Steve's China Blog

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bank of China sucks

I really hate Bank of China. There service is terrible, their regulations are stupid, and it seems no one there knows what they're doing. Today I went to the local branch that just opened next to my apartment. I wanted to change some dollars that I have in one of my accounts there to Chinese Yuan. They said they could not exchange currency at that branch. I had to ask them for directions to the nearest branch that would. After I went to the next branch that could exchange foreign currency they said they could not do it because my account was opened in another province.

After I got to the office we started calling the main branch in Liaoning Province (where I opened the account in Dalian) and the main branch in Sichuan Province (ChengDu), and the answer was the same... if I wanted to access my US Dollars I had to go to Dalian. Can you believe this s%#@? So much for "a comprehensive range of high-quality financial services to individual and corporate customers as well as financial institutions worldwide" as their website boasts. They can't even get their act together within their own country.

My pay is still going to my Dalian account too since I did not change my direct deposit to a ChengDu bank. I couldn't open a new bank account here because I didn't have my passport. The local government had my passport so I could get my new work permit and they took their sweet time returning it. With the costs of moving I am not sure I have enough Yuan to fly to Dalian and stay there at a hotel. And I definitely don't have enough Yuan to buy my airline tickets to the US for my vacation next month.

So thanks to these incompetent numb-nuts at Bank of China and their primitive monetary system I have to waste my time and money flying to Dalian just to transfer the money in my Bank of China account (Dalian) to my Bank of China account (ChengDu). And knowing how Bank of China works I will fly all the way to Dalian and they'll tell me they can not do anything because I need some form or something from ChengDu, or something from somewhere that they never bothered to tell me about.

I just so dread having to deal with the banks here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Funny lines

I have been wanting to post some news and pictures about ChengDu, but I've been kind of busy and the weather has been either too rainy and/or too hot to go picture taking. Instead of just posting nothing I thought I would post 20 funny movie lines...

"Oh, right. Calling you stupid would be an insult to stupid people!"
--A Fish Called Wanda

"...and don't call me Shirley."

"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?!"
--Animal House

"Alright you primitive screw-heads, listen up!"
--Army of Darkness

"Hey, where all the white women at?"
--Blazing Saddles

"It's good to be king"
--History of the World, Part 1

"You see, they've taken a supreme vow of celibacy, like their fathers, and their fathers before them."
--Hot Shots! Part Deux

"To a New Yorker like you, a hero is some sort of weird sandwich, not some nut that takes on three tigers."
--Kelly's Heroes

"Blessed are the cheese makers? What's so special about them?"
--Life of Brian

"Oh, good. My dog found the chainsaw!"
--Lilo and Stitch

"Shaving points off a football game... man, that's un-American."
-- The Longest Yard

"Tis only a flesh wound."
--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

"SHE LOVE ME!.....why?"
--Much Ado About Nothing

"Are you trying to say 'capeech'?"
--My Blue Heaven

"Famous for your mud? How's your Chinese food?"
--My Cousin Vinny

"I've just being going over last month's bills, and I find that you people have confused me with the Treasury Department."
--My Man Godfrey

"Welcome to the Caribbean, love."
--Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

"I do not think that word means what you think that word means."
--Princess Bride

"Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun god robes, on a pyramid with 1000 naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?"
--Real Genius

"You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!'. That would be bad."

Ok, this has nothing to do with China, but I thought it might be fun. Plus there might be some funny movie here that you've never seen before and might now have an interest in seeing. Anyways, What are your favorite funny movie lines?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nice long day

Earlier this week I was very busy. On Monday I started work at 8:00am and got done at 6:00pm. Then I went out to dinner with a lady I had met during the weekend named Chong Yu, and after dinner I went home and worked for a few more hours. I think I went to bed at around 11:30 or so.

On Tuesday I woke up at 5:30am to play Everquest II with some friends, and we were running around in a dungeon called the Ruins of Varsoon. Lately I have been playing my Swashbuckler in the game and his name is Zharahk. He's sort of like a big sneaky pirate, and he is a lot of fun to play.

I had to logon to work at 9:00am, so I was very happy that we got to kill a monster named Et'sipe Ymeresh before we finished. We killed Et'sipe, but his minions killed us... but not before I looted this from his corpse:

Here's how Zharahk looks wearing it...

... and this is how he looks when it is activated...

Sort of like Curse of the Black Pearl. Hehe!

It was a good way to start the day. I knew it was going to be a long day, and since I knew that I figured it would be a lousy day. Actually, even though it was a very long day it was full of a lot of little good things... my driver brought along his little daughter and a friend of hers on the way to work and they were very funny, got invited to go see the latest Harry Potter movie by some co-workers next week, had a good lunch with some friends, arranged to have a house keeper come over and clean once a week, finished up some things for my project, found a cool website called How to Order Chinese Food Dot Com, and felt like I could understand some of what was discussed in a project meeting I had later that evening. I got home from the office at about midnight and did not have any trouble falling asleep. A nice long day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Internet what?

While looking through the news the other day I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal...

Internet Hunting Has Got to Stop -- If It Ever Starts

The Humane Society of the United States last year mailed more than 50,000 people an urgent message, underlined and in bold type: "Such horrific cruelty must stop and stop now!"

The cruelty in question was Internet hunting, which the animal-rights group described as the "sick and depraved" sport of shooting live game with a gun controlled remotely over the Web. Responding to the Humane Society's call, 33 states have outlawed Internet hunting since 2005, and a bill to ban it nationally has been introduced in Congress.

But nobody actually hunts animals over the Internet.

One of the things about living in a developing country is seeing how things are in developed countries a little bit differently. To me it seems easier to see that in places like the US things are so good that people have to go out and make up things to fight against. At least things like this are not going to harm anyone like other things, such as the global warming scam. But you do have to wonder how much better off the world would be if people put their energies into fighting things that really are problems in the world like poverty, hunger, oppression, poor education, etc...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Parts again (geek warning)

This Saturday I went downtown with a co-worker looking for computer parts. I needed some new memory and a new case for my desktop computer at home. ChengDu has an area that has a lot of stores selling all kinds of computers and computer parts. They also have video game consoles, such as PlayStations, as well as other gizmos.

I created a list of twelve types of 800 mhz memory that my motherboard could support and a list of eight computer cases that I had read reviews of online. I figured they would be able to find some of the memory since what I was looking for was not the most recent versions of memory for sale back in the US, but they did not have any of the types I was looking for.

They did have one of the computer cases on my list... Cooler Master Centurion 534! I was very surprised. I am still surprised. The case is pretty nice... it has slots for three 120mm fans and one extra slot of a 80mm fan or a funnel that sits above the CPU. I removed the funnel, since my heatsink on the CPU is too big and put in a 80mm fan. The whole system runs much cooler than before... about 6°C to 8°C cooler. The case itself came with two 120mm fans, and I bought a third here. The third one is not silent. It's not loud, but I think I'll find a silent one the next time I come to the US.

Something that I noticed is that the listings for my memory on the ASUS Qualified Vendor List (QVL) on their global website is different than their QVL on their North American website. On one site it says I can run my memory in Dual Channel and one says that I can not. Since I do not know which list is more up-to-date (they do not have dates on their QVLs), I thought I would do some more testing of my memory. Sure enough, one of the modules shows some problems now during testing. I will have to send that one back to Corsair when I get a chance.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Shamrock and Sabrina's

Friday night I went to an Irish pub here in ChengDu called Shamrock Pub. The Shamrock is a pretty good pub where lots of us foreigners hang out. I am not sure if ChengDu has more western foreigners than Dalian does, but it seems that way since a lot of them come to the Shamrock on Friday nights. There is also something here I did not see much of in Dalian... ladies with blond hair. After being in China so long it is a rare sight for me.

While I was at the Shamrock I ran into some friends, and I also ran into a bunch of florists from Germany. They were taking a tour of China to visit the places where their flowers and plants are grown. Nice boondoggle. The rest of the weekend I was lazy and only did a fraction of the things that I had hoped to accomplish. Oh well, what else are weekends for?

For dinner on Sunday I went to Peter's Tex-Mex Grill and had enchiladas. That was really good and I was thinking about having dessert, but decided to go for a walk instead. While walking down the street I discovered a place called Sabrina's Country Store.

Sabrina's sells food stuff from other countries, and although it looks small from the outside it had a lot of really great stuff! After one trip walking around the store to see what they had I thought to myself, "I am going to be fatter and poorer now that I found this place". Although Metro has a lot more things it is mostly stuff from China and Europe. It seemed most of the things in Sabrina's are from America. I ended up only buying a few things that I have not been able to find anywhere else... corn chips, salsa, brown sugar, A1 sauce, Comet bleach, spices, and some apple strudel Pop Tarts. I'll definitely be going back there soon.