Steve's China Blog

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 IBM Annual Party

On Sunday we had our annual IBM party. This year it was held at the Shangri-La Hotel, which is one of the nicest hotels in Chengdu. I am not sure how many attended, but it seemed to be several hundred people.

The crowd gathers

The evening started with some short speeches from various upper management people from Chengdu, China, and Asia Pacific...

Some words from our site manager

Then it was followed by various entertainment venues, such as singing...

A nice song

Angel sings for us

The managers sang a song called One Night in Chengdu, which is a change from the famous One Night in Beijing (not to be confused with the song One Night in Bangkok)

... and there was some dancing...

A sexy show dance

A glitzy fun dance

Jessie and Candy do another belly dance for us

A tribute dance to Michael Jackson

... some contests...

How many marbles can you pick up with chopsticks?

... and even a short fashion show...

She doesn't look this sexy in the office

We also had a big dinner during the shows. A lot of the items served were seafood, such as scallops and crab, which kind of surprised me. The dishes were all pretty tasty, but a lot of them arrived at our tables a little cold. I know it's not easy to serve a dozen or so dishes to several hundred people, but they tried. The wine was from France and was ok. Altogether it was definitely better than years past though.

All throughout the party they had drawings for prizes. Prizes ranged from coffee makers and rice cookers all the way up to the grand prize of a trip for two to Bali. I didn't win anything though. Oh well, next year maybe.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hotpot, Tropico, etc...

I got over my jet lag pretty quickly. It was good to go out my first weekend back for some hotpot. Reese and her family took me to a hotpot place near where they live that has an all-you-can-eat hotpot. Oh, I felt so fat after that! I think a 13 day trip home was just right... I just started getting really hungry for Sichuan food by the end of my trip.

A friend of mine went to a city in northern China called Harbin. The ice sculptures there are much much more impressive than the ice sculptures at the ice show I saw while back in the US. The link to see his pictures can be found here.

I know I have not posted much lately, but I've been busy with work, and also I've been playing around with a computer game I bought in the US called Tropico 3, which is a new version of the game Tropico in which you get to be the leader/dictator of a Caribbean island country. Viva El Presidente!

Tropico combines city management with a wide variety of residential, economic, civic, and military structures and transportation and resourcing management, with political gameplay including a variety of factions with needs and demands, elections, coups and revolutions when needs are not met, and the ability to follow each Tropican including key faction leaders individually, determining individual needs and orientations, and apply a variety of means of persuasion from improvement of conditions or bribes to firing, imprisonment, and assassination. It also has a groovy island musical soundtrack!


Saturday, January 09, 2010

The rest of the trip...

My Christmas trip back to the US was very nice. I got to see my parents, my brother Jay, my nephew Nicky, and some of my friends. I spent most of the holiday eating, shopping, more eating, relaxing, watching football, eating some more, playing on the computer, etc... A good way to spend the holidays.

One day after Christmas we all went to the National Harbor to see the Ice Show. The ice show was a big collection of ice sculptures housed in an enormous tent-like structure that is specially constructed and thickly insulated to help maintain its internal temperature of 9°F. It was cold in there! Luckily they lent out parkas to everyone as you were going inside. Here are some pictures...

A Christmas sculpture

An ice angel

Some of the Chinese sculptors must have made these

A toy soldier with slides in the background

A giant horse and sleigh

After viewing all the ice sculptures we walked around National Harbor, and with the wind chill it seemed colder outside than inside the ice show. We ended up walking down to McCormick and Schmicks for dinner. Even though it was only 4:00pm there was a half hour wait to get a table. The meal was very good... I had the steak, and shrimp stuffed with crab meat.

A few days after Christmas Jay and Nicky flew back to North Carolina, and I drove up to visit my friend Greg. His wife Amy and daughter Gillian were visiting the Chicago airport. Actually they were going to Nebraska to visit Amy's family there, but ended up staying at the Chicago airport longer than expected. Greg and I went to dinner at a good place called Victoria Gastro Pub, and then back to his place to play a twisted game on his XBox called Left 4 Dead 2.

I spent a relaxing New Year's Eve with my parents at their house. We had a delicious dinner, enjoyed some good wine, and watched the New Year's festivities on the Fox News channel. Happy New Year! After that we watched a show called Red Eye on Fox that was pretty funny.

One night I went out to dinner with my friends Les, Lynne, Greg, Amy, and Gillian. We went to Charlies' and had a really nice dinner of various Italian dishes. It was great that we all got a chance to get together. Hopefully we'll all get a chance to go the Maryland Renaissance Festival in September or October!

During the holidays I watched 3 football games... I saw the Redskins lose to the Cowboys, WVU lose to Florida State in the Gator Bowl, and the Redskins lose to the Chargers. The Redskins really sucked this year and WVU usually chokes on bowl games, so I wasn't that surprised at the losses.

The flight back to China was better then the flight to the US... No delays. The flights to Chicago and Beijing actually arrived early. The flight to Chengdu was on time, and after 23 hours of traveling I was ready for some sleep especially since I had to get up early the next day for work. The next night I slept for 12 hours which is a lot more than my normal 6 or 7 hours that I usually get. Luckily it is a short work week, so I will have the weekend to recover from my jet lag.