Steve's China Blog

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

My Chinese New Year holiday is over, and I am back at work now. The holiday is still going on, and will finish with the Lantern Festival sometime later this week. I was off from the 13th of February to the 19th of February. I spent most of the holiday just relaxing. I got a lot of sleep, ate a lot of food, played on the computer some, and finished reading Flashman in the Great Game. I've only got 2 more Flashman books to finish.

On Chinese New Year's eve I joined Reese and her family for dinner. Her mother cooked a bunch of Hunan dishes, and they were excellent. Some of the dishes were new to me, and I was told that some of the recipes are only cooked on New Years eve. Such a shame... they were quite good. After dinner we watched some of the New Year's specials that are on TV every year. I stayed with them until about 10:00pm, and then went home. I was kind of tired.

The fireworks this year were really good, or I should say they are really good... They are still going on. People start shooting off fireworks about a week before New Years, but the really big fireworks show is at midnight on New Years. That lasted until about 3:00am, and would have made anyone from Baghdad homesick. They will keep shooting off fireworks until Lantern Festival, but not as intensely as New Year's night.

I went out a few times during the holiday. One night I went out to dinner with Jessie. We went to a restaurant called Del Mar, which serves Mediterranean food. It was quite good. Jessie had a pizza and I had the cordon bleu (they were out of the lasagna and the scallops). We had some stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer. After dinner we went over to her place and I met her mother. She was very nice. After that we walked around TanZiLin, which is referred to as European Street, to look at the shops. I might move to that area later this year. It's very nice.

One night I went to dinner and met this lady. She was single, in her early forties, very beautiful, and very rich. Sounds perfect, huh? But from what I could tell she was a total drunkard. Too bad. Usually when a Chinese person has a drink or two their face turns red. In the time it took me to drink two glasses of wine she drank almost an entire bottle of bourbon whiskey, and she didn't blush a bit. After she got drunk she started ordering people around, and what surprised me was that some people did as she said! She ordered me to dance with her, but I told her I wouldn't until she said, "Please". That got some funny reactions from the people around us. She was a fun dancer. I decided to leave when she ordered a bottle of Hennesy.

I also visited a DVD store that has a lot of pirated DVDs. I got a good copy of the new Sherlock Holmes movie. It was pretty entertaining. He starts out like James Bond and evolves into Sherlock Holmes. I also watched a movie called The Book of Eli. I really liked this movie. It's an action movie, but it actually has a really good story. The story evolves as the movie goes along, so at the beginning you are not sure what is going on. Loved the ending too.

I also found the first 9 seasons of the TV show Poirot on DVDs, and I had to get those. They come with both Chinese and Japanese subtitles, and I think the listing of shows was translated from English into Japanese, and then from Japanese to Chinese, and then from Chinese into English, so you end up with some pretty funny names. For example, instead of "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" there is "Mysterious box from Spain", and my favorite... instead of "Wasp's Nest" there is "Powered by Bzzd".

This Chinese New Year also marks my 5th year in China! Yeah!

Friday, February 05, 2010


Last weekend I went to see the movie Avatar. I had heard from a lot of people that it was a great movie, but I had no idea what it was about. To tell the truth, I was kind of disappointed. The scenery in the movie was very pretty, but it seemed that making the movie in 3D was an afterthought. There were not that many effects that seemed like 3D effects, and I do not think seeing it in 2D would have been that much different.

The most disappointing part of the movie was the story. The Avatar project by itself seemed like an interesting idea, and I wish they had gone into that some more. Unfortunately the story was one of those trite "corporations are evil" stories that Hollywood never seems to tire of. In the movie Avatar it is an evil mining corporation versus some rastafarian cat people who are attuned to nature in some wise and mystical way. What a load of crap.