When you can't live without bananas

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Links - 17th March 2011

"First there is a time when we believe everything, then for a little while we believe with discrimination, then we believe nothing whatever, and then we believe everything again - and, moreover, give reasons why we believe." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg


Use a Mac, they never have problems. Right? Right?!

What Does An iPhone With a Bullet Hole Look Like? - "A controversial new photography show from artist Michael Tompert features high-res photographs of destroyed Apple products — iPhones with bullet holes, iPads melted by blowtorches and iPods run over by a train — and it’s all to make you question your obsession with gadgetry... the idea came to him after seeing his two children fight over their iPod Christmas presents. Fed up, Tompert says he grabbed one of the devices and smashed it on the ground. “They were kind of stunned""

NUS: Employment Rate1 and Gross Monthly Salary of Graduates By Bachelors Degree, 2009

More safeguards to be introduced to curb gambling addiction if needed Dr Balakrishnan - "He added that there is also a need for Singaporeans to be more self reliant. Mr Goh said: "How many of you followed the latest tragic events in Japan with the tsunami...and then put into context our floods in Singapore against that kind of disaster. "I am not saying we shouldn't do anything about the flood. But the amount of noise you made with just sporadic flood compared to the Japanese. I saw them on TV. Very stoic looking. You don't see them crying. This has happened, just get on, that's the kind of spirit you want to have and you call it nation building.""
We should be like the Japanese in other ways, like throwing out one of the world's longest-ruling parties and having ministers resign to take responsibility

19-Year-Old Is Charged in Hamster's Death - "After a nine-month hunt for a suspect they described as evasive and uncooperative, law enforcement agents from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrested Monique Smith, 19, along Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick. She was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals — a felony that carries a sentence of up to two years in prison — along with two misdemeanors, torturing animals and endangering the welfare of a child... Animal cruelty laws apply equally to creatures large and small, said Joseph Pentangelo, assistant director of humane law enforcement for the society"
One comment: "Really, to an ant? A flea? How about a Cockroach? Joseph, are you being misquoted?"
"Wouldn’t this make anyone that uses a mousetrap a felon?"
"I’m assuming they’ll jump on the factory farming industry next… and the millions of Americans who eat meat – right? Just to be consistent."
"Send these PETA/animal welfare people to Sierra Leone, where they can learn what real cruelty is and maybe decide to spend their useless lives doing good that actually matters…"
"This kind of thing is one of the major reasons I moved out of the US, so my son would not be raised with the possibility of having his life destroyed for a mistake"

The Economics Of Prostitution - "Wives, in truth, are superior to whores in the economist's sense of being a good whose consumption increases as income rises--like fine wine. This may explain why prostitution is less common in wealthier countries... according to data assembled from a wide variety of times and places, ranging from mid-15th-century France to Malaysia of the late 1990s, prostitutes make more money--in some cases, a lot more money--than do working girls who, well, work for a living. This held true even for places where prostitution is legal and relatively safe. In short, streetwalkers aren't necessarily being paid more for their increased risk of going to jail or the hospital... 'prostitution must pay better than other jobs to compensate for the opportunity cost of forgone-marriage market earnings'... 'This begs the question of why married men go to prostitutes (rather than buying from their wives, who presumably will be low-cost providers, considering that they can sell nonreproductive sex without compromising their marriage)'... the economic analysis of marriage explains one age-old phenomenon: gold digging"

McKinsey & Company - Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch - ""Consider the results of a recent McKinsey Quarterly survey of global executives on the impact of participatory Web 2.0 technologies (such as social networks, wikis, and microblogs) on management and performance. The survey found that deploying these technologies to create networked organisations that foster innovative collaboration among employees, customers, and business partners is highly correlated with market share gains. "That is just one example of how these trends transcend technology and provide a map of the terrain for creating value and competing effectively in these challenging and uncertain times""

Why being up close with poverty can bring positive benefits - "When I was 18, I worked for six months with street children in Medellin, the second biggest city in Colombia. I was meant to be helping them but, predictably, did very little of concrete value. I spent most of my time being ridiculed for my bad Spanish and having my clothes stolen... The anti-poverty industry is a multibillion-dollar money spinner... The longer you stay in the anti-poverty business, the less likely you are to know anyone who is poor"

Gender discrimination must end for Singapore to flourish, says AWARE - "Gender discrimination still exists in Singapore today. This, it said, was the unanimous view of about 200 participants at the Women's Choices, Women's Lives: Shaping the Next 25 Years conference... this discrimination must be eradicated and gender equity achieved if... the challenges of the low fertility rate and the ageing population are to be tackled effectively. It is pushing for a quota of 30 per cent to be set for women in Parliament... [It] also recommends that gender studies be added to the core curriculum for all students, and in the Civil Service"
You know AWARE has really lost the plot when they call for compulsory gender studies classes; you know what else reduces fertility? Educating women

What do you do after you make a ZILLION dollars? - "1.) The One-Year Rule. Don’t change your lifestyle at all for at least one year.
2.) The No-Friends Rule. Don’t lend money to old friends. Don’t be so quick to make new friends. Once you make money, everyone will approach you about new investments you can make. Or people will want to borrow money from you.
3.) Don’t Invest.
4.) The 2% Rule. If you really feel that Google is going to $5,000 per share and you have to buy some stock at $500, don’t put more than 2% of your money into it.
5.) The Good Health Rule. Believe it or not, your health is now at risk if you just came into sudden wealth.
6.) Try Not To Burn Out."

www.dumpert.nl - Nieuw! De TietPlakkerT
An easy trick to get support with some sticky tape. NSFW

Letting your mind wander is a major cause of unhappiness - "Our minds are wandering about 46.9 percent of the time in any given activity, and the mind-wandering rate was at least 30% for all but one activity. Thankfully, the only activity that generally got people's undivided attention was making love. That was also one of the activities that made people happiest, along with exercising and conversing with others... Only 4.6% of a person's happiness could be attributed to what they were doing, but 10.8% of it was caused by what they were thinking about at the time, and people consistently reported being happiest when their minds were on what they were doing"
Dreamers are unhappier than people who focus on the present

China wants extra compensation for Christchurch quake victims - "The Chinese Embassy has asked the Government to give special compensation to Chinese families who lost children in last month's Christchurch earthquake... Mr Lei said there was a very notable difference between Chinese families and other foreign families, which needed to be taken into consideration when providing compensation to families who lost their only child"
Simply, China is a piece of shit. Whose fault is it that they only have one child?

Rethinking Nuclear Power - "If xenophobia had not killed nuclear power in the United States in the late 1970's, there's a good chance that we'd have all been driving electric cars for the past 20 years; and uncounted billions of tons of carbon dioxide would never been sucked out of the ground, burned in power plants, and exhausted into our atmosphere... Three Mile Island can (and should) be characterized as a shining example of how well the safety systems work, even in the face of human error and old-fashioned reactor design... Chernobyl-type disasters are not possible in most reactors around the world. Only a very few Generation I designs are still in use, all in the former Soviet Union, and all have been retrofitted with improvements intended to prevent this type of accident... How do the dangers of nuclear energy compare to the dangers of fossil fuel energy? A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that some 50,000-100,000 Americans die each year from lung cancer caused by particulate air pollution, the biggest cause of which is coal-burning power plants in the midwest and east. Even taking the maximum predicted death toll from Chernobyl, we would need a Chernobyl-sized accident every three weeks to make nuclear power as deadly as coal and oil already is... the plants we're designing now produce less waste than ever... Lobbying against future cleaner plants won't make the existing waste go away"

All the Aggregation That’s Fit to Aggregate - "My putative status as the 50th most important person on Planet Earth derives in part from a belief that the editor of an important newspaper does not merely harvest the initiative of hard-working journalists but personally directs a vast, global conspiracy. I don’t. But then, I would say that, wouldn’t I?... Some once-serious news outlets give pride of place not to stories they think important but to stories that are “trending” on Twitter — the “American Idol”-ization of news. And we have bestowed our highest honor — market valuation — not on those who labor over the making of original journalism but on aggregation... “Aggregation”... too often it amounts to taking words written by other people, packaging them on your own Web site and harvesting revenue that might otherwise be directed to the originators of the material. In Somalia this would be called piracy. In the mediasphere, it is a respected business model. The queen of aggregation is, of course, Arianna Huffington, who has discovered that if you take celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications, array them on your Web site and add a left-wing soundtrack, millions of people will come... if everybody is an aggregator, nobody will be left to make real stuff to aggregate"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Je le raterai :(

"Le 22 au soir je participe à un diner de conversation.

Est-ce que vous connaissez ?

Un philosophe, sociologue anglais, Theodor Zeldin, a eu cette idée d'organiser des diners où se rencontrent des gensqui ne se connaissent pas. Deux par deux, ils choisissent des questions sur un menu et y expriment leurs sentiments et leurs expériences.

Le 22, c'est T.Zeldin lui-même qui présentera la soirée."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Now it's racist to say you shouldn't talk on the phone in the library

"It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper." - Jerry Seinfeld


Alexandra Wallace, UCLA Student, Rants on Asians for Phoning Tsunami Victims in the Library (VIDEO)

"Alexandra Wallace -- equipped with a dorm room, a pushup bra, a webcam and two minutes fifty-two seconds too much free time -- managed to ignite a "Kill the Beast"-caliber Internet mob in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon...

Campus police tell the Bruin that Wallace began receiving death threats to both her e-mail inbox and phone...

'"If she's received a death threat, I find that as deplorable as her original YouTube video. If this is the response of students on campus, we've got a lot of work to do," said Robert Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students'

Wallace's poli-science professor divulges that those "precautions" included re-scheduling her finals, as the Internet mob had apparently gotten ahold of her exam locations. (Now that's dedication)...

Contrary to their "UCLA May Punish Student" headlines, a comment in the Bruin from Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Robert Naples -- "but he cautioned that the code does not usurp the authority of the First Amendment" -- suggests the university is well aware they have no grounds on which to do so"

Apparently now it's racist to say that you should keep quiet in the library.

As usual, this is ridiculous - I totally agree with her "rant" (it doesn't qualify as one, but for the sake of argument...).

Her "ching chong ling long" is slightly offensive but really it is nothing (Russell Peters has jokes about Chinese that aren't that different, but because he has Indian Privilege [or rather, non-White Privilege] he's fine).

And if death threats are "as deplorable" as telling a group of people that they should keep quiet in the library, something is very wrong somewhere (i.e. the loss of proportionality).

This just goes to show that you can't change human nature: while the victims of hate and prejudice change, the fact of it (and it arising from an in/outgroup mentality) does not.

(Incidentally, it's sexist to pick on her pushup bra)

Addendum: "comedy on racism is only racist if the comedian is white" (comment on a Russell Peters video)

Someone: I actually agree with her too
She totally described all the PRCs in Singapore

I think what made people angry was the fact that she brought up the tsunami

I find that my white friends don't dare to criticise Asians in front of me in general
Usually they're very surprised when I say something unflattering about my own race
and then they relax and confess that they also think the same way but can't tell anyone due to their skin colour

Me: enjoy your Privilege :)

Someone: :D I will
I will also enjoy the privilege of being female


Too many travel stories

There now rests 3+1 days of travelogue for both my France 2010 and North China travelogues.

Given that I am leaving the country again on Wednesday evening (and returning on the 31st), I surely will be unable to complete either - let alone both - before I once again have material.

I will think about how to solve this issue when I return.

Links - 15th March 2011

"If you don't know what to do with many of the papers piled on your desk, stick a dozen colleagues' initials on 'em, and pass them along. When in doubt, route." - Malcolm Forbes


An eye on gaming's future, and past - "In 1979, Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani hoped to create a game girls would want to play, too. "Back then, there were no home systems. You had to go to the arcade, (which) was a playground for boys. It was dirty and smelly. I wanted to create something cleaner and brighter." He reasoned that women — who now make up 40% of the gaming population — loved desserts, "so eating, that gave me a hint to create this game," Iwatani says. Pac-Man's ghostly enemies looked like gliding snowball desserts — "very cute," he says. "It was a Tom and Jerry relationship""

China's intimidation of the foreign press - "At least four correspondents have had their e-mail accounts hacked and e-mails forwarded to unknown addresses. Many more have had targeted e-mails sent to them containing computer viruses... It follows the physical violence against journalists trying to report from the protest site in Beijing a week ago... the security services, who are leading the drive to prevent any contagion from the Middle East, seem to be starting to view journalists as a threat similar to internal dissidents. China doesn't have a free media of its own, and few in the government seem able to believe that foreign reporters are here simply as witnesses to what happens in China"

Subway steams past McDonald's in store race

No money, no honey for older, single men - "Women continue to have little desire to marry down. Many echo what Ms Helen Chiang, 33, a sales executive and diploma-holder who is single, said: 'If I make more money, then why marry? I want to marry someone to take care of me, not the other way around'... Last year, singlehood was most prevalent among men with below secondary school qualifications... In interviews with 25 men who fall into this category, almost all said it is their financial situation that makes them not a prime asset to the Singapore woman... Their courting arena is limited to KTV lounges, hawker centres, foodcourts and fast-food restaurants, where affordability trumps atmosphere... Local women scorn them, they said, because most are in better-paying jobs than they are... [One] described the strategy employed by some foreign women here as 'seduce and slaughter'... 'Overseas girls have fewer expectations. But if you meet the girl at a disco, better run'... The situation is 'very sad', said Dr Gavin Jones, a sociologist at the Asia Research Institute. While men stuck in dead-end jobs were generally less likely to find partners anywhere in the world, this phenomenon appeared to be especially pervasive in Asian societies, he noted. 'It's linked to culture. In Asia, women still covet what sociologists call 'hypergamy' - the desire to marry someone more successful"

Metaphors We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson - "To give some idea of what it could mean for a concept to be metaphorical and for such a concept to structure an everyday activity, let us start with the concept ARGUMENT and the conceptual metaphor ARGUMENT IS WAR"

Bill Gates no longer the richest man - "Bill Gates, who was overtaken last year by Mexican Businessman Slim, does not intend to reclaim the number one spot because he lost for a valiant reason: by giving away billions to his charitable foundation"

Adobe Releases Flash-to-HTML5 Converter, Codenamed Wallaby

YouTube - The Story of Bottled Water (2010) - "Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industrys attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all"

Expats, don't play or you'll pay - "Mr Expat goes clubbing, gets drunk and accepts the advances of women who snuggle up to them on the dance floor. A while later, a group of men confront Mr Expat, accusing him of molest. And because he is too drunk to remember what happened, he chooses to pay off the woman rather than appear in court to fight the charges... Lawyers have become concerned that some clubgoers see this as a quick way to make money... he has been getting more expats seeking his help over such accusations. "Expats tend to be more vulnerable"... "The men go to court and tell the judge that they were too drunk to remember what happened, the women's side of the story would be unchallenged. Unless (the women) are caught telling lies on the witness stand, the judge would have little choice but to accept their side of the story"... [One lawyer] warns men to be extra careful when they drink... [Another] warns men to be wary whenever women approach them in a pub or club. "Don't go alone. Make sure that there is at least someone sober to be a witness"... [One victim] is now more careful with women he meets in nightspots. "I heard how the law is very strict here. So I don't want to get into any trouble." For a woman to scream molest, she does not need many witnesses, said a bouncer"
I love the chart which shows you the price of touching each part of a woman; it used to be women who were warned to be careful about drinking and the like (similarly, the best thing for a guy attacked by a girl is to shout for help and run away) - men are the new women

YouTube - LOL carrot bukakke 2 guys 1 girl facial (SFW)

mrbrown: L'infantile terrible of Singapore: Japan got earthquake, quickly book your CNA commercial slots NOW! - "Book your spots in the Weekday Evening News Bundle as the channel brings viewers comprehensive coverage reports on the disaster with extended versions of news bulletins tonight"

The Economics of Natural Disasters: A Survey - "The emerging consensus in the literature is that natural disasters have, on average, a negative impact on short-term economic growth... Skidmore and Toya [suggest] that disasters may be speeding up the Schumpeterian “creative destruction” process that is at the
heart of the development of market economies... the creative destruction dynamic most likely only occurs in countries with high per capita income... Cavallo, Galiani, Noy and Pantano... don’t find any significant long-run effect of disasters
(even very large disasters...). The exceptions are very large events that were also followed by radical political revolution... it is possible that the natural disasters affected the likelihood of the radical regime change that followed... the literature on the long-run effects of natural disasters is scant and its results inconclusive"

God Answers Prayers Of Paralyzed Little Boy | The Onion - "'No,' Says God... Paralyzed in a 1996 auto accident that also claimed the lives of both his parents, Timmy has served as a shining example to his fellow churchgoers at Lord In Heaven On High Church, inspiring others with his simple, heartfelt devotion. Now that Timmy has received an answer, Christians the world over are celebrating his story as a stirring testament to the power of faith... "For years, this boy had been plagued by the question of whether or not he would ever walk, and now Our Lord, in his wisdom and mercy, has forever laid to rest any lingering doubt"... "My will be done," God added. Witnesses to the miracle said Timmy begged God for several minutes to change His mind and heal his shattered vertebrae, but the Lord stood firm... Despite all the attention he has received, Timmy remains humble in the face of his newfound notoriety as the only human ever to have a prayer directly answered by God Himself. "I know that God loves me, because it says so in the Bible," Timmy said. "So right now, I am just glad that God took the time to answer my prayer. If only I could walk, this would be the greatest day of my life""

Vegetarians barred from adopting - "A vegetarian couple on the Greek island of Crete have been barred from adopting a child because of doubts about their diet"

Obesity Problem – Negative Reactions Against Obese People Affect Their Physical Health Says Study
Unfortunately this does not distinguish between the perception of discrimination and the fact of discrimination, but then it's hard to tease out those effects

Wren Jones - "Wren had died of a Group B Strep infection... Since the 90s there’s been a straightforward protocol on how to prevent GBS, that is over 99.8% effective... the GBS infection was really just the symptom of the deeper “disease.” The home birth itself... There seems to be a teensy bit of the beginning of a trend towards home births right now, maybe it goes with the green/local/organic/global warming craze. It may seem harmless, but the problem with the whole culture of home birth though is its intense focus on the process of childbirth rather than the result... in America having a home birth with a CPM is 93 times more dangerous than driving drunk"

Monday, March 14, 2011

N. China - Day 8, Part 4 - Beijing: Exotic Food

"Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned." - Milton Friedman


N. China
Day 8 - 6th November - Beijing: Exotic Food
(Part 4)

I stumbled across an alley which didn't seem out of the ordinary:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
This stretch had a lot of stalls selling the Hong Kong foods-on-sticks-dipped-in-hot-water snack

Then I spotted a sign reading "驴肉" ("Donkey Meat") and decided to try it.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
It was 35¥/kg. This was a 10¥ portion. They said the lime green stuff wasn't chili, but it tasted spicy to me. It was probably a kind of chili pepper.

Next I walked to 王府井大街 (wangfujing dajie)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Wangfujing dajie

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
It was a busy shopping street

Along this street, another PRC attempted to swindle me. He had a pushcart, and on top was a huge block of some apricot-sesame-peanut thing. He said he'd give me a bit for free, so I tried it (it was like the peanut-sesame confection I was familiar with). He then asked me to try cutting some (presumably to see how soft it was). I smelled a rat and just jerked the cutting instrument cursorily. Sure enough, he tried to sell me the amount that the instrument would've cut off if I'd pushed harder. I told him I didn't want any, and he kept putting pressure on the cutting instrument to try and sell me 1% less of the confection each time. I kept saying no and walked off.

There was also a Wangfujing Food Alley.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Entrance to Food Alley

Scorpions, Seahorses and Starfish. Notice some are still moving.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Scorpions, Seahorses and Starfish

Though the exotic foods were the draw (even if not traditional Beijing Cuisine), the meat sticks below were what brought in the dough.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Meat sticks

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

One side alley had opera performances.

This was enough Opera for a year, being about all of the wretched racket I could put up with

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Side alley with all the stalls with sitdown food

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Main street. No, not all the stalls sold exotic food, or even food at that.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Japan Boat Takoyaki - at 1/3 the price of in Singapore.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
I had a warm pear drink from here. It tasted like Chng Tng, and even had many of the same ingredients - fungus, dates and pear.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
More exotic food with "Sea Dog" (whatever that is). Notice the prices - the shops at the start and the end of the alley were more expensive. The middle was the cheapest, which makes sense (even if the end was where they dumped the garbage).

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"中华老子号: 臭. 香飘万里,一臭万年"
("Chinese Traditional Mark: Smelly [tofu]. Fragrant scent for 10,000 li, a 10,000 year stench")

Addendum: I am informed that this is a mistake, and that it should be "遗臭万年", which means pretty much what I translated it as (except that "[It is] Usually used to describe extremely notorious people. 流芳百世 is its opposite, used to describe people who gain approbation for praise-worthy deeds"). I am of the opposite view - that this is a Chinese play on words like 河蟹/和谐 (River Crab/Harmony).

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Snacks that weren't moving

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
More creepies

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Finally, a stall with some English.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Fried Birds Nest. I didn't know you could fry it. It tasted like potato, but a bit sweeter.

I ran into a guy from Chile whose wife didn't really want to try the exotic foods, so he had something more normal.

Chinese snack whacked into submission

I'd figured that I could stomach 1 exotic meat a day, and Donkey and Birds Nest counted as 1.5. Insects weren't a big deal as I could get them in Southeast Asia. However, I came across two Dutch girls who were also ambivalent so I suggested that we share insects (besides being less risky in case the food sucks [someone can help you finish it], it also helps having someone else if you can't quite muster up enough courage, and to exchange opinions with).

Addendum: They were eating a crab roe bun and thought it was custard until I disabused them of this notion.

So we tried:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Scorpion. It was crispy, salty and a bit mushy. It was the best of the lot (possibly as it was alive before being deep fried).

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Silkworm. It crumbled easily and was a bit nutty.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Centipede. It was even more nutty and was a bit bitter. The vendor said it was used in Chinese medicine to 排毒 (detox), so that was why it tasted like that. It was so bad that we dumped it (we finished the first to).

The vendor was very cheeky and tried to kiss the brunette. He said she was beautiful, and the blonde was not bad.

In the alley, I bumped into a Singaporean family (the accent was recognisable). They were on tour, and assumed I was studying in Beijing. It seems many Singaporeans cannot comprehend the concept of independent travel (they'd probably faint if they found out that I was, for all intents and purposes, alone).

As I walked back to my hostel, I got solicited again. At first the woman asked me "去吗?" ("Shall we go?"). I was bemused, because she was inadequately (rather, too adequately) attired for such business, and wasn't pretty enough either. Then she asked me to 去酒吧 (go to a bar), so I figured I'd heard wrongly.

I said no to both questions, so she gave me the usual spiel, including something on 按摩 (massage, for 68¥). Then she said I could go and choose any girl I wanted, and she could be my guide in the day (!). Then she asked me what I did at night. I muttered something about going out with my friend. She asked me if we went to places with women, then I said my friend was female and she shut up and gave up.

Shortly after this, another woman asked me if I wanted "massages". I said no and she gave up. I should've asked the price, but then she'd think I was really interested.

Now, one might wonder why I didn't just walk off and let myself be solicited. Alternatively, I could've told her that I was gay, or was under a vow of celibacy. Yet, it's a lot of fun to be solicited and see how they attempt to persuade you. Being either too easy or too difficult does not elicit the most entertaining responses.

Simulator. Good luck if it rains.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Eastern Orthodox Church. It's a cultural site.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Church front

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Adult Shop". This was the first place labelled such (in English). Notice that it also sells topups for smartcards and mobile phones. How holistic.

I then saw a "Western" restaurant I trusted only slightly more than the pseudo-Western food you find in Singaporean hawker centres.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Pan-Fried Frech Foie Gras
New Zealand Sirloin Stear"

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Ban Po Western Food. Westren Food. Steak. Pizza. Barbecue. Hongkong_ StyleFastFood"

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The first (and only) Cantonese restaurant I saw in Northern China!!!

By this time, my foot was quite painful. I could take the bus, but in a way I was missing this kind of shit (not least the weird things I saw along the way). So I continued walking.

I went to a grocery store and reached for a drink in the fridge (behind glass doors) - which was warm. They didn't turn on the fridge in winter. I had to go to an open fridge (the sort whose coldness is conserved with an air curtain) to get a cold drink. Which was ice and tea flavoured Sprite. Which is very weird.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Forbidden City Tower

When I got back to the hostel, I had an ingenious scheme of using the superhot bath water to heat up my cold donkey meat (remember it was perhaps in the single digits outside at night). It was quite an elaborate scheme involving a plastic bag and clear plastic bottles, but my room mate needed to use the sink and she suggested I use the microwave. So that is what I did.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Donkey meat was okay. Red meat-y, and a little bland.

I was told that there was a lot of Sichuanese food in the North, because the flavours of Cantonese cuisine were too subtle for Northerners.

I got asked a few times if I was on business. Each time by ang mohs. This was strange, given my accommodations and dressing.

I was told there're fewer cheats and swindlers in Shanghai than Beijing. From what I remembered, this was indeed the case.

Though China is full of conmen, the taxi drivers don't con you. This is because the meters show the distance gone and the journey time, so it's hard to con you, unless they take a deliberately long road.

The hostel was nice but far from the subway. Cab fees pile up.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes