Saturday, July 27, 2013

A day in Jinan

Thought we'd share some photos of daily life in Jinan.

Here is the lobby of a Bank of China office. People are sitting on benches waiting for their number to be called. Because it is noon, there are only 2 tellers available since most bank workers are gone on their all-important lunch hour (or two).

Those youngsters in camouflage T-shirts are college freshmen. Everyone knows this because all college freshmen throughout China attend military training classes for the first 3 weeks of the first year of college. They wear formal camouflage uniforms and also wear these casual outfits for the entire 3 weeks. They attend indoctrination classes and physical fitness and marching classes. That is really hot work in Jinan in September.

Thanks to Sophia, we were able to finally open our Bank of China account since no one in this large bank office could speak English well enough to get the job done. Fortunately, we found an office closer to campus with excellent English speaking bank tellers; as well as a VIP counter for important us?

Sophia also helped us subscribe to one of the country's government newspapers, CHINA DAILY. Since we were never able to watch TV in our apartment, we needed to find a way to be better informed about China from the Chinese point of view.  Our search took us to the back door of the China Post, the national post office system. It was a bit of a shock to walk past bags of mail and piles of parcels. No security problems here, I guess. 

It's always fun to come across Chinglish. This one seems to refer to either large potatoes or large French fries....not the weird potato king, himself. Sometimes it's not easy to figure out what the whacky English words actually say. The Internet is full of examples. We meet some foreigners who collect photos of all the Chinglish they can find.  While humorous and  at times frustrating, we're not quite that interested.

The best part of taking a student translator with us to conduct business is taking him or her out to lunch. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day in China, after which students often take an hour nap. Classes don't resume until and hour-and-a-half or two hours after lunch.  Like Sophia, translators always take us to the most interesting places to eat; places we would usually never think to go. Here we are in one of the thousands of itty bitty eateries....much smaller than any restaurant. And they often spill out onto the sidewalk for the over-flow crowd.  
This place serves NOODLES in piping hot mini cauldrons.  The reason Chinese noodles are so looong is because they represent long life.
A surprise in the noodle dish was these small bird eggs.  We courageously ate them. Tasted pretty good, actually.

Near our apartment a market suddenly opened up. I was surprised to see this chicken vendor outside the new market what with the trouble China has with bird viruses and such. As it turned out he was only located there for 2 days and we never saw him or his chickens again.
He also sold pigeons. Didn't know it folks bought these birds to cook them or to lay eggs.

Here are some other views of the new market that opened up near our apartment.

Folks love to suck and chew on chicken feet, a Chinese delicacy.
Chinese waste very little, hence they leave the heads attached on their butchered chickens.

Making Chinese meat pies. 

These noodles must represent super long life. 
There are so many textures and thicknesses to chose from.

Fresh fish doesn't get any fresher than this. You select the fish you want from among the live fish swimming in the water.

More live chickens.

This old musician moved around a lot playing his Chinese lute for spare change.  We saw him several times in various places.  We always tried to support the local musicians.

On Saturday many stores go all out to attract business. This drug store is pulling out all the stops with an inflatable archway (very popular item among businesses during weekends and big sales), plus three kiosks giving medical advice and selling items.

At a nearby hotel we came upon some kind of celebration.  The Chinese are very proud of the fact that they discovered gunpowder; and they have been using it for celebrations, in the same way ever since.  Here you see the Roman candle/rocket launchers that make the place sound like a war zone. On the ground is a snake of firecrackers that could easily be 30-50 feet long. These puppies are so powerful that they set off car alarms. This is typical Chinese fireworks... close to the ground with a whole lot of noise for the purpose of grabbing attention and announcing anything from a grand-opening to a wedding or funeral.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Don't be so America or in China

It's not just what comes into a neighborhood but what comes out that makes a difference. The care and concern with which people treat their personal space, by which I mean all the space within 30 feet of oneself wherever one happens to be, contributes to the peacefulness and stability of society. It is often missing in Jinan, China like it seems to be in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Still Another Chinese TV Commercial: Extended One!

My last Chinese TV commercial was made in Dalian, China which required the company to fly me to Dalian which is near the border of North Korea.  
I was quizzed to explain in detail the history of the Geoge Amani watch company with very little prepartion time.  With a smartphone, I was able to quickly gather quite a bit of research and put it into a meaningful presentation.  This was not an easy assignment but I did it.  You can judge for yourself how well I did. Last week I get another request to do 2 more commercials in another location in China. Guess I did OK if they are still knocking at my door.

Here are some photos of my infamous George Amani Chinese TV commercials. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nanjing, China Weekend!

Spent a fantastic weekend in Nanjing China.  Nanjing has a 3,000+ year history.  It was the capital city for several dynasties including the last one.  In one day, we visited the Xiaoling Tomb of the Ming Dynasty, scenic lakes, the Quinhaui River at night, Confucius temple, Residence of John Rabe, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial, the Silk Brocade Factory and strolled through bustling Nanjing University at night.

I'd heard the term "MING TOMBS" but the so-called tombs are really just a lot of large mounds scattered all over the mountain behind the huge gate you'll see below. Actually, the road leading to the massive gate which guards the mountain of tombs is more impressive.  It was built specifically for the purpose of hauling the emperor's body and entourage to the mountain for burial. The few photos here give some idea of what lines this very long road. Better photos of its majesty can probably be seen someplace on Google or Bing.

I like how this statue shows the indominable spirit of the Chinese. 

Nanjing is a more river port and has been for centuries. This diorama very interestingly depicted the hustle and bustle of Chinese trading...not unlike it is still done today except with newer technology and transportation.  A Chinese friend told me, "If there's a corner, some Chinese will open a shop."

Everything in China is HUGE. And the race to out-do each other among hotels and departments stores is magnificent to behold. This is the interior of one of the tallest buildings in Nanjing. Just across the street is an equally impressive creation. 

Nanjing was the capital of China during WWII.  When the Japanese invaded Shanghai, thousands fled to Nanjing. After razing Shanghai, the pursuing enemy army reeked havoc on the city of Nanjing and inspired the famous book, "The Rape of Nanjing." A huge museum has been built to memorialize the event. While no photos were allowed inside the museum, the statues outside leading into the museum told the grizzly story. In only a few weeks 300,000 people were slaughtered...a monumental bloodbath.

This statue is of the author of "The Rape of Nanjing." This writing project cost her her life; it's that horrific.

John Rabe was a was a German businessman who worked tirelessly to save lives during the atrocities of the Japanese army during the Nanking Occupation trying to protect and help the Chinese people. He established the Nanking Safety Zone which  sheltered approximately 200,000 Chinese people from slaughter during the massacre. Because he was an official representative for Germany, aka Nazi, and acted as senior chief of the European–American zone, the Japanese were obliged to respect his directives when the city fell to the Japanese troops.

Across from the street from the museum is the famous factory where Chinese brocade is created on the most complicated loomed ever devised by the mind of man. It takes 2 people to weave the silk brocade patterns, and though they never talk to each other they work in complete harmony making flawless brocades.

There are several islands in a huge, meandering lake in Nanjing. These islands once served as official document storage units for the emporers of many dynasties. Now they are part of a major park complex for the people of Nanjing.

We took Lily to Nanjing with us since she had never before travelled outside of Jinan or his village. Our hosts in Nanjing, the Mallons and the Parks, fell in love with Lily and graciously showed her lots of interesting things around Nanjing. You would also be charmed by Lily because of her honesty, thoughtfulness and genuine goodness.

I just had to stop and smell the roses. Reminded me of my backyard in East Mill Creek, just north of Salt Lake City, Utah. My mom would pin a rose in my hair for church on Sundays.  The aroma took me back 55 years.

We spent the evening taking in the Humming Bird area, the old red light district of Nanjing...all very respectable don't you know... rode boats along the canals. Reminded me a little of Venice but with a distinctly Chinese flavor.