Steve's China Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Things I should not do...

I was trying to come up with another top 10 list and thought I could do one on things I should not do in China. There turned out to be so many things that it evolveded into a top 50 list. These are things I might have done (but I may not admit to) or might have thought about doing, but probably shouldn't have (pretty vague, huh?). The top 50 things I should not do in China...

  • attempt to take command of any units of the People's Liberation Army.

  • attempt to give orders to military or police personnel.

  • think of anything that will make me giggle in front of the police.

  • assume a woman is single if she does not have a wedding ring.

  • date women who refer to themselves as MBAs (married but available).

  • date ladies half my age or younger.

  • act half my age or younger.

  • encourage people to join the National Party.

  • create my own political party.

  • tell people I am going to run for Mayor of Dalian.

  • ask people to vote for me.

  • openly encourage democratic reforms.

  • incite revolution.

  • sing the "Free Tibet" song in public.

  • refer to Taipei as the "rightful" capital of China.

  • let my friends drive me to any Chinese military bases.

  • encourage people to join a religion.

  • create my own religion for Chinese to join.

  • initiate Jihad.

  • laugh out loud at people who wear pictures of Che or Mao on their clothing.

  • be upset that I am not fluent in Chinese yet.

  • ever fight a land war in Asia.

  • ask a Chinese couple how many children they have.

  • ask where they sell big condoms.

  • refer to North Koreans as "those commie $&%*-heads" in front of communist Chinese.

  • refer to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as "$&%*-heads" in public.

  • call the CCP Minister of Commerce a decadent capitalist when he visits our company.

  • say, "You don't need to see my identification, these are not the droids you are looking for.", when asked for my passport.

  • talk about all of the Chinese that died during the Korean conflict.

  • talk about the 70 million people that Mao killed.

  • draw little Hitler mustaches on the pictures of Mao that are on Chinese currency.

  • think I am being followed by the secret police.

  • try to use computer games as training aids at work.

  • teach co-workers to say offensive and crude things in English, under the guise of teaching them how to say potentially useful phrases.

  • confuse my co-workers by speaking Spanglish.

  • say "Shama Lama Ding Dong" when my boss tells me to say a few words to the team.

  • sell Chinese mineral rights to Europeans.

  • attempt to purchase Chinese military equipment.

  • spit on the roads and sidewalks like the locals do.

  • stay in a taxi when I discover the driver is legally blind and/or deaf.

  • talk about nuclear weapons with my friends and co-workers from Japan.

  • eat at American fast-food places so much.

  • act shocked when I see Christmas decorations everywhere.

  • do a double-take when I see someone praying.

  • try every brand of Chinese cigarette at least once.

  • believe anyone who says, "This DVD is real".

  • drink tap water.

  • drink maotaijiu with Chinese.

  • drink beer with Germans.

  • drink anything with Russians.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Movies and a dinner

I was planning to go to the gym on Saturday, but I was so busy all week that I did not get to practice my Chinese any, so I stayed home and practiced that all morning and afternoon. After dinner I watched the movie Batman Begins. That was much better than the other Batman movies. Speaking of movies, it looks like Bruce Willis is going to make a movie about the Iraq War which will portray American Soldiers, specifically the Deuce Four, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry. Check out my link to Micheal Yon's blog on the right side of this page for more info about this unit. It should be a fantastic movie!

At work we have a program to help people speak English better, and I mentor six co-workers in this program. We usually try and get together and do things, such as story telling, to give my people a chance to practice their English. On Sunday night we went to the German restaurant here in Dalian for dinner. Everyone had a good time sampling German food, sampling German-style beer, and practicing their English. It was a fun evening. There was even a band that played later in the evening from the Phillipines. There are a lot of bands from the Phillipines all over asia. We stayed for one set and then called it a night.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I do not know if any place here in Dalian serves turkey or not. A lot of my Chinese friends and co-workers were not even sure what a turkey looks like. Tonight for dinner we had sweet and sour fish, beef and tomato soup, shredded pork with onions, spinach with garlic, and fried sliced pumpkin with hot peppers.... sort of like what we have a lot of nights here. :)

I hope each and everyone of you have a great Thanksgiving!

The story of Thanksgiving is here. Enjoy!

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Busy, busy

This last few weeks has been pretty busy, so I have not posted much lately. A lot of changes at work are coming for my group and we have been trying to get ready for those. But enough about work!... On Saturday about forty of us from the office went out to dinner at a place called Samba World, which is suppose to be a Brazilian style buffet. There wasn't too much Brazilian about the place or food. The food was a mix of eastern/western food, but it was pretty good. You would go up to the buffet and get all of the salad, vegetables, soups, desserts you wanted; and servers would come around and serve different types of meats.

After Samba World we went to a nightclub called 2046. This is a nightclub that is mostly Chinese since foreigners usually go to other clubs, so a lot of people were curious why I was there. I tried to take my camera into the club, but they wouldn't let me use it. The place was pretty nice... good music, good lighting, and a good crowd. The drink specialty there was pitchers of Johnny Walker Black with white grape juice and ice. Since I don't drink hard liquor I only had beer. A few people had some Chinese red wine. On Sunday a few of us from the office went to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was really good, but I won't spoil it for anyone by talking about it. We were hoping to go on Saturday, but some company here hired out the theatre for their employees, so we had to wait a day.

I heard that both Governor Schwarzenegger and President Bush have been here in China this last week. It is kind of interesting the differences in how the press here and the press back in the US have been covering their visits. The US press seemed to make a big deal about the president's visit of a church in Beijing, and the Chinese press never mentioned that. Of course, the behavior of the leftist politicians and terrorist-lovers back in the US have been in both news coverages, and those news stories are not too much different. I am always shocked at how low the left will go for political power, even though I should be use to it by now.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Another busy weekend

This weekend was very busy. Pretty much all day Saturday was spent at the gym. On Saturday night I went out with a Chinese lady to a place called I-55 Coffee Cafe. This place was created by an American that lives here in Dalian and has a good variety of sandwiches, coffees, teas, and cheesecakes. We spent several hours chatting and snacking. It was very nice.

On Sunday I got together with my boss and his wife, who happen to own several pieces of real estate here in Dalian, to go look for a new place to buy. I really have not decided yet if I am going to buy or rent yet, but it was very interesting. The prices in Dalian (at the moment) range anywhere from around 6kRMB to around 9kRMB per square meter for a finished place. You can also buy places un-finished. The unfinished are just a cement skeleton with plumbing and basic wiring (heat is through hot water pipes). The finished places have flooring and walls, sockets, etc... put in, but you have to be careful of the quality. If it's a big place one might want to buy un-finished and get some high quality finishing work put in, such as gas water heater, etc... Of course, un-finished go for less than finished.

Foreigners need to put up 30%, and can finance the rest. Current interest rate is 5% for a home loan. You have to pay a one time 5% property tax and a maintenance fee that ranges anywhere from 1.2RMB per square meter to 3RMB per square meter every month. The properties I looked at ranged in size from 43 square meters (studio) to 150 square meters (2 BR w/den). You also have some kind of form that says you get the property for 7 years (or 70 years... I could not hear which this was exactly), and after that time the goverment can take your property if they wish. Some kind of eminent domain thing since the goverment owns all land in China, and you are just building on it.

Sunday night I went out with two Japanese ladies from Dell and we went to an Italian place here called Cafe Igosso. The food was very good and they had a pretty good wine list. After having some Italian food we went a few blocks away to a new German brewhaus that just opened in Dalian a few weeks ago for desert. Desert was apple struttle and German beer. There was a band playing too, so it was a fun way to end to the weekend.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Article of the day...

A good article for today can be found here.


Thursday, November 10, 2005


The other night I went to Pizza Hut with a friend, and we had a new pizza they have out now... Eel Pizza. Seafood and eel, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and drizzled with eel sauce. It tasted ok, but my stomach was bothering me the next day and today. I am not sure if it was the pizza or not. At least being laid up for the day provided me with some time to practice my Chinese. I wished for more study time and it looks like I got it. As they say, be careful what you wish for.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Nice weekend

On Saturday I went to the gym again. Did some bicycling and weight lifting. I wanted to go swimming too, but I forgot my swimsuit at home. Oops. I went to lunch with a co-worker afterward and we did a little wandering around some of the shopping centers after lunch and that afternoon we went back to the fitness center to do yoga. This was the first time I have tried yoga. It wasn't too difficult and I think I was a little less sore from my earlier workout the next day due to all of the stretching I got doing yoga, so I will probably keep going back.

Tonight I went to dinner with some friends who work for Dell. We went to a little Muslim place near where I live and had all kinds of things to eat... mostly lamb dishes. One of my friends who joined me for dinner was from Canada and the rest were from Japan. One of the girls from Japan was originally from North Korea, but her parents defected to Japan when she was a baby. We all had some interesting discussions about China, and all of the good things and problems we had all encountered here. It was a very pleasant evening.