Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lost in Translation

It is always interesting to see how things translate in a foreign country. There have been some interesting reading while here in China. A few of my favorites:
  1. Common sign on the highways: Ahead Exit (I never saw a Behind Exit sign)
  2. Another sign observed while traveling down the highway: Avoiding Rear End Collision, Slowing Down (It is good to avoid such things)
  3. You really should not litter: Discarding waste prohibited (What do you do with your waste?)
  4. From a can of Lays potato chips: It is nice to know you are eating Authentic Original Flavor (I would prefer simply Authentic, but you take what you can get over here)
  5. From the same can do not forget to notice the Date of Minimum Durability: 12 Months (Is there a maximum durability?)
  6. Noticed on the socks of a line worker: Flower print with the word Harm (Does the harm come from the flower or the foot?)
  7. A road sign viewed on the way to the airport: Driving When Fatigued Prohibited (I actually agree with this one)
  8. And the final sign viewed: Foul Weather Slow Down (Do they want the foul weather to stick around longer, or just to take more time to get wherever it is going?)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Great Wall of Salad

One particularly fine day we decided to relish in the cultural cuisine. We went to a magnificent dining establishment know simply as Pizza Hut. Having placed our order we sat back end enjoyed the bustle about us.

As the time passed we found ourselves fixated upon the salad bar. A young lady was assembling a structure to rival the Great Wall itself. Over a 15 minute period she traveled around the bar again and again, slowly building her multi-tiered masterpiece. From a foundation of macaroni, to walls of fruit, and finally a dome of pudding her salad was the pinnacle of food assembly.

As we clapped in awe she graciously allowed us to photograph her creation.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pearl City

On a day off we went to Pearl City in Suzhou. The term city is a bit of a misnomer, it should be called Pearl Two Story Tourist Trap. It is two floors of jewelry stores. The bottom level is mostly pearls, the upper level crystal and jade. But the price is right. The pearls are nice and bargains can be obtained.

As we entered one particular store the ladies instantly recognized a fellow traveler with us. We were quickly whisked away to a back room were we were seated at a table and given drinks. The owner came and sat with us, bringing various items for our inspection. I do not think I want to visit a store in a different country so often that they recognize me and give me that propitious assistance.

Be warned, however, taxis are not in the area. There were some cars outside willing to give you a ride. We were fortunate to have someone with us that spoke Chinese, and negotiated an acceptable arrangement for transport back to the hotel.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Meanwhile, back at the farm...

It's that time of the week again, where Rachael and I commandeer Ryan's blog to update about the garden. Rachael helped take pictures (although none posted are hers). She's a good helper.

The garden from the deck

The beans - much fuller than last week

The, um... OK I still can't remember. Something viney.

Tomatoes and peppers. I need to weed this box a little! But there are two or three small tomatoes starting. Hooray!

Corn - look how tall it is!

Potatoes... and this is with another bag of compost on them!


Broccoli. I know it looks bad still, but I dusted it last week and truthfully I don't think it's gotten any worse since then. There are even a few new leaves with no damage.

Lettuce and oninons. It is my sad duty to report that the leaf lettuce is already starting to bolt - probably all that hot hot weather we had last week. (90+ degrees almost every day!)

Pumpkins are outgrowing their box already!

Butterfly bush

And a random butterfly! (He was on the bush, but this picture is actually of him on the grass.)


Some of you may remember the 1981 video game Frogger. The concept was that the player, as a frog, attempted to cross a busy street and a stream to arrive safely on the opposite side. To meet your objective you must dodge cars, crocodiles, and other various objects.

We interrupt this blog entry for this interesting side note: The working title for this game was Highway Crossing Frog. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog update.

I have finally witnessed the inspiration for this video game. I envision the creators sitting atop a building in China, observing the streets below. As cars and trucks rush by pedestrians run out into the street. They may make it across one or two lanes before they must stop, in the middle of traffic, while cars speed by on both sides. When there is a little break they dart forward, sideways, or even jump backwards in an attempt to cross the street. Eventually they (hopefully) make it to the other side. From this sight it was a short hop to develop the video game.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Left Turn

As we were heading into the factory one morning the taxi driver was having trouble turning left from the Hotel exit. The road was busy, and people do not stop to let you in here. A fellow passenger remarked that they were in a cab previously that sat for over 10 minutes before making the turn.

Our driver was not to be stopped. He backed up slightly and turned the wheel sharply. He made a tight left turn onto the brick sidewalk and proceeded to drive on it for about a block. The pedestrians and scooters had to move out of the way as he sped on. As he made his way down the sidewalk he noticed a slight opening in the traffic. The driver went over the curb, into the traffic, and shot across the road to the right side.

Thanks for another exiting day in Suzhou.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ladder of Trust

In a previous entry I discussed safety in China. I had not intended to touch on the subject again, but plans sometimes change. As I was enjoying a ride on a Chinese highway I saw a sight that turned my head. There were three men repairing an overhead highway sign – you know the ones. The post is on the side of the highway, and the sign cantilevers out over the street, so that cars drive directly underneath them. One man was gazing up into the air. The second man was holding onto a rope. The rope went from his hands over the top of the sign where it was tied to a ladder hanging 15 feet above the roadway. The 3rd man was on that hanging ladder repairing the sign.

I hope the guy on that ladder trusts the man holding that rope!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chinese Fathers’ Day

I spent Fathers’ Day in Suzhou, China. I will admit I forgot what day it was. When on a business trip I get so wrapped up in work that I do not pay much attention to anything else.

On Monday morning (Sunday evening in the States) I spoke with Kristin and Rachael. Rachael sang I’m so Glad When Daddy Comes Home. And they both wished me Happy Fathers’ Day.

Kristin, Rachael – thanks for making it special, even though I’m on the other side of the world. I love you both.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tasty Bites

I am sitting in a Suzhou China factory at 10:00pm on a Saturday evening whilst a flavor lingers in my mouth from a meal I had two days ago. I do not know exactly what I was eating, but I believe it was in the 5th Chinese food group – Stuff.

Why does this phenomenon never occur two days after enjoying Prime Rib?

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm...

Hi, it's Kristin. I'm hijacking Ryan's blog so I can post about the garden. We have had lots of rain lately and it's going gangbusters. Now if I could just keep the bugs from eating the broccoli...

View from the deck.

Beans are coming along nicely!

I'll be honest... I can't remeber what this is. It's the box next to the beans!

Tomatoes and peppers... boy am I glad Ryan put the tomato cage up already.

Lettuce and onions. Yummy!

Broccoli... I dusted for bugs right after I took this picure.

Potatoes. Yes I will be covering them with compost.

Cantaloupe. Looking good!

Pumpkins - enthusiastic!

And the corn!

Last but not least the butterfly bush... it only has a few blooms open right now, we'll watch for more.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Déjà vu

I arrived safely in China. As I waited at the baggage claim in Shanghai I had the distinct feeling I had done this before. For the third time this year I will spend a couple weeks away from my home and family only to replace it with long work hours and hotels. Those that think business travel is glamorous may want to revisit that hypothesis.

Amidst the issues that have already presented themselves I will try to experience. If the updates are not as often as they have been in the past, it may be that I am simply soporific.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Today's Topic for Discussion...

The Earth is made up of 2/3 water and 1/3 land. Doesn't this imply that our time should be divided thusly: 2/3 fishing and 1/3 work?

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Okay, maybe not completely different. It seems that lately my blog consists of two things:

1. Fishing
2. Trips to China

While I did get out fishing today (and discovered a great Smallmouth Bass stream), that is not what this entry is about. Rather, it is about the fateful meeting last week wherein I was informed that I would be given the fortuity of leaving a week early for China. Yes, that is correct. For the third time this year I will be getting on an airplane, spending 20 hours in the air, working long hours, and eating incomprehensible cuisine. And to ensure I have a superior venture this blessed opportunity will last for three weeks!

While my fishing exploits remain on hold I will post my Asian anecdotes over the next three weeks. Enjoy!