Steve's China Blog

Monday, February 28, 2005

Chinese TV

I didn't do too much this weekend. Did laundry and watched a lot of chinese TV. I figured I could watch the TV and say what they say to help with my pronunciation, but they sure talk fast. I tried watching some of my DVDs last night with the language in chinese, and the sub-titles in english. The first one had the english sub-titles from a completely different movie, and the other DVD was in japanese instead of chinese. I'll have to try the rest of them when I get a chance.

As I watched the chinese TV shows I started to wonder where China is heading. It's a strange mix of communism and capitalism. The people seem to love western products and ideas. From what I've been able to tell from my short time here now, and from my last trip here in 2001 (China Trip 2001), is that the goverment has been allowing the people to venture into capitalism a little at a time. Every year or so they make it easier to earn more, invest, etc... I saw something funny on TV the other day... there was some rah-rah show on about the communist revolution and all that crap, and they went to a commercial and it had an actor dressed up like Mao selling a product! Poor Mao must be turning over in his grave. It will be interesting to see what changes will take place in the next few years, especially after the olympics are held here in 2008.

Oh, by the way.... I'm turning off comments since I can't read them or respond to them. Sorry.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Happy Latern Festival!

Yesterday was the end of the Spring Festival here which started two weeks ago, and is called the Lantern Festival. From what I could gather, everyone shoots off fireworks, gets together with their families, lights colorful lanterns, and burns little paper offerings for something (ancestors maybe?). Anyways, the fireworks started at around dusk and it was very impressive... imagine the fireworks show that you would see in the States during 4th of July and have it go on for hours! And they didn't just shoot off fireworks from one place, but from all over the city. Just about all of the locals shot off everything from little firecrackers to those big starburst fireworks. I was surprised how loud those big starburst ones are when one goes off right above you!

That was the good news... now for the bad... I found out that the local goverment has blocked people here from viewing any blogs from the blog server I use. I can still post messages, but I can't see what the blog looks like. Nothing like a little censorship to remind you that you're someplace run by communists. Hopefully, they'll never get around to blocking my ability to post to it, but if they do I'll have someone put up a message here about where I'll move this blog to. In the mean time, I'll keep posting here.

Oh, by the way... that means I can't see, or reply to, any comments posted... sorry.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Language and food

Things at work are going along as I expected... a lot of reading to get up to speed on how things work here and about the various systems and applications that I'll be working on. Things will get more busy as time goes by starting next week.

Hopefully I'll find the time to learn some more chinese. It's kind of strange going someplace, like out to eat, and not being able to understand people or have them understand you. I've started out learning a little of the important stuff... money and food.

Speaking of food, I found a McDonalds and a KFC that I can get to easy enough on the local train that runs near my apartment. There's also a bus that I can catch near my office that goes there. Both the train and the bus cost about 12 cents. The menus at the McDonalds and KFC are a little different than in the US. The McDonalds has the Big Mac and hamburgers, but not quarter pounders. They also sell spicy chicken wings, and a pork sandwich. The KFC has chicken and pork also. The one little thing that I noticed is that they don't use as much salt on their food as we do in the US, so the food seems a little more bland than back in the States, but it's a good change of pace after eating a lot of chinese food.

The chinese food here is really good too. Since Dalian is a coastal city it has a lot of seafood. Some of the places here serve chinese food like what you'd expect to get in the US... meat, veggie and rice; some serve dim sum (dumplings and buns); some serve soups (sometimes called hot pots); and others would serve a mix of one or more of the above. There also a big variety of the meats and vegetables. The most exotic thing I've tried is some type of caterpillar. It tasted good, but had a very strong taste.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


This might be a long post since I haven't posted in awhile.

I flew out of Dulles Airport (Washington D.C.) on the 14th to Chicago and from there went up through Canada, the Arctic Ocean above Alaska, down through Siberia and eastern Mongolia until we arrived in Beijing on the afternoon of the 15th. Our flight to Dalian that evening was cancelled due to weather, so we stayed in Beijing that night and got another flight to Dalian the next morning.

I was hoping to get there early, but I didn't arrive at my hotel untit a little after noon. I called my office and they said they would call me right back with what I needed to do. I hadn't had anything to eat all day, and after waiting for about four hours for them to call me back I decided to go get some supper, and let them leae a message. I was so beat with all the travelling and lack of food I went to bed at about 7:00 and slept for about 12 hours.

I arrived at the office on the 17th and started the paperwork routine. Then I had to go get a physical, as well as visit all kinds of other goverment agencies to fill out paperwork. I spent most of the 17th and the 18th going through the Chinese paperwork stuff to get my work permit, residence permit, work visa, etc... It's amazing all the hoops foreign workers have to jump through to work here.

I also found an apartment! It's located in the southwest part of the city near my office and the beach. It's not a very big apartment, but it's clean and quiet. It's hard to find a quiet place in the city, especially with all of the traffic. The last time I was in China (2001) there weren't many cars here... some cabs, some trucks, and lots of bicycles. That's changed over the last few years since the Chinese have increased car production and lowered the prices. Now there are a lot of cars, so you don't see too many bicycles on the road... it's kind of dangerous to ride a bike on the roads now. Heck, it's kind of dangerous to be a pedistrian or in a vehicle too. The driving here is a lot different than back in the west. The lines on the roads, the croos-walks, and traffic lights seem to be more like suggestions rather than the rules. It seems very chaotic. If I had my corvette over here I would probably have a nervous breakdown driving it in this traffic.

I was watching the local TV station here the other night and saw a chinese movie that was really funny. I don't know the name of the movie, but the star is a Hong Kong actor named Stephen Chow. I've heard that all of his movies are very funny, so if you get a chance check out some of his movies. The ones I've looked at here were in chinese with english sub-titles.

That's all I'm going to post today. Tomorrow is my first day at work (now that all the paperwork is done), and I'm sure I'm going to be very busy for awhile. I'll post more when I get time.