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December, 2010

  1. You never forget your first

    December 19, 2010 by admin


    It was a Friday night, 10pm, and we jump into a taxi where it’s obvious in the first few seconds the driver is drunk.  I know this because I was tipsy too as we had just left a wine bar (but I swear his eyes were more red than mine).   When entering a Chinese taxi one always plans on a bit of white-knuckling, the possibility of at least two whiplashing stops and a cigarette ash in the eye but this particular taxi driver was INSANE by even Shanghai standards.  He was screaming at everyone in front of him, passing other cars by entering oncoming traffic…I could go on and on.   So at a stop light, we jumped out and continued on foot.  It didn’t take long for the taxi driver to come after us and I was surprised at how fast the little drunk could run but this was a situation about  money afterall.  After some back and forth bickering (I have to say that French wine I had really unleashed some good Mandarin out of me) it didn’t take long before we had 10 other Shanghainese in the mix offering their take on the situation.  Anyone who’s spent time in China can attest that the Chinese looooove a situation, anytime, anywhere.  It’s like Mrs. Cravitz on crack.  It’s like dropping a ritz cracker near an ant hole.  It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet, oh you get the picture.  Anymindyourownbusinesshoo, with the “help” of our judge and jury, we paid the taxi driver and took down his driver number information.  We reported him to the taxi company who said they found the driver and when they discussed the situation with him he responded, “I don’t remember this”.

    I rest my case.  and I should stick to riding the Scooteretta, oddly, it’s probably safer.

  2. Bai si de Sheng Dan Jie!!!!

    December 15, 2010 by admin

    That’s white christmas to you and me.

    It’s snowing in Shanghai today!!!!  Just last week we were at the Sculpture park, running around in t-shirts because the sun was out and it was a blue skies kind of day.   But then yesterday the temps dropped and today we have snow.  That’s how we roll in Shanghai and this California native finds it very exciting.  Now if only I had a fireplace…then again who needs to add to their fire hazard possibilities.  And anyway, it will be short-lived as I’m leaving for Los Angeles to be with family for Christmas.

    I wish everyone a beautiful, safe, joyous and Merry Christmas.  See you next year!!!

    And just last week…

  3. The plot thickens

    December 14, 2010 by admin

    I had to read this story three times and I still don’t get it.  It’s just weird on so many levels, but at least I know it’s safe to drink Sprite in China…just not with friends or lovers.

    The “victim” in the infamous “poisonous Sprite” case has been found guilty by a Beijing court of defaming Sprite’s producer Coca-Cola by claiming the mercury which poisoned him was already in the tin he drank from, the Beijing News reported.

    Ma Sai, a 23-year-old Beijing native, confessed that he tried to seek compensation from Coca-Cola by disguising it as a food safety accident, though he knew somebody had put the mercury into his drink.

    In fact, it was Ma’s ex-lover, a married woman, who allegedly put the mercury into his Sprite after conspiring with a friend of hers as revenge for Ma’s unfaithfulness.  The woman Liu Xiaojing and her friend Gao Xingyuan will be tried by the court today on a charge of attempted murder.

    Ma was poisoned on November 7 last year after he drank Sprite served at a hotpot restaurant. Police later found the tin contained mercury.

    Since Ma and his two friends, including Liu, at the dinner insisted that he opened the tin himself – and it was proved impossible to inject anything into the tin before it was opened – the case was first treated as a food safety accident by the police.  “We were misled by his statement,” the police officer handling the case said.

    However, contradictions between Ma’s statements and the facts gathered by the police aroused suspicion.  Ma confessed that the Sprite was opened by others when he went to the toilet, but he wasn’t sure who did it.  In a bid to seek compensation, he asked the friends who dined with him to tell the police that the tin was opened by him.

    As the story was so widely publicized, prosecutors charged Ma with damaging commercial reputation.  Police also discovered that Liu had opened the Sprite and put the mercury in.

    Liu said she wanted to kill Ma as revenge for his infidelity. Ma had turned colder to her since the relationship was rejected by his family and began to court other women.

    Gao, a security guard who used to study biomedicine, advised Liu to poison Ma with mercury, police said. (Article from Shanghai Daily News)

  4. Have you ever…

    December 10, 2010 by admin

    been on vacation and you wake up in the hotel room and you don’t know where you are?? .   I do that all the time in China, I’m like, where the hell am I and how did I get here?  I’m sure a few taxi drivers have wondered that same thing about me.  It’s just so weird and wonderful and doesn’t always seem real.  It’s like those dreams where you can’t run, you’re stuck in a large jello mold.  Time has completely stopped, except for the skin on my face for which it seems to go by like lightning.  It seems only yesterday I was hiking in the San Gabriel’s, drinking margaritas at the Conq and commuting two hours for work each day (because my job was on the Westside  and I will only live on the Eastside).  Then one day it’s like I woke up in Chinatown, a really big Chinatown…but this one’s not bordered by Elysian Park, Olvera Street, MOCA or Patina’s.   It’s all good though, life’s journey.

    I was standing on a street corner the other day waiting for the light to turn green when a boy, maybe 9 yrs. old and in his school uniform, went to cross the street and a scooter almost hit him and he gasped “shit!”.

    That’s when I woke up from the dream.

    Anyway, Bernie has certainly made an impression here because he appears to be an artist’s muse.  Here’s a bust which was just installed at a fancy schmancy new lifestyle center in Shanghai called Sinan Mansions.

  5. There’s a tear in my beer

    December 5, 2010 by admin

    People, wo jue de nan guo  (I feel sad).  This past Saturday Natalie and Jared had their “going away (and leaving Marie) party”. My first, and most likely last, friend in Shanghai is moving back to the States.  They are moving back to Texas, land of the free and home to the brave, where they still shoot first and ask questions later. And if she thinks she’s going to find anyone there like good ‘ol Marie who’s always ready for a martini (noon or otherwise), ladies night at Bell Bar or scooter trips to Anfu Lu to pick up big chickens to roast, it ain’t gonna happen.  No more fighting over the same sweater at the cashmere factory, playing sad board games in Moganshan or making fun of me trying to do headstands in yoga, uh uh.  Lucky for me I’ve got other good friends here like….um, er, well there’s always…no, gosh, eeeek, absolutely no one.  wahhhhhhhhhhh.

  6. “me thinks thee doth protest too much”

    December 1, 2010 by admin

    Oh my gosh, when are they going to learn.

    A sixth grader from Beijing was conducting a study for his science class where he tested several types of mushrooms purchased at local food stands for particular chemicals.  While doing these tests he found that 90% of the mushrooms were tainted with “flourescent brightener”, a compound used to make the mushrooms stay fresher and look brighter.  Fluorescent brighteners are used in the paper and textile industries to make colors brighter and whites whiter.  The article states, “Fluorescent brightener is a chemical additive which is strictly forbidden in food…The chemical will harm people’s health and some kinds of the brightener may produce cancer”.   This boy’s tests were backed by microbiologist Gao Ruifang, of China Agricultural University, “who called the pupil’s method 100 percent reliable”.  But the Beijing Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau (read People with Egg on their Faces) said the experiment and the results were “not scientific”.

    Well I guess that settles that.

    On a “brighter” note, CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!