Funny test for crazy drivers!

29 04 2011

A colleague sent me this very funny application: my best was the second attempt.. very far from US pilots and genius level!!

I wonder if Chinese drivers do the same test and score like 10 minutes!!! Traffic in China is amazing, as I observed already during my very first visit. But what it is even more amazing is that there are not so many accidents as one would expect! (“one” from abroad, I mean!!)

This is what I call great awareness, the kind of feeling I wish to have when I practice Aikido, especially multiple attacker (like Endo sensei showing how to move during sannindori shomenuchi). When Chinese people drive the car they seem to know everything that happens around them before it actually happens..

This is the feeling an external observer has.. but the truth is actually the complete opposite (and you realize that when you learn a bit more about Chinese society): Chinese drivers just do not care about the others!!

Of course, they care about their own car, so that they would avoid always an accident, to not destroy an important symbol of social status, as the car is. But when they do any maneuver they put their own interest as only thing that matters, not caring about traffic rules, other cars and especially anything else lighter than themselves:

  • people, bikes and bicycles count zero for a car driver;
  • cars are zero for bus and truck drivers, except of course police or army;
  • ambulances count nothing to everyone since they got no real power, they are not police or army..)

Once these basic rules are clear, once can try him/herself in the Chinese traffic.

Actually I started thinking about this even before chatting with foreigner friends that lived here many years: when they walk around, not drive, the awareness of obstacles for Chinese people is.. zero!!! That was surprising for me, given the amount of people here.. but when they walk, they keep the same mind of not caring about what happens around them, but if a person walk straight along their path, they do not realize it until they crash! I think there is a Chinese inborn instinct that makes them avoiding each other, probably the body reacts to special pheromones that let them avoiding each other, but does not react when a laowai walks straight to them!


Sudden weather change

27 04 2011

After a few days of extremely hot weather, blue, cloudless sky and temperature well over 30 degrees, yesterday during the afternoon the weather changed. Some time between 2pm and 5pm (hours I spend in windowless cleanroom) the sky got completely cloudy. A little of wind refreshed the air, but I would have not expected the breeze to be able to assemble so many clouds in the sky.

The weather is still warm today (well above 20 degrees I’d say) but the clouds give a completely different feeling about what to expect!!

Also the air is much fresher, probably it had rained a little during the night: not bad since this year I fear a bit more the summer, since apparently the electricity bill is completely on my shoulders (last year it was partly paid by the company). Let’s see how long I’ll survive without AC, given that every less ounce of sweat will be a few yuan more leaving my bank account.. 😉

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – Now with the good season, in the lunch break, most of the people use some time for a nice walk outside, at least around the company compound, to enjoy some air. Define fresh the air is too much: the summer will come with the extreme temperatures, but it is not too bad to walk a little outside. It’s too funny thought that the girls do the walk, but mostly in the shadows!! Everybody knows that for Asian women the white skin color is a dream and a sign of beauty, therefore over here in summer there are more umbrellas than in winter, just to avoid to get tanned! Already now, the girls in the company go out for a walk but trying to stay all the time in covered areas!! Needless to say, I do my best to put some color in my milky white complexion.. 😀
After a few “happy days” of unreal stats, the number of visits to my blog has gone back to normality. Still happy to receive the clicks from my friends around the world: at least now I know the clicks are real.. but I certainly miss a bit the high stats! 🙂

33 degree!!

25 04 2011

Right now, outside, in the sun.. or shadow.. the same!

33degrees Celsius and 13% humidity!!!! (Quite funny the English version of the Chinese page gives very different data.. but the over 30 temperature is confirmed by my dear!!)

Summer is coming!!!

Soon off work, and I’ll go for a fast walk/slow run just to sweat a bucket!!! Worth after the wedding buffet!! 🙂

If I survive, I’ll write more about the weekend in Hangzhou! 😉

Happy Easter everybody!!!

24 04 2011

Since I moved to China I lost track of Western holidays or celebrations, except the very big ones and somewhat felt (usually for business reasons) also here in China, like Christmas and 31st December Western New Year.

So I admit that when I was in Shanghai for the 3 days of Qing Ming festivity and I had breakfast in a Dutch bakery, I was quite surprised to see many chocolate eggs and chocolate rabbits.. they did remind me of something, but it took a few seconds remembering that in April there is Easter!!

Of course I remember the Catholic meaning of the celebration, that personally I always liked, even more than the Christmas service. I always thought the Easter service was so much better, so much more full of passion and emotions respect to Christmas, especially in the church that has represented a lot for my youth and growing. But in my years in Norway, Easter lost (as many other aspects of my life) its religious meaning to become a long holidays! In Norway holidays go from Thursday before Easter to the Monday after Easter day, included. And if one had enough holidays, it is quite common to take the whole week off work, especially for traveling to some warm place.. or some good Aikido seminars 🙂 (my holidays in Norwegian time!)

Now, in China time, thanks to the visit to Shanghai and more Western shops, I bought some commercial Easter tokens.

Today I am in Hangzhou for both Aikido and another special occasion: yesterday it was Vicky and Michael wedding ceremony. My first wedding in China!! And what best way to celebrate good Aikido friends if not with.. Aikido? So we have also a weekend of practice.

Chinese tradition for wedding presents is a red envelope with money inside. Since giving only money is quite weird for me, I got also 2 USB, one for each, and filled them with some Aikido & Japanese martial arts instruction videos and movies. Since both Vicky & Michael practice Aikido and enjoy martial arts, I think they will like the present!

In conclusion, a warm happy Easter to everybody from my past, of which I miss both the taste and the company, both from the adult friends and the babies of that wonderful Easter 2007!

marzipan easter rabbits

Humbleness & beauty

23 04 2011

These post belongs to the new category, called Chinese myths, where I will comment on some stuff that for us, Western people, are a typical expected trademark for Asians. Now, this is only from my own limited personal experience!!! Very possible I will change my mind with after more time here, and I will of course appreciate comments from real Chinese or laowais that have lived in China longer than me!!

Everybody knows that Asian people are extremely humble. You can read that in every language book and you experience that when you meet people over here. So it is generally true: when I praise a Chinese colleague for some good achievements they always tend to lower their contribution or their work. You probably would rarely hear Chinese or Japanese people greatly complimenting themselves.

Of course sometimes this excessive humility is just a way to get praises, lowering oneself more than actually reality shows. But this is not uncommon in Western countries as well!

The exception are Asian girls!! When they get to know you a bit better and they refer to themselves, their beauty especially, nothing is humble anymore!!

At the beginning, when they have just met you, they are like the rest of the Chinese: extremely humble about everything. It can be their own skills, appearence, results, achievements, goals, etc. It does not matter: they are just average, so-so, not special. Typical answers!

But then, if you start getting closer, and not necessary boyfriend kind of close, just more as a normal friend, many things change!! They are always beautiful, their girlfriends are all gorgeous, their style is unique and their skills with no equals! And if you get bf-close, be aware that underestimating or under-praise your Asian girlfriend is a capital sin!! 🙂

It is not so uncommon in Western countries too, but in Asia, from my limited experience, I admit it is very uncommon to meet an Asian girl possessing some kind of objectivity.. They are more Aristotelian, and of course they are the center of the universe 🙂

On the other hand, I admit that sometimes it is worth to evolve around some of these centers 😉 and they are not always wrong, when addressing themselves or their girlfriends 🙂

Unique wedding pictures?

22 04 2011

No, in China it is difficult to be special.. even more difficult, if possible, to be unique!

So why think too much about that? So, the days that the sun shines, it is extremely common to see several future couples in colorful wedding  dresses or just special “costumes” for this queuing up in more or less “famous” places around town.. any Chinese town or city!

"unique" wedding photos

5 couples and a couple of photographers.. all in the same spot.. and there were maybe 5-6 more couples just around the corner!!

The “originality” of the wedding pictures is then a combination of special costumes (I always hope that what they wear for these pics is not what they will for the real wedding ceremony!!) and more or less funny poses/situations the photographer (sometimes choreographer) set them up to.

Italian photo contest

20 04 2011

My very good friend Valentina, fresh of flickr, has already given me a wonderful link full of ideas and motivations, both for pushing myself to improve again in my passion for photography and for just keep on taking pics! And share them.. and maybe get some good/funny comments..

And at the same time enjoy the work of other people!

The site is called Fotocontest and presents open and free photography contests where people vote for each others after posting a picture. Some contests are team ones, so I hope I will share this experience with some other friends as well.

I have decided to try to post a picture for every free contest available.. starting from one about the telephone (that closes today). I do not have much about this topic, besides 2 ok pictures:

Silvia is born!!!!!! Back to normality!

Being the first picture I post, I decided to keep on the funny side (yes, one can explain something about the picture) and went to the NO one.. right side 🙂