Olympics 2008

In Beijing you can find countdowns for the start of the Olympics 2008 everywhere. Some of them only display the days, most of them are accurate to the second. The unit I am living in also has a countdown but they update i every day manually. Every morning they exchange the numbers (except of the weekend). Since a few days, this countdown is wrong.

Chinese New Year – Part II.


Beijing really gone crazy – unbelievable


So the football season is coming to a close and everyone knows what that means…..SUPERBOWL!!! Yes, I’m from the US, but I can’t help it, football is great. It’s actually the only sport I watch. Actually Super Bowl is great. I love the spirit of Super Bowl. I love the comrodity, the gathering of friends or family, the competing with friends or family, the shouting, the screaming, the physicalness, the brand new hilarious commercials, and of course, the loads of food and beer devoured throughout the entire game.

If you haven’t been part of a Super Bowl party, you’re definitely missing out. Even if you don’t understand the game, it’s great. Men and women shouting at the TV screen with buffalo wing sauce covering their painted faces or bright colored football jerseys, beer spilling every time there’s a good or bad play. It really is a sight to see….

So anyways, it’s Super Bowl XLII, Super Bowl 42. And while writing this blog, the New York (my home state) Giants has just sealed the deal for the Super Bowl. February 3rd New England Patriots vs New York Giants. I’m just hoping there will be a bar here in Beijing that plays it.

I’m really looking forward to this game and even the commercials, another favorite part of Super Bowl. So lets drink some beers, eat some wings, and shout like mad men this February 3rd. LET’S GO GIANTSSSSS!!!!

I actually spent Friday afternoon at the airport, lots of delays or cancelled flights because of the fog there. I bought a book “Mao, Man not God” at the airport and spent a nice afternoon and/or evening waiting for my plane.

It was not really chaos, altough it was a little bit more crowded than usual. The staff managed to stay calm and nice and I had some nice experience:

1) Funny experience
Two nice employees had some fun. They tried to explain me something in English but realized after a few minutes, that I asked the question in Chinese.

2) I learned the following new Chinese words
雾气 = wuqi = fog
大雾 = dawu = dense fog
没有登机口 没有时间 = Mei you dengjikou mei you shijian = No gate and no time.3) Experience
Next time, I know, where I can change my flight ticket at the airport.

4) Happy return to my apartment
When I returned to my apartment at 22.00, the electricity worked again (it had stopped working just before I wanted to leave in the morning)

Friday the weather was really bad… there was such a dense fog that you couldn’t see much! Apparently the visibility in the city was less than 200 meters. The airport and major highways leading to the city were closed. When breathing one felt like if there was dust coming in your mouth and nose because of the high levels of pollution…That day me and my colleague had a day off so we decided to go to the Silk and Ya Show market for a few bargains, breathing instead, ‘hot air’ from the vendors and other costumers!

Yesterday me and my colleagues decided for a change to go and eat at a japanese restaurant. It was one of the last restaurants close to the office we hadn’t tried. The restaurant itself didnt look bad at all but once we sat down we started to notice that the service wasnt up to scratch. Its not that me and my colleagues are a bunch of fussy people who want to be served to perfection but when you get chopsticks without a saucer, especially in this country, you know that something is wrong…Another thing we noticed is that there where alot of waitors and waitresses who didnt know what to do. The food wasnt that great either: the sushi was very sweet and the portions very small and tasteless. One funny thing is that we even had to ask for soy sauce for our sushi…Moral of the story? If you go to a Japanese restaurant make sure to get a saucer and soy sauce for your sushi in order to avoid frustration…

funny translation

“Ahead of the Olympics, China is trying to improve its citizens’ public manners and curb behavior that might offend foreigners. Beijing officials are also trying to improve the English of some ads. A better translation of the sign above might be, “Find something new and be pleasantly surprised.””

There are a few new changes in the Beijing subway. I’m posting this to let everyone know what the two updates are. Good news is both changes are positive. First is the new subway line 5 which is a north to south line crossing through Yonghegong line 2 and Dongdan line 1 and then Chongwemen on line 2 again. This is great and traveling to other places can now be easier and faster. This line is also suppose to have new lcd screen inside the train cars and mobile phone service which is amazing! Now I can finally talk on the subway ride, although I believe it’s only on this 5 line. I wish this service could be available on all of the lines. Maybe soon? The other change is that subway fares are only 2 yuan now instead of 3. Hey saving 1 yuan per trip will add up. As Buddha said “even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel”. Hopefully this change won’t increase the already congested subway cars.

Free Burma!

If you find offers for cheap cameras on Chinese websites you should be double careful – especially, if the price is only about 1/3 of the normal market price. And – I can not repeat it often enough – a professional looking website does not mean, that the company is reliable – it just means, that it is professional – but also criminals, who want to cheat foreign buyers are more and more professional.

In this case, someone contacted a Chinese company, they had a serious looking website, their address (fake) was in the World Trade Center in Beijing and the contact via skype was fast and professional. The price of the camera was 400 Euro instead of 1200.

After the money was transferred, the company said, they had some problems with Chinese customs, the buyer should transfer another 200 Euro because of tax. Here some standard excuses to get the additional 200 Euro:

  • No – sorry, it was impossible to send any proof, that the camera was held back by Chinese customs or that it had been sent.
  • Tracking number? No, also not possible, it was declared invalid by the Chinese customs.
  • Meeting? No problem – but they apparently even did not ask for a phone number or an exact address for a meeting point

The 400 Euro are gone of course, the company did not exist, the address in the World Trade Center was fake of course, the website has another address in the meanwhile.

I don’t think, the buyer will see his 400 Euro again

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