You thought I was dead? So did the president’s enemies

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Adjusting back to life in Amurrica hasn’t been the easiest, but i’ve been makin it work at Bates and whatnot. still, there are times when I feel the Jing calling me. as this weekend is the celebration of the lunar new year, the deluge of photos coming in on the facebooks from friends still in China has been both awesome and saddening, cause it is one of the best times to be in the country/part o the world. however, i aim to satiate these desires by visiting good ol’ chinatown in nyc soon and eating ALL THE DUMPLINGS IN THE WORLD and being surrounded (for the most part) with those i would be surrounded by if i was still living in china

maybe even catching someone emulating this man’s style http://howhigharexijinpingspantstoday.tumblr.com/

what i’m really creating this post for though is to be able to share a handful of the mostly new (note to NSA spies: legally downloaded) music that steered me through my 4 months in china and my time back here (almost 2 months since returning, which i cant believe!). while not all are of super high quality, some are ridiculous, and some set fire to my heart like a molotov cocktail on the streets of Kiev, on the whole, they are bearable.

unfortunately i was unable to make a giant playlist of all the songs. so instead here’s a smaller playlist of some of the songs and the zip files of all 350ish songs.

enjoy y’all

 

Music Set #1

Music Set #2

Music Set #3

That’s All Folks!

weirdly enough, this time in China has flown by with an amazing speed. after the original few weeks in Tibet/adjusting to life here, it has felt like these past 4 months have only been a few weeks long. a fun-filled, busy, amazing few weeks, but still shorter than I wish it felt. in some ways, i think that the culture shock coming back to America will be way huger than coming to China from the US because of the societal structure and other cultural nuances that aren’t manifested in China life. mostly though, i think that the language change will be extremely difficult. i have developed a style of talking in Chinglish, which, to my disappointment, i wont be able to use in America with friends/family/most people on the street. in the first few weeks, many of my interactions will probably, because of my want to use chinglish/affinity for mumbling, end up like this:

Men in Tights abe lincoln

but really. its gonna be a long first week coming back to Amurrica. can’t wait. though will definitely be sad leaving China. China is, on one hand, culturally insensitive and a little police-statey. on the other hand however, it is a never ending source of amusement. take for instance the many stores/places that attempt to look sophisticated by having english signs or subtitles or any english really. i’ve gone around snapping a photos of chinglish/poor translation so here are a few of my favorites:

China has an interesting technique that promotes the burning of one's hands

China has an interesting technique that promotes the burning of one’s hands

 

hmm

hmm

 

is that a landslide or just humans slipping?

is that a landslide or just humans slipping?

 

that's just the worst way to go

their prices are to die for

upon my return, people will probably ask me questions. some of which might be inane such as “how was china?” answer: too complicated to put into words. in short: awesome. others might be: “what did you learn in China?” to which i will say: “look at my last post on my blog because i am about to write some things that i learned in China”

1. China is just about as optimistic and racially insensitive as the US in the 50s. if you take any major offense to cultural insensitivities such as gender stereotypes, racial ignorance, or classism , you might have a tough time in China

2. couples dressing in matching sweatshirts/outfits is apparently fashionable here. or at least many couples do it. its so disturbing every time

yet, apparently this is 'fashion' in the West. so derelicte

yet, apparently this is ‘fashion’ in the West. so derelicte

3. forget “orange is the new black”, red is the new liberal. communism with chinese characteristics works! (for the most part. if you ignore human rights violations. and a police state. and other stuff)

4. china is old. yet thanks to Western imperialism, is just now catching up with the world’s powers thanks to their 100 yrs of humiliation

*how China feels in comparison to most everywhere else*

*how China feels in comparison to most everywhere else*

5. china is crazy awesome and super dangerous but fun. let me warn you now. if you come here. you will get laduzi. and suffer. violently at first. but then less in the long term. but still suffer. 

6. China is also very diverse. but the government often infantilizes/exoticizes these minorities and tries to ignore their existence like the PRK ignores reality

in my travels so far, i've only explored a little of China. can't wait to return

in my travels so far, i’ve only explored a little of China. can’t wait to return

7. living in China does not allow me to make gross generalizations about the country. so take what i’ve said above with a grain of salt

8. that being said, China is a land of contradictions, so take everything here with a grain of salt

9. Chinese do not have good breakfast

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sometimes you just love a place on this earth that no matter what you say, put down on paper, or hang up on the wall, it is impossible to convey to others your immense infatuation with the place. some places: lincoln, boston, isle au haut, waitsfield, bates, and now Beijing/China, are all one of these places for me.

a year and a half away from IAH has been too long

a year and a half away from IAH has been too long

as I have tried to do through this blog, you express yourself in an attempt to tangibly show your love, but ultimately nothing can ever satisfy what you actually want to put out there. so instead you bring people you love to these places in the hope of creating some magical apex of happiness, or perhaps those that you love are already there and life is amazing. ultimately however, it is impossible for myself or anyone to bring all loved ones in life to these places and try to have them experience the same sort of love i feel for the place.

Lincoln

to be back on old lexington in a few days will be strange

thus, the best thing to do is to just get out there. explore the world for these places you don’t know you’re in love with and try to bring your special people with you when you return. the world is a lovely place: go traveling and fall in love with a place, people, country, or region and remember: “adventure is out there!”

Up-Kevin-Russell-web

and so, as I am currently ignoring studying for my Chinese final, i bid everybody adieu as I go to study (……..naht). on friday i shall embark on a day long trip back home, arriving back in the US of A quite cranky due to the lack of sleep for practically 30 hours

kwUMZMh

song of the week: Deeper by Ella Eyre

bonus1: Tennis Court by Lorde

bonus2:  Nothing Stays The Same by Luke Sital-Singh

A Chinese Thanksgiving

So this past Tuesday, we were treated to a little slice of America. and by treated i mean i forgot that we had to pay when i was writing the last sentence. so we weren’t treated in that sense, but rather in the sense that America sorta came to China for about 2 hours on Tuesday night. we were bused to a western style restaurant and treated to a (sorta) true Thanksgiving meal. it wasn’t truly comparable to a real American Thanksgiving but it was satisfactory.

no roast beast, but we did get turkey!

no roast beast, but we did get turkey!

we had turkey, quasi-stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, gravy, pumpkin soup, and pie. i really shouldn’t complain, just was so happy and sedated after stuffing myself that night. but that instance of American glory in China made me realize that imma really miss China. so, without further ado, here are a few of my Chinese thanksgivings:

  1. the food. oh man how i will miss the food. it may have added some poundage to this frame but real chinese food is heaven on earth. yes that stuff you get in american-chinese restaurants is good but it is not real Chinese food. i know that when i’m back in the states i will be dreaming of 手抓饼, dumplings, egg and tomatoes, and chinese eggplant
  2. how all delivery systems are on COCAINE. meaning everything moves really fast. meaning you can order a package in the morning and it comes by noon. its so convenient
  3. cheapness. good ol beijing is cheaper than a 65 year old prostitute roaming the back streets of calcutta when the town was still divided based on race (classic britain)
    luckily beijing isn't as expensive as LL

    luckily beijing isn’t as expensive as LL

    but really. as i’m spending on average about $1.50 a day, im really gonna regret having to go back to the states in that regard. these past few days my cheapness has gotten quite bad though so it is probably good i’m returning back home. recently, i’ve found it hard to buy anything over 5 RMB, which is roughly equivalent to 83 cents…oh well

  4. the chaos. nothing makes sense yet everything makes sense. its pure beauty and having a small niche as a foreigner allows me to not only be gawked at by thousands of Chinese but also gawk at other foreigners who are speaking non-chinese and even get really excited when i hear someone speaking english

yeah well that’s not everything im thankful for in china and will miss but its a start. and i’m much too tired (will get to that later) to write anymore on this matter

soooo two days after gorging ourselves on thanksgiving delicacies, myself and 3 other friends decided to travel to Hangzhou, which is aptly named “paradise on earth.” in short, even though it was the dying days of november, Hangzhou was beautiful.

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we awoke at 430 on thursday morning to groggily throw ourselves onto a plane and land in Hangzhou around 10ish. we got ourselves a cab only to find the cab get stuck at a toll booth because the cab in front of us wasn’t being let into the city from the airport by the toll booth operator person. to which our driver

ope dudu just returned from a friends birthday party. oh and he’s straight into the bathroom with this one, claiming he ate too much and is going to throw up. annnd we have upchuck

i digress

to which our driver was like ‘what the eff?’ and got outta the car. only to start explaining to the toll booth operator that his passengers (us) had a very important meeting to get to that started real soon so if they could just move their butts outta the way that would be real nice. obviously we didnt have any meeting to go to but it was entertaining as heck and just shows the ridiculousness that is china quite well

but yeah so we got to our hostel and started to walk around the town/the lake that it is situated on. and let me tell you, this is a city for kings. an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes the common man’s car in Hangzhou and i counted at least 2 Maserati dealerships and numerous Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, and Ferrari dealerships as well. it was SO PRETTY

not that rare of a sight in Hangzhou

not that rare of a sight in Hangzhou

after walking around, we found this walking street that sold a number of random stuffs. the best part of it was the 小吃 (xiao chi) street that sold all manners of skewered and roasted treats. from fried crabs on a stick to a chicken (full body – head, talons) wrapped in paper and leaves then slow cooked to tender perfection, this street had everything. needless to say, we dined here 3 out of 3 nights

there's always money in the banana stand

there’s always money in the banana stand

the second day we decided to go to this pagoda called the LeiFeng pagoda. i’m not sure who LeiFeng exactly is or what he did but the pagoda was cool. despite the fact that there was an escalator built into the steps that brought you to the base of the pagoda and an elevator that brought you to the penultimate floor, it was pretty awesome. there were plenty of Buddhist frescos and other artwork and the view from the top was beautiful, as it offered a full view of the West Lake on which Hangzhou is situated and the city beyond the crescent of mountains that partially protects the lake from the skyscrapers of the small/midsize Chinese city (only ~8mil people)

more lake to the left

more lake to the left

after that, we decided to rent bikes from their city bike program that you see now in cities in the Western world. it was fun and all, except that all the bikes aren’t made for 6’4″ men because this is Asia. so after 2 days of biking, my keister is pretty sore and i might have bone bruises from the stupid damn small bikes. oh well. that first day of riding them ended up to be pretty solid, as we tried to bike around the lake but got turned around at one point but ended up catching the sunset from a small bridge which was pretty cool

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the third day we actually biked around the whole lake and stopped at one point to see some botanical gardens

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there, we found these giant creepy fish that looked like mini-sharks. they were pretty gross, but we fed them a bit and they warmed up to us

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so then this morning we woke up at 4:30 to catch a flight and i havent slept since, thus leading to what has been a sparse blog, especially as time dragged on these past 15 minutes. also i feel like i forgot something and i apologize for the lack of description about hangzhou regarding day 3 but im pooped. oh! i remember! it was that last wednesday I went with two other friends to see the temple of heaven and the park that surrounds it. it was cool but there was a slight nip in the air so we went to the pearl market beforehand cause they (CA girl and HI guy) wanted to buy some hats. here’s a picture

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but basically i want to go back to Hangzhou for a few reasons. 1. it is amazingly pretty and i can’t even imagine what it must look like in spring, summer, and fall. and 2. in China, cities and towns south of the yellow river do not get the normal state-provided heating. thus, it was SO COLD in the mornings. don’t get me wrong, i love a good cold, especially when falling asleep so i can snuggle down in the covers. but waking up to a 40 degree room sucks. so if you go to Hangzhou in the winter and stay in a hostel or home that isn’t catering towards rich tourists, be prepared to be frigid when you awake. that is all.

sleepy time

Song of the Week: When We Were On Fire by James Bay

Bonus: The Mason by Tossing Copper

oh hey i found a song that sticks close to sleepy roots on iron & wine’s new album: Winter Prayers by Iron & Wine

’til next time

Monks in the Mosh Pits

When you were young, you would hide under the covers when you were scared of monsters because if you couldn’t see them and you were hidden in the covers, they couldn’t see you (in reality, you would be a huge bump under the covers — perfect monster prey)

who could be scared of these fellas?

who could be scared of these fellas?

much like monster aversion tactics, pollution aversion tactics work the same way. which is to say, for me, illogically. for instance, night time is the safest time to go outside, not just because the crime rate is absurdly low because we live in a police state. its the best time to go outside because you can’t see the pollution!!!! thus, the pollution can’t get you when during the day you can’t see more than 3 blocks in front of you.

China thrives off of irrationality and contradictions. so a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do to stay alive/sane/flourish in this environment. how does that saying go? fight fire with fire? sometimes, i feel like my logic is like this:

really though, the pollution isn’t that bad. the western media hypes it up because news is made by broadcasting negative events or phenomena. oh well. i’ve come to accept and love the pollution as another facet of Beijing, and although i won’t miss it per say, it definitely doesn’t deter me in wanting to return

also, the other day, I happened to go to the Silk Market, basic a giant building with stores that sucker tourists into buying absurdly overpriced goods. I went to go buy a few soccer jerseys and as I was haggling with this shopkeeper, I was trying on some of the jerseys. which were XXXL. i really never thought i would ever be that big, but in a country where I am on average a foot taller than the majority of the citizens, i guess it makes sense. oh china size…

sometimes its like this trying on Chinese-size clothes

sometimes its like this when trying on Chinese-size clothes

on another note, it’s gotten ‘cold’ here in beijing. meaning barely 32°F. at night. or during the day when the pollution is so bad there is no sun. so naturally all Chinese (and U.S. west coast dwellers) think that the dead of winter has come. so, every morning, while i depart the apartment in a flannel or a sweatshirt, my mom wraps up Dudu like Randy from A Christmas Story.

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it’s quite amusing. because this weather is coming about 2 months later than I usually experience, I think that coming back to the states in the middle of December might be a bit rough. at the same time though, because I knew that Beijing was never going to be actually cold, i didn’t bring any winter clothing. this has proven to be fantastic because if i had i would have no room in my suitcase for bringing presents back. here’s to hoping it doesn’t get America cold in the next few days.

in the dying days of this Beijing fall, I went to the new summer palace, which was a summer retreat on the outskirts of the city for the imperial family and coincidentally the home/playground of one of the teachers here (i believe i mentioned him earlier this year) when he was a child. it was a pretty cool estate.

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its built on this massive lake, which would be pretty impressive if it was hand dug (not sure), and was even beautiful in the pretty much opposite of summer weather

the backside of the palace

the backside of the palace/mountain

naturally, as it’s built on a lake, the imperial family enjoyed dabbling in venturing out on the water. however, because of their ridiculous wealth, they could boat in style. which is to say, in pure marble. literally. they built a boat made out of marble. lavish, yes. but also sooooooooo amazingly cool. yes, it can’t actually sail. but it’s still saweeeet.

Last night, i caught a whiff of burned plastic as it passed by my nostrils while I was sitting on my bed. I glanced over and saw a wisp of smoke curl from the smoldering ruins as a faint orange glow of an ember nestled itself into the wires. ohhhhh shite. second laters my computer charger gave out after 4 years of service. I had known the end was coming. Just like Dr. Frankenstein, I had patched the charger together for the past two months, willing life into it. It had transformed into a monstrosity of silver and red duct tape that held together what had been increasingly unstable in its ability to provide power to my computer. Alas, the end was upon me. Computerless for the night, I caught up on reading my leisure book. 

sorta like this guy

it was sorta like this guy

This death may be a blessing in disguise though: 1. The smoldering ashes of my charger did not set the apartment on fire. 2. I will have less distractions when studying for my final in two weeks.

Oh well. China happens.

Whelp, I’m off to go eat some Thanksgiving food!!!…hopefully its good =/

Song of the Week: Skinny Genes by Eliza Doolittle

Bonus: On A Day by Atlas Genius

’til next time

A Brush With Death

so there I was stuck in the elevator as the doors attempted to open onto the fifth floor to no avail. and of course, all the rational thoughts were racing through my head, first and foremost of which was: oh shit i’m going to die in an elevator.  This was subsequently followed by ways in which i was going to die. including but not limited to:

  1. the killer is on top of the elevator and will strike through the escape hatch (i didn’t even know if there was one)
  2. the cables will snap and the elevator will go hurtling to the bottom floor like Wile E Coyote 02v-COYOTE FALLING-1 gif
  3. i’m about to get avada kedavra-d

As I was thinking these things and singing 5000 Candles in the Wind I realized that my family wasn’t home and it was 11:30 on a friday night and i had no freaking clue what to do. oh china, you’re so cruel sometimes.  i couldn’t press the help button, cause i wouldn’t know what the hell to say or how to say it, and i sure as hell wasn’t about to call a friend or an RA cause they wouldn’t be able to help. i was alone. in a box. with limited air supply (not really). it was like 127 hours minus the boulder, outdoors, or james franco. and plus an elevator.

never forget

never forget

so i very calmly and rationally (read frantically and spastically) mashed all of the buttons on the panel, hoping that one of them would solve my dilemma. fortunately, the elevator returned to the first floor and spilled me out onto sweet, solid land. crisis averted for the moment

but after a brush with death, I realized I really needed to set my priorities straight. so saturday morning, after a breakfast of nutella (remember: poor college student without a family and with a love for all things chocolate), i went outside and found a street vendor and bought Monsters University and promptly watched it and was not impressed. oh well

later in the week, or maybe it was before I almost died (having your life flash before your eyes messes with recent memories), I had a Chinese test which sucked. but then we had a chinese class field trip to get massages. real massages. not “we’re actually a brothel” massages! so after a relaxing foot massage, i decided to get cupping. mostly because it was free cause it was a field trip and because i wanted to see what it looked like. i’m pretty sure an octopus had its way with me

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even though the bruises are still here almost a week later, it was totally worth it. and it felt good sorta.

later that day, I went to the Olympic Park with a friend. and immediately got conned into buying tickets to be able to enter into the Birds Nest.

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I guess we werent really conned. it was more that we just didnt understand the situation. as we were entering through security we noticed that there was a ticket booth. well not really a ticket booth but more of a podium with a guy holding tickets. he got our attention and like stupid tourists we waddled over to see what the fuss was all about. he showed us these tickets and we looked at each other and were like hrmm these seem sorta expensive to just enter the park but oh well.

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bout 45 minutes later one of our other friends met us in the olympic park as she was in the area already. we asked her about her ticket and she said she didnt have one. which sorta made sense because we noticed that no one checked our ticket as we were entering the park or going through security. so, we pulled out our tickets and realized that they were for admission to the Birds Nest stadium, not the park. and that the stadium just closed.

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…and so the struggle bus rolls on

luckily the tickets were good til the end of the year! unluckily, my friend did not want to go all the way back to the olympic park on another day just to see the inside of the stadium, as we had already been around the area and whatnot. but, like the cheap bastard I am, I was determined to either a) sell my ticket to a classmate or b) come back alone on a later date

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as the rest of my classmates turned out to be as miserly as me, i ended up going back today. it was cool, sort of a monument to the greatness of 21st century China, but not worth the 80 kuai i mistakenly spent on the ticket. basically, it was really just a pain in the ass that we made the error of thinking like not too bright american tourists for 10 seconds combined with the fact that i was not going to waste money, even if i didnt really want to see the inside of the stadium.

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also saw this

chinaception: having a chinatown within china. sneaky move

chinaception: having a chinatown within china. sneaky move

also the moon was cool again. this time yellow

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after having a little brother here in China, i’m pretty glad i never had a little sibling back in the states. 10 year olds can be such a pain sometimes. take for instance today. dudu had to go to this copying place about 15 minutes away to get some pages from a book copied. so while he was gone, i decided to shower and whatnot. all of a sudden i hear my mom calling my name through the door to get dressed quickly!

Liz-Lemon-Eye-Roll-and-Exhale-30-Rock

i clambered outta the shower and got dressed to investigate the hubbub. turns out dudu had forgotten the book and I was to bring it to him. eventually i got there and he’s just sitting on a computer playing minesweeper and twiddling his thumbs. child, please. so i give him the book and it turns out he has to take 3 pages and make 40 copies of each and then have them stapled into packets of three. whelp, there goes my studying time for the night. so that took 25 minutes to do, as the copying people had other customers they had to help as well and dudu is only a 10 year old and my level of chinese relegates me to essentially being a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. basically he just caused me trouble when i thought my night was only going to consist of studying and writing this post. oh well. sometimes, dudu isnt the brightest student at The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Want to Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too

3u4n7m

song of the week: Superhero by Groenland

’til next time

Never Complain About A Good Piece of Ass

but really. donkey meat is pretty damn tasty. in the past week, i’ve had 4 donkey meat sandwiches and they have really hit the spot. if you have a chance to try one, i would suggest it. 

all those syrupy waffles made the donkey delicious

all those syrupy waffles made the donkey delicious

so this past weekend, I, along with about 25 of my program-mates, went to the Great Wall. in short: it was freaking awesome but wicked cold. the wall itself is an amazing feat of human labor. constructed on crazy high, steep, and dangerous ridges, it was really quite effective in stopping the manchus and mongolians from coming down into Beijing and beyond. we hiked about 15 towers or so along an unrestored, and thus less populated, section of the wall and it was really nice to not have hordes of chinese/foreign tourists around at every second. ultimately, walking along the crumbling, steep steps really amazed me cause i maybe could’ve been walking on the same rocks as people hundreds of years ago. like this guy:

now all of china knows you're here

now all of china knows you’re here!

but not really. in real life, the great wall as depicted in the movie had not been constructed yet in the time period Mulan is sposed to be set in. it still turned out alright though

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after hiking and whatnot, we spent the night in the shadow of the wall, in a small village where my program has some people they know who have hosted students for the night before. there was a pretty solid sunset that really made me lament the fact that I missed the sunset in Isle Au Haut this past summer for the first time ever

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and the lion king was represented quite well too

naaaaaaaants ingonyama bagithi baba

naaaaaaaants ingonyama bagithi baba

but then we realized we had to sleep on a wood box. quite literally. there was a raised platform that we squeezed 7 men onto, a hard and unforgiving surface on which we (at least I) tossed and turned all night because one classmate’s snores sounded like a backhoe going through a woodchipper. but it was pretty nice because the woodbox had radiant heat. hopefully not from coals on the inside cause that would’ve been more dangerous than being Romanov during the Russian Revolution. but it was nice and toasty so that was ok. but after the hard sleep we awoke at 5 to hike to a remote tower on the wall and watch the sunrise. all but a handful of us set out in the frosty conditions only to have all but 6 of us leave the tower before the sun actually peeked over the mountains due to the combination of the wind/cold temps. but for us 6, it was definitely worth getting frostbite and it sucks that this picture doesn’t really do it justice

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anywhoo, after getting sick from the cold temps and the fact i was exhausted from lack of sleep, i promptly went to bed at 8 on sunday after our return and got almost 10 hrs of sleep.

not much happened on monday, cept for it sucking as regular cause i have class from 8-12 and 1:30-6:15 with doing hw in between. but then tuesday happened and there was this guy who apparently is my mom and my little brother’s friend, who is 23 years old and scared me cause i could barely understand a word he said. to make things better, after he left, my ma told me that he knows english. so i dunno. much like life in China, it was a struggle.

Not-Sure-What-to-do-With-Hands-Talladega-Nights-Ricky-Bobby

but today, my mom and i were talking about him and turns out he was asked by Mao’s grandson to be his bodyguard. which he promptly declined because he thought it was too boring and he liked playing basketball more. also, Mao’s great grandson goes to the same school as Dudu, only helping to reassure/raise my suspicions that my family has CCP ties

heeeeeeeey brother

heeeeeeeey (big) brother

and then today I went to Beihai Park and the Forbidden City. Beihai park is sort of above and to the west of the forbidden city and if it hadn’t been so smoggy, it would have been more beautiful than it already was

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at one point i was taking pictures in Beihai park when this little old lady wearing big, red, bug eyed glasses walks up to me and starts talking chinese to me. oh shit what did I do wrong??? turns out she was just friendly. something, as I have primarily spent time in Boston, I am not used to. it goes against all of my natural instinct as a new englander to walk up to some random person in the park or on the street and start chatting. not saying that its bad, just not something i would do. she was nice though. she didn’t know i could sorta speak chinese before she began talking to me but she did anyway and we had a conversation that basically consisted of her telling me that although this park was pretty i should really go to this other one because it is even more prettier and basically the prettiest in the city. she was a nice, even though a bit odd, lady and my day was definitely better with having her in it.

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and then the Forbidden City was also pretty cool

Ba Sing Se

Ba Sing Se

it’s said that it has over 10,000 rooms, but what isn’t said is that the entrance also has about 10,000 chinese trying to get you to buy their services as a tour guide or rickshaw driver. basically, since the end of a communist market, the Chinese have become quite the entrepreneurial people

and much like how the rooms all look the same after the 25th one, the 'tour guide' all sound the same after just as many or less

and much like how the rooms all look the same after the 25th one, the ‘tour guides’ all sound the same after just as many or less

i eventually ended up getting sick of them and either ignoring their pleas for my money/to be my tour guide or i would just tell them i don’t speak english (in chinese) and that i don’t speak chinese (in chinese), to which they responded by promptly leaving and seeking new prey. but inside the Forbidden City, apart from the voices of the tour guides, it was relatively silent and had some really sweet old architecture and buildings and whatnot. just like in mulan!

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i mean, i guess it's sorta similar to real life. just a general representation of the whole feel of the palace

i mean, i guess it’s sorta similar to real life. just a general representation of the whole feel of the palace

i also found this store. so weirdly specific. i wonder if they get much traffic

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these past 4ish days have also been the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, which is basically a meeting in Beijing of the bigwigs in the Chinese govt. which means that although they are pushing out some economic reforms and getting stuff done, Beijing has a heightened security presence and the internet has slowed considerably over the past days as censorship has increased. anyways, my favorite quote so far that has come out of the Third Plenum’s ‘reforms’ is “Greater importance will be attached to perfecting a democratic system and enriching democratic forms to show the advantages of China’s socialist political system.”

what the what!?

what the what!?

that doesn’t really make sense in the context of China. yes you can have democratic socialism, but here they’re talking about democracy and socialism as separate entities. don’t get me wrong China, I love that you’re saying you will ‘try’ to achieve a Chinese democratic system, but i doubt you will make any significant progress in the next year. ah the wonderful land of infinite contradictions

finally, I’m so happy to be living in a country such as this:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/chinas-choice/2013/nov/07/china-air-pollution-eight-year-old-cancer

and now, since my head hurts because of being outside all day in some pretty eh pollution, i must bid y’all adieu

boston's loves its 'dirty water.' beijing just has dirty water and air. sadly, no love

boston’s loves its ‘dirty water.’ beijing just has dirty water and air. sadly, not as much love

Song of the Week: How it Goes by Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk

cause this one is real short, here’s a bonus: Settle Down by The Colonel’s Men

’til next time

Notes from the Week

first off, is the opposite of a cat-call a dog-bark?

such a freaky show...

such a freaky show…

this week I present you with a pair of presidential pants stories, pitting the perennial presidential powers of the people’s republic of china versus the US of A:

our first challenger is a blast from the past: LBJ in all his glory. habits include being president, buying new pants, and talking about pants, especially in reference to his nutsack and his ‘bunghole.’ not to mention he had the presidential time to discuss this on the eve of the vietnam war. finally realize why he wasn’t terribly upset by the loss of JFK. it was all for the pants

our second challenger hails from the middle kingdom: Xi Jinping comes at you with all the love and pantsness of the PRC, seducing you with such sexy style and sultry slacks that he makes sinatra look like a hobo

howhigharexijinpingspantstoday.tumblr.com

quick! catch these men in action before they run away faster than mr. banana grabber!

banana_grabber

in other news, the company i am working with right now, Summer Destinations, just possibly secured a contract with a woman named 冬来 which can be roughly translated as “winter is coming.” i’m such a dweeb and i love it

also, Portland, ME becomes the first city on the east coast to legalize pot, up to 2.5oz. not really sure why this is news since there are so many hippies/hipsters there. guess its good to be number one on the east coast though. further cementing portland’s liberalism and teaching the rest of America that the northeast knows how to unwindulax

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also, we had a beautiful sunday this past week. actually, in 3 of the past 8 days we could see the sun! take that pollution! quite a good ratio me thinks. sunday in particular was a fantastic respite from the pollution, as saturday was terrible: pollution over 350 pm2.5 and not being able see more than 3 blocks away at the max. i really wish i had a comparison picture but i dont so here is a picture of beijing on Sunday, it sorta just looks like any other city

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also, the fall foliage is finally turning an interesting color of yellow in Beijing, making me rue the fact i missed the real fall colors in New England

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bringing me to my next point. china, while awesome and whatnot, often can be described as interesting. not that its bad. its just that sometimes things happen and you don’t know what to make of them so you’re just like ‘oh. well that was interesting.’ whenever i attempt to describe things to people outside of china i always end up using ‘interesting.’

for instance the other day i traveled to the Tea Street in the city to peruse the fragrant leaves and tea sets and stuff. on the bus there, i happened to look out the window to see a mom and her young’n in a parking lot, standing next to the sidewalk. it was a little warm out that day, so i wasn’t surprised when she relieved the child of a pair of sweatpants to let the pair of sweatpants under those sweats breath. but then all of a sudden she goes back for seconds. she whips off the remaining sweats and some underwear and he instantly starts taking a leak. right next to people walkin on the sidewalk. in the middle of the day.

not the kid, yet this one is still leery as to what might befall him in the future

not the aforementioned kid, yet this one is still leery as to what might befall him in the future

you see though, thats the thing. it wasn’t surprising that there was a toddler peeing in the middle of the street. it was just china in all of its glory/weirdness/lack of regard toward personal space-ness.

it was just interesting.

Song of the week: Leeward Side by Josh Pyke

BONUS: Sons and Daughters (Ft. Liz Lawrence) by Allman Brown

’til next time

All Hail the King (yeah, i’m a bit proud of Boston)

dear people in america (to those who aren’t in america, this first part doesn’t apply to you),

as China is 12 hours ahead of Boston and the rest of the great state of massachusetts, it is only fair to say that I have had 12 more hours than y’all to really reflect on the World Series win of 2013. think about it (but don’t question my math). the red sox victory happened my time around 11:30 am on October 31st. it happened your time at 11:30pm the previous day. so basically, i had known about the win for 12 hours by the time you guys knew about it. its basic math. much like diversity is the name of an old wooden ship from the civil war era, it is known that China just knows things hours in advance from the rest of the real word (read: east coast USA). how else do you think Chinese people become so smart? you really can’t argue with that logic

anyways, i digress, back to the real reflection:

Of all times, it had to happen while i was in China. not to say that i’m not happy. i’m, as shane victorino would put it, rejubilated. sure i missed boston and all, but that doesn’t really make me sad/angry or anything of that matter as its China and everything is crazy awesome over here. what i did feel bad about was confusing the crap outta the chinese in the building.

there i was, standing in the program director’s office watching the game with him and a classmate. koji winds, delivers, and seals the end to a wonderful season. after the normal high fives, holy shits, eyes brimming with tears of joy, i left the office with nowhere to go and with a lot of unreleased celebration energy. so naturally, because others were still in class, i silently victory danced down the hall and down stairs and through the subsequent 2 halls on the way down, no doubt confusing many chinese who saw me and probably dont even know the first thing about baseball. i really couldn’t care less.

the championship is pure bliss.

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anywhoo, this series not only delivered to boston a championship, but also cemented david ortiz as one of the most dominant postseason players in the history of the sport: batting a ridiculous .688 and having an obp of .760 in the series. seriously. we haven’t seen this sort of dominance since the sun never set on the British empire, since the free world appeased Hitler with the Sudetenland (too soon?), since nemo clogged up the water purification system, since Henry Clay was the Great Compromiser, since Dewey defeated Truman, since the Black Plague, since the great Irish potato famine, since the romans conquered the known world, since pompeii burst, since the crusades, since the Beatles took America like an outlet takes a plug, since humans first created fire, dare i say since the big bang? nonetheless, it was powerful, unstoppable, and papi

so basically, Boston is back. this championship, along with the past decade of sports has merely added on to the greatness that is Boston including:

1. first subway system in the U.S.

2. the boston tea party (cause who doesn’t like impersonating/racially stereotyping to deceive british people?)

3. the boston massacre

4. the boston molassacre. admit it, having a 25 foot tidal wave of piping hot molasses coming rolling down the North Boston streets is pretty cool

5.  paul revere, even though he was the only rider out of 3 who got captured

6. being in the new england

7. being close to maine, vermont, rhode island, and new hampshire (sorry connecticut you are the worst new england state. mostly a bunch of blood traitors)

8. being the best city ever

moreover, st. louis has furthered its argument as being a completely mediocre city in all aspects of the word mediocre and useless (except for providing delight to bostonians). lets start out with the obvious first:

1. in the midwest

2. the missouri compromise

3. being neutral in the Civil War. really?? at least pick a side. you’re as bad as the Freys

4. does that sorta make Dred Scott their equivalent of the Red Wedding in terms of seriousness?

next up are the more subtle aspects of being debilitatingly inferior to every other city, specifically boston and boston sports, since the beginning of time, including providing boston with a championship in every major sport:

5. losing 1 super bowl to the Pats

6. losing 3 nba finals to the Celts

7. losing 1 stanley cup finals to the Bruins

8. losing 2 world series to the Sox

9. having an overall record against Boston teams in sports championships of 3-7

the world hasn’t seen that magnitude of averageness since the Chinese sloppily fell into the hundred years of humiliation after being the pinnacle of human civilization. unfortunately for st. louis, they were never the pinnacle of anything and will never be.

sorry im not sorry of being proud of my city. i realize some of you will think i’m being a dick. to you people, i say: yup i am, probably just solidifying your perception of Boston sports fans. i’m not usually like this, but right now i really can’t help it. my constrained joy combined with my inability to be in new england is driving me mad with happiness and love for Boston. basically i’m like a small child on christmas morning with unbridled giddiness (whose old english definition literally means “possessed by a god”)

after roughly 4 months since the heartbreaking loss of both Paul Pierce, KG, and the Bruins in the stanley cup, and two years after some of the most painful baseball this city has seen, we realy needed this win. also, red sox baseball, probably more than any other sport in any other city, is a religion. housed in the cathedral of baseball, it is the only apt way to describe the unquestioned faith, love, and devotion that most true bostonians/new englanders give to this team

anywhooo i’m done ranting about boston’s greatness. i apologize for the digression. BACK TO THE MIDDLE KINGDOM

i'm not too sure how i've gone this long without a mulan reference

i’m not too sure how i’ve gone this long without a mulan reference

its been an exciting few days! mostly the accident/possible terrorist attack (probably not) in Tiananmen square. its been all over the news so i won’t describe it. but China has definitely had changes since two days ago. most drastic is the increase in security forces on campus. so many more policemen/women have been seen prowling the streets. even more so, it has brought out the 90 year old unintentional racist in all chinese people. meaning my mother. at dinner the other night, we were talking bout the attack and she casually mentioned to me that if i happen to see a uighur (the minority group being blamed for the attack), that i should stay very far away from him/her.

the lack of a PC movement in China isn’t astounding to me, yet it still sometimes happens to astound me. in some ways it is nice, other ways, like this racism, it is not. but the Chinese are definitely a heartier and more tough culture than the U.S. thanks to the lack of debilitating PC. people say things. some people choose to ignore them. it is how life is here and with a population of 1.3 billion and a culture rooted in thousands of years of history, i doubt it will change anytime soon

alright i should probably go do some work. been too excited since the win to do any…

song of the post: Amsterdam by Gregory Alan Isakov

bonus halloween song: boys becoming men, men becoming wolves!  Werewolf Bar Mitzvah by Tracy Jordan

werespan

’til next time

Anustart

stop being perverted. the title of this is clearly “A Nu Start.” as in a fresh beginning. not “Anus Tart” as some of you with your minds in the gutter may have thought when checkin out this blog.

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why anustart though? because this past 3-day weekend was a glorious rebirth after the horrendous chinese midterm that i had to take just this past thursday. i would compare it to harry potter’s resurrection or the turning of the tides at D-Day or even that point in Anchorman when Ron picks himself up and blows the conch and goes “NEWS TEAM ASSSSEEEMMMBLLLEEE!!” but those would pale in comparison to the effects of this rejuvenating weekend.

anywhoo, this weekend was kicked off on friday with a visit to the YongHeGong Lamasery. first off, i didnt know that a monastery could be classified as a ‘lamasery.’ nor do i even know what a lamasery is. i’m guessing that its just some type of buddhism or something or other. ultimately it really would’ve helped if i had been able to read the chinese signs, as the ones in english weren’t the most informative and were only on a few buildings. the best part of that temple was definitely the giant buddha statue. and i mean giant. carved out of ONE TREE, this thing was about 60 feet high, 26 feet wide, and weighed 6 tons. it was crazy. scary, holy, ginormous, detailed. wicked awesome to say the least.

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after the lamasery, we went off to one of the hutongs, basically an older neighborhood that has “traditional” chinese homes. meaning that they were what consisted of the old city and are one story homes usually with a courtyard in the middle. they’re super cool but the issue with having really old homes is the lack of plumbing. so this means that there are many public toilets along the residential hutong streets. the good thing is that because everyone has to use them as their universal shower/bathroom/water place they are relatively clean. bad thing is that relatively clean in beijing is still really quite effin dirty. still though, the hutongs were cool and we were there to interview the american owner of a startup microbrewery for our internship class. interesting to say the least, not much exciting content wise, just the basic story of having to circumvent laws and find loopholes in governmental policy in order to have a business succeed.

hutong view

hutong view

saturday we went off on an adventure to the Pearl Market in order to find some of us halloween clothes. why i went, i dunno. halloween isn’t my most favorites of holidays, it just doesnt really add anything or have any good holiday spirit. its like the pilgrims (i’m not even sure if they brought it to AMURICA) were just like “hrmmm we just had the autumnal equinox party but now we gotta wait 2 whole months to celebrate that feast we had with those guys that we intentionally killed. what meaningless thing can we do to take up some time?” so basically i just went along so that i wouldn’t sit around in my boxers all saturday eating watermelon, and watching friends until it was nighttime.

so to get to the pearl market, we decided to take the subway to the closest stop. the thing about chinese subway cars is that they all have tvs in them that usually show some sort of ad or other commercial thing. however, apparently for this trip, they werent able to get anyone to advertise, or the gods decided to play a cruel trick on the foreigners. meaning that the tvs were all of a sudden showing wallace and gromit!!!!

cept they weren’t

caught ya red handed

caught ya red handed

it was more of a cracked out version of wallace and gromit. it was heartbreaking. it had wallace. and gromit. and shaun the sheep. but they weren’t the same, nor was the story a real one. shaun was the same, cause you can’t really mess around with a sheep’s design. but wallance and gromit? oh man. gromit had a little beanie cap, livestrong-esqe band, watch, and terrible, horrible, british teeth. why they would give gromit big ol teeth that stick off in every which direction, i cannot answer. wallace, in accordance with the weird chinese version, had hair. and not just any hair. partially balding red hair with sideburns that looked a little bit like this cop from Hot Fuzz. cept more bald

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 7.35.59 PM

after that, the rest of the weekend was kinda useless. meaning i just did work today and got ready for 2nd semester to start. best part of tonight was definitely when, at dinner, dudu and my mom could not stop laughing at a chinese girl trilling her r’s while practicing spanish. its really a good thing they dont travel past very close parts of asia

generalissimo-30-rock-w352

song of the week: Chugjug by Family of the Year

’til next time

Christmas in China

I’m what most people would call weird. for many reasons. one of these being the fact that for every october for the past 2 years, i have had a brief infatuation with christmas music around the time of Bates’ fall break, roughly mid-october. this year was no different. so now with roughly 1000 songs downloaded in this past week and with a solid xmas playlist of about 400 songs playing in the background, here goes this week’s post, a smattering of stories that could ” make a rabbit slap a bear”

oh and just to make sure we’re all on the same page,

THIS IS NOT THE REAL GRINCH MOVIE

THIS IS NOT THE REAL GRINCH MOVIE

please, jim carrey is a pathetic excuse for the grinch. and apparently they sing non-animated grinch movie songs in this version. NO

this is reality folks. don't watch the impostor!

this is reality folks. don’t watch the impostor!

but yeah, again this week was pretty uneventful, mostly cause we got a huge midterm on thursday that most people (not me clearly) are currently studying for. so i guess i’ll just relay some small stories/instances and whatnot.

so last thursday, i was helping Dudu (my little brother) practice his english. in this lesson’s text, he was reading about these forest animals’ annual track meet in the forest. mr rabbit was the fastest and was about to win when…(and here i thought he was going to get distracted by a pretty lady rabbit or chocolate or a flower or something). but nah, please. this is china. he was about to cross the finish line when HE BREAKS HIS LEG.

really china, interesting twist to the story. i must admit, i did not see that coming. you see, in america, friendly forest creatures in kid’s tales dont suddenly break their legs. its like bambi but with rabbits and not really anything like bambi.

lets be honest, this would be a better ending for mr. rabbit than just lying on the ground with his leg broken waiting for help that will never come

lets be honest, this would be a better ending for mr. rabbit than just lying on the ground with his leg broken waiting for help that will never come

but i guess thats better than the alternative option of having mr. rabbit about to cross the finish line when all of a sudden his leg gets utterly decimated by a bear trap or when all of a sudden he trips and breaks his neck. at least this rabbit is still alive. unfortunately, in this story, a doctor wasn’t brought to rabbit because the forest creatures send mr. centipede to get him. and of course because mr centipede has 100 feet he couldnt find all of his shoes. honestly forest creatures, why in the hell would you send an animal with so many legs? lacing up to be able to run would take forever. you’re thinking like a bunch of big, dumb, americans.

oh.

i see what you did there, chinese editors.

the animals who speak english and are presumably american or british aren’t the brightest bulbs in the closet. subtle propaganda/nationalism trying to make us seem inferior. touché china, touché.

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next up is a few stories from the ‘hood. meaning my apartment complex. the furthest thing from the “hood” as can be. mostly cause its really nice. secondly because one of the perks of living in a police state is the fact that everywhere is super safe!!

the first story deals with a common theme in China: laughing at the white people. the other day, i entered my apartment complex through the locked gate as usual, except this time I saw a little old couple coming behind me so i held the heavy metal door for them. the old lady said ‘thanks’ to me in english, to which i replied “没事 (mei shi),” which roughly translates to “no problem.” now these old folks found this rip-roaringly hilarious. they looked at each other in momentary confusion, then the old man stifled a giggle and said “没事.” Only to follow that by laughing a lot while repeating 没事 over and over. not too sure why he tried to stifle that first laugh, but oh well, glad to be of entertainment as usual.

the second instance of ridiculousness occurred a few days ago when i was walking to school and happened to fall in line with a middle aged couple chatting about who knows what. all of a sudden, mid conversation, the man rips out a ginormous, garbacious, slightly disturbing fart. i expected some reaction from the woman, or at least some acknowledgement of the toot from the guy but my expectations were unfulfilled as conversation continued as though it had never happened. sometimes i just dont understand china. it was thoroughly entertaining though.

next up this week would be watching the sox win the ALCS. that was fantastic and my happiness cannot be put into words. the weird part of it was that unlike Bates, Massachusetts, or anywhere in the Northeast United States, no one gives a flying rat’s ass about baseball here. which sucks. the combination of the lack of enthusiasm for the Sox in China and the fact that i was watching the game online through some website that rerouted a british channel and all of the british advertisements that clashed with the Great American Pastime made for a weird viewing experience. its ok though because we’re going to the world series. and cause of this

pure beauty

pure beauty

 

on the nerdy side, i finally finished the most recent book in the game of thrones series and as tracy jordan once said, “a book hasn’t caused me this much trouble since Where’s Waldo went to that barber pole factory.”

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sadly, i’m subject to the whims of a overly-sized LARPing man’s imagination who just plays with my emotions. oh well. such is life. still not anywhere close to the sadness that was the realization that after finishing the 7th HP, i would never read a new harry ever again.

finally, the best part of this past night: I was getting onto the elevator in my apartment building and my hood was up because my freshly shaven head gets a bit chilly at nights here. so these girls were on the elevator going down to the first floor and had their backs to the door. as the doors opened up onto my floor, they turned to get off because they thought it was the first floor only to run into a tall, gaunt, pale, and hooded figure whose face was hidden in shadow. needless to say they emitted a little gasp.shriek thing which they then tried to play off as I laughed the rest of the elevator ride down. they musta thought i was the white devil come to attack them. or voldemort. which ever they choose to believe in, though most likely the latter. oh well. and so the laowai issues continue

sorta like this. just sorta

sorta like this. just sorta

song of the week: Call Me by St. Paul and the Broken Bones

 

’til next time