the temple and tomb of YuFei, who as far as I could tell was a war hero in some far off dynasty. We were informed that most of the original tomb had been ransacked and destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (at least I think that's what she said) and that many of the items we saw, such as statues, and paintings, were pieced together afterwards.

Hangzhou is famous for their tea leaves, supposedly some of the best in the world. So of course our government sponsored tour stop for the day is a tea house where they sell us tea leaves at fucking outrageous prices. And I mean prices that would be outrageous even in America. Our salesman talked a lot about the antioxidant benefits of green tea, which I was with him on until he told us that some dude had been injecting the AIDS virus into watermelons and that you could actually get AIDS that way. The implication being that drinking green tea would purify the AIDS virus out of you. "Don't worry, he has been caught." I shot my sister a look and could hardly hold my laughter in.

Oh, and this may be a betrayal of my heritage but I thought the Chinese green tea was way too bitter. I prefer the Japanese kind.

God, Chinese medicine.

Our next stop was actually for Chinese medicine. This won raves all over the bus, as many of the tour participants were old immigrants and had various aches and pains, and believed that the stankier something was, the better it was for you. My sister and I joined my mom in a room where the salesman gave us some handouts. My sister and I were given the English translation, which was full of grammatical errors and almost seemed to hail from a different universe. What is "wind-phlegm"? I still have the paper somewhere.

My sister and I had to leave the room, though, when the salesperson started rubbing free samples of ointments all over people. You would have thought he was giving out gold or something, the way people were like, "Hey, over here! My back hurts!" Have you ever smelled Tiger Balm? It's a god-awful smelling herbal ointment that people (even Mark's mom uses it) use to rub on places that hurt. Picture an enclosed space with thirty people clamoring to be rubbed with something even more foul-smelling than that.

Ugh. Yeah, so we had to leave the room. The front had a display of various Chinese alternative medicines with probably mislabelled English - many of them said "Semen _____". There was one of dried human placenta. You can probably see the rest on my Flickr page.

After dinner we saw an acrobat show that was supposed to showcase all of Chinese history, I think. I think one of the dancers was Indian - she didn't look very Chinese to me. It was pretty cool and my parents both loved it. I couldn't get any good pictures on my camera though.

Afterwards Leslie mentioned that he competed in a singing competition once and had even been offered a record contract. He turned it down because he was in school at the time. Anyway, he serenaded us with a few songs - the first one, from Leslie Cheung's archive, the second one, Andy Lau's "mong ching sui" and the third, Teresa Teng's famous song whose title escapes me.

At the hotel, I was relieved to find out that our beds were soft.

The next day, Guangzhou!
Dec. 26th, 2006 08:23 am

village

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Pictures of my parents' villages are up. You'll have to add me as a contact in order to see pictures of my family.
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But I'm not. I'll probably do that after dinner.

Work is going to be excruciatingly quiet next week, as most of the people in my department have taken off for vacation. Mark is in LA - next year we'll have to figure out a better holiday schedule. Both our families make big deals of the holidays, although Chinese New Year is a bigger deal. And then it's about the only time I see my nieces and nephews and hopefully undo a bit of the years of damage they have coming to them.

My sister tells me that she just saw Kaitlin's report card, and she's doing quite well - she's actually caught up with other kids her age. It turns out that she's pretty good at math. My sister got her a workbook so that she can work on learning about negative numbers. You know what's funny? Her English is getting so good she's starting to translate for me with my mom. I hardly even realized she was doing it, until she said to my mom, "What she's trying to say is that..." and I thought Oh my god is my Chinese that awful? Apparently it is.

I just got a letter from my adopted brother's daughter. It's a long story about how he was "adopted", and how the circumstances of his adoption created a lot of drama in my family - I'm not going to go into it. I guess technically she's my niece. Anyway, the name she chose for herself is Crystal. I spent some time with her in the village - she's about 18 and about to take the entrance exam for university. She was a bit shy at first, but Crystal talks. And talks. And talks. In fact, in the three or four days I spent with her, I don't think I said more than ten sentences. Her letter is short, though, and I wonder if she didn't have enough paper or something. She keeps telling me how beautiful I am, which is really unnerving. I think she's probably translating from her Chinese literally to English, which makes her sentences sound very odd. I'll probably write her after dinner. I'm going to have to get my parents to write the address, though.

Some stuff I've been thinking about:

Did you know that some teenagers make money by teaching people how to play Halo? Are you fucking kidding me? They also get paid $25 an hour, which is way too close to my actual salary for comfort. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Not that I'd be any good at this - I suck at video games.

Harold McGee lives close enough to me that he can drive to the Ranch 99 at Milpitas.

I found out that Six Apart's offices are only a couple of blocks up from my work. That is so odd. Current_TV is also in the building next to mine. I walk by sometimes and am so tempted to walk in - you can see the workers, dressed like skater boys watching their stuff. And all I can think is, Are they working or goofing off?

My China photos are slowly coming up. I'm so glad Flickr increased their bandwith limit. I'm up to Hangzhou right now, and will post up pictures of my parents' villages next. If you actually want to see my family, you'll have to add me as a contact first. There are also no pictures of me, unless you want to look at the New Orleans pictures.

Oh hey! New Asian-Am show, called My Life Disoriented. Did they make one of the Asians goth? Or is that just a white guy in heavy makeup? Time to add to the TiVo list.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, etc!
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So every tour guide told us how to cat-call in the Suzhou dialect, and told us that Suzhou was known for both being a "land of pretty girls" and a really romantic city in general. Many go to Suzhou to get their wedding pictures taken because it's so scenic. We did not get a pretty girl for our tour bus, but the other tour bus did. Our tour guide was a baby faced guy with glasses named Ah Jun, who had an equally babyish voice. It was a bit disconcerting.

During our long tour bus ride, Leslie opened up a little about the harsh realities of Chinese life. Leslie just about fell over when he learned that Americans don't pay for public school education at all. He mentioned that he knew one of his friends who got pregnant and decided to abort the baby, even though it would have been a boy, because she couldn't figure out a plan to pay for the child's education. Every year costs about $10k renmenbai. The average, lucky person with a steady job makes about $2k renmenbai a month.

He also told us that if a person needed surgery in China, the family would save to give a $5k renmenbai red envelope to the doctor. He was careful to say that you didn't have to do it, but you'd just feel a lot better if you did. Of course, he horrorified the majority of us with this small detail, because we were so used to having our doctors just follow the law and not take bribes or things that would seem to be a conflict of interest. He then changed the subject, saying something like, "well there are lots of things to like and dislike about China, just as there are in America", and the topic changed to stars that Chinese people love and hated.

Chinese people LOVE Andy Lau, Anita Mui, Roman Tam, etc. He named a number of people that were already dead and I think Andy Lau was the only person who was alive on that list.

Chinese people really hate Zhang Ziyi because they think she's so arrogant. And she has the nerve to go and ACT in ENGLISH movies when her English is so TERRIBLE!

I'm sorry - the Chinese hate for Zhang Ziyi amuses me a lot.
Dec. 10th, 2006 11:11 am

presents

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It's customary for people when they go to China, to bring back stuff for family and friends. My parents got a little something for Mark.

Playboy dress socks. With the bunny logo and everything.

In China, my sister had to stop my mom from buying a shirt with the word "sex" on it. She liked it because it was pink, I think.
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Everyone slept on the ride to Wu Xi. I think we were all just really tired, after climbing the Great Wall, and the millions of steps.

The first stop was yet another government-sponsored jade shop. The tour-enforced shopping gets old pretty quickly. Usually there is someone who introduces the subject and educates us on possible things we might not know about said topic, then the person transforms from educator into salesperson, and tells us exactly what kind of bargain we're getting, even though what we're paying is definitely more than what we would pay outside of the tour. We are warned that since the prices have been discounted already that we can't and shouldn't try to bargain, but people do it anyway, and sometimes they get away with it. Once the pitch is done, then the madness ensues with the tourists aiming to find some bargains for their relatives and friends, and salespeople being as pushy as they possibly can. It usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Towards the end we are instructed to go to the restroom, since it will be cleaner than the next site we're going to.

Throughout the trip, bathrooms become dicier and dicier. Some bathrooms have only the flat toilets, which my sisters and I deemed the "squatting" toilets, and occasionally at the end there will be one American-style toilet, which we call "sitting". We would ask each other as each took their turn, "Squatting or sitting?" and that would determine our plan of action. Also, a lot of places had no soap, so I strongly recommend bringing some anti-bacterial hand gel if you go.

Our stop that day was a former judge's house. Or rather, large mansion. It was hundreds of years old and gorgeous, and looks exactly like it does in Chinese period pieces. It also had a chrysanthemum garden. In a few rooms we were treated to live classical music from teenage kids in period clothes. When we walked past them I spotted their sneakers.

In the afternoon we went to TaiHu, which I guess would be translated as "Great Lake". It's a very large, but shallow lake where large ships are barred. It's so wide that we can't even see across to the other side, almost feels like standing at an ocean's coastline. The lake is used to raise oysters and fish - "Taihu pearls" are famous for their beauty.

The last stop was another government-sponsored tourist stop. Except I actually liked this one. What they were selling were "purple sand" teapots. At first I misheard and thought they were talking about cast-iron teapots, since the pitchman said that you can't wash these teapots with soap, and they pick up the flavor of the tea you put in. But they are "purple sand" teapots, and you can only put in one type of tea per teapot. You can leave in the tea leaves until the next day and the tea you brew the next day with the old tea leaves will taste just as good as the first day. Over time, you won't even have to put tea leaves in.

I didn't buy a teapot. I was tired and grumpy and really indecisive. If anyone I know decides to head to Wu Xi, buy one for me?
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Dec. 6th, 2006 10:57 pm

nanjing

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My notes for the first day in Nanjing is really short. I know we got introduced to Leslie, a tour guide and native of Nanjing who would accompany us throughout the tour. He looked like this Taiwanese singer/actor that I used to think was cute. He was fairly young - only a year older than me, actually, and he talked a lot about how much he loved his mom. It got my parents clapping, as he went on and on about filial piety, and made me and my sisters roll our eyes.

In Nanjing we visited Sun Yat-Sen's mausoleum. You had to climb something like three hundred steps to get to it. Did I mention how many tripping hazards China has? There's no such thing as "wheelchair accessible". I tripped over everything - in restaurants, random rooms would be slightly raised a few inches over the actual floor, for no reason I could discern - it wasn't for aesthetics, that's for sure. It drove me crazy.

Sun Yat-Sen's body is actually up there in the mausoleum.  There are also a couple of pots that were shot at by the Japanese. The holes were never mended, to remind us of what the Japanese did. Here, we were informed that any Japanese person visiting Nanjing is required by the government to visit all the memorial sites. Hence, no Japanese ever visit Nanjing.

I know we went to a jade place. That was boring. And expensive. I note in my journal that the funny thing about all the government-sponsored tourist shops is that they all seem to be staffed by young women. Shortage of females in China? Not in these shops - they outnumber male staff 10 to 1. And they are so, so pushy. They will not physically let go of you until you purchase something. I had to do a lot of ducking to avoid being caught in their clutches.

We also went to visit the Yangtze, I think, which is actually called something else in Cantonese. I don't remember what it's called. The weather was starting to get cold, so our pictures didn't come out that well. In the building where we stopped, we met a government-paid artist who painted stuff inside crystal balls. It's a lot prettier than I'm making it sound. My parents bought a few.

Next day is WuXi, where we'll go to Taihu, a great lake.
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One of the reasons I don't talk much about the food in China is that most of the time, there's not much to talk about. It's there, and we eat it, and it's not revelatory or mind-blowing or delicious. But picking up the manners in China was sort of a different story, especially for us tour people, since we were so used to our Cantonese/American habits. For example, we learned the following:

  • Each dish needs to have its own pair of chopsticks, which are shared communally. After you pick up your food and put it on your bowl or plate, you switch back to your own individual pair of chopsticks. In San Francisco, we would just use our own chopsticks to grab food, and just make sure you hadn't touched other people's food with it.
  • In China, you need to ask the waiter/waitress to refill the teapot. In San Francisco, you just move the lid off the cover, and a waitperson will come by to refill it.
  • Soup for some reason comes near the end of the meal, instead of the beginning.
  • Watermelon is always dessert. I can't tell you how sick of watermelon we all were by the end of the trip.
We had various dumplings, which Beijing is known for, for lunch the previous day. They were all right - but everything ended up tasting the same to me. We had Peking duck for dinner that night, but it was a bit of a disappointment. The duck was dry and not juicy at all. At least the skin was crispy. Our tour buddies told us that they considered the Peking duck in the Bay Area far superior to the ones you got in China. So that is something we'll have to look into.

Next stop: Nanjing.
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Welcome to day 2 of my China trip. I forgot to mention that I'm making these notes based on a journal I kept while in China, but they're not very consistent or anything, so I'm elaborating on things as I go along. I make no guarantees for the facts that our tour guides imparted on us. I know these entries are really long, but I really need a way to remember as much as possible, and the only way I can do that is to write as much of it out as I can.  Otherwise I'm going to be looking at my notes and thinking, "What the hell did I mean by Super8-Hotel Breakfast - bleh?"

Nov. 30th, 2006 11:22 pm

sleepy....

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I'm still having trouble getting back into California time. Today I slept on the train on the way home from work, and almost missed my stop because I was so tired. When does this jetlagginess end?

So the Guardian's stories about China make me laugh - what else can I do when I read stories like Skip the toilet, save the planet, says airline and Beijing announces "affordable" Olympics"? If you read the story, it sounds great, unless you know that 1. all the hotels in Beijing are booked for 2008, even the ones whose construction haven't been completed yet, 2. the Chinese government has decided to ban Chinese cars from operating in Beijing during the Olympics. This information came to us from Kelvin, the third-person self-referring tour guide. According to him - "You'll want to come because then you won't have to worry about getting hit!" And then I started to wonder about people scalping the tickets...

I haven't been writing more about my trip because I left the journal I kept in China at Mark's place. Oh well.
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