Saturday, April 28, 2007
Today's photo: On the walk to Phoenix Temple in Shenzhen. Translation: Today's special stupid chicken duck.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I picked up a bottle of Anchor for a change of pace--it was only 4 kuai, how bad could it be? I was pleasantly surprised. It did have a slightly different taste from that of Tsingtao, Kingway, Snow, and the rest. It was a little bitter, which I like. But it was still a lager, which I'm bored of. Still it's different enough for me to purchase again in the future. At least I can have it more often if I'm too lazy to walk down to Ren Ren Le to buy another Blue Diamond Stout (not really a stout) for 5 kuai or take the bus to the Xinjiang restaurant for a black beer for 10.
If I read the label correctly (it's all in Chinese), I think Anchor is brewed in Haikou, Hainan province by Asia Pacific Breweries.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Life in Shenzhen just got a lot better.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
It was Jia's first time out bowling. In her first game she got 104. We were all impressed. She didn't do as well in the second, but it was still respectable.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
The park was unimpressive and crowded. I didn't even take any photos inside. The most interesting part of the walk through was seeing all the people flying kites on a nice day in Shenzhen.
There is almost nothing natural about ZhongShan--all the trees are trimmed and purposely planted. We passed by at least four places at which people were poorly singing karaoke (two of them were across the path from each other). There's also a small amusement park containing mostly rides that you can find at a state fair in the U.S. But they do have bumper cars (which I think is the Bao'an driving school).
Disappointed on the way out, we found the old city. There were a few buildings leftover from the times before reforms of Deng Xiaoping. There were two neighboring structures that were (as I was told) a pawn shop and a cigarette shop. The only one that was open was the temple--not a Buddhist temple, but rather a temple to one of the characters of Romance of the Three Kingdoms by the name of Guan Gong.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
I got a message last night that might help with my hockey withdrawal. My friend said one of his co-workers is going to buy a satellite dish and he'll invite us over to watch some of the Stanley Cup games. I have to hope the Devils go far so I can really enjoy watching.
On another note, we watched The Graduate last night. I don't remember when I saw it before. That's a great movie. Dustin Hoffman is really funny.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I can't believe I've never heard of this site before. DestinationJerseyCity.com has all the possible information anyone could ever need about visiting Jersey City. There are links for dining (not just Jersey diners), parks, museums, and art galleries around the city. I had no idea there were so many art galleries there.
For someone who spent the first 23 years of life in New Jersey, I'll admit I don't know much about the city. I know how to get to my brother's house near the Holland Tunnel and the way to the PATH station to get me to NYC. But to think, I've been missing out on a lot of cool parks and museums (I don't really need to go to the Liberty Science Center, but I know plenty of people would like to go). I didn't even realize it was a shorter ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty from the Jersey side.
DestinationJerseyCity.com offers everything to find your way around. It provides a list of every shop and shopping center (alphabetically or by district) and restaurant within the city limits. Of course, I recommend the Hamilton Park Ale House (there's also a great Vietnamese restaurant nearby, but I can't remember the name). Don't forget to check out the events calendar if you plan a visit--it looks like there are a bunch of art exhibitions coming up.
I'll have to keep DestinationJerseyCity.com bookmarked for the next time I go home. I'll even bet my own brother who has lived in Jersey City for about seven years doesn't know about some of the things to do. I'm sure I can have lots of fun when I bring Jia home to show her around.
On another note, reading through this Web site made me a little homesick. I really need to take a few weeks off and get home to Jersey this summer.
Do you need Hotel Reservations? If you’re planning a vacation, holiday, or business trip, give HotelReservations.com a try. Their Web site offers a variety of deals for travelers to numerous destinations worldwide.
You can book more than just hotels from the site—flights, car rentals, vacation rentals and packages—and the prices are on par with other major travel-booking sites.
I checked on summer flights from Hong Kong to New York’s JFK airport to find approximately the same price I had seen on Expedia (about $1400 for a round-trip economy seat). It appears as though their focus is on North America and Europe, which makes sense considering the number of travelers from the two continents.
On flight search pages, they offer a link in the top right of the screen for destination guides. The guides offer quite a bit of information on cities. The Beijing guide is quite interesting with the overview focusing on the modernity and demolition of hutong neighborhoods.
HotelReservations.com offers mostly high-end hotels in China. As for Asian airports, Shenzhen was not recognized by the system for flights, however, Guangzhou was recognized. The flights within China were slightly more expensive for the upcoming May holiday than my usual Chinese travel site.
The site is fairly easy to navigate, even from the almost cluttered homepage. They offer how-to guides and FAQ on every aspect of the site to ensure effective browsing and booking. You can also switch languages to Spanish if you so desire.
For those weary of online booking, they offer 24-hour telephone service for users worldwide. The phone service can be used for booking as well as travel inquiries.
From now until May 31, the HotelReservations.com offers a mail-in rebate worth up to $100 on a 12-night hotel reservation. You can also receive $20 on any three-night reservations. Check the site for further details regarding this offer.
For more information, visit their web site: Hotel Reservations.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
If you’re looking to learn Mandarin Chinese, there’s one resource on the Web of which you must take advantage. ChinesePod.com offers users free lessons in mp3 format everyday. Lessons are fairly short, useful and easy to follow. For those wanting more than just verbal skills, the site also offers transcripts in pdf format. As their slogan promises, “Learn Mandarin on your terms.”
ChinesePod also offers a pay service for more ambitious students who want to progress with more structure. Plans start at $9/mo. for the basic level of structured podcasts and transcripts and reach $400 for an eight-week course that includes a 10-minute daily call from a native Mandarin speaker. But for those studying at their own pace, browsing through the immense archives and downloading lessons can be quite effective.
Lessons on the site are divided into seven comprehension levels from complete beginner to advanced learner and business. As of April 9, 2007, they have a total of 558 podcast lessons available.
ChinesePod began broadcasting online in 2005 in Shanghai and has established a following among English-speaking foreigners residing in China. Newbie and beginner podcasts are hosted by Ken Carroll and Jenny Zhu, with intermediate and upper intermediate hosted by John Pasden along with Jenny. Many lessons rely on user feedback through a comments section in which users may pose questions about vocabulary or grammar. Questions are generally answered promptly by the ChinesePod family or other users. They also welcome ideas for future lessons.
Newbie and elementary levels are slow paced with short sentences to memorize in an average of 10 to 15 minutes for each podcast. In the early levels of Mandarin, Jenny’s pronunciation is slow enough for beginners to notice the difference in tones—occasionally Ken will inquire as to the tone of specific words. Unfortunately, they tend to contain a large amount of English conversation that can be distracting for many students. As the levels progress, the amount of English spoken become minimal—in many upper levels, vocabulary is often defined in Chinese. Using the pdf transcripts will help any student to follow along with any lesson.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
"We deal in deception," Sheen's character Queenan says to Billy (DiCaprio). And that's exactly what the movie is about. Every major character leads a double life in the roles of state police officers and Irish mobsters. There are two sides to every scene--the good and the bad--and the audience usually knows which side is being seen. Scorsese provides the viewers with close-ups that deliver the emotion or lack thereof emitted by the characters trapped in duality.
I was impressed with the minor role of Baldwin playing Ellerby. There isn't a dual role in here, but he does act like a speed addict trying to be a straight cop. He adds subtle comic relief to the drama that film portrays.
This is the Americanized version of the Hong Kong original Mou Gaan Dou, written by Siu Fai Mak. I'll have to try to find it to see how it matches up--I doubt the Hong Kong version has the style that Scorsese brings to the screen.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Fortunately, H.'s English skills are about as good as my Spanish skills; unfortunately, neither of us is very good in Chinese. I think I came away with saying, "我 necesito trabajo more." I think I'm just inept in three languages.