Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bruce Willis has nothing on Ben Noyes

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!

Uncontrollable Laughter

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!
This is the greatest software ever developed...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Paperwork Labyrinth

It's that time of year again... time to get my Chinese residence permit renewed.

I think today I finally understood the reason for the banality of the Chinese bureaucracy... its designed to keep the citizenry under control by crushing the will to live of anyone who has even more than a brief involvement with it.

You want a driver's license? Provide us with these 12 documents, each one of which involves a wild goose chase/scavenger hunt around Yantai for another 8 supporting documents each.

You want a work permit? Provide us with these 284 documents and your left kidney.

You want your residence permit renewed? Juggle 4 chainsaws while balancing on a beach ball, playing Debussy's Golliwog's Cakewalk on the piano with your left foot, and reciting the entire works of Wordsworth backwards AND IN SWAHILI!!!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sichuan food... yummy

I had dinner tonight with my friend's Dani and Martin. We went to a Sichuan restaurant and had an absolutely delicious meal.

Afterwards, when the bill came Martin asked me how much a pint of beer costs in London. "Three pounds", I said.

Martin started laughing out loud.

Our entire meal: 3 main entrees (mapo tofu, water beef, and shredded potato), 3 bowls of white rice, and 3 large beers had come to LESS THAN A PINT OF BEER COSTS IN LONDON!!

And we were absolutely stuffed.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

You know you've been in China too long when...

I found this list posted on facebook. I edited out about half of them because I thought some were stupid, but the ones left will be familiar to anyone who's been living in China for more than a year or so.

  • You start enjoying the taste of the "meat flavour beancurd" lays potato chips.
  • You are not surprised when three men with a ladder show up to change a light bulb.
  • You know David Wu is a big headed 'poser'.
  • You look over people's shoulder to see what they are reading.
  • You throw your trash out the window of your house, your car or the bus you are on.
  • You would rather SMS someone than actually meet to talk 'face to face'.
  • You honk your horn at people because they are in your way as you drive down the sidewalk
  • You regularly fumble for five minutes to find 10 jiao despite 10 people waiting in line behind you.
  • Car accidents become a source of heartwarming humour.
  • When shopping at the supermarket, some laowai stares you down for catching you looking into his basket while you wonder to yourself what laowai's eat.
  • The idea of seeing how this place will look at Expo 2010 and the Olympics actually appeals to you.
  • You have a pinky fingernail an inch long
  • In a meeting you say everything will be 'wonderful' and give no details.
  • You forget that the other person needs to finish speaking before you can start.
  • You see one foreign person eating Pineapple (or whatever) and say "Yes, all foreign people like Pineapple
  • You go shopping to buy gifts for a future business partner, just to 'smooth things along'
  • When having conversations with your friends you start leaving unnecessary words or letters out of sentances and end up talking like an inbecile
  • You have learned how to detect someone is in a hurry behind you, and now have the ability to not only walk very slowly but also grow eyes in the back of your head, so when they start to overtake on the right hand side, you automatically cut in and walk very slowly directly in front of them
  • You watch taxi drivers picking their noses whilst stuck in traffic. Instead of feeling disgusted, you actually admire along with them, the length and breadth of the boogie.
  • Your eating manners in restaurants are now totally shot. Elbows on tables and spitting food out onto your plate is now seen as being dead classy.
  • When you sit in the restaurant with your finger up your nose to your elbow and stare at the laowai. Then you pull it out, inspect it, roll it into a ball and casually flick it onto the wall or the closest person's plate.
  • When you are able to jump the queue because the idiot laowai left 2 centimeters between themself and the person in front of them.
  • Before asking someone's age, you ask what animal they are.
  • You start picking at other people's dinner plates before they even offer you a taste.
  • You don't have to speak to taxi drivers. Every cab in town has taken you home at least once, so they all know where you live.
  • It seems entirely sensible to take a cab across town for 12 yuan in each direction to buy something that costs 4 yuan, that they sell right outside your house anyway.
  • You have absolutely no sense of traffic rules.
  • You no longer need tissues to blow your nose.
  • You start calling other foreigners Lao Wai.
  • You think singing Karaoke on Friday nights is fun.
  • Other foreigners seem foreign to you.
  • You consider McDonald's a treat.
  • You ask how much people are making and expect people to answer.
  • You talk louder than is necessary.
  • You are the last of your first group of friends still in China.
  • You prefer using chopsticks.
  • Chinese fashion starts looking hip.
  • You no longer notice the hooting on the streets.
  • You start to enjoy the taste of baijiu.
  • You go back home for a short visit, get in a car and start giving the driver directions in Chinese.
  • You have to pause and translate your phone number into English before telling it to someone.
  • You think no car is complete without a tissue box on the rear shelf and a feather duster in the trunk.
  • You see some real cleavage and think WOW!
  • You ask fellow foreigners the all-important question "How long have you been here?" in order to be able to properly categorize them.
  • When looking out the window, you think "Wow, so many trees!" instead of "Wow, so much concrete!"
  • Pollution, what pollution?
  • You wear out your vehicle's horn before its brakes.
  • You speak Chinese to your foreign friends.
  • You leave the plastic on all new purchases.
  • Forks feel funny.
  • People who haven't seen you for months don't ask where you've been.
  • You get homesick for Chinese food when away from China.
  • Metal scaffolding at construction sites seems much more dangerous than bamboo scaffolding.
  • Pizza just doesn't taste right unless there's corn on it.
  • It has been at least 18 months since you used the word "tacky" to describe anything.
All meant in good humor... but all also pretty accurate.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Funny conversation

A conversation on the building's intercom between a 12-year old Chinese girl and her mother:

"But Mama, it is cold and I want to come inside."

"You stay outside for another 20 minutes. The exercise is good for you."

"But, Mama, I'm hungry and I want to eat dinner."

"You are a little fatty (xiao pangzi) and eat too much. Now go and skate around the fountain 10 more times before you can come inside!"

Poor little girl...

Frustration over small things

It was a simple request... be at my house by 9:30 to take me to the customer's hotel by 10:00am.

It is now 9:55 and I have received no word on when the driver will be here. I cannot call to ask, nor tell the customer I'll be late, because as usual no one in my office paid my monthly phone bill (so it has been cut off) because everyone is too afraid to ask the Chinese partner's approval of the expense.