Monday, June 30, 2008

A Gay Love Story in China

A Date With Lu Yu《鲁豫有约》is one of the most influential talk shows in China which has been known to constantly push the envelope and to broach topics previously considered too hot to touch. One such episode is the one below which features two homosexual men from the Sichuan Province — who, long before the word "gay" had entered the Chinese lexicon — married each other, adopted a son and have been together for 21 years.

To see the interview click here:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

China Consumer Research

If you're interested in learning more about the China and it's consumers, check out this blog site run by Helen Wang. She's a Chinese native, but lives in the Bay Area, California. I find her thoughts on the rise of the middle class and the spending habits of the Chinese very interesting and informative.

Check her out:

Shaolin Temple expands it's online store

So, it looks like the Shaolin Temple is going online. Those business savvy monks have started their own online store at (Sorry, in Chinese only). Check it out here:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weird Chinese News: Marriage at the Olympics

According to this article, more than 1,000 Chinese couples stood in line for hours to get a marriage license that will allow them to be married on August 8th.

Why? Well, the Chinese believe the number 8 is a lucky number which brings wealth because it sounds like the word "fa" which means "to get wealthy".

To read more click here...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gay Shanghai?

Yes! China's gay population isn't as "out" there as many other gay communities (for various reasons) but it is here for sure. Every month one of the more popular free publications "City Weekend - Shanghai" has a column specifically dedicated to the gay community. And, in addition often I see postings on like this one:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

USA Bush Administration sneaky tactics in Iraq...

Please check these articles out - they outline an agreement the Bush Administration is trying to put together with Iraq.

To give you an idea of what's at stake here's a quote from a recent Al-Jazeera article:

"In particular, Iraqis are fighting a push by the administration of George Bush, the US president, for permanent military bases in the country and for US private security contractors to be given immunity from Iraqi law, Al Jazeera's Ghida Fakhry said."

And a quote from a recent New York Times article:

WITH only perfunctory debate, the Bush administration is pressuring a divided Iraqi government to approve a security agreement that could haunt Washington’s relations with Baghdad for years to come. The “strategic alliance” that President Bush is proposing eerily resembles, in spirit and in letter, a failed 1930 treaty between Britain and Iraq that prompted a nationalist eruption in Baghdad, a pro-Nazi military coup and a pogrom that foreshadowed the elimination of Baghdad’s ancient Jewish community."

From what I understand, this issue isn't being heavily covered yet by US media, but it's quite serious and could have very significant repercussion's.

To read more:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sex workers and the Olympics?

Call me naive, but I never even thought about sex workers coming to the Olympics, but it makes sense. There will be a HUGE influx of people coming in from all over the world for the events and naturally certain "businesses" would try to take advantage. But, the Beijing police are trying their best to keep any undesirables out of town.

"Last week, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games released a legal guide that itemized the preferred parameters for foreign visits, and expressly denied entry to certain types of undesirable visitors."

Click here to see the rest of the article from Asia Times Online

Shanghai World Expo 2010

As Beijing prepares for the August Olympic Games to begin - Shanghai is preparing for our own event in 2010, the World Expo. You remember those old pictures of World Expos in the early 1900's, right? Well they're still going on - in fact when I lived in Nagoya, Japan the world expo came to town and it was pretty spectacular. I'm really looking forward to the 2010 Expo in Shanghai!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Italian Cooking Class in Shanghai

Yesterday I went to an Italian Cooking class that was offered at the Le Royal Meridian Hotel here in Shanghai. The class was lead by the Chef de Cuisine at Favola Restaurant in the hotel and it was quite nice! Class topic was colored pasta, and the 9 of us in the class enjoyed watching the chef's demo and the trying to make the dough ourselves. The cooking class included a lovely three course lunch at the restaurant and a short wine tasting presentation. Fantastic!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My interview with the Pankistani Spectator...

I was a bit surprised when a writer from the site, The Pakistani Spectator contacted me about doing an interview. It's a great example of how the internet people from every part of the globe! If a writer from Pakistan can find me, an American living in Shanghai via blogs - it's a pretty incredible thing.

Here's the interview, which was just posted on their website. Enjoy. ;-)

Or click the actual link below:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Socialism is Great?

Last night I went to a book reading by Lijia Zhang, a former Nanjing rocket-factory worker who spent 10 years among 10,000 comrades effectively incarcerated in the "iron rice bowl" of the state employee. Zhang is in Shanghai in support of her memoir "Socialism is Great!"

Her story is very interesting, she grew in a poor family, went to work in a missile factory at the age of 16, learned English on her own and eventually lead the largest worker demonstration in support of Democracy which then landed her in jail. How she's a regular correspondent with the BBC and NPR. You'll have to read her book to get the entire story.

Also interesting is that the book is only published in English, and sold outside of China - did I get a copy of it, you ask? Well...some things I can't reveal. ;-) She does live in Beijing, but from what I could gather, the government isn't fond of her writing and it could be more dangerous for her to publish this memoir in China, in Chinese.

If you're outside of China, try to get a hold of the book and check it out. It gives a different view of China right after the Cultural Revolution.

Apartment Renovations

Yesterday renovations started on the apartment we purchased - I stopped by today to take a peek at the progress and make sure no one was sleeping on the job. ;-) Actually, since I did pop by during lunchtime - they were all resting so I tried to make a joke in Chinese about sleeping on the job....I don't think they found the humor in it.

Here are some photos of our future kitchen and guest bathroom

Monday, June 9, 2008

Raining babies in Shanghai...

It is about to rain babies here in Shanghai!

I personally know at least 4 woman who are very pregnant and due to deliver in the next 1-2 months, in fact I helped to host a baby shower a few weekends ago for two of them. It was fantastic fun for all of us - especially for the non-Americans who don't usually have Baby Showers.

I think it's so impressive first of all to make the decision to have your baby in a foreign country, especially when that foreign country is China! (I'm learning that Shanghai especially has a couple of great hospital systems and a few specific doctors that many of the expat women use).

Back to the topic - I and two other women (1 American, 1 Norwegian) hosted this baby shower for our two friends. I love situations like this one, us crazy Americans are the only ones who do Baby Showers with games, etc and we had to "educate" our bewildered friend from Norway with what we were planning. It was hilarious.

We played typical American Baby Shower games like; Guess the baby food, Guess the size of the pregnant stomach, and the ever popular What's in the diaper? game. They all had everyone busting up laughing, especially to our non-American mom's to be.

Roel in Holland

Roel in Holland resonded to my posting on the Dragon Boat Festival (more to come on that later) but didn't leave any contact information. Roel, if you leave your e-mail address I'd be more than happy to get back to you with more information about blogging in China.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dragon Boat Festival

Tomorrow, Sunday June 8th is Dragon Boat Festival Day in China!

We're going to try to see some of the races tomorrow and will let you know what they're like. In the meantime you can read this article:

Sink your teeth in dragon boat fun by -- SUNDAY marks the annual Dragon Boat Festival and it promises to be a feast for the senses - a cacophony of sound, a blaze of color and tastes and smells to excite, writes Tabitha Ang.

For most, the month of June...

Friday, June 6, 2008

In home pampering in Shanghai

I saw an ad for this website at the store earlier today:

It's a full service, in-home spa company, which essentially means these ladies will come to your home and pamper you until your heart's content. I haven't tried it yet, but I have started to spread the word to some of the other Shanghai ladies and I'm sure one of us will check this service out soon!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Obama clinches the nomination

Living in China, I feel a bit out of the loop when it comes to United States politics but I do know that Sen. Obama has recently clinched the Democratic Party nomination. Thoughts?

Wine in a Can

I noticed these cans of wine at the Japanese Grocery Store (Jiu Guong) in Jing'An near my house the other day while I was out shopping. Today I saw an article about them on one of the Shanghai websites I frequent for local information:

Not sure if these are available in the USA or not. They're made by Kirin, which makes me think they're probably also selling in Japan. Next time I'm back at the store I'll buy a few and post my reviews of the taste. :-) I'll try not to be too biased.

Back to Reality

It's taken me almost a month to admit that I'm back in Shanghai and that the wedding and honeymoon bliss are over! Not that being back in Shanghai is horrible, but we had such an amazing time in CA for the wedding and then in Bali for the honeymoon that it's been hard to re-adjust to "normal" life.

Our amazing photographer, Erin Beach has posted a fabulous slide show of our wedding on her website which anyone can view.

Bali was amazing and as everyone told me, the local Balinese people are just so hospitable and friendly - it was a welcome change from what I'm used to in China. I've posted a few pictures of our trip, it was impossible not to take a bad photo as the scenery is just breathtaking wherever you go. We spent half of our trip in Ubud (an artsy town inland) and half in Sanur (beach town). Both were interesting and I'm so glad we split it up. We were able to do many short day trips from Ubud to the mountains, temples and other scenic spots.

The trip from Shanghai isn't short - with a transfer in Singapore it took about 10 hours total to fly from Shanghai to Despensar, Bali. If you're looking for a beach vacation, think seriously about Bali. The flights aren't cheap, but it is still possible to have a very inexpensive vacation once you're there.

Sexism and Politics

This article by Matt Stoller was sent to me by my sister and I thought it was important enough to post here as well. Interesting info about Congressman Dave Reichert and his campaign against progressive Democrat Darcy Burner in 2006.

His words and actions are so blatantly obvious that I'm surprised to hear no organization has spoken out against him.