Date registered: April 16, 2009
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Now I need to rant a little.
This is what they should teach in driving schools here in China, specially Chengdu.
1) Know what is a blind spot!!! You are supposed to turn your head toward the blind spot every time you make a turn or change a lane instead of just cutting in front of others!!!
2) When leaving your parked spot on the side of the road, look at your side view mirror to see if there is a car coming your direction at >30 mph before pulling out in front of me!@
3) If you are in a traffic jam and you are about to enter an intersection but the light is still green, DO NOT block the intersection!! This is one of the major reasons (apart from all the construction) why traffic is horrible in Chengdu.
4) Don't use your high beams when you are behind me! Even your low beams don't help you that much to see the road at night, its use is to indicate to others that you are there. When driving at night, turn off your lights for a second and you''ll realize that you'll still be able to see.
Okay that feels better.
To answer the earlier question of whether an expired license can still be used, it worked for me. One of the clerks working there whom I tried to fraternize said that basically if your license is not expired for over 6 months, then it "should be" okay. Now if you still don't know that all rules here in China can be "bent" then you haven't been here long enough or you haven't entrenched yourself deep enough into the system. If needed, just put on your best sobbing face and be very nice.
I do not recommend anybody to drink milk that comes from a carton or plastic bottle since most of them are pasteurized or homogenized like in the US, meaning that the milk was boiled and then passed through a high pressure filter to remove all "bacteria". Problem is that most bacteria in milk is good for our body, and the small portion of bad bacteria does little effect to us provided your immune system is not too weak. So after they remove all the good stuff from the raw milk, they add vitamins to the finished product, but these vitamins are not in a natural form that can be absorbed by our bodies. Hence, you might as well not drink milk at all cause all these artificial "vitamins" and other minerals such as "calcium" in homogenized milk will simply pass right through your body because they are not chelated.
What you need is raw milk, though you should do your own research before drinking this since there are still some risks, albeit miniscule when compared to homogenized milk. I personally drink it raw here in Chengdu and have had no problems whatsoever. The people here still like to boil their raw milk out of tradition (the farmer selling me the milk cannot believe I drink it raw), which will probably remove 50% of its nutrients and kill all the good bacteria that your digestive system needs, but still, it is much better than milk sold in the supermarkets.
Raw milk is available in Chengdu even though its sale is illegal in many states back in the US, gee I wonder why. Usually the farmer will drive around in a electric scooter with two vats of raw milk on the back and deliver it to certain spots around the city, most of these spots are in the entrances of older apartment complexes, the little office/bedroom where the guard sits/lives. They use stainless steel containers but many feed their cows grain instead of all grass which is not good. Hence, if you find a farmer that feeds their cow all grass then you've hit a jackpot.
Raw milk cures most allergies, builds up your immune system, regulates your digestive system and much more. Do your own research though. But please, don't drink the milk sold in supermarkets!
The place you wanna hit up is 城隍庙 (cheng2 huang2 miao4) located near the intersection of North Ren Ming Rd. and 1st Ring. It's a HUGE place so you might have to do some walking. It's a paradise for electrical engineers. They sell everything from resistors, capacitors, computer chips to refrigerators and sound systems.
Usually, when you make eye contact with somebody by accident while walking down a sidewalk, you would nod or smile, it's just acknowledging somebody's presence. The case would be different however, if the sidewalk was full with people or full of laowais. This type of "respect" is practiced in western societies and even in Central America or Thailand where people are very amiable. Chinese are also amiable, it's just that they don't yet know how to do it correctly along with MANY other things. China is the only place I don't see this happen, you make eye contact and they just look away, no smile, no "hi", no wink. I suppose only in NYC and North Korea are people this cold.
IMHO, all this stems from the chronic oppression China experienced during the 1970's that stripped their citizens away from many of their basic principles and values. It was a total police state, everyone just looked out for themselves because if you spoke out, you would probably get taken away. Like that old adage, 'the nail that sticks out gets hammered back in'. And this attitude got passed down to the next generation and it will probably take another generation or two for most Chinese to say words like "may I," "excuse me" or "thank you". As a foreigner, you probably did not understand my last sentence since Chinese folks are nice to most foreigners, but if you look Chinese, like me, they aren't usually that polite. If you understand Mandarin, just listen how locals demand (and sometimes yell) at the waitresses when they are in the restaurants.
Now going back to the subject, this is the type of "environment" you experience in China, no eye contact allowed you! Hence perhaps the foreigners whom you wished you have had eye contact with were simply unconsciously following the rules of the house. ;)
Unless you are going to grad school in any of the hard sciences or engineering, you will be wasting your money. The education system in the US has become a total Ponzi scheme, simply a program to enslave you with student loans. If you are going to cough up 200K for an MA in some liberal arts program then you are a total idiot. But then again, if you didn't spend that money you'd probably let it sit in your retirement account and depreciate in value. I guess it's a lose-lose situation haha. I suggest you attend a program in China instead.
All things in life can be divided into two categories, those that you can control and those you cannot. Worrying about the things you cannot control is all a waste of time and money. So don't you worry about the 3.19 GPA, it's beyond your control now. If they want you they want you, if not, you go some place else. But chances are, they'll accept you cause you will be paying 200K... unbelievable...
Yea you are right Splinter, there is a lot of suppressed technology out there that civilians have no idea about. The secret technology of the government over here is about 5 years more advanced than what the laymen know and the US gov.'s is about 25 years more advanced.
I see your situation many times. The root of the problem here is that the people surrounding him have spoiled him. Children should be spanked when they misbehave. If you keep giving them everything they want, they will keep wanting everything even when they are adults. Most likely the divorce affected him as well since both parents showered him with attention out of guilt.
Unfortunately, he will be of no contribution to society no matter how old he gets. Sure he might 'get' a job, but that was because his Daddy or Mommy had some 'guanxi' to get him the job where he will be hated by his colleagues and will be too humiliated to not quit. The only way out of this is if he were to undergo some sort of calamity to shock him out of his fantasy world. And no, his parents will probably not cut his stipends either, and will not force him to work for a living either because it will kill the parents to see their child like that... the parents 'care' for little johnny. This is the truth, something that most people either don't care to share with you or dare not to 'insult' you with it.
P.S. Who in their right mind would wanna go to Cali anyways?
I was able to get a driver's license almost two years ago and just thought that my experience will be useful to some of you out there. However, things may have changed ever since.
If you have an active driver's license (DL) from another country other than China, then all you need is to pass a theoretical exam which can be taken in English to obtain your DL in China. You must score a 90 or above out of 100 questions they pick out of a bank of 1,300 questions. You can obtain a copy of this studying material by bringing a jump drive to the "Traffic Control Department of the Public Security Organ, which I will just refer to as the DMV from now on, and they will copy it onto your disk. The DMV is located in Xipu district, about a 25 minute drive towards northwest from Southwest Jiaotong University, and yes, this is the only place available in all Chengdu to get your Sichuan DL. Actually, it is about a 5 minute cab ride away from the new Southwest Jiaotong University branch in Xipu. If you wish, you can email me and I can try to email you the 80 MB file since it has 300 some odd pages.
The following materials will be needed; three 1-inch photos; application form; your original passport; your original DL; a copy of your passport's front page; a copy of your visa; a copy of the front and back of your DL from your home country; and a translation of your DL to Chinese AND notarized by a company or school (meaning, that you have to get one of those stamps that has a red star in the center from a company that is willing to vouch for you and have it stamped on your translated DL document only). Be mentally prepared to make a second or third trip given that most governmental institutions are highly inefficient. The service clerks were great though, very helping with nice attitudes.
The cost was 280 yuan (2 years ago), which included a free medical exam where they check your height, vision, color blindness and blood pressure and two chances to pass the theoretical test. If you fail it twice, you can pay 140 yuan to get two more chances again, and you can keep trying. I highly recommend that you go to the DMV around 8 am or 1:30 pm so you can sign up to take the exam right after you have turned in the application form and taken the medical exam (which took me no more than 10 minutes). The reason is that they only have 5 computers for the examination and if you show up around 10 am or 3:30 pm then chances are that the proctor will tell you to come back the next shift. They may have added more computers by now thou.
The name appearing on your Chinese DL cannot be in English, so if you do not yet have a Chinese name, then you should think of one already because you have to have a Chinese name on your DL. Your Chinese name does not have to sound like your non-Chinese name; however, it cannot exceed 3 characters! For example, you cannot name yourself Santa Claus because you will have needed 5 characters (圣诞老公公)!
It's me Fei, don't know if u remember me, we met at Panda a while back with Jane and Shana. How have you been? Things I know about chopsticks: don't stick them into your bowl of rice and leave them there. Especially, don't stick your chopsticks directly from the top of the bowl and leave it unattended since this will look as if the chopsticks were incense and your bowl of rice a dried bowl of rice. Usually, people light up incense and stick them into dried bowls of rice when they visit funerals. So a symbol like this may suggest that death is near, so this is a big no-no.
Thanks for the info Yesterday. I went there yesterday and the place is actually really nice, very efficient if compared to the way other offices handle business in Chengdu. It cost me 341 yuan and I was able get the results back at 17:00.
According to the lady I spoke to when I called The Foreign Ministry in HK, she said that I had to physically be in HK because they will look for the entry stamp in your passport. So so long you have this entry stamp, you can even ask some one else to apply for you, you just have to physically be in HK. She went ahead and kept lecturing me, though with a sweet and gentle voice which I found most pleasant, that I was supposed to have gotten my Z-visa in my home country, and that I "did not follow the rules" because I came to China with a tourist visa thinking I can apply for the Z-visa while I was staying in China.
P.S. During the urine test, make sure you check that the urine cup does not have a hole in it since they are made of very thin plastic. I picked one that had a hole in it, and had the misfortune of not finding out until during the time I was taking care of business. You can imagine the agony I had to go thru, to have to pause the process, empty the cup, zip up, throw the cup away, go complain, get another cup, double check the cup, resume again, turn in the results, and complain again.
I have a question.
I have to go to Hong Kong to get my Z-visa and they request for me to include a medical exam from Chengdu since I'll be working here. They also mentioned that I should get it from a place where they can stamp something that says "Entry and Exit for Foreigners Guaranteed... [something]". I'm in Chengdu, and since I didn't get my Z-visa before I came to China, I now have to "exit" China and go to Hong Kong to get the Z-visa, I don't know why. Can anybody suggest any clinic that will do medical exams of this sort? Thanks!
I've finally come to the realization as to WHY most small restaurants here in Chengdoo suck. It is because the owners are not counting on you to come back (a return customer) because they don't NEED you to come back. They make enough from the first time customers because there are just so many people passing by the restaurant! There is no incentive for the businesses to improve on their quality because the owners believe they can make more money by producing the same cheap product and selling it to first time buyers than making a better product at a higher cost and selling it to a returning customer. I suppose the higher the moving population a city has, the lower the quality of food its restaurants will have. Chengdu probably ranks # 2 after Shanghai amongst the cities with the highest moving populations, it is no surprise to me as to why a lot of restaurants really suck.
Here's something else you can do Spoon, and to all those who'd like to master Chinese as well, listen to modern Chinese music (mandopop). Go and download the most popular songs nowadays, or if you want to pursuit it in a more noble manner, go buy the CDs (make sure they aren't pirated too). Then download the lyrics and sing along! Pick songs that you really like, the ones that you think you can listen to them at least 10 times. Look up some of the words that you don't understand when reading the lyrics (you can start from the chorus) and after singing it for 10-20 times, you will have unconsciously memorized many phrases in Chinese that are commonly used. The reason why this works, and it has worked for me, is that when you do what I just described, you will be learning Chinese by doing all of the 3 ways of learning at the same time; visual, kinesthetic and auditory. You'll be looking at the characters, saying and pronouncing the words, hearing how it is said, and on top of that, you'll have a melody that helps the new words remain stuck in your head. Ever wonder why you can remember things better when you make a song out of it? Well why not apply it to Chinese! If you don't think you can sing well, then of course, do it at your own discretion. Then when you have enough courage, you can even sing it to others. In fact, you can even form a little group to go to a KTV where Chinese native speakers learning English can prepare themselves to sing in English and the non-Chinese speakers to do the vice versa with Chinese. A mutual support group, something akin to alcoholics anonymous for learning Chinese ;).
Depends what part of town you are in, and the quality of massages you want. But usually, if you find one of these places, you'll find more of them nearby. So you just have to survey the area and shop around. The cheapest place I've been to cost me 10 RMB, but I had to buy a "membership card" which meant that I had to pay 120 RMB for 12 times. If it's just a one time deal, then 15 RMB is usually the cheapest price. Some even write the price out. But keep in mind, when you pay at these prices, the places will not be too fancy, and usually they are family run and the people giving the massages are not necessarily professionals. This is why I only go there for the foot massages and not the body massages, the prices are the same. Now, if you want decent looking girls to give you the massages, then it will cost you around 30 RMB.
Yes, I strongly recommend against taking those "black taxis". The first time I got on one of them, they charged me 100 RMB (hey, I thought I was getting a good deal at the time) and I had to share the ride with 2 other people, and of course, I was the last one to be dropped off. I later found out that the ride would have only cost me 60 RMB if I were to have taken a regular taxi. Just so you can have a general idea, it takes around 60 RMB on a legitimate taxi to go from the airport to Southwest Jiaotong University, which respectively, means that you will be traveling from the far south to the far north of Chengdu, so your cab fare should not exceed 60 RMB in most cases.