Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beijing Road aka Zhongshan Wu Rd.

Candy and I took a cab to the famous Beijing Road or Zhongshan Wu Road as it's called. The cab ride was only about $7-10 bucks. I wish taxis in Phoenix were that cheap.

First we stopped at Candy's apartment. Here is a view from her window.



I love the aging buildings in Guangzhou. I love that new buildings will be erected right next to the old ones. The pictures from Beijing Road itself will give you a better sense of the new and the old living next to each other.
Near Candy's house, she had a lot of small restaurants and produce markets.

At Candy's apartment I found that I could check my Hotmail account and bank account but my blog was blocked by China's firewall.
What happens when you are blocked isn't too exciting. You simply get a "page not found," message.

We went to Beijing Road and had a look around. What an impressive place. Beijing Road has a lot of the same shops that you would find at Scottsdale Fashion Square (Levis, Lacoste, and so forth).

Again there was a Las Vegas feel to new buildings and a very ancient feel to the old buildings. Often times I noticed familiar faces on the billboards. You can almost make out Zhāng Zǐyí from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon there in the background.




The mall at Beijing Road is five stories tall and very impressive looking.








I saw this crazy looking ad on Beijing Road and Candy immediately said, "Wow he looks just like you."



The coolest thing about Beijing Road is that part of the original road has been preserved.




Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cowboy in China


Ni Hao!

When I was shopping on Beijing Road I was surprised to find a Levis store in the five story mall.

I tried a pair on and felt that they were a little tighter than the usual 501s and more expensive too.
The pair I tried on were 799 RMB or about $100 American. I've never paid $100 for Levis in my life. This blew me away. Who is buying $100 Levis.

I snapped a picture of the Chinese Levis Cowboy and left the store.

After leaving the store I saw a bunch of ads for Levis Indigo on buses downtown.

By the way, jeans in Mandarin translate out to "cowboy pants." For some reason I loved that.

Here's a picture of me wearing Candy's Crocs in her apartment while my Cons dried.

The Food Of Guangzhou Part One



Whenever my friends travel the first question I usually have for them is, "how was the food?"
When I got back from Guangzhou I got the same question from my friends.
Here is a quick account of Guangzhou's food.

At first, when the passport agency suggested that I just eat McDonald's in Guangzhou, I thought, "man forget you! I'm going to China, I will max out on Chinese food all the time."

After about three days in Guangzhou, I was ready for a Big Mac. Why you ask? Well, you'll see.

The first day I woke up at lunch time and was ready for a good Chinese meal. Candy, being from Hunan, decided to take me to a Hunan restaurant first.

We walked through the torrential Guangzhou rain and found a Hunan restaurant with huge windows that looked out on the city. Guangzhou does not get much rain and the way the streets flood I believe it. Guangzhou and Phoenix have that in common, the way the streets can get all flooded out in a hurry during a big rain storm.



The menu was completely written in Chinese characters. Candy would tell me what I was looking at we would make selections together.
Some advice I have gotten is to chose entirely based on pictures but I believe you should get some clarification before ordering.
I pointed at more than one picture that I thought was beef that Candy told me was guts or goat face or whatever. Be careful or be adventurous, it's your call.


The first dish I ordered was a spicy Hunan chicken dish. The waitress said, "are you sure, this dish is very spicy."
Being a stupid arrogant Arizonan I said, "Bring it on. I'm from Arizona see, I put hot sauce on my Cap N' Crunch."
First off the chicken served was every part of the chicken: the breast, the neck, the gristle, the bones, etc.
The way you are supposed to eat chicken is to put the whole piece in our mouth and swirl it about and get the bones out. Then you are to eat the meat and spit the bones out on the garbage plate. At first, I loaded up Candy's plate with food and then said told me that the plate is for the refuse. The tiny rice bowl is for the good food. Often, Chinese people will just eat off the serving plate and it's customary to feed your date.

Ok, back to the chicken. Not only was it hot but this chicken was the hottest food I've ever had in my entire life. It was supernova-red-Hades-burning-holes-in-the-roof-of-your-mouth hot!
After the sweating and the panting began, Candy reassured me, "you don't have to eat that if you don't want to."

This wasn't like the time Scott and I had a bucket of habanero wings. Where the food was hot but it was our mission to put those wings to rest.

I found it difficult to separate the meat from the bone with my mouth in a four alarm fire.

Candy showed me a picture of what looked like a wagon wheel and told me it was lotus root. She assured me that lotus root was delicious. The root has a snap to it and has little spider webs come out when you break a piece off. It helped with the heat of the chicken but made me feel like I was on Star Trek.







Next, Candy ordered the delicious green bean and eggplant stir fry dish. I think of all the food I had in Guangzhou this dish was my favorite. Later, I had a version of this dish at another Hunan restaurant with potato in place of the eggplant. I ate almost of of this dish.




Of course one of the world traveler's best friends other than beer is of course good ol' Coca Cola.
If your MTV shirt doesn't tell your new friends you are American, the fact that you chug-a-lug the Coke will!
I love Coke and really everyone does. Even Joe Strummer has a coke in the Combat Rock picture on the inside cover.
In China, Coca Cola translates out to "to make mouth happy." During the trip I often exclaimed that coke was making my mouth happy, much to Candy's embarrassment/my amusement.

Guangzhou Zoo


Oh the Guangzhou Zoo was so cool!



2.5 million visitors can't be wrong.






Notice the University of Phoenix shirt. I was doing my part to get the brand out there.



Hey hey here's some monkeys! I believe them to be golden monkeys, but I'm not sure.



This is a killer crab of the deep sea variety. Candy told me that it kills man. If you are ever in the ocean and see him crawling, be polite!







In China no holds are barred. I was about 80% sure this cage was locked, so I took this picture while I continued walking.



Bears are at least 50% more lazy in China.



Get a job hippies!



Cheetah you are not eating any Cheetos like in the commercials. Where's your Ray Bans?
Black panther, you are even more lackluster than the Marvel comics hero of the same name. Way to go big cats!



Shark has gone to Cheeba Hut for a pinner and is sleeping on the job.



Sea turtles we love you!



Ape has never shot ape!




Bird on faux lake.



Mermaid show 2000.



The fish on the right stole my wallet. The blue fish on the left watched him do it. Which one is really worse...



Fish haiku by Peter S.

Yellow fish swimming
looking for some food to eat
rock n' roll high school



Are we done? Not yeti...no we're done. Thanks for checking out this zoo post.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

7 Days Inn





The hotel that I stayed at was pretty fly. It was called the 7 Days Inn and mostly catered to the locals. Candy reserved the room for me but I'm pretty sure a room could be reserved through elong, the hotel website. The address for the 7 Days Inn that I stayed at was Yuexiu District LuHu Road #5, B Zuo.

Candy pointed out many times that the people in the elevator spoke Xiang, which is spoken in her hometown the Hunan province. Candy watched this really weird Xiang cartoon on TV. I don't know the name of the show but it kind of resembled South Park. The animation was really crude and the audio sounded like it was recorded live with a studio audience with scratchy microphone and really lame sound effects. Every show ended with Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" from Pulp Fiction, which was cool. I haven't been there but maybe Hunan is like South Park, Colorado.

The hotel was only thirty U.S. dollars a night. The bed was very hard but it was a queen. The bed is a little shorter on the sides than I am used to but it was comfortable.

The hardwood floors were very nice. The shower always had hot water and the air conditioning worked perfectly which was a necessity in the humid rainy Guangzhou weather.

The location was near a UPS store, a building under construction, a shady office building (which is another story) and the great 24 Mart.

The hotel was only a $2 cab ride from the zoo and only a $7 dollar cab ride from the Beijing Road shopping center.

Big ups to the 7 Days Inn, at $30 a night you could easily stay and eat in Guangzhou for under $100 a day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Travel Tip #187


When traveling abroad remember that international flights are very different than city bus-like experience on a domestic flight.

For one, you have all the movies, video games, TV shows and music you could ever want to watch available on demand for FREE. Not to mention all the booze you can handle, even sake bombs!

Nothing is quite like drinking Japanese beer at 10AM and watching Yes,Man on your own personal TV in a safe environment.

Insane! I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I found out these little details. My seat mates were shocked that I had never taken an international flight before.

A word to the wise, get up and stretch out at least once between movies. I skipped the exercise on the first 12 hour flight and did the Frankenstein walk for a few hours after the flight.

One last airport tip: if you check a bag you only have to check it once. When you arrive at your destination, your bag will be waiting for you. I checked my bag in Phoenix and picked it up in Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou.

I didn't have any pictures from the the airport, I was too busy taking my shoes off for security.
Instead, I included pictures of the official Guangzhou mascots, the Five Goats. I think their names are Bashful, Snap, Crackle, Pop and Larry from Three's Company. Good guys those goats.

All's well...

Thanks for all the love everyone!
I just got into town about an hour ago like Jim Morrison once said.
My trip to China was just what the doctor ordered.
Since the Chinese Government has a firewall to block Blogger and Blogspot, I was unable to post anything.
I plan to update the blog everyday with some new entries so when you see me: at work, at home, at dinner, at Van Halen concert; pretend that I'm still in China. The blog will be much more exciting that way.
Word.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Travel

After spending time in Joe Arpaio's resort, I decided to take some steps to travel more.
This blog will among other things, document my trip to Guangzhou, China on May 18-25.
I plan to eat lots of Chinese food and buy you all silly Chinese t-shirts.
Please feel free to make comments like the old men who sat in the balcony on the Muppet Show.
For example:
"Way to get traveler's diarrhea Pete!"
or "Nice Ramones shirt CHUD face!"

Much love,
Pete