Archive for the ‘general’ Category

chinese new year

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

while the world sets their eyes in the middle east, there’s different war silently being prepared by 1.3 billion people: the chinese new year.

words are vague to describe the insanity that this country goes through during the coming week: tons of explosives are going to be lit in the whole country. the war is going to last several days and there’s no bad time for yet another blast: every minute of day and night will be filled with loud, colourful and repetitive explosions coming from all directions possible. it’s a huge party and chinese spend large amounts of money to get it done properly. and needless to say that since their buying power is growing fast, so is the amount of explosives used.

for such a big party, they need to get ready in advance. which means, right now everyone is buying ammo and filling up their home stocks of explosives to make this new year the loudest of all. and where does one get all this gun powder? basically, everywhere. from the improvised street warehouses occupying to whole sidewalk to the wobbliest of all tables holding piles of it.



everyone is stocking up to the roof and quantity is the key, not safety. chinese see buying explosives as normal as buying vegetables, and they carry it as such: on the back of their old bikes, falling apart scooters and otherwise in their shopping bags which they hold indifferently while taking a smoke. one would hope nothing serious happens, but always does, and of course, it does so in a china scale.

what is “jesus”?

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

picture a language exchange session. in this particular one, her with a chinese colleague which was practising her english. suddenly, this question arises:

– what is this word, “jesus”?

now, how does one answer that to someone who never heard about christianity before and:

a) be completely unbiased;

b) not sound just plain weirdo;

c) resist the temptation of leaving the person in the bliss of ignorance.

any takers?

chinese serendipity

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

according to my mandarin teacher, destiny – or mine at least -, fits in a tiny little post-it. and it is easy to predict: my birth date and time, some page flipping on some mysterious book, and there it is, my faith on a piece of paper.

and of course, a big part of chinese people believe in all that, but who can blame them? americans invented the fortune cookie and the world still believes they are chinese, so in the end who’s the folk story believer?

my destiny

petit fleur

Monday, November 26th, 2007

0.50eur for a large flower bouquet. it’s easy to be a nice boyfriend in china.


elevator time

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

we live in a 31st floor. on a good day, the elevator takes a full minute to get up here. but that’s when it doesn’t stop every other floor, so in average it takes a lot more than that. and of course, this goes at least twice a day.

it could be quite a waste of time, but then we have a view over shanghai skyline that makes up for all those lost minutes.

Shanghai Skyline

photo by her.

early birds

Friday, July 20th, 2007

it’s 6am. the sun is out and about for one hour and outside it’s already 30°c. down in the park i can see a bunch of old timers doing tai chi or playing badminton. and on the streets, streams of bikes and scooters ride in every direction.

yesterday she said that sometimes it’s still hard to believe we are in china. sometimes it’s not. :)

ik spreek een beetje nederlands

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

despite we are both having mandarin classes, none of us dares yet to speak it: even the very basics take a long time to grasp; and, since in general chinese people don’t have any english skills at all, we haven’t been talking much with locals here.

having said that, i would like to announce that yesterday we were able to communicate with one chinese couple we met in the elevator. in dutch.

shanghai weather

Friday, June 29th, 2007
shanghai weather

feels like 40° and it’s only june.

are you from pu tao ya?

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

ding-dong, ding-dong. said the intercom for the first time since we moved in.

– hello?

– wai?

– hello?, i repeated.

– do you… speak… mandarin?

– ah, no.

– ah, are you from… ah… pu tao ya*?

– hum?! erm, yes!

– i am police man. i want to see you.

i press the button to open the door downstairs and i raise an eyebrow while i put down the intercom. a police man? and he wants to see me? at 9.30pm? did i break any serious chinese law without being aware of?

18 floors after, he appears. very skinny and young, in a blue uniform, carrying a shy smile on his face and some papers on his hands. takes off his shoes at the doorstep despite our invitation to come in with them. his eyes always set on the papers.

– are you this?, he asks me pointing my name on the papers regarding the mandatory police registration i filled some days before.

– yes? is there any problem?

– no! no! no problem! i’m in charge of you, he explained.

– oh?

– can i see your passport? oh, and this number no work, pointing to my phone number on his papers.

we offered him a seat and a few quick questions later he jumps back into his shoes and leaves, even shyer than he arrived.

we closed the door and waited a few seconds for someone to come out and say ‘smile, you are in candid camera‘. or anything. but no.

so, now we have someone in charge of us.

* pu tao ya, is chinese for ‘portugal’

há tantas coisas por fazer

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

“Dá um mergulho no mar
Dá um mergulho sem olhar para trás
Dá um salto no ar
Só para veres do que és capaz

Arrisca mais uma vez
Nem que seja só por arriscar
Nunca se tem muito a perder
Dá um mergulho no mar

Há tantas coisas por fazer
E tantas por inventar
Dá um mergulho no mar

E tu vais ver
Tu vais jogar
Tu vais perder
Tu vais tentar
Mais uma vez
E tu vais ver
E tu vais rir
Tu vais ganhar

Tens pouco tempo para ser só teu
Não esperes nem deixes passar
Essa vontade que quer
Dar um mergulho no mar”

dá um mergulho no mar, xutos & pontapés