Thursday, July 27, 2006

26 July 2006

Where have we been? Cut off, by a strange set of circumstances...

We're online here at #2306/277 Dong Tai Lu, because someone in this building has a CTC/LAN. We've been pirating such, 'tagging on,' by chance. It comes and goes, however, and if it 'goes,' we're 'cut off' the Internet. This happened last week for three days.

This motivated 'Tom' to repair Mr. Zhao's TP-Link system (same CTC/LAN system), and thus, when he did repair, we 'piggy-backed' on his a few feet away. But, this requires plugging and unplugging a cable from the CT ('China Telecom') system (phone line), back and forth into the TP-Link 'box.' Last night, when leaving the office, he forgot, or plugged into the wrong port, and today no Interent for us. So, it's been an off, on again situation. But, how can you really complain when you're not paying for the service...? You can't.

Yesterday, we went to see the China Unicom agent in the Huahai Road Computer Mart (huge, with a thousand sellers of something electronic). We had Yali ('Ceres') along to help translate. What we have been having with this group/angry young Chinese man, is a 'failure to communicate,' as something is always lost between cultures.

'Tom' had done much research on this, finding the best way for us to get online anywhere in China. After much, we discover that China Unicom, China Mobile's (Government) number one competitor has the best system (formally military). But, they don't sell the service directly, but through agents.

Additionally, it was discovered that making the China Unicom system work with a Mac requires a special 'card' ('receiver').

So, two problems, getting the service, and finding the right piece of gear that works with..

I hate dealing with 'agents,' (third parties) because if something is not right, they just throw up their hands and, in this case, point to China Unicom. Of course, if contacted China Unicom would say, referring to their contract, we can't be resonsible for our inept 'agents.' And thus 'Caveat Emptor!' X10 in China.

China, so far as 'consumer protection' goes is about where the U.S. was in 1915.

Worse, unless you have established credit in Shang Hai, you have to pay one entire year in advance. This is 3,000RMB or $360 U.S., not a huge amount, but if the system doesn't work or you don't like, 'tough shit!' You're not getting your money back! So, we're been pondering how to solve this problem. How to find/have someone else sign on our behalf so we can pay by the month (cancel if don't like).

Stephanie had said her mother would in the beginning, and then that became problematical. Then her grandmother was offered... Then that didn't work out either, so we were in a quandry. I was just going to go ahead and risk the 3K RMB, as we need this service (to get online) badly. Note: You can't count on 'war driving!'

One night Tom found a 'stall' (CU agent) that sells the only 'receiver,' (card with USB jack) that works with the MacBook (you see how complicated using computers can get). Unfortunately, excited with a possible solution, he brought one of the clerks, a young Chinese man, back here to #2306, to demonstrate.

So, a couple nights ago I was sitting here working, and he, with this young man, came bursting through the door. To demonstrate the CU agent man had to break a SIM card to insert into the receiver (casting it 'used'). Afterwards, when I told him I'd think about it, he got very unhappy having thought he'd come (after work) for a 'sure thing!' Tom had problably said something to motivate him! In a 'huff,' we wanted 100RMB, which I thought he was do for his time. Tom wasn't even going to give him that (interesting how the Chinese think--a different way of doing things).

However, even with the 100RMB / $12 U.S. he wasn't happy, sulking away...

Afterwards I told 'Tom,' 'Never ever bring someone into my space that you don't ask me about first!' How the whole idea was not to my liking.

Since, we've been looking for a 'company,' with credit who would sign the contract for us (long 'shot').

Yesterday, we had more 'bad news, for the guy, him not liking me from the 'get go' (bad attitude). Then things went down hill to the point at me pointing a finger at his face saying, 'You have a bad attitude, and better change!' What do kids, particularly males, do when confronted with a situation like this... Not the ones who've been lucky enough (like 'Tom') to 'choose' good parents, but the ones who are 'problem' children? Of course, they regress, submitting to unconscious emotions, now his ego threatened. When he didn't apologize, I simply walked away, thinking 'Tom' and 'Ceres' were going to follow. They didn't, maybe for the better, as the outcome.

Down stairs outside I waited for them. When they didn't appear, I went next door to the Bank of China (where I needed to ask about opening an account with Tom). When the guard wouldn't let me make a telephone call (to Tom), I left.

Next door at another bank, I was also refused. Banks, I hate them all no matter what country!

Finally, I found someone in the Computer Mart that let me make a call. But, 'Tom' didn't answer. Faced with not knowing I walked back to 277 Dong Tai Lu (about 1.5 kilometers) to call again, what to do...? I really didn't know what or where they had done/gone?

Back at 2306 I had something to drink, and then called 'Tom' again. This time I reached him, happy as always (he's very much like Rucha). The tone of his voice eased my burden, asking me about going to the 'T-shirt place,' which I didn't understand at all. What did the 'T-shirt' place have to do with what had just happened? That didn't seem all that important! I told him to return here, and we would go wherever together, not wanting to broach the subject either.

It seemed to take forever, but finally he arrived, and soon we were on the street again, walking to Fuzhou Road. We had all kinds of tasks to accomplish, now with only eight days left before departing Shang Hai for Beijing.

During our walk he explained 'Ceres' had suggested that Jiang Hai's (young filmmaker) company might sign the China Unicom contract. Suddenly, there was a solution to this unpleasant situation which would make everyone, including the Chinese 'problem child,' happy. They had learned from a colleague, why he was so upset... If we didn't purchase the card ('receiver') his boss would deduct the price of it from his paycheck.

This is how they ('owners') operate in China, exploiting 'children' no end! Money has become 'God!' as in everywhere. Mao, is rolling over in his grave, 'Capitalist Roaders,' having gotten control of China! Amazing what has happened in China in the past thirty years! Mao would be shocked!

Whereas, I'd 'vowed' not to do the 'deal' with the Chinese 'problem child' under any circumstances, I now felt like we had a good solution! Sometimes, it takes much trying to solve, but finally, with peseverance, you do! Anyway, that's the plan!

I should have listened to my astrologer (me) and not tried to do anything during this 'retrograde' period. But, up against a deadline, what to do? Suffer through the consequences!

On the way to Fuzhou Road (books and office supplies) I stopped at a Bank of China branch to check the balance in my account. Afterwards we went inside to discover few customers, so I knew this the branch to stop and ask questions. No, not possible to transfer funds from Kashigar to Shang Hai without an account. So I now have another account at the Bank of China. But, I must have had to input my 'password' into the 'machine' twenty times before she was satisfied. Amazing the 'security' procudure now in banks, thanks to us, all us 'thieves' that have caused banks to devise such elaborate systems, which only make it inconvenient for customers (thieves always find innovative ways to circumscribe).

My new plastic card must have 30 digits for a number. Remember 'Butterfield 8?' Not only a movie, but a real telephone number in the days of old. I'm old enough to remember four-digit telephone numbers in the U.S. Now, in China the 'fixed' number, eight, and the mobiles number, eleven.

But, now I can transfer funds from Kashigar to Shang Hai, and for a small fee! Always 'fees' at banks.

I noticed recently the increase in fees accessing funds from an ATM. This, of course, from my bank in the U.S. $300 U.S. withdrawal, the fee something like $4 U.S. It's called the 'mordito,' in Spanish, or 'the bite!'

On Fuzhou Road I began looking for a case for our MacBook. I knew what I wanted, but didn't know where to find! We stopped and looked in several stores before discovering a 'bonanza!' With little help from a sales clerk, we looked and looked until we found exactly what I wanted, a lightweight case to put Ms. MacBook into. And for nothing, well almost nothing something like 15 Yuan or $2.00 U.S. In the meantime, I found other things I need to 'house,' my travelling 'office' in and found some more handy 'bags,' 'cases,' or whatever you call them. So, finding this store good... I hope I can remember where to find again. You can't get this kind of office item in Kashigar!

Onward, onward we walked, but yesterday in Shang Hai 'da feng' (strong wind) from the typhoon attaching Fujian Province a 1,000KM to the south. It made the temperature pleasant enough to want to walk.

Isn't it interesting, that one man's 'heaven' is another man's 'hell!' A couple of weeks ago another typhoon hit the south of China killing 500 people. But, it cooled off Shang Hai, making being outside more pleasant, and me happier in the process. There but for the grace of God go we...

We were wanting to exchange a plastic food storage container, that was defective. This for the second time. Again, by the time we arrived the store was closed.

Onward to the T-shirt place to collect 15 RMB for a 'defective' T-shirt. This 'stall' in a huge building of hundreds of clothing stalls. I also wanted to purchase a 'dress shirt,' something to wear, other than a T-shirt, for our NBC meeting. I found one for 65 RMB, or $8 U.S. The only problem I don't know if it will fit. The sizes are different from the U.S., in both Europe and Asia. So, you have to guess the first time, and then adjust from there. At least, the price is reasonable, and no great loss if the wrong size.

I'm funny about clothing... I don't have much, but what I have I like to fit! And how it 'fits,' is different to me than other folks. I like long sleeves long, and they rarely are long enough for my skinny neck. I really should have some shirts custom made, so I can get exactly what I want. Maybe next time in Shang Hai.

Would you believe the sky was clear in Shang Hai last night (26 July). I couldn't believe it seeing Jupiter right there in the western sky. I even saw one star!

People wonder why they become ill (or unhappy) in Shang Hai (big polluted cities)...? We're so estranged from nature, we might as well be living on Jupiter!

The other day we met 'Karl,' an interesting man sounding like from America (his English so non ethic). He was born in Poland, grew up in Canada and the U.S., and has travelled widely. Now, an aspiring actor in Shang Hai, here because of the economic opportunities (aren't all of the young?).
But, when i explained why I couldn't live here for long, he partially agreed saying, he 'stayed indoors all the time!' But, that's not how I want to live for any amount of money!

So, counting the days until I can ride out into the countryside west of Kashigar!

In the meantime...

in low country (the real description of Shang Hai)

Friday, July 21, 2006

20 July 2006

Oh, yesterday, what an upseting day... The full impact of Mercury and Uranus in 'retrograde!' They had warned about not trying to start anything new during this period! Did I listen? No! And thus...

Everything has gone 'swimmingly' well considering, although some of the usual challenges... But, yesterday, upset! All of us, Tom, Ceres, and me upset!

First Tom and Ceres... They had gone to Yongpu to register the company, gone off happily, so I was encouraged. Then when I call later, 'big problem!' Seems they had a 'fight,' and separated. Tom was very upset when he returned. I tried to explain about such things. He seemed to recover, and went off to the computer mart to solve the problem with or getting the Macbook online via China Unicom (all over China).

I didn't hear for a long time, then he showed up suddenly with another Chinese man. He was introduced as 'the proper equipment'--the only 'card' (antenna/receiver) that will work with this Macbook. I was not happy, as I don't like to be surprised in this way. But, I let them on the computer to demonstrate.

I told them I wouldn't 'buy,' without seeing it work with the 'Unicom' man. I didn't realize it was the guy Tom had brought along. Misunderstandings!

About 30-minutes later they were successful, and called for me to see. Sure enough it worked, although I wasn't quite sure about the deal. It took some time for Tom to help me understand!

Everything is a challenge in China, as the language/culture difference daunting. We have so many 'misunderstandings!' I wonder if we're going to be able to do this--start

I got progressively irate (out of patience), which didn't help. The Chinese man with the card expected a sale, and I told him I needed to think about such overnight.

There's also the consideration about using Yue's (Stephanie's) mother's ID card (for credit), and what will be required...? The whole idea is to get credit to try out the system (using the China Unicom service all over China) without having to pay an entire year in advance. Using Ning's (Yue's mother) card had been suggested. But, I don't want to inconvenience her. It's a 'tricky' deal! Last night compounded the problem, but at least I understand now:

We (Ning) has to sign a contract (using this special ID card). We pay 450RMB / $60 U.S. for the 'antenna/receiver.' Every month we (Ning) are billed from China Unicom for time used (200 hours per month included for the monthly fee of 200RMB). We will pay, of course, not Ning. But how? I asked Tom. If the service isn't very good and I want to cancel, we have to pay an additional 900 RMB and 'buy' the equipment. Then we're 'free.'

After I refused to purchase on the spot, the man wanted 100RMB, which I thought was reasonable--he'd come to the office after work. Tom didn't want to pay him. Tom doesn't understand sometimes, too protective of me/money, etc. We gave him the 100RMB, but he went off in a 'huff' anyway!

Later I scolded Tom for his decision to bring the man here without checking with me first! Since he can't call me, I need to call him more when he's out and about!

But, oh afterwards we were both upset! A very upsetting day, first Tom and Ceres, then Tom and me!

I wonder sometimes about starting a business in China with young Chinese people! What a challenge!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

19 July 2006 'Shang High'

Interesting day yesterday, or was it today, I can never remember... I hardly know what 'planet' I'm on...? Jupiter, I believe? No, 'planet China!' Certainly China it is a culture unto itself, known historically as the 'Middle Kingdom.'

Shang Hai, is a huge city at the mouth of the Yangtze River, China's largest. The actually city borders the Huangpu River a tributary, but very near the Yangtze (maybe 30 KM?).

'Shang Hai,' in Chinese means 'high ground,' so this is the highest ground near the mouth of the Yangtze that was suitable to build a community. This a thousand, or so years ago.

If the founders could see it now they would faint, as one of the largest (22 million) cities in the world. There are endless skyscrappers, dotting the pugent gray 'sky,' so congested businesses conscript the sidewalks for space, pushing pedestrians out into the streets (to walk). So terribly polluted you cough all the time, call it 'distopeia!' On the otherhand, it offers much in the way of culture and opportunity. It's 'hip,' and western, almost as western as Hong Kong. It's also the place to start our business, So, what to do? Suffer through being here--it's like being in 'hell' to me! Although I'll take Shang Hai over another 'hell,' Texas! Isn't everything relative?

We did the 'errand number' yesterday, walking around Shang Hai, at least in the 'downtown,' (Centrum and Zentrum in Europe) area. You couldn't walk all over Shang Hai in one day, it would take weeks or months! That's how large it is with 4 subway lines and ten thousand bus routes. But, walking, rather than taxi or driving, is the easiest and even quickest during traffic peak hours (24/7). Same in any large city!

I needed to get RMB out of my account in the U.S., this for Tom to turn into U.S. dollars. I found out 'foreigners' can't get dollars, only Chinese citizens. I wonder why...?

But, as usual I had trouble with the ATMS in China... I remember one which said, 'transaction cancelled for 'ambiguous' reasons!' I had to laugh!

Of all the 'foreign' countries I've lived in I've had more trouble with ATMS in China than any other. They just don't work many times. Maybe it's the number of people using them, millions, billions! Maybe it's the language difference? But, accessing (getting money) out of my account in the Bank of Texas here in China... Daunting! Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. But, in Kathmandu, Nepal, a very primitive culture compared to Chinese, the ATM never failed! So, when in Kathmandu use Nabil Bank!

At the Pudong Development Bank, however, one worked, and I was able to get 2,500RMB / $400 U.S.

I needed U.S. dollars, by the way, for Bhuwan to 'hand carry' to Nepal. International finance, I guess you would call it.

Then on to 'Tom's' Bank, the Agricultural Bank of China. Here he was able to change RMB into U.S. dollars, but wow... it took forever, as much 'red tape' (many documents to sign, much 'higher' approval). It there's anything that slows down progress it's governments! I think getting $300U.S. dollars took 45 minutes!

Then we walked through People's Park on the way to Fuzhou Road. I've been looking for some books, and the big book stores, plus 'stationery' stores are located on E. Fuzhou Road in Shanghai. 'Tom' wanted a looseleaf binder like I use.

On the way, of all things we should run into the first touring cyclists I've come across in Shanghai, Martin and Brittany from Austria. I first noticed their bicycles laden with an unbelievable amount of gear (the most I've ever seen)!
They were sitting on a curb nearby eating sandwiches and drinking a beer.

And what a story... They've been on the road from Linz, Austria, for one year and four months! This all the way across Europe and Asia!

I gave them my postcard and told them to call us if they needed help. They were looking to stay in a 'hostel,' yet I don't know of any in Shanghai (should know but don't). They also needed a bicycle shop to replace a rim.

From here they're on their way to Hong Kong to renew visas, and then back through China retracing their 'steps.' But, it sounded like they loved what they were doing and somehow could afford to keep cycling forever! We took a photograph of them which will be in the 'Gallery' at some point! But, I will never forget how their bikes looked, you could hardly find the bicycle for the gear. Listen to this... He, Martin, his bike weighs 100KGs. / 220LBS, and hers, Brittany's 80KGs. These are strong young people (in their late 20s)--they looked healthy! I think Ms. Fiets, in comparison weighs 50Kgs. fully loaded.

At the Shanghai Bookstore we found what we needed, two books in Chinese about the Olympic Games, and a book about acting. The latter for my Dentist's daughter who wants to become... An actor that is. She's's first 'client!' Her father is about to fix my teeth!

I didn't explain how we met them, dentist and daugther 'Jiang'... I had told Stephanie (Yue) I needed a dentist, who told Ma Ching (one of our friends). Ma said she would find one for me.

Several days later she called and had arranged a meeting at Gongming Clinic. I didn't understand, as you wouldn't get a dentist in the U.S. to come out for a 'pre-appointment' meeting, if his life depened on it. Additionally, I had questions, like what, and how much? Thus, I 'waived off' this meeting, as wanting to know how much before committing. Someone 'Providence' interveined, and agreed to the meeting. Stephanie wanted to be there, which again, made no sense to me (cultural differences!).

Boy, and I'm glad I went to the meeting! Turned out the 'famous dentist,' brought his daugher ('Jiang') who wants to study acting. She spoke English. Her father, the dentist, turns out to have lived in Xinjiang Province for 25 years. Thus, we have much in common! It all worked out great. He exaimed my teeth, and told me it would cost 1,000RMB to pull one, and to try to save another (with a crown)!

How much would similar work cost in the U.S. 20X as much! 1,000RMB is $120U.S. for two appointments, an extraction, and a crown. I'll be happy to teach his daughter acting, hopefully turning her into a major 'star' in the process!

After buying 'Jiang' a book about acting, we went on to buy Tom his 'notebook'--this up the street (always go to the same store on Fuzhou Road).

Then on to return a defective plastic food storage container, and get 15RMB for a 'defective' T-shirt. Yes, China manufacturers just about everything, but they have yet to learn about 'quality!'

Then on...

Unfortunately, we were too late to accomplish either task and decided to return to 277 Dong Tai Lu. It was getting late (1900 hours)

Bad timing it was, as 'super rush hour,' and not a taxi to be hailed! We began walking back, as you have to move to find a taxi. All were occupied, however! We walked and walked, me feeling a bit tired as fasting, and the resultant low blood sugar.

Walking on the sidewalk, I spotted a beggar, whom I gave 20RMB / almost $3 U.S. He smiled and blessed me! I said to myself at that point, 'Now we'll get a taxi!' I turned around looking for Tom but couldn't find him. Suddenly, I was peeved, as what to do? No Tom! Then I saw it, a taxi slowing in my direction. Sure enough Tom had hailed one as was looking for me! I got in and explained... 'Now, we'll get a taxi!' I emphasized how giving begets!

Then yesterday, or was it today(?), we went out to interview Ha Muti, at the Shang Hai Ballet. Ha Muti, a Uyghur man, is the president of the Shang Hai Ballet. Thus, a very unusual Uyghur! I know a good story (article) when I come across one. This I'd offered to do as they've been so kind to us ('comp'ing' tickets for a ballet performance). Giving begets, right?

So, Tom and I went out there, to the Shang Hai Ballet headquarters in far west Shang Hai (35RMB taxi ride). It's like a small college campus or 'movie studio' with many buildings--similar to what I hope will become some day! They house the students in dormitories meters from where the studio building is. There's a building where they construct their own sets, and make their own costumes. Mr. Ha is a smart guy... It's called 'vertical intergration,' or 'horizontal,' I forget which, when one company doesn't 'outsource.'

The administration building is an old mansion, where Mr. Ha has his office.

We were early, but unlike in the West where they would make you wait, he immediately stopped what he was doing to accommodate us.

We were ushered into a comfortable parlor, where we sat and I interviewed Mr. Ha, about his life and work. This, through his assistant, Guo Xi, who speaks English. For the first time, I interviewed a person through an interpretor.

The result, a four-page article, I would include here, except for its 'first-draft' status. Soon, however, when presentable, I'll include such as a BLOG entry. Who would have ever though... A Uyghur man from Xinjiang Province running the Shanghai Ballet?

After exchanging T-shirts and taking photographs, on to...

On too...

Always onward!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

17 July 2006 Shang High (Oh, I wish I was!)

We're back online (Internet), this 'return' as mysterious as having been 'cut off' three days ago!

We went to what I thought was Shang Hai's 'Short Film Festival,' this afternoon--courtesy of Ceres and her friend, the organizer, a guy named 'Juan.' No, he's not Chinese, but Columbian (speaking about getting 'hai!'). But, guess what, he speaks Chinese! A Columbian who speak s Chinese! I wonder how many of those there are...? When we met today I said, 'Buenos tardes, senor!' And he replied in Spanish. A Chinese-speaking Columbian starts a 'short film festival' in Shanghai! Wow! You wonder why I travel...?

But, it turned out not to be the 'Short Film Festival,' only films for viewing--we called Ceres when she was late. Juan had delayed it one week, as probably not prepared. Of course, I'm the last to find out...

The 'screening' was in a very 'cool' place, however, a multi-floored entertainment complex: bars, restaurants, screens with video projection, a dance floor somewhere... Even the people, and there were many (surprised), were cool looking... Blacks, anglos, and hip, young Chinese. I was no doubt the oldest (and most uncool) in a strange room (not good for viewing videos).

The room, on the third floor, was long and narrow. Normally, you'd project in the longer dimension, so people can watch rows back. But, here the screen/projector, 'the throw' we call it, was in the short dimension... So, all the people who wanted to watch had to 'bunch up,' sitting as they could and too close to the screen. The rest of us (not so interested) watched at almost an 60-degree angle. I didn't really care, however, as the 'films' (videos) not worth watching!

Gad, there must be a budding 'filmmaker,' every 50 meters in the world! Everyone is (or has) produced something with a digital camcorder. But, 98% don't really understand the medium.

The first was a 'story' film about a man/woman relationship... But, I understood not what about...? All the production techniques, but no story, tension, or conflict.

The second, a 'documentary,' by a woman about the City of Chengdu, in Sichuan Province... this went on and on, and on... Finally, I departed in the middle of it (after 40 minutes). Another person who has made 'something,' without either studying the medium, or understanding it.

Granted, and praise be to these people for completing something, as I'm well aware of the time and effort that goes into such a endeavor! They get 'A' for 'Affort,' but 'F' for 'Finished Product!'

I walked all the way back to 277 Dong Tai Road, dodging a million people out on a Sunday evening. Shang hai is a really interesting city, I'm just not into it anymore! All I wanted to do was get out of the stiffling humidity (90%).

In Fuxing Park, however, a man playing a saxophone! It almost made up for a trying afternoon (no longer into the 'social scene').

I stopped and bought some coffee at Starbucks (every 100 meters in Shang Hai).

I passed the Donghu (Eastlake) Hotel, looking like the Beverly Hills, set back behind gates in a 'park.'

There was some fancy mansion behind gates guarded by the Chinese Army... I thought maybe the 'mayor's' house.

I stopped and drank some of my fresh carrot juice I carry around with me (fasting).

Now, I'm 'here' writing this on the 23rd floor.

I long to be out cycling somewhere in Xinjiang! Camping on the ground, and hearing nothing but the birds! 'I'd rather wake up out in the middle of nowhere than in the grandest city in the world!' (Steve McQueen).

Here in Asia (China) there's constant honking of horns (on the street)! Every time I hear one, it's like a knife in my heart! I'm that sensitive! Nobody understands, at least in China, noise pollution. It's made me ill!

Being in eastern China in the summer is a version of hell to me! Shang hai, equivalent to New Orleans in the U.S. And trust me, I'd never go to New Orleans in the summer!

I remember Pensacola, Florida, during one Women's Open (golf), this in July! I'll never forget it for two things, maybe three... First, the incredible humidity, and secondly, the electrical storm that suspended play during the final round (Sunday). Lightening hit our truck and knocked us off the air! This a first in broadcasting history! Cameramen went flying from the 'jolt' that passed through the system, all the way, via camera cable, to their hands operating the camera. We had to 'fill' with static 'shots' for hours! The 'heroes,' the announcers, Bud Palmer and Jim McKay, who stayed on steel towers during the storm!

The third thing, setting a causeway bridge speed record (110 MPH) and getting arrested! This at 3A.M. in the morning after a party.

Wow! What a trip that was, now that I remember it--we had flown all our secretaries down from New York City for the weekend! We used to do crazy shit like that!

Now, some 37-years later, I long to be far from the 'madding crowd,' and riding Ms. Fiets!

Not so crazy, after all of these years!

Haqi in Shang Hai!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

140607 Friday

Lying in bed, I watch clouds drifting by outside my window, and thus:

'Where are the clouds going?
The come; they go,
Where, nobody knows!

Submit, relax, surrender!

Taking them 'da feng,'
Up one rung,
The ladder flung,
To the unsung?

Submit, relax, surrender!

Wouldn't you like to go along,
In the sky, up so high,
Appearing; disappearing
With a sigh?

Submit, relax, surrender!

Where are the clouds going
In such a hurry?
Not to worry!

Submit, relaz, surrender!'

The July full moon... Such power! It causes so much travail among my friends near and far! It's removed our Internet connection! It almost caused the demise of Indy's Cafe in Kashigar! 'Ke garne?'

Submit,relax, surrender!

Three weeks before departing for Beijing and Xinjiang (ultimately). Thus, we're working like 'feng la,' ('crazy' in Chinese)!

We're lauching, and registering the company, but this requires much planning, organization, and ultimately 'elbow grease' my mother called it! Besides money, of course! About 40,000RMB / $4,500 U.S. dollars. Luckily, we're rich in so many ways!

Within three weeks we'll have up and running, and you can read the business plan!

We'll send you one of our T-shirts!

Let us all, 'Make magic together!'


Sunday, July 09, 2006

090706, Sunday in Shang Hai...

This one for Trueman, as he asked about the differences between living in Xinjiang Province, versus Shang Hai, 4K KM west of here. Like 'night and day,' T.T.!

The only time of year I can stand eastern China is during the winter, when it's at least cool enough to ride 'Ms. Fiets.' Now (July), you don't even want to walk fifty meters, as you need another shower! Might as well just 'strip off,' on the street, as generally it's raining or (99% humidity). I don't understand how people can live here in the summer? Some kind of self-inflicted torture!

But, to answer your question, T.T., going from Xinjiang Province to Shang Hai (eastern China) would be like going from Arizona, or Colorado to Atlanta, or New Orleans! And trust me, I would never do, if I didn't have to (at least in the summer)!

I was born in St. Louis, Missiouri, and couldn't wait to get out of of that 'womb!' Luckily, my parents took me within one year (to Arizona).

The Midwest in the U.S., it may be good for something, but not me to live there (nor eastern China).

So, much is going on here for us in Shang Hai, however! We're trying to accomplish many things before departing (eastern China for Xinjiang): start a company (with WEB site), and a meeting with NBC in Beijing!

All I have to do is write a business plan for ('Make Magic Together'). This is about like writing a 300-page novel, the novel easier (if you've ever written a business plan before). Fortunately, I have experience having written several. But, nonetheless, some work!

I just completed the NBC proposal to supply bi-lingual (Chinese – English) production assistants during the Beiing Olympics, August, 08). If you know any people who can speak Chinese, and want to attend the Olympics, let me know!

I gave 'Tom' and 'Ceres' off today, told them to get outside and go somewhere! 'Tom' did, but I don't know about 'Ceres.'

I had put 'Ceres,' onto contacting a Chinese woman in Henan Province several days ago but no luck so far.

I read about this young woman via Her name, 'Jiang Duoduo,' a 19-year old who had the courage to 'buck the system,' making a point about a required test (many the Government requires). Because it's 'unfair,' she did everything she could to get '0'--just to make the point. Instead, they wrote about her in a local newspaper. What I remember her saying caused me to have 'Ceres' try to contact her, offer her a job... She said, 'she didn't know what she could do now, but wanted to be an actor or writer!'

This is exactly the kind of person that succeeds in the entertainment industry, as has the courage to be different! Just the kind we're looking for at ('Make Magic Together' in Chinese).

We've had a stroke of good fortune, regarding registering the 'company' in Shang Hai. Jiang Hai, 'Ceres' friend, told her about 'Yongpu Business Incubator.' Seems there's a district in Shang Hai eager to increase their tax base, by supporting 'start ups!'

We had a meeting with these people last week, and afterwards, I decided this would be a good thing. It's not exactly the most 'xi, xi,' district in Shang Hai, but next to Fudan University ('very famous' all the Chinese people tell me). Additionally, they offer all kinds of services, like reduced taxes for the first two years. There are also loan and investment possibilities through this government-sponsored program.

Best of all, the registration fee is only 1,600RMB / $180 U.S., whereas Mr. Zhao had said something like 160,000RMB / $18,000U.S. (which is impossible for us).

So, we're leaping into Yongpu (northwestern Shang Hai), wouldn't you?

Of course, I (a foreigner) can't be listed as an 'owner,' but that doesn't bother me. I'm doing this to help, 'Stephanie,' 'Tom,' and 'Ceres' (other Chinese friends). I don't need to 'get $ rich!'

We're also going to be buying a building (thanks maybe to Rotraut Boyens, whose generosity knows no bounds)! This will also help my visa situation, as owing property in China, gives you some special privileges. This building will 'house', with living space for 'Ceres,' and 'Tom' and I when in Shang hai. It will also have a class room.

So, finally some progress in actually starting a project I've had in mind for at least five years: 'Make Magic Together!' talent development centers around the world. China is only the beginning!

Our 'motto: We help realize your dreams!'

Our WEB site: will explain, as the first phase of such is nothing but the business plan.

Our first 'class' is called, 'Faster, Higher, Stronger,' the Olympic Games motto. We're going to be offering a 10-session course about the Olympic Games, successful students getting on a NBC interview list (for a job as P.S. During, in Beijing). This is a heck of an opportunity for Chinese people who are interested in a career in television. On their resumes: 'Production Assistant; NBC Sports Television, Beijing Olympics, August, 2008.'

'Tom' and I watched a Chinese movie last night on our computer(s) entitled, 'A world without thieves!' I just sent the DVD to Marty in M.S., as they filmed it (what weren't RR car interiors (exteriors in Xinjiang Province). Thus, if you get to watch the movie you'll get to see some wonderful scenery that will remind you of Colorado.

People wonder why I live there in Xinjiang Province? I choose 'Colorado' over 'New Orleans!' Shang Hai may be big, fast, and 'cool!' but only for business (and visa extensions). If I had to live in Shang Hai (terribly polluted) full time I would move to another country!

I've had Krygyzstan in mind until I just read where Putin wants to store 'spent' plutonium in Russia! Guess where? I mean is this man insane or not? My Russian friend, Vitold, wants to move out of Russia, citing other reasons (need there be any other?)!

We intend to start up a 'Make Magic Together' in Moscow, but I hope I'm not the one that has to go there (to do). Gad, I hear nothing but unpleasant things about Russia!

In all my 66 years, I've never seen the entire world in such a sad state! New violence in Palestine/Israel! Will it ever end?

I can only say to my Jewish and Arab 'friends,' I hope you both kill each other off entirely! Neither 'group' belongs on this good earth!

On the otherhand, religion and war, do help to keep world population down, as it kills so many. So, for that we 'applaud' you! Keep up the good work!

We attended an art gallery 'party' Friday evening. This at the very 'xi xi,' 50 Morganshan Road address in Shang Hai. This is a very 'cool,' bunch of warehouses turned into galleries, and other creative endeavors. I wish we could afford to be a part of, but two years too late!

There we met the owner 'Xiao,' and William, a young artist from Long Island. Besides, there was beer and naked women! Atleast up on the wall!

Down the street at 120, an even 'cooler,' place, a bunch of old buildings a Hong Kong company is developing called 'The Islands.' I met a French man there, a WEB designer. One of the old buildings a Japanese hospital (thirty years ago). I'd love something like this for But, guess what? Can't rent! The Hong Kong real estate company is waiting these buildings to 'fall down,' so they can build more skyscrappers!

I think Shang Hai, has more tall buildings that any other city in the world? I'm sure it rivals Manhattan, N.Y.C. 'NEW YORK CITY?' Maybe not the tallest, just the number!

Remember the TV AD about the picante/hot sauce, that 'cowboys' discovered was being made 'up there?' Funny! But, I forget the company name? San Antonio, Texas, their home office—that I do remember!

So, T.T., did I answer your question?

By the way, you can see 'T.T.,' two photographs at ('Miscellaneous' album on pp.#8).

You can see Marty Yaslowitz's at

banging it out on his 'new' MacBook!
In Shang hai!

Sunday, July 02, 2006


For all my American friends, 'Happy Fourth of July!' I suppose that means, baseball, beer and hotdogs? Please add mustard to my tofu 'hotdog!' The beer, a micro from Fort Collins, Colorado please (that raspberry one, I forget the name?)! The baseball, the Yankees in the '60s!

Othewise, you can find me cycling the highways in China!

Here in China, the two big holliday periods are 'Spring Festival,' (our 'Christmas') at the end of January, and the first week of October.

I'm composing this with my new 'Open Office' software thanks to Martin there in Manitoidville. But, what a time we had getting it to work! Tricky business software, and this in particular, as we had to both install and download new programs to make work. All of this took hours, days, and many email messages (some 'chatting'), before we figured out how to install 'X11' and download 'Open Office 2.0.'

Since I refuse to use Microsoft 'stolenware,' I now use 'Firefox' as a browser, and 'Open Office' (word processing, etc.) on a MacBook! I have one word for Bill that begins with the letter 'F!'

The Chinese, being somewhat 'naïve,' think the only software in the world is 'Windows!' But, I have a plan to introduce much 'freeware,' and Linux to China. I'm sure Bill is worried!

Tomorrow I collect (and pay) for my 'F' visa, hard fought this time! But, another six months in China.

Americans, thanks to all you activists out there, aren't as welcome as they used to be in China. Thus, the rules have 'tightened' making it more difficult for Americans to get visas and to stay long term in China.

So, when you Americans yell (or unfurl banners) about 'Falung Gong,' and the 'Tibetan RR,' all you're doing is making it harder for me to live in China! You really don't know what you're agitating for, or understand Chinese history.

Yes, all governments are evil, including the U.S. Government. But, why not agitate for getting out of Iraq, rather than Tibet? Some westerners, being self-righteous just can't resist sticking their noses in other countries' business! When they should start with themselves, and their own governments at home!

Anyway, we managed with much time, effort and resources to renew my 'F' visa. Additionally, we learned much more about how to do what in the future. Like buy a house or business in China.

Now, we'll be concentrating on starting and the Beijing Olympics project (meeting with NBC in Beijing in August). This, if I can survive living in eastern China during the summer.

Shang Hai, is located at the mouth of the Yangtze River on the Pacific Ocean. It's 'sister city' in the U.S. Could be considered New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. What is New Orleans weather like in July? Same here: incredibly humid (80%) with high temperatures. Thus, you need about eight showers per day to feel clean (fresh). I hate such weather! You don't feel like exerting outside, and I like that! I'm an 'outdoor' person in an 'indoor' city (at least in the summer).

I didn't (wouldn't have) lived in New Orleans in the U.S. So, what am I doing living in Shang Hai? This is where I started as the Zhao family (my colleague, Stephanie) live here! It's where I first got my 'f'irst 'F' visa.

Additionally, Xinjiang (far western China), where I actually live, is considered a 'military zone,' and not good for extending visas. So, every six months I have to travel to eastern China (Shang hai and Hong Kong) and deal with my visa. Such is the nature of being a 'foreigner' ('lo wei' in Pinyin).

'Tom' makes me laugh when he observes, 'Many 'lo wei!' Meaning, many foreigners in Shang Hai (even more in Hong Kong).

Speaking of 'lo wei!' I wish you (tourists) would stop stealing our English books from Indy's Cafe (in Kashigar)! I just replaced the Lonely Planet's 'Mandarin Phrase Book,' again! What is it about people stealing? We wouldn't mind if you bought the book out of our library, but just to steal... Woe be unto you!

Uyghur people stole my bicycle pump last February (parked at the Xinibagh Hotel in Kashigar)! What is it about people stealing?

Better to give than to take! When you do, much comes to you! When you steal, you lose much!

Rucha, is back in Germany! This after being in China for three months, travelling the length or the country from Kashigar to Hong Kong. Very few get to see so much of China. Most tourists think China is Hong Kong, Shang Hai, Beijing, the Great Wall and Xin's Terracotta warriors! Gosh, there's so much more!

China is as diverse as the U.S., maybe more.. Think about it... From sea level to the highest place on earth. From bamboo jungles, to conifer forrests and snowy mountains! From the most urbane, to the most primitive! From sparse to densely populated. From green to brown, from low to high! From donkey carts to expensive SUVs, from the Communist Party to Isalm! From 2006, back 5K years! From putting a man on the moon by 2050, to 'Peiking Man' (1.5 million years old!). China is an amazing country, with such diversity as to behold. Tibet the most amazing terrain I've ever seen! You should visit! Ride the new train all the way from Beijing to Lhasa!

Rucha has departed, but 'Tom' and 'Ceres,' are here working with me!

So much to do... When, I'd rather be out somewhere riding 'Ms. Fiets!

In the meantime, from China with love, Hutch, Haqi, Alexander (to Rucha).

P.S. Marty... this is really a good word processing program. Thanks for directing me to it!