Steve's China Blog

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

I hope all of my family and friends in the US have a great Memorial Day weekend! Even though I'll be working here in China; and I do miss all of the cookouts, beach trips, concerts, etc... I am taking time to remember.

"On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!"
~Thomas William Parsons

"Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored."
~Daniel Webster

"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example."
~Benjamin Disraeli

"They are dead; but they live in each Patriot's breast,
And their names are engraven on honor's bright crest."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave."
~Joseph Drake

"The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree."
~Thomas Campbell

"I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did."
~Benjamin Harrison
(Note: the original name of Memorial Day was Decoration Day)

"All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago."
~Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899

"The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem."
~Aaron Kilbourn

"The story of America's quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots."
~Randy Vader

"Ah! never shall the land forget
How gushed the life-blood of her brave - "
~William Cullen Bryant

"We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them."
~Francis A. Walker

"Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic."
~John A. Logan

Friday, May 25, 2007

Lack of sleep is fun!

I'm in the middle of another long support week, or as I like to call it... Sleep deprivation experiment number 2. The work is not difficult... it's just hard to concentrate on anything with the lack of sleep. Luckily, I think this is my last support week for this project. I am suppose to start on a new project in June, and after I finish my current project I will be able to move to ChengDu.

Kaoruko is going back to Japan at the end of the month, so I cooked dinner for her and a friend of hers on Saturday. I cooked a penne and sausage dish and side of Italian style green beans. I lucked out and found all of the ingredients on the first trip to Metro (expect for the Italian turkey sausage... but they did have Italian sausage, so I used that). It was the first time I cooked this dish and it turned out great! Kaoruko even had seconds.

On Monday a friend took me to a massage place near where I live for a foot massage. I think I am too ticklish to really enjoy those.

The other night Phyllis sent me a picture of her in a cheongsam... a traditional Chinese dress.

After I went to bed I had a dream about her... and about a spinach and mushroom salad with bleu cheese dressing. I am not sure why I dreamed about the salad.

Mmmm... salad.

If that wasn't strange enough... Everquest II had a big upgrade this week with the rediscovery of an old city (Neriak) and the introduction of a new character race (Arasai). The Arasai are like evil Fae. I think the upgrade was suppose to finish at around 2:00am (China time), and I woke up at 2:30am and created a new Arasai character named Jinxerbell and then went back to bed before having to get up at 5:30am to get ready for work.

I hope I'll have time to play the nasty little bugger some next week... after I get some sleep.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Scenic road and a farm

On Saturday Dalian Software Park sponsored a 10 kilometer walk along scenic Bin Hai Road. They invited people from all of the high tech companies in the software park, and a few hundred people showed up for the walk.

Here are some of the group from IBM starting out...

The weather was mostly foggy...

The foggy weather was kind of nice since we did not have to worry about sunburn or it getting too hot, but it was disappointing that we could not see all of the scenery.

For most of the walk I walked pretty fast and the only person from IBM who could keep up with me was my friend Rosa...

On Sunday my team from work visited Sheng Lai Farm outside of Dalian near Lushan. Our main goal: to eat lots and lots of these...

After a short walk around the farm we were taken to a greenhouse where they grew strawberries, and we proceeded to eat as many strawberries as we could...

There were a lot to choose from...

After gorging ourselves on strawberries we hit some golf balls at a little driving range they had there...

Then a few of us took a ride on some grass carts they had...

After that we had lunch. I had been to this farm before about two years ago, and the lunch we had then was much better. Oh well, after lunch a few of us bought some corn bread and tried to make some something that resembles crispy corn crepes...

After awhile we headed home, and with a full stomach and a slight sunburn I had a nice nap.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

May holiday - Part 2, Yangshuo and Macau

We did not have a lot to do on Friday, and the day was kind of rainy, so we spent a leisurely day not doing much. We went to Monkey Jane's for breakfast. It is up on the roof of a building and has a great view of the town and mountains nearby.

After breakfast we wandered around town and looked at the shops. We stopped by a used book store where you could sit and have tea and read the books.

For lunch we went to MC Blues. I had some burritos and Phyllis had a steak with Mexican salsa on it.

Then we went to a place called China Cafe for cheesecake. Phyllis ran into a friend there, so they got to chat awhile.

After lunch we took a short nap and then wandered around town some more.

We found one place that sold t-shirts that could make a shirt for me. It's blue and it says, "I live here. I am not a tourist" in white Chinese characters. I think it will come in handy in ChengDu. A lot of the merchants and vendors here speak a little English, and every where we went people would see me and say, "Hello! Hello!", and then try to sell me something. I think Phyllis was a little amazed at how many people say Hello to me all the time. She must have heard Hello more times in those few days then she had heard in all of her life.

For dinner we went to Kelly's Cafe for pizza and lasagna, and then afterwards we went next door to the 98 Bar to have a few beers, chat, and do some people watching. The tourists here are from all over the world and it was a lot of fun to watch everyone partying and getting along. We did not stay out too late since we were heading back to Shenzhen the next day.

On Saturday Phyllis wanted some Chinese breakfast so we went to a little noodle place that the locals ate at. I was the only foreigner there, but no one seemed to mind. The little children enjoyed watching me eat. I probably use chopsticks better than their parents do. After breakfast we went to a place that sold tickets for a hot-air balloon ride, but 700 Yuan was too much so we just wandered around town for awhile and did some more window shopping. For lunch we went to a Thai place that had very good curry dishes. After that we went to another place for dessert. Phyllis had strawberry ice cream and I had some apple pie with ice cream on it. It was a strange apple pie since it was topped with melted mozzarella cheese.

At around two o'clock we set off on our 10 hour bus ride to Shenzhen. Actually, traffic was not so bad and I think it only took about 9 hours to get back to Shenzhen. We got to see a lot of scenery we had slept through on the way down and slept most of the last part of the trip back. When we got to Shenzhen I headed back to the Kempinski Hotel and checked into my room and went right to bed. The next day would be an early day, and the bus ride had been tiring.

I woke up early on Sunday and after breakfast I met up with Phyllis and two of her friends, Ping and Lee Sen. We headed out to the ferry terminal to catch our boat to Macau. We ended up getting there early so we had a lot of time to sit and chat.

The boat ride to Macau took about 75 minutes, and we slept through most of it.

When we got to Macau it was lunch time, so we took a bus downtown to a restaurant called A Lorcha on Rua Do Almirante Serigo that I had read about online.

It was wonderful! Great sangria!

After lunch we walked back to downtown and checked out the sights as we went. The first was the A-Ma temple which is perhaps the most famous Chinese temple in Macau.

After that we walked through a pretty residential area on our way to the Macau Tower. There were lots of different houses and a nice park along the water's edge.

The Macau Tower is a 338.8m tall structure (3 and 8 are Cantonese lucky numbers!) with a revolving restaurant at its top and a convention and shopping centre at its base. From near the top they have bungee jumping too! We didn't do that, but enjoyed the great view of the city from the observation deck.

From the Macau Tower we took a bus to downtown and visited the casinos. We went into the Casino Lisboa, but did not play any games. It was pretty crowded inside and we couldn't take pictures inside. We took a bunch outside.

We ran into a funny bunny.

Then we walked over to the Largo do Senado (Senate Square) which is a colorful typical Iberian town square at the heart of the city.

From there we went to the remains of Saint Paul's Cathedral.

After visiting the cathedral we did a little shopping at some bakeries, and then made our way back to the Ferry Terminal to catch the evening boat back to Shenzhen.

When we got to Shenzhen it was kind of late and we were all hungry, so we went to a hotpot place near where Phyllis lives and had a great dinner. After dinner it was late, so I headed back to the hotel and went to bed. On Monday I returned to Dalian. Luckily it has warmed up in Dalian since I had already gotten use to the warmth of southern China.