Friday, August 31, 2007

We finally got the insurance reimbursement for Charlotte's hospital delivery. Just for the record, we payed an RMB 6,000 deposit, the total bill came to RMB 17,000 (3 days in the VIP wing of Peace Maternity), and we got RMB 3300 back.

Monday, August 27, 2007

On Friday we booked our flight to Beijing and on Saturday we booked a night at the Eastern Air Jinjiang Hotel, both through Ctrip. This week I will go to the embassy to get Charlotte's exit visa. It looks like our trip to the US this National Day holiday is coming together nicely.

Oh, and Charlotte has learned to laugh.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wow, so cool! There was an article in today's Metro Express called 南京东路步行街5家酒吧勒令停业, Five Bars on Nanjing East Rd Pedestrian Street Forced To Close. This is great, finally something is being done about the ripping off of tourists on Nanjing East Rd. Just in case the police are looking for more scammers in the same area to shut down, I would point out the Egyptian Bar, which I've been waging my own passive aggressive campaign against for a while. I should go down there and see if it is still open, maybe take some pictures and post them online.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh, my, gosh. Cold Fairyland is playing the Shanghai Concert Hall. Yes, that fancy building on the corner of Yan'an Rd and Tibet Rd.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I went new-schoolyear-clothes-shopping with Jodi and Charlotte today. The verdict is that Uniqlo — the oversized flagship version of the store, like the ones at Grand Gateway or Super Brand Mall — is still my favorite clothing store, for their generic but comfortable clothes. Also, their denim is the best you'll find outside fancy boutique stores, but it's pretty expensive at RMB 300. I ended up getting one pair of blue jeans at Meters/bonwe (RMB 99) and one pair of black jeans at Giordano (RMB 160).

Friday, August 17, 2007


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chen Liangyu
The Proverbial Old Block

I've always been somewhat fascinated by the children of political figures. Whether it was looking up the Chelsea Clinton Online Fan Club back when I was in college or trying to find a picture online of Hu Jintao's daughter, the fact that these semi-godly figures have offspring seems a good chance to humanize them a bit.

So when a Danwei-linked article in Caijing mentioned deposed Shanghai honcho Chen Liangyu's son Chen Weili, I had to do a little research.

Running a media company and one of Huawen’s subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Chen Weili departed for America last September, although many sources say he has returned to China.

That was the last sentence in the Caijing article, dated 2007-08-13. A little searching turned up that Chen graduated from the University of Liverpool's soccer-MBA program in 1994, and then used his father's connections to score a position as 申花足球俱乐部副总经理, the Shanghai Shenhua soccer team's vice-manager. Awesome! However, when his dad came under investigation last year over the use of public funds to bankroll his friends' private investments, Chen Weili fled to the US sometime near the end of the year. His libido got the best of him when he was apprehended by the local authorities in May while rendezvousing with his Shanghai girlfriend in Malaysia; Chinese police had been eavesdropping on their plans and alerted the KL coppers (hmm, now that would be a challenge, to find his gf's identity). Bummer! Unfortunately for the younger Chen, Malaysia's extradition treaty with China earned him a quick trip home, where evidence collected from him implicated his dad in even more financial scumbaggery. Super-bummer!

(One news item mentions that he had several investments in restoration projects on the Bund, one with the Rockefeller Foundation; I wonder if that's the one at the little park at the south end of the Garden Bridge/外白渡桥. And an article in Radio Free Asia (super-proxy required) says that Jiang Zemin's son Jiang Mianheng didn't make it onto this fall's 17th CCP National Congress invite list; tack another loss onto the Shanghai clique's tally! Ouch!)

(The Caijing article is a great translation, by the way, with lines like: "Over 20 people have been implicated in the scandal, including Chen’s cronies, loyal aides, power brokers and market rainmakers, each of them acting as a cog in the machinery of corrupt politics" and calling one lawbreaker a "smooth operator". Nice!)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Last week Mr Canfield reminded me that our company operates a rec center with a swimming pool, so on Saturday I turned in photos of myself, Jodi and Charlotte, along with an application form. On Sunday when I picked up our new rec center IDs, I was told we could swim right away. So Sunday night we headed down to the 第一八佰伴 shopping center and picked up three swim caps and an inflatable ring for three-month-old Charlotte.

Bright and early Monday morning we jumped on the bus, rode to the company center and had a swim followed by lunch:

Mother and daughter swimmers
Swimming smile
Family swim

Wednesday morning Jodi had a dentist appointment at the clinic by the rec center, so we met up afterwards for lunch followed by a rest and then more swimming:

2nd time swimming

Can you tell we've fallen for the pool? The indoor rec center pool is beautifully designed, very clean, and takes advantage of the sun's natural light while keeping out the wind and the harshest of the sun's rays. Charlotte loves scooting herself around backwards in the 22cm-deep kiddie pool and cooing, and can even hold her own in the grown-up pool -- we had to take her out when her little lips started turning blue. No video of all that, maybe next time.

One more thing:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jodi was cleaning up some old photos on the computer, and produced a long weblog entry on our honeymoon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I want a Firefox Adblock extension for my TV so that when I've seen a certain commercial enough times I can add a regexp that will block it from being shown again. Maybe substitute a random Youtube video in its place.

(This post was inspired by the 步步高 iBox commercial, which seems to have a perennial presence during Hunan TV's 10pm Taiwanese 偶像 dramas.)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I ran across this haphazardly, but connected in a way. Christian pop culture is a funny thing. I Need More Cowbell *: Jesus Land:

These songs have been running through my head for the last three days. It is freaking me the fuck out. I'm talking songs like,

Just As I Am
Power In the Blood
Were You There When They Crucified My Lord
All to Jesus I Surrender
Old Rugged Cross
Go To Dark Gethsemane

... like that. The Rejoice Radio hits too -- Sandy Patty, Amy Grant, Keith Green, Petra, those were my tunes in the 80s.

(Via a random arborparents subscriber.)

Friday, August 10, 2007

For school, I'm putting all of the orientation events that I'm required to attend this year on Google Calendar.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Yesterday Jodi and I wandered into this Japanese restaurant tucked away in the basement of a Pudong office building, owned and operated by a Shanghainese who lived in Japan for 13 years training to be a sumo wrestler. How do we know this? He came out of the kitchen during our meal and told us himself in an excited mix of Mandarin and Japanese. All the food served at the restaurant is from the same diet that sumo wrestlers follow. Half of our food was mixed, chopped and fried across the waist-high wooden bar from us by a wizened old Japanese man with a scintillating smile. I think I'll take a camera back and write up the place for Shanghaiist.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Seriously, I feel like never going to see another American blockbuster in the theater here again, and that's on top of my previous aversion to them. Both Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers were marred by deleted scenes and slurred/muted audio during "sensitive" dialogue. How moronic can you be, SARFT.