Steve's China Blog

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


The other day my boss asked if I knew of anyone in the U.S. who would like to work for IBM China, and I could not think of anyone offhand. I have contacted a few people I know since then, and figured what the heck... I'll post a message here for work.

If you know of anyone that would like to work for IBM China please have them contact me. We are mostly looking for people with some IT background with good English and/or Japanese language skills. They do not have to speak Chinese, but that would be a plus. I would also recommend a sense of humor and a sense of adventure, but those are not required. ;)

Most of the work we do here in Dalian is either mainframe or web based technologies, so we're always looking for mainframe programmers, web developers, Lotus Notes developers, Java programmers, and sometimes project managers. We could also use people who have technical skills that are in short supply here in China, such as SAS. Our offices in Beijing, Shanghai, etc... are also looking for project/program managers as well as marketing folks.

If you've been reading the blog you have an idea of what it is like here in Dalian. If not, Dalian is a modern Chinese city. The salaries and standard of living are not as high as in the U.S., but the cost of living is about one-eighth of the Washington D.C. area... in other words, you won't make as much as you would in the U.S., but there is not much to spend money on here so you'll save a lot! The winters can be a bit cold, but the rest of the year is pleasant. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me via email (

Monday, May 29, 2006

Long Saturday

This last Saturday I went to a town to the southwest of Dalian called Lushun with some co-workers. Lushun is home to a Chinese naval base that I am not allowed to go to, but there was still some things to do and see in Lushun. We visited some scenic overlooks, some memorials, a snake zoo, and then had a very long lunch/dinner back in Dalian.

At two of the places we stopped at they had some history of Lushun and about how the Japanese and Russians had fought over the naval base during their war in 1905. Somehow Lushun ended up under Japanese control for a few years and they built a monument that is still there today. The snake zoo (also called the snake museum) was just a large building with snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and a few seals. You could donate a few yuan to the zoo, and they would throw a chicken in with the crocodiles for you, but we did not have a lot of time for that. Here I am with a big snake though...

After running around in Lushun we came back to Dalian at around 1:30 and spent about three hours eating at a buffet/hot pot place. Usually when I have had hot pot in the past it was beef or pork, but this day we had a lot of seafood and a little lamb. There was a variety of seafood, such as clams, scallops, big crabs, little crabs, and something that I think is called a squib (?). It looks like a cross between a crawfish and a bug. After all of that food I needed a nap.

After my nap, I got together with Kaoruko and Yukiko to go check out a new night club here called Rock Action Club. I had gotten a message that there was to be three bands playing some instrumental rock, but it was sort of like psychodelic rock and very loud for such a small place. The club sort of reminded me of the old 9:30 Club in D.C... dark and down in the basement of a building. It got too smokey and loud for Kaoruko so she went home after developing a headache, and Yukiko and I ended up at a Korean BBQ place. We ate and talked for a long time, and ended up closing the place at around 11:00pm or so.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is hard upon us, and hard on us as well.

While most Americans celebrate the holiday as the first long weekend of summer, the rest of us will be honoring the sacrifice of countless American lives during 230 years of our nation's history. Winning our independence was bloody work; defending our freedom has been even bloodier.

Read the entire commentary here.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I had lunch with some co-workers the other day and for some reason we got to talking about S'mores. If you are not sure what a s'more is you can see here (I love this website! Hehe!). None of them have ever had a s'more, or a marshmallow, or a grahm cracker, but they have had Hershey bars. I will have to see if I can find the ingredients here. There is suppose to be a market by Labor Square that has western groceries I want to find. If they don't have this stuff then Metro might.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bowling and the Doctor

This last weekend was pretty nice. On Saturday morning I went bowling with some co-workers. I have not gone bowling in about a dozen years so I didn't bowl so well, but it was still fun. After bowling I spent the rest of the day playing a computer game and watching some episodes of a new BBC series called Doctor Who that I found on DVD here. Doctor Who use to be a sci-fi series on British TV back in the 60's and 70's. The acting wasn't very good, the effects and costumes were terrible, but the stories were pretty good. The new series has some good acting, good effects, and the stories are ok.

On Sunday I played around on the computer, studied my Chinese some, and just hung out relaxing. Sunday night I went out to dinner with Yukiko to a Korean BBQ place here that she wanted to try. It was pretty good. Afterwards we came back to my place for dessert (ice cream with strawberries) and to watch the first episode of Doctor Who since she's never seen the show before. I think she liked it, so hopefully she'll want to come over again to watch more.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mmmm... doughnuts

They opened a little coffee cafe/bakery in my office building last week. It's pretty nice. They do not have a huge selection of baked goods yet, but I imagine they will soon since they have display cases that need to be filled. So far I have tried a grape muffin, a red bean muffin and a sugar doughnut. All were pretty good, and only 3 Yuan each. I will definitely need to start going to the gym if I go to this place for breakfast all of the time. Next week they are going to be opening a little pasta restaurant here too. Ok, ok... I'll go sign up for the gym tomorrow!

I am surprised it took so long for them to open some businesses like these here in our office building. The building opened a year ago. It is a pretty nice office building. The only thing I really don't like about it is that people here open the windows all of the time. This means the air quality in the building is not very good (because of the air pollution) and we will start having bugs flying around soon. The people here just don't seem to understand (or believe) that the air quality will get better if they keep all of the windows closed and let the air-conditioner/heater filters work. Last summer they sent out an email telling people not to open the windows, but no one cared. Not sure what they would do if I snuck in here in the middle of the night and super-glued all of the windows shut. Hehe

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mao-era mark is passed in silence

FORTY years ago today, the Chinese Communist Party's central committee issued a document, at the dictation of chairman Mao Zedong, summoning an assault on "reactionary bourgeois elements" and "poisonous weeds" lurking within the heart of the party.

Thus was the disastrous Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution launched.

Read the full article here.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday zombie

This week has been a blur, but not because I have been very busy. The weather has finally started to really warm up, and all of the trees and flowers are starting to bloom. With all of the warm weather, pollen, change in sleep schedule, and reading of boring technical documentation I feel like the walking dead most of the time.

The good news is that it's Friday and I have had some time this week to practice my Chinese. Today I went to lunch with some ladies from the office and tried to speak Chinese with them. I got to practice my spoken Chinese and they got a good laugh out of it. On the way back from lunch we stopped at one of the many street vendors here to buy some fruit, and I got to practice some more and I also got to explain English names for fruit, such as why a pineapple is called a pineapple, etc...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dui bu qi

I think it's going to take me awhile to get use to waking up early and going to work now that I am on my new schedule. The waking up is not the hard part, but for me the hard part is dealing with the commute. On my old schedule I usually did not go to work until around 11:00am, so when I got on the bus it was never crowded. The bus ride in at 8:30am this morning was very very crowded.

I don't really like being in crowds as it is (which are almost impossible to avoid in China), but a lot of the people are also extremely rude with the pushing, shoving, and stepping on you and they never say, "Dui bu qi" (excuse me). I have been here almost 15 months and only two people have ever said this to me.

I have mentioned this rude behavior before, but just to give you an idea of how bad it is the Chinese government is now becoming embarrassed. With more and more Chinese starting to travel outside of China it is ruining their image. They are even starting up a public etiquette campaign to help teach people manners. I'm not sure if, and when, anything will change... Changing the behavior of so many people will be difficult. Here is an interesting article about it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May Holiday

The May holiday is finally here, and I get to have some time away from work. I was thinking of doing a little travelling, but decided to just hang out and relax, besides it's a busy travel season here and I don't feel like dealing with the crowds. Luckily there are lots of things I want to do during the holiday here in Dalian; such as studying my Chinese, play on my computer, shopping, etc... Today I might go buy a camcorder and wander about Dalian filming what it's like here.

After the holidays I am starting on a new project at work and will be working from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Yeah! There's a small fitness center in out office building which I have never had time to go to before. With the new schedule I'll be able to go there now. This winter has left me feeling flabby and tired, so I am looking forward to being able to get back into a good workout routine.

I mentioned in a past post about having trouble finding picture hangers here. I had a friend who came over from the U.S. bring me some, and now I have a new problem... the walls of my apartment are actually just concrete that have been painted over, so I can't hammer the nails into it easily. I tried some of the adhesive hangers, but they did not hold. I might have to try some bigger ones (with more adhesive) or do something drastic like buying a drill to drill nails holes into the concrete. Nothing ever seems easy here.