Publié le par chrislzh

I just discovered that I have Word 2003 (of some variety) installed in my computer.... I tried a couple of the French accents, and only one of them worked. I dunno what I should do about this.

More importantly: On the weekend, I acquired the coolest ever plastic bag.

Yup, you read correctly.

So Saturday morning I texted lzh and told her I was on the 10:30 train to Beijing. She replied saying she'd get the same Tujia "pizza" we had the last time I was there. Said "pizza" (I haven't figured out the proper name for it yet) came in a paper bag inside a plastic bag. I don't know where the Tujia "pizza" shop got the plastic bags, but it was totally cool:

On one side it says (apologies for the lack of accents where accents may be needed): Viva Cuba libre; Feliz Aniversario del Triunfo de la Revolucion. On the other side it says: Nuestro deber: ofrecer un servicio de optima calidad. Su satisfaccion es los mas importante.

Photos of both sides of the bag will appear on my Flickr account when I get my shit together.

But it was a cool weekend. And not just for the plastic bag.

Well, after checking in to the usual hotel, we ate our Tujia "pizza" for lunch and rested for a bit. Then we went up to Wudaokou to see about some recording job for me. So I had to do a couple of test recordings. After the first test recording, Dickhead in Chief apologised for the number of Chinese words in Pinyin and how difficult that must make the recording. Bollocks. Well, I didn't say that. I patiently explained that the Pinyin was the least of my worries. Being asked to read aloud a text you've never seen before is guarunteed to produce "unnatural" sounding results. Aside from 'bollocks', another thing I didn't say was that his bullshit text was written in Chinglish. Although the words and most of the grammar were alright, the punctuation was absolute shit, giving me no immediate clues as to how the text should actually be read.

But I don't really want their piece of shit recording job; nothing I saw or heard in their office inspired any confidence in me; they did display the usual recording job habit of magically inflating the hours that would be involved (they said one hour at first, then eight on the day, I'm not hanging around for it to turn into twenty seven) without equally magically inflating the amount I would be payed, and, most importantly, their attitude towards me right from the word go suggested they wanted to say, "Thanks, but no thanks". Which is ok, because everytime lzh winds up doing a job interview for me, with the interviewers asking her questions about me right in front of my face as if I'm not there despite overwhelming evidence that I understand everything that is happening and am more than capable of answering for myself I want to say, "Thanks, but go fuck yourselves".

Add to that the fact that the building was just plain poisonous. You've all heard of "sick building syndrome" and all the toxic chemicals emitted by modern building and furnishing materials. Well, most office buildings leave me feeling mildly poisoned, but this particular office left me feeling down right toxic, to the point where I would have considered vomitting had I had the energy left. Sure, I've always been a bit sensitive to the air quality in such buildings, but this was BAD.

No amount of fresh air helped. None at all.

After a bit of wandering around we went to eat. The rest and the fruit and veges (and I'm not much of a green thing eater) with the nice cold beer to wash it down perked me up a bit.

But between the Wudaokou Line 13 station and the office, and then again from the office to food, and yet again from food to meeting my mates, I was freaked out. See, I lived in Wudaokou. At Di Da, to be precise. Directly across Chengfulu from Beiyu, for those who know the more famous of the four universities around Chengfulu Dong Kou. Back then, from July 2001 to July 2002, Wudaokou was still very much in the process of being developed. It was a much more humane place to live and work and play. What I saw on the weekend freaked me out. I could count on the fingers of one hand the places I knew when I lived there. Beggars plied the streets, but were not in anything approaching abundance. Most of the time, one could walk in perfect comfort with more than enough personal space from Di Da or Beiyu all the way to the east gate of Bei Da. Now? Shit. It almost reminded me of Tsimshatsui in terms of the sheer intensity.

Alright, that's a bit over the top. But there's my memories of the place compared with what I saw on Saturday afternoon. These things happen.

More importantly: After showing lzh where the Big Pizza was, and being dragged in to their pizza buffet thing (which she loves), I sat and recuperated from the effects of the thoroughly poisonous recording office and munched on more fruit and veges than I've ever voluntarily eaten in a hell of a long time and watched her stuff herself so full I still find it hard to believe she didn't explode. See, most Chinese people I've met have this amazing capacity for eating. Even people half my size will easily eat twice as much food as me in half the time I take to eat my fill, and never gain any weight. It's amazing, truly amazing. Anyway, lzh took full advantage of the buffet. I took full adavantage of the beer. I recovered, she ate more than her fill. We were both happy.

Then we met up with a friend of mine and a couple of his mates, who were in need of dinner. We tagged along and drank while they ate. Then we all went off to a concert in Dashanzi.

The concert was 小河 doing his weird, post-modern decadent folk/rock thing. Well, first up was some band apparently from Mei Yuan (美院, the Art Academy or whatever it's called I assume. Correct me if I'm wrong). They did a few cool folk/rock songs. Actually, the singer made me think of a cross between Bob Dylan and Cui Jian, and yes, that is meant in a good way. Then on came Xiao He. Mate, he was intense. He never took shit seriously the whole evening, but bloody hell, there was a great energy to his music that really carried. He's weird, sure, with his gibberish lyrics and howling and shit, but he was great to listen to. Then he took a break and invited his mate on the stage to sing a few songs. I really wish I remembered Xiao He's mate's name. Both lzh and I really enjoyed this guy's music. His music was a little more towards the "normal" end of the post-modern decadent folk/rock spectrum. Meaning: he actually sang songs with real lyrics. But he was good, and he had the same great sense of humour as Xiao He. The big stand out of this guy's set was the trio of songs that started with the line: "Xiao He is a bad man..." The first song described how badly Xiao He treated women. Halfway through the song, Xiao He came out and bowed to his mate as if to say thanks, and not for the first time that evening. Then this guy went on to sing "I am a bad man..." The exact same song as the first, but instead of Xiao He is it was I am. Then came the third song: "You are a bad woman...." And then all about how he'd been cheated. All done tongue firmly in cheek, and all up, a great night out.

Sunday, by comparison, was fairly boring: We woke up late, watched a DVD (our regular hotel has DVD players in the rooms. Excellent), checked out, got lunch, went to Wangfujing to buy me a much needed new pair of shoes (There's a department store behing the reverse-bungy shoot-you-up-in-the-air thingy that has good shoes going cheap on the second floor. Done me good twice now), went to Starbucks to kill some time, went to the railway station to get me a ticket back to Tianjin and kill some more time, then we said our goodbyes, I jumped on the train, and I was back in Tianjin. Fuck. Now I'm back.

Publié dans chrislzh

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