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Bikes!

About a month ago Jon and I bought bikes. They are the one-speed, basket in front with a rack on the back typical Chinese bikes. It’s great to see our neighborhood from the bike lane!

The store we got them from – it seems that electric bikes are way more popular now.
This type of bike is really popular too. It has tiny wheels and folds so you can take it on the subway or store it in your apartment. I’ve never seen a foreigner on one though.
It seems a bigger bike would be more comfortable and go further for your amount of pedaling.

"Head back-turn rate"

In China, it is not considered rude to stare, and since us foreigners look so different, we get stared at a lot. (More than we are used to, anyway.)

When we were in Beijing for a meeting, we had a group of Dakkies at a construction site. The workers were breaking for lunch or something, and I got a video clip of all of the workers doing double-takes as they walked past our group.

My co-worker told me that the term for this is “hui tou lv” meaning head back-turn rate. If a girl has a high hui tou lv, she gets a lot of second glances!

Springtime!

I’m very sorry if you are in South Dakota right now, suffering through the blizzard! Here in Shanghai it is really nice. No-coat weather! Jon and I took a few walks this weekend.
This is a very common sight in summer. The guys just take a little nap whenever and where-ever they feel like it.
This is at Jing’An Park, which is just one subway stop down from our house. I’d never actually been in the park before.

Abram’s motorcycle

My co-worker Abram just bought a motorcycle with a sidecar. It’s a replica of one used by the military in Mao’s day. It’s pretty popular with foreigners – both Dan and Jon really want one! Yesterday we saw a whole family of foreigners on one. The dad was driving with one kid on the seat behind him, and the mom and baby were riding in the sidecar.
Jon S. and Abram.

Ning and Abram.

Beijing

I was in Beijing for 3 days to meet with a client. Jon actually was in Tianjin and then got stuck in Beijing the first night, so we actually got to spend a night together during the week! :-)

The window washers here must be slightly crazy. No safety harnesses, just a rope. They swing around pretty good up there too.

Daktronics has a certain arena where certain games are being played at a certain big event in August. It was my first time to see our stuff in this arena. It was actually smaller than I thought it would be. Still cool though!

Yvonne, Aileen and Larry in the control room.

Macau scenes

Me by the bridge going to Taipei. This spot is just to the right of the Wynn. Somehow we got lost in an underpass just before this and discovered a pool and fountain in the parking garage of the Wynn!

Adam was amazed by the scaffolding here – maybe bamboo, hanging over the street and no harnesses are OSHA approved?

Walk around the French Concession

When Holly was here we followed a suggested walk in our guidebook. It took us all over the French Concession. It was cool to see that part of town and read about the history. I guess it’s a good thing to be a tourist in your own town every once in a while. We really had a good time but our legs were very tired by the end of the day!
A woman doing Tai Chi in the park.

You will always see people flying kites in the park.

This is a Russian Orthodox church. It is not in use anymore.

We discovered that you can go up to the 38th floor and then walk up a flight and out onto the roof! This is on the other side of our building. It seems much, much higher than our apartment!

Holly and Jon, freezing on the roof

A interesting fact is that a lot of buildngs do not have the number 4 on any of the floors. Our building doesn’t have a 4, 14, 24, or 34. 4 is a very unlucky number – similar to the Western belief that 13 is unlucky.

Street Meat

This guy was on the street one day and I said I wished I had my camera out quick enough. A few days later, my boss Dan got the photo. He said: Right on the main road. You pick out your chicken or pigeon, and he butchers it right there. Mmm Mmm Good.

Around Yuyuan Gardens

Traditional red lanterns on the “street of small commodities.”

Street food – grilled chicken and squid.

Making bouzi… (steamed dumpling.) Very famous and tasty!

Looking out from Yuyuan Garden

There is one spot in Yuyuan Garden that you can climb up on some rocks and stand over the wall, looking down to the street below. I took a few photos and noticed a guy was watching everything, including me, below. I looked at him, smiled and waved a few times, then finally smiled and pointed to my camera. He gave me the thumbs up sign, so I snapped a photo of him.



I am not sure why I like to take photos of laundry so much. Probably because back home, everyone has dryers and you’d never see someone’s underwear outside of their house. It is so cold to leave clothes outside now!

500th post

Wow… this is my 500th post. Half-way to 1,000! If you keep following my journey, I am sure you will see 1,ooo posts someday.

I don’t have anything groundshaking to say. I’m still blogging about my life in China. If you weren’t interested, you probably wouldn’t be reading still. I hope that you are learning about people and places outside of your comfort zone. And, if you’d like to visit, I’d be happy to act as your host someday.

The below photos show just what Shanghai is like now. I took these on the way to a furniture store near our house. A few months ago, this was all old Shanghai – old homes. Now, it’s a field of rubble, with squatters still there and within a week or two, huge skyscrapers will be rising from the ashes.


Aggressive Beggars

The last time I blogged on begging, I got flamed by some Anonymous person. If you are going to personally attack me, at least have enough guts to leave your name. Obviously, this person didn’t know me, or they would have known where I give money or donate time. Yes, I do mostly blog about positive or things that I think are interesting to others. I don’t blog about the evenings I eat a sandwich for supper and spend the night working. I blog about the times I go somewhere and try something new. Hence, it may seem that my life here is all fun and games, when in reality I just try to show the interesting things.

Anyway, one night we were at Malone’s, sitting outside. We had front row seats to what was pretty much a circus. I used the ISO 3200 setting on my point-and-shoot, hence the grainy shots. We watched a large group of beggars hassle everyone who walked by. They tried to use the kids to gain sympathy. Once as we walked by, a woman asked for money and on cue the kid starts fake coughing. A man was hovering nearby, clearly the “ringleader” of the group. If there was any trouble (such as some Chinese people demanding they leave) he disappeared.

These kids saw me taking a photo so their mom sent them over. I took this photo and then gave them some money.

This guy was just wasted and could hardly walk. The kids attacked his legs, sat on his feet and clung to him. That seems to be crossing the line.

The kids also were constantly running across the street. Never did an adult stop them or tell them to look before crossing. Traffic is crazy here and the rule is that cars have the right-of-way. I am afraid they were thinking, “One less mouth to feed…” Does China have a Child Services department? (I thought I heard that they have laws about taking care of your parents, but none about taking care of your children. But I have absolutely no facts back that up.)

This lady (right) was at least trying to sell something to make some money. Then a “working girl” came and was trying to sell something else. We saw the negotiation, then they left together. Ewww.

The whole evening bothered me quite a bit. I went home to try to find some more information about homelessness and ways to help in Shanghai. What I mostly found was information on how it is a choice for most of them.

A highlight of one story, based on the work of a high-school girl:

‘Huang said that 63 of the people she interviewed were “occupational beggars” who were not wandering alone in the streets because of a lack of money or accommodation. Staff at a government homeless shelter told Huang that about 80 percent of the street people in Shanghai were occupational beggars.

“Considering their income, I can only conclude that some beggars are occupational. They view begging as a job. The reason for them to live such a humble lifestyle is the ‘high pay, less labor’ mentality.” ‘

Shanghai published a guide on how to spot beggars that are trying to deceive you.

Old story about Shanghai police asking for a beggar task force.

I would like to help those less fortunate. But when it is a choice and they hassle me, I choose not to give to them. I choose to give to those obviously unable to work, who are at least trying to do something for a bit of money (such as playing and singing in the subway.) The able-bodied ones that are dressed warmly and chase after me won’t get a fen from me.

Oh – if anyone knows where I can donate some previously-used clothes, please let me know.

Bandung, Indonesia

These are older photos from my trip to Indonesia.

Ira, from MIB, took us to Bandung to see the newest Daktronics ProStar display there. It was a couple hours drive from Jakarta.

First she took up to a restaurant on the top of a hill.

It was what I imagine a rain forest to be like. Each one of the tables was in it’s own little shelter, with a low table and cushions. Very tropical. Yvonne or Perk – send me a photo of our group!

There are tons of little tiny shops everywhere, more and smaller than Shanghai. Much more run down and dirty too.

This is the new display! It is owned by Djarum, a cigarette company.

More traffic

I should really find something else to do time lapses of. Traffic is pretty much the same all of the time. Unfortunately due to all of the pollution I don’t see any cool clouds. Maybe I’ll try to do 24 hours this weekend, on Sunday, when the pollution usually is at the lowest level of the week.

Construction

Construction on the new subway line near our apartment.

Trial of Time Lapse Photography


My co-worker Abram told me about his roommate Nic doing time lapse photography, and I just had to try it out. Nic’s are way cooler than my first attempt here – but I’m learning! This is a test one to see if I could figure out how to put together all of the photos in AfterEffects. It is a series of photos taken every 3 seconds.

the Blue Frog and crazy taxi drivers

Lonnie and Ed (from the customer service department at Daktronics corporate) were here for about a week. Friday night we were going to eat near our apartment. They got in a cab and called us to instruct the taxi driver how to get there. Jon’s phone locked up and he couldn’t answer, so the taxi driver kicked them out of his cab because they didn’t know where they were going. They walked to the Blue Frog and asked us to meet there. (The Blue Frog is an expat bar and grill. )


This shouldn’t have been a problem. Perk, an animator from LEDtronics, was visiting too. Perk, Jon and I grabbed a cab and told him to go to Da Ning Lu. After telling him the first several turns, he exited the elevated road. Suddenly we were going to Pudong (the way to the airport, WAY out of Shanghai.) Perk speaks Chinese so he was telling him where to go, along with us. However the guy didn’t have a clue. He kept speeding the wrong way.

He took us to Da Ming Lu, and next saw Da Lin Lu, but just kept going. We called Grace, one of the sales people, and told him exactly how to get there. He kept going in the same direction on the same street, the same wrong way. We started looking for another cab – we didn’t want to get out without another cab to get us out of that strange part of town. I was starting to get very creeped out with a very bad feeling about this guy.

Luckily, we were at a stoplight when I saw one on the other side of the street. I said get out now! and we all jumped out (yes, without paying) and jumped into the other cab as quick as we could.

We told the other cab driver to drive away quick and we’d give him a big tip. Perk explained the situation and told him where we started and where we were trying to go. The new driver thought the other driver was insane for taking us where we were. Then, the first driver started following us. He was pulling up next to us on the wrong side of the lane, shouting at us, honking, etc. Jon was just furious and told the new driver that if they other guy followed us all the way there, he’d take care of it.

Our new driver had to backtrack for a very long way before getting on the right track to Da Ning Lu. Ed and Lonnie had been waiting for us for over an hour, when we should have been there in about 15 to 20 minutes.

Random stuff

Everything is a bit of an adventure when you are living in a country with cultural so different than your own. At the store I saw Wasabi flavored chips and also “Red Wine Chicken.” I couldn’t resist. Jon will like the wasabi ones. I tried the Red Wine Chicken. I can’t taste any wine. They do taste like chicken, grilled or barbequed chicken. Interesting. I wish they had Salt and Vinegar though! Other flavors include ketchup, cucumber, tomato, prawn, and potato (aren’t they supposed to taste like potatoes?)

This is pretty near our office. Nibe. Just do it.

Begging



This is something you see way too often. Beggars wait around restaurants or shops (especially where Westerners are) and then start pulling on you when you leave. These people were really persistent. They stood in the middle of our group, tugged on our bags, and kept telling Ning that he didn’t give them enough! Usually we ignore them and make a quick getaway, but the cabs were scarce tonight. The little boy just kept yelling, “Hello! Hello! Hello!”

It’s so sad that the parents teach the kids to extract money from people. It’s like telling the kids they’ll never be able to do anything but beg. Parents parade their kids, especially if they are disfigured or disabled, through the subway and make the kids ask for money. I’ve read that there are government agencies that will help find a job for them. I’ve also read stories of parents hurting their kids so people will give them more money. I don’t know how much of that is true though. Either way, it’s a social problem that all big cities have.

Saturday Shopping

Aileen, Maggie, Louise LV and I went shopping. Aileen is looking for a qipao to get married in, someday. She lives in the states now and works at corporate, but is learning project management here for 5 months. I thought these things looked interesting, so Aileen bought some and showed me how to eat them.

The outside has a peel and is a fleshy. When you apply pressure opposite directions, it tears open. The inside is like a white mandarian orange. It is very sweet.

Macau street

Macau is the Las Vegas of the East. It is so interesting to see the Chinese take on Vegas!! A huge difference is the many prostitutes all over… but then again, they are in “barber shops” all over mainland China too. The places they conduct their business have barber poles on the outside, but the windows are mostly covered.

This street reminds me of photos I’ve seen of Tokyo because of all of the neon. I used a long shutter speed to capture some movement across the street. Yvonne pointed out that everyone was staring at me. She thought it was because of my camera, but it may have been that, plus I’m white, plus I was wearing a tank top… It went beyond staring to opening gawking, I think.

Stuff on Bikes

You see everything being carried on bikes. People with motorized bikes or scooters will help out by putting a foot on the cart and letting the scooter do the work.

Chinese people are very concerned about the sun. Note the big hat, the white sleeves, and gloves. Most of the women have these sleeves to keep the sun off. It seems to be due to vanity (everyone wants whiter skin) and not health. All of the body and face wash claim to be “whitening.”
Many of the bikes have a passenger. This girl was sending text messages from her phone while the guy did all of the work.

A motorized bike – I think I heard that they get 35 km per charge (but that is carrying a slim person.)

Pajamas are fashionable now.

Driving to work

A few buildings that we pass every day on the drive to the office. In the bottom photo, you can see an open space in the middle of the building. It’s to let the chi (energy or life force) flow through. No buildings are built without a feng shui master coming in and telling them what is good.

Shopping with Mike and Mike

Mike Hyde and Mike Cooper (Jon’s boss before Dan) came to Shanghai last week. They have a Vortec project at an American high school in Pudong. Thursday the girls took them shopping and out for supper at a Cantonese restaurant. We went to Yuyuan Gardens, which is old but totally redone. Pretty touristy but OK. Mina taught them to bargin well – one lady told Cooper he must have lived here a long time.
Mina (my Chinese teacher too!) me, Mike H, Shelly, Cooper and Sheena.



Street scenes. I just had the point-and-shoot, so had to set it on a garbage bin to get these shots. I used my business card holder to prop the camera up at an angle.

Hair Washing

Life here happens on the streets – cooking, eating, games, etc. Also personal grooming. This girl was washing her hair. Judy said that you used to see it all of the time. The guy was just staring at me as I was taking photos. That’s not unusual – we are taught in the USA that it’s not polite to stare, but it’s not taboo here. White people, especially big blond people or girls, get stared at a lot!

Sunday Shopping

Sunday we went to the Antique market. It’s most fakes and we have no idea what really would be old, so we just assume everything is fake. Lots of old-looking trinkets. We bought an old camera and a door knocker.

Across from the Antique Market was a Pet Market. Animals of every kind. They have big plastic aquariums – Jon will probably get one. They seemed very cheap! But nice and well-built. Notice the guy in his pajamas on the right. That’s pretty common to see. Everyone sits around, smokes and plays games in the markets.

Pet crickets – they are more like huge locusts. Dan said they are sold to fight. They don’t fight til the death; one just backs down. He said after it backs down it’s fighting days are over because its spirit is broken.

We also found some more waxberries! The last one we had were too old and very bad tasting. I examined these closely and tried one before buying them though. Good thing we have our hepatitis shots…..

Shanghai Scenes

There may be more bikes and mopeds than cars, but I’m not sure.

Everything gets carried on bikes! These chickens were probably the most unusual thing we’ve seen so far. They were alive, but not moving at all due to the blood rushing to their little brains!

Laundry is always hanging everywhere. The washers are so small! The dryer is the same machine. It seems no air gets blown in the dryer – everything just heats up, then requires ironing. Hanging is a better option.

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