Tuesday, January 27, 2009


For everyone back home who I unfortunately have not been in touch with, YES, I am still alive. Since my last post in October, I have moved back down to Shanghai from Dalian and loving it. I am currently working for a large architecture firm based in the US, but has an office here in town.

Anyhow, I have to apologize for not keeping up with my blog in the recent months. Shanghai has a tendency to keep one pretty busy, but I have accumulated a decent share of material that I will have to share with you in the coming days...or more realistically, months.

This week is Chinese New Year. It's the Year of the Ox and we get the entire week off. Well technically, we get three days off during the week and to make it a longer break, the government also gives you the other two days off during the week. But there's a catch. You have to work the Saturday before and the following Sunday after the holiday. That's two six-day work weeks this month. Even still, it beats making Nikes in the factory.

So, in order to take advantage of this break, I'm taking a small trip to Seoul this week. It's a bit illogical travelling further north during this time of year, but I'm just dying to try me some Kimchi Dog. Expect a full report when I get back.

Speaking of (for all the CMU folk), I met up with Ed when he was over here earlier this month on business. I'm sure it'll be only a matter of time, before the $1.50 dvd's and cheap 'massages' convince him to make the move over.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

back to civility

just like how a child gets dragged out of a store kicking and screaming by his irritated mother, my return back to the land of tainted milk and underage female gymnasts wasn't an easy one, at least not mentally. the morning of my flight out of JFK, i was my own parent, dragging my ass to the airport, kicking and screaming on the inside, in reluctance of accepting what was waiting for me when i got there. yes, it was back to the 1.3 billion A-holes who sole mission in life is to cut in front of you.

so without disappointment, it only took one of those A-holes to say "welcome back!". as i waited patiently in line at the supermarket to pay for my stuff (only a couple of hours after i got off the plane), the aforementioned A-hole stealthily came from behind me and shoved his two items into the hands of the cashier. although it surely wasn't the first time this has happened to me, the fact that i've only had a few sporadic hours of sleep in my 20+ hours of air travel surely amplified my reaction. seriously, "did THAT just happen?!" i went up to the cashier and grabbed his two items from her hands and threw them behind mine. with no basis for argument, the A-hole went to the end of the line after i heard him murmur under his breath, "CAO!" (pronounced 'tsao') which in this case probably meant, "who the hell does this banana twinkie muthafucker think he is, comin' into my kuntry and tell ME i's gots to wait in line?! Nee-a-ga, i'll kung-fu yo sorry ass back to amerika!"

ah...so nice to be back.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

back from the motherland

so i'm finally back on a much needed break. my six consecutive months in china were interesting, but it's really alot more than a decent well-mannered westerner can endure. i have to admit though that i'm suffering a bit of reverse culture shock here at home.

where's all the unapologetic pushing and cutting in line?

and the spitting, nosepicking and belching in public?

where's all the mismatched outfits and flipflops with socks?

why don't people cross the street here assuming they have some special invisible force field that will protect them from a 2 ton pile of steel racing towards them at 60 mph?

why can't someone smoke in a hospital?

and most importantly, no squatting?!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

kindergarten all over again...

some of you know that i am down south for a couple of weeks in hangzhou, my dad's hometown, conducting what I would call an "internship". it's kind of like a job, but without the responsibilities; a quasi-survey of the chinese architectural workplace if you will.

anyways i started working here a few days ago and i have to say, for all the sweatshop stories we hear from china, the setup in this office ain't all that bad. take today for example: come in at 9am. worked on some drawings until 11:24am, when the guy that i'm working with comes in and says, "let's go to lunch!". no complaints from me as we head to the restaurant downstairs and take an hour lunch before heading back to the office.

but here's the best part...everyone pulls out their blue plastic mats and takes an afternoon nap until 2:00PM! the dude i'm working with even has a special foldable lounger and a blanket he keeps behind the door for his afternoon snooze. i woke up today feeling refreshed, but even better knowing there was only 4 more hours left in the workday.

i promise if i ever go back to work in the states again, i am going to be campaigning for the midday nap! who's with me?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

hold the pork please...

here's another reason why they call it mystery meat and why you should probably hold back from eating anything you can't recognize. damn, i wish i had my camera for this one.

last week, i was up at the project job site, about an hour and a half drive from the city. it's definitely what i would call BFE, (mind you, BFE in china is still large, its got well over 500,000 people). after the meeting at the local architect's office, it was time for lunch and we went to one of the "better" (relative term) restaurants in town.

the dishes started to arrive one by one, and so far everything looked ok. a few minutes later, the waitress brings in this platter that upon first glance, looked like a dish full of roast pork (seemingly harmless). WRONG! (record scratching) just when i was about to take a bite of it, one of the contractors asks me, "do you know what that is?" "sure, it's roast pork, ain't it?" he chuckled (as if to say, "you dumbass")...it's PIG SNOUT!

yup, as you figured, that piece went right back to the platter faster than you can say "SQUEEEAL LIKE UHH PIG!" but here's the best part, it was a platter full of pig parts, none of which was actual pork. in addition to the pig snout, there was sliced pig liver, pig ears, AND pig tongue. no thanks...not interested in anything that tastes or smells me back!

sorry y'all

so i have to blame this one on work and not on (cough) big brother. i've been pretty swamped since the last posting, but finally taking somewhat of a breather the past few days. i also haven't had much material to post since it's not sweat shop policy to let the workers out and be free to roam the streets. i guess the factory owners are afraid that the neighbors next door might offer me an extra penny an hour to go work for them instead. i don't need the complications (nor the beating) - so i'm perfectly happy staying here making nike's for 18 cents an hour.

Monday, June 9, 2008

no white shoes after labor day...

but more importantly "NO FLESH COLORED PANTS, EVER!"

(i'd like to think i have acceptable photoshop skills, but i swear there's no funny business here!  i think i did a triple take to make sure my eye's weren't playing tricks on me!)

i took this follow-up rear angle shot just to prove my innocence to you all!