When I came back, I could see trees. Elizabeth Montgomery's character, Sayward Luckett Wheeler, in The Awakening Land got it right when she said, "This place needs trees."
Overall, May was a beautiful month in China. It made up for the lack of color during winter.
| ||Ni De Kuzi Zhao Huo Le|
I finished language lessons in May, which added yet another language I can warn people about conflagrations.
Most importantly, I am now capable of making completely nonsensical phrases. For instance, not knowing how to say "air conditioning," I asked a driver to "Please make on the iced electric wind." Surprisingly, it worked.
| ||Don't eat the Cheetos|
When I was in search of life sustaining junk food, I thought I could depend on Cheetos. Wrong!
They replaced cheesy goodness with meat flavors. It's vile.
The Doritos are okay (Stephen Colbert will be happy).
| ||Longest Oversea Bridge|
In May, our team went on a morale trip and went over the newly opened bridge connecting Shanghai with Hangzhou--the longest oversea bridge in the world. It was so long that I fell asleep while crossing it.
| ||Visiting Wuxie and Xiaoshing|
Our team trip over a weekend in May took us to Wuxie National Park and Xiaoshing, childhood home of Luqun.
I liked Wuxie--it was a great park. It's also where socks are made. The ones you're wearing now were probably made here.
| ||One of the Best Restaurants Ever|
I've been to a lot of nice restaurants, but Jade on 36 is easily one of the best. The staff was friendly and not pretentious. Most of all the food was fun.
I've already gone twice, and I'm sure to go again whenever I visit in the future.
| ||The Olympic Torch Relay|
Shortly after the Sichuan Earthquake, the torch relay passed through Shanghai. Bruce, Pung, and I got up early to join the crowds, which were chanting Zhong Guo Jia You ("Go China!").
Sadly, the excitement didn't bear fruit. We watched the torch go by in a van in a motorcade.
| ||Visiting Suzhou|
I was told that Suzhou is the "Venice of China." It is not.
Still, this was a beautiful place and well worth the day trip. With this, I've now visited five provinces in China... more than most Chinese people.
| ||Back to Beijing|
In early June, I went back to Beijing for work. This time the air quality was much better.
I also got to see the less touristy aspects of the city. We did go to a cool canal that was lined with bars... though each bar specialized in a single brand of beer which surprisingly isn't as cool as it sounds.
| ||I Love this Museum|
If I didn't have a great career in software, I would want to be a curator for a museum like the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. I want to live there.
| ||Plastic Bags Are Still Here|
Leading up to the plastic bag ban in China, I was wondering how it would happen. Putting things in plastic bags was practically a reflex for shop keepers.
It happened though. Plastic bags are still here, but they have to be bought. Apparently, this put 20,000 people out a job.
| ||Just a Few Miles West of Texas|
I've now been to a number of Texan restaurants in China, and of course the quality ranges. But overall, it's actually better than Seattle.
I still think seeing a waitress in China dressed in the Texas flag is highly amusing.
| ||The Taxi Ride from Hell|
While in Beijing, I observed road rage. Fortunately, I was surrounded by others and people were there to keep things from escalating.
I wasn't so lucky last weekend. Between the rain and the normal anti-social driving practices my taxi nearly missed a collision (aka would not let another cut in). When the cars came to a stop the other driver came over and pulled my taxi driver out of the car and started kicking him. If this were in the U.S., it would be felony assault. Being alone and not being able to do anything made the situation horrific.
| ||Panda Bears!|
One thing I really wanted to do while here was to go see the panda bears near Chengdu. That became impossible after the earthquake. So... I will come back some day.
I finally went to a movie theater to see Kung Fu Panda. Movie theaters assign seats. It was great seeing this movie here in China. The animators got so much of the scenery and architecture right. I love this movie!
| ||Saying Good Bye|
This last week has been filled with good bye dinners. Here's a picture of my PM team.