Brandon (brandonbray) wrote,

Leaving China

So, my time in China is nearly up. My computer desktop is counting down by the second. I'll fight with the Great Firewall of China one last time to capture what the last few months have been like. So here goes:

The view of trees and waterway from the Microsoft office in Zizhu. Trees!
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.
Tingting and Brandon. Tingting is a Chinese language teacher. 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.
The evil Cheetos. Beware! 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).
The longest oversea bridge. 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.
DevDiv China on a team outting to Wuxie. 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.
The dinner party at Jade on 36. 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 crowd preparing to see the Olympic Torch Relay in Shanghai. 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.
Brandon at the top of a pagoda in Suzhou. 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.
The canal in Beijing with bars along it. 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.
The Arfican animal display in the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. 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 were banned in China as of June 1, 2008. 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.
A Texas restaurant in China. 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.
I have no pictures of this event... for a good reason. 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.
Kung Fu Panda is a great movie. You should see it. 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!
Brandon and his PM team before leaving China to return to the United States. Saying Good Bye
This last week has been filled with good bye dinners. Here's a picture of my PM team.

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