Thursday, November 26, 2009

Maco- sex and gambling

Awesome travel blogs that are funny and informative!!

Please visit the following link: Rich -- World Travel Adventures

For specific countries with the blog
Czech Republic
This is not spam, just good quality links!

Other blogs non travel-- (Rich on finances, stocks, and economics) (movie reviews)

Pandas and the Silk market- beijing

Please visit here instead! This blog has been moved!
BRAND new material, not spamola. We hope you enjoy! For reals. Not a link farm.
Awesome travel blogs that are funny and informative!!

Please visit the following link: Rich -- World Travel Adventures
For specific countries with the blog

Other blogs non travel--  (Rich on finances, stocks, and economics)

Yangtze River Cruise- china

Please visit here instead! This blog has been moved!

Awesome travel blogs that are funny and informative!!

Please visit the following link: Rich -- World Travel Adventures
For specific countries with the blog

Other blogs non travel--  (Rich on finances, stocks, and economics)

The Shanghai Report

Hong Kong—Day 2

After spending a zillion hours to get to Hong Kong, and then being up until 9 AM, we kind of took today easy.
We went out to lunch at the Intercontinental Hotel, again stopping in at about 25 watch stores along the way.
In the evening, we went out to dinner with The Kaiser and a group of his friends. In Hong Kong the restaurants have no inventory, but the food is fresh as it gets. Rich: explain.
Outside the restaurant are a series of seafood vendors who have any seafood you could think of in small tanks. Anywhere from GIANT fish that would cost you $1,500 US dollars, to lobsters, to shrimp, to minnows.
You pick out your meal, still swimming and wriggling, and then take it to over the restaurant which cooks it and serves it to you. It was scrumptious.
On our way home, Andrew and The Kaiser started talking about watches and pimped out cars, which was my cue to fall asleep, which takes us to …

The Shanghai Report

Shanghai- Day 3

We arrived at the airport in Shanghai where we were picked up by our guide, a local 23 year old girl named Palace.
After checking into the hotel, we went for a walk along the Shanghai river, surrounded by high rises, chatting with Palace (between Palace and The Kaiser, you’d think everyone was descended from royalty.) She walked between us, each of us holding umbrellas which shielded us from the rain storm from the typhoon just off the coast, as she alternated asking Andrew and myself questions about American culture.
It felt a little bit like Elimidate, which I contend I won, having debonairly taught Palace about Homer Simpson and the subtle differences in the meanings of “Wooohhoooo” and “Doh!” What can I say, I’m a smoothie.

Shanghai- Day 4

We began our morning late. The typhoon slowed traffic dramatically, and it took Palace an extra couple of hours to make it to our hotel.
Our first stop was a Chinese garden from the sixteenth century. It’s not really a garden in technical American terms, more like a carefully arrangement of small buildings, trees, and statues that offers a very tranquil and peaceful environment.
The architecture was quite elegant, far more curvy than what we see in the West. Criss-crossed bridges spanned the myriad of ponds. Why? The Chinese believe such bridges protect them from ghosts, which cannot cross criss-cross. (probably cause they get tied up in the tongue twister)
After that we went to a famous Tea House where a tea ceremony was performed for us. It was pretty striking, especially the moment when two teas were thrown into a clear pots of hot water side by side, each blossoming somehow into beautiful flowers (magic?) The Chinese refer to these teas as Romeo and Juliet.
From there we went to a monastery to see the famed Jade Buddahs- six foot tall Buddah statues made of, you guessed it, quartz.
No, actually it was white jade from Burma brought to China in the 15th century. I will talk more about Chinese Buddhism at a later date.
From there it was on to a silk factory, where we got a first hand look at how silk is produced.
1) Famers make sure that the silk caterpillar feeds on mulberry leaves. The joke here in China is that the farmers make sure the caterpillars are better fed than their own children.
2) When it is nice and fat, the caterpillar spins and envelopes itself into a cocoon. The material that the cocoon is made from is actually the silk.
3) Once the caterpillar is done creating the cocoon, the cocoon is opened and the caterpillar is, tragically, killed. The cocoon is then dipped into hot water, where the end strand of the cocoon exposes itself and the thread is connected to a machine which unwinds the entire cocoon to make silk thread.

It takes thousands of cocoons and dead caterpillars to make a silk shirt, so you
members of PETA have something new to protest. (Remove all silk products before you begin)
With our itinerary for the afternoon done, Palace offered us to take us back to our hotel, or to the Fake Market. “What is a fake market?” you might ask. Well, it’s a market with real Louis Vutton and Coach bags, being sold at prices so low, you’d think the bags weren’t genuine. Or something like that.
We first went to look at the clothes. Armani jackets, suits, Dolce Gabana, Prada. While big name brands are meaningless to me, as there is a zero percent chance I’d ever pay $600 for a pair of Prada dress shoes, Drew was begging them to find shirts where the Armani logo was displayed more prominently.
Negotiating Chinese Style

One thing I’ll guarantee, the next generation of sports agents will be Chinese. “How much for these pair of sandals?” we’d ask.
“$1,200,” comes the reply.
If they think you want something, they’ll quote you a rate so astronomically high, that when you finally manage to lower the price from what approximates Japan’s GNP, all the way down to merely mega rip-off, you’ll think you’re getting an amazing deal.
“What a great negotiator I am,” you’ll brag to your friends, “I bought these sandals for $400!” -- blank stare from your friends …-- “Well, they wanted $1,200 originally …” – another dubious stare by your amigos as you defend your sanity -- “It’s one of those things you had to be there for.”


That evening we went to an acrobat show, that was, simply put, spectacular. I have been to one Cirque Du Solei show, and this, for entertainment simply crushed Cirque. I couldn’t believe what they were capable of doing. Andrew, who promised to fall asleep during the performance, was riveted.
I mean, imagine balancing serving trays, with a couple wine glasses separating each tray, six layers high … ON YOUR NOSE.
And that might have well been the least impressive act. It was truly amazing.

When we got out of the show, our van had stalled. In the middle of a super busy Shanghai boulevard, we had to push to start the van. On the third push start, the driver remembered that he had to turn the key to start the engine. Of course, by that time, we were already outside our hotel. Our driver did not receive a tip that night.

Leaving Shanghai- Travel Day

The Chinese government had to be pleased of the impression we had of China so far. There is no doubt we were getting an overly sanitized view of the country, but regardless, it was pleasant.
However, little chinks in the armor always appear if there is something to hide when you stay somewhere long enough. I therefore relate to you a conversation that we had with Palace, our Shanghai guide.
Palace: “China is a wonderful country. The government gives us freedom of religion.”
Me: “Really? What about the Foulon Gong?”
Palace: “No, government says is evil religion. You cannot worship Foulon Gong.”

It’s all about control. The hearts, the minds. That’s what it takes to keep power.

Now back to our travels.

We rode the Magnetitron Train to the airport. The train travels faster than the speed of light, as it experiences no friction levitating above the tracks, connected magnetically so it doesn’t fly off into space. Running parallel to the highway, we passed fast moving cars like they were at a standstill. Zoom zoom zoom.

The plane we took to Wu Han (in Central China) it turns out was made for midgets. Either that, or we got downgraded from coach to sardine. We were packed in so tight it felt like a python was tightening his grasp. Every breath got a little harder.
So we were glad to get off the plane a couple hours later, and were driven to WuHan, where we loaded onto a bus that had a bathroom on board that hadn’t been cleaned since the 18th Century, and made us aware of it’s discontentment by belching noxious fumes for the four hours we were on board. I literally have not had a head ache in maybe ten years, but man, was my head throbbing when we got off.
Our guide drove us to a local restaurant where a wedding was taking place. It was a very sweet and tender moment for us to view a Chinese wedding. (The bride and groom dress in red, which is the Chinese color of prosperity.)
We sat there listening to a romantic American ballad; a ballad whose name, to avoid post traumatic stress, has been permanently deleted from memory as they played it twenty straight times. Andrew was curious whether they’d go for 21, but the priest conducting the ceremony made it clear to me that murdering the DJ still constituted a one way ticket to an overly warm place.
Our guide, Alan, then drove us to the Yangtze river, (the third longest in the world) and on the way he excitedly asked me questions about American capitalism. Apparently, in WuHan, with the creation of hydro electric dam, prices for condos have risen 500% in a matter of a few years, with many people owning 5 empty condos, anticipating they will increase further in value.
Courtesy of yours truly, Alan received a combined Economics/Spanish lesson that I termed, “Bubble El Grande.”

We boarded our cruise boat, and were shown to our room. Navy barracks. Ouch.
“Fortunately we have an upgrade,” our guide stated, apparently knowing we had flown Sardine Airlines.
My bet is they only have one tiny room to show people. Every other room is the upgrade. We took it without hesitating.

The Hong Kong Report

The Hong Kong Report

Please go to:
to view the well written, funny entry :)