Friday, July 28, 2006

Back in China

Yepz, I'm back in China for another recruitment trip. Arrived two days ago into Chang Chun. It's quite different from the other cities that I've visited. Chang Chun looks very... planned. Essentially, everything seems to be meticulously placed in a certain place. It's a very neat (literally) city.

Had dinner at a place called 'GOOSE' last night. No prizes for guessing what dishes were their speciality. Our hosts ordered, 4 goose heads, yep, you heard that right, 4 goose HEADS for us to try. Basically, you have these 4 goose HEADs, braised, and split into half. Don't ask me how it tastes, I wasn't adventurous enough. Wanted to take a pic to post here but thought it might be a little rude to snaps pics during dinner.

Oh well, it's another two days here in Chang Chun before moving on to Wuhan. The weather here is surprisingly nice. Apparerently, it's been really hot before we arrived. I heard that Wuhan is going to be really, really, REALLY hot. I'm so looking forward to it.....

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I traded in my Nokia N80 for the Sony Ericsson k800i today.

The N80 was not a bad phone. I loved the Wi-fi and the web surfing interface was really good. The screen was also very nice. But I didn't like the pictures it took (even though they were also 3 megapixel, I thought the 2 mp taken by my old k750i were better) and the battery life was horrible! The N80 usually dropped to less than half it's battery life by the end of the day!

So, I've kinda been waiting for either the Nokia E70 or the SE k800i. Unfortunately, it seems that Nokia is probably not releasing the E70 so since the price of the k800i is pretty reasonable (esp after I trade in the N80) I decided not to wait.

So far? Wonderful! The initial feel of the whole phone is very positive. Tried installing some wallpaper and ringtones and so far so good. The only slight irritation is that Sony is using their new M2 card. It's really tiny. About 2/3 the size of the miniSD card. But since it's a new card and it's Sony's proprietry media, the card is quite expensive. Nevermind for now, since the phone came with a 512mb card. Should be quite sufficient for now.

Sigh... pretty isn't it?

Ok, I think this phone must last me for a quite a while. I shall try my utter best to not upgrade for at least a year (or two if I can help it....)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's nice to be home.

Went out immediately to see a doctor coz of an in-growing toenail. Of course, I took the chance to have a yummy bowl of katong laksa. Next... CHICKEN RICE!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Open or closed?

We were on the highway on our 5 hr trip between cities when we made a toilet stop. Here's the sign we saw... so the question is... is it open or closed? heh.

Yeah, the were a quite a few other such spelling mistakes, but I decided I shouldn't post them... not very nice, yah?

Beijing Airport

Took this while waiting for my flight from Beijing to Shanghai.

The airport is really quite large, but the pe0ple... oh the people... it was so very crowded. Basically, the one phrase that comes to mind is the proverb I learnt since primary school: 人山人海。

The whole of China is just so very crowded. The shops are crowded, the streets are crowded, the parks are crowded, etc, etc. It's something I don't really like coz the crowds do get to me. And the weather doesn't really help. The temp here hovers around 32 to 37 degrees! Just today, as we stepped out of the van, we could literally feel the heat wave hit us. It was 37 degrees at Hefei! I'm told the weather is the same if not worse further south where I'm heading for the next trip... sigh. Why can't we recruit in Winter time!?


As is my usual practice, I sought out the electronics centre in Beijing the first chance I had. Actually, I tried to find time to take a look at the local electronics centre at the cities I visited. Here are the pics of two of these centres in Beijing.

These places are huge. And I really mean HUGE. I think one of these buildings can easily take two or three Sim Lim squares inside! And the number of shops inside? Astounding. When I was first told by the students that you could have almost a thousand shops inside, I was like 'huh?', thinking that he was just exaggerating. But no...

Here's a pic of Hai Long centre. The first place I visited.

Here's a pic of what goes on inside one of these buildings. It's a real marketplace! Many of these shops are just a small space of maybe 3m by 3m. The bigger ones have a actual shop space. The interesting thing is that there are just so many things to see. The bad thing is, there is no real order. So you can't really browse. The other thing I hate is how EVERYONE keeps harassing you to see their shop. I couldn't even just look around any shops. The moment you walk past one, you would be dragged in by the sales staff. I guess if you knew what you want, then you could easily get it. But this is really not a place to browse. This is pretty much the same in almost every electronics centre I visited.

This is the electronics just opposite Hai Long centre. Just within that area itself were about 4 to 5 such buildings. Each almost 2-3 times bigger than Sim Lim. Phew!

Culinary Delights of China

Almost at the end of my first trip to China. Will be setting off for home early tomorrow morning. I've some time now to do some blogging on some stuff.

Food was quite an eye opener. It's really hard to imagine the kind of food they can cook up from just one animal. And the thing is, we weren't even eating exotic animals. Here's a pic of a dish. If I remember correctly, it's either cow's lung or stomach. I tell you... the smell was.... simply indescribable. In situations like this, I'm really glad I don't take beef or entrails of any kind. Apparently, you have to eat it while it was hot so that it'll be nice and soft. I didn't take too many pics of other food coz I thot it was kinda rude to do it in front of guests.

Here's something a little more palatable. The famous 'kou rou' or three-layered pork. It's amazing how they do this in China. It looks so sinful, but it doesn't taste sinful at all. Unlike in Singapore, when you eat this, the fat kinda just bursts in your mouth... kinda gross. Here, you don't really taste it. They say it's 'fei er bu ni' - 'Fatty but you don't get sick of eating it'. I had to take a pic of it coz it simply looked so sinful here!

One thing I discovered on this trip. I'm not a very adventurous eater. I kinda stick to the very safe chicken, pork and veggies. At most of the hosted dinners, I think I ate less than half the dishes that were served. Sometimes coz of the red meat and entrails, other times, it was simply coz the dish was just too strange. We went to a restuarant where one of our team members ordered goat's spine..... omg.... I couldn't even bear the sight of it! But it was apparently very good.. .especially the marrow... As far as I am concerned, I can see that presentation is everything. I'm simply not gonna eat something that looked as if it was simply chopped and mashed together. Another meal, we were served chicken and this chicken (a rooster) actually had a crown almost twice the size of the head! And our hosts actually asked us to eat the crown! I have no idea how to do that.

Yes, food has been interesting. But I am dreaming of laksa and chicken rice... soon... very soon...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Finally, I also visited the Shanghai Science and Techonology Museum. From the outside, looks really fantasitc right? Sad thing is that the inside wasn't as impressive. The displays were not too bad, but compared to many of the Science museums I've visited in Japan and US, it just felt less exciting. Still, an interesting place to see at least once.
Shanghai has an amazing skyline. This is just a sample of the buildings. Most of them are really unique and you can see much effort has gone into making each building very unique. Singapore's CBD kinda pales in comparison. Notice the two buildings on the far left of the pic? Yep, they are the ones where Tom Cruise filmed a scene from Mission Impossible 3.
This was taken from the very top of the Jin Mao building. The upper most floors are actually a hotel, the Grand Hyatt I think. From the top, they have a window looking down so we can see all the way to the lobby of the hotel. I thought this was a real awesome pic. It's amazing how they designed the hotel to have a spiral balcony... see it?
Opposite the Jing Mao building, about 400 metres away is the Dong Fang Ming Zhu. It's kinda like the building everyone is supposed to go up. I couldn't be bothered. It's shorter than the Jin Mao building and yet costs twice as much to go up. It looks quite futuristic though, in a corny kinda way.
we actually had some free time in Shanghai due to some changes in our testing schedule. I made use of the time to visit Pudong. Here's a pic of the world's 3rd tallest building, the Jin Mao building. It's too bad that the day was so foggy, I went all the way up but couldn't see anything... sigh.
After Beijing, which was generally greyish, we went to Shanghai... what a great difference! Here's a pic of the famous Nanjing Road in Shanghai. The street is just so vibrant and pulsating with all the neon lights. The buildings were also lit up very prettily. This really beats Singapore hands down. I wonder how Singapore ever intends to compete with this. In comparison, Orchard Road does look an ugly duckling. But as for the shops, I think Orchard has a better mix of shops and there;s something for everyone. In Nanjing Road, the shops are really very similar.. mainly clothes... chinese medicine...
I didn't have much time in Beijing, but managed to walk over to Tiananmen Square (almost 45 mins walk from my hotel) to snap a pic of the famous Mao Tse Dong picture. I'm using my new Sony T30 camera... nice eh? It was really crowded, but one thing about China is the huge number of touts trying to waylay you to introduce massage & other services... Quite irritating actually. It's really quite rampant, even more so than Vietnam.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My First Visit to China

It's been quite an interesting 10 days. This is my very first visit to China and it has been quite an eye-opener.

I've never really been interested to visit China so I guess it's a good thing that I am visiting it now because of school work. If not for this opportunity, I would probably not see China for at least a couple more years.

I've got some pictures to post, but might be able to do that later.

Currently, I've been to Beijing and Shanghai and right now, I'm blogging from Ma An Shan. The cities are all very very different. Beijing is really steeped in history (esp coz of the forbidden palace and tiananmen, etc) and Shanghai on the other hand is a really colourful but very very very noisy and busy. As for Ma An Shan, it's a fairly quiet place, about 5 hours away from Shanghai by road. I'm off to Bengpu and Anqing over the next few days before finally returning to Singapore (and enjoying my beloved meal of laksa and chicken rice!).

I'll post some pics and talk about some of the things slowly.

Sorry to my faithful readers for the long delay in my blog updates!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Wow... it's been a very long time since I last posted. Sorry to you guys who have been checking out my blog. Problem is, I'm in China now and somehow, I've not been able to access any blogs. Looks like blog sites have all been blocked or something.

Anyway, I'm in Ma An Shan now, and it seems I can actually access blogger to update my blog, although I still can't see my blog. Well, at least I can post some updates! Will be updating some of the happenings over the last week later.