Monday, July 30, 2007

Why Beijing Taxi Drivers are Scumbags....

So last night I was trying to catch a cab in the rain. It doesn't rain often here in Beijing so I was enjoying the fresh air as I stood at the side of the road waiting for a taxi. Naturally it was tough to flag down a taxi because of the rain and high demand for cabs. I waited 15 minutes, as the rain became a little bit harder, waiting patiently for a taxi to stop and even giving up taxis to other pedestrians waiting for cabs (I'm just that nice of a guy). After 15 or 20 minutes I begin to get extremely wet, wet to the point that I am getting concerned about my computer in my backpack - not to mention my digital SLR. Right about then a taxi comes up the road, available light on the top shining in the dark like a lighthouse to a wayward sailor. My taxi, no one else is anywhere near me mind you, slows, takes a look at me and drives off down the road for another passenger. Why? Why would a Beijing taxi driver decide not to pick me up? Is it because I am a foreigner? Experience says no. Is it because I am an intimidating person, a hulking bearded bear of a man? Experience also says no in this case. Is it because I look like I don't have money to pay the taxi fare? Definitely no, my regular use of the term "bu yao" to overzealous street vendors proves otherwise. Why then? After three or four cabs do the exact same thing over the next 15 minutes I begin to realize, the cabs aren't picking me up because I am fucking soaked. And I was soaked, wet almost all the way through. My shirt was soaked through and my jeans were well on their way and the cab drivers were not having it. I wasn't being picked up by a taxi because I was going to foul their crappy taxis with water, that's right, water. Once I realized this I became fairly unhappy and began walking. I walked for a while, stopping on occasion to try to flag another taxi, but mostly walking. I walked for 35 minutes, through rain rivers in the street, through mud, through being splashed by cars, through bands of rogue Beijing youths pointing and laughing, through foreign students saying "ni hao" with American accents, all the way back to my hotel computer and camera more or less intact, pride damaged.
Beijing Taxi Drivers are Scumbags. I am considering changing the title of my blog to reflect this. In fact, on the way back to my apartment I considered changing the theme of my blog to reflect how evil taxi drivers in Beijing were documenting and taking pictures of their evil faces and their unethical behaviors.
Then I realized that in the long run, who really gives a shit. Hell, I got a funny story out of the whole thing. That said, I have vowed a personal vendetta against all Beijing taxi drivers. That's right Beijing taxi drivers you have been warned. You just made "the list".

Thursday, July 26, 2007

So you have seen this before? So what?

OK so I am admittedly the last person to become aware of the Flight of the Conchords guys but this is pretty funny.
Things are going well in China. I booked a ticket for Kia to come visit in September so the pressure is on now to get the travel plans lined up for the time she is here. We are planning on using the Autumn Festival break to do some traveling out of China, perhaps Tibet and Nepal but we haven't decided yet.
Summer in Beijing has been fairly good, overcast/hazy today. Tough to tell where the clouds end and the pollution begins. Ah industrialization, its a beautiful process.
I've been rediscovering the beauty of YouTube lately but still refuse to participate in the MySpace silliness - why? you ask - because I am not 15 years old.
Also, a belated happy birthday to Liz and Thomas (they share their birthdays 7/20) one of the two birthday overlaps between Kia and my families.
Getting a cold - I hope its a cold....

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mmmmm Food Additives

Made it back to Beijing on Tuesday of this week after about ten days back in California. Its been interesting moving between the two locations over the last couple of weeks mainly because it was relatively seamless to get back into the flow of things in SF/Mountain View and then into a routine when I got back to Beijing a couple days ago. It was good to see Kia and everyone back home but I have to admit I was aching for some pork buns by the time I got back on the plane to China. Seriously, even if they have cardboard in them they are scary delicious.
My sister sent me a box of books and winter coats - I think - and it is sitting at a post office somewhere so that will be my adventure for the weekend.
Kia and I are trying to pin down some travel plans for this fall while she is in Asia. Lots of things we want to see and do.
What else? Made a trip to Amoeba (aka the music store with the best return policy of all time) before I left San Francisco and scooped up some new cds. Got the re-release of Ruff Draft and the new Beastie Boys album (damn, their website is pretty sweet) both are pretty much awesome in completely different ways.
Its been beautiful in Beijing the last couple days, clear skies and sunshine, 90 degrees.
Hope everyone is well,

Thursday, July 05, 2007

U S A ... U S A ....

One of my coworkers asked me what I normally do in the US to celebrate the 4th of July. My answer to this was "nothing really". I guess this is wrong. We tend to eat processed meat and blow stuff up. Damn, I could go for a reindeer sausage and some roman candles right about now.
I am headed back to SF tomorrow and will be in the US until July 16th (Kia's birthday). People have been asking if I am going to do anything special when I get home. My response to these questions is "not really". I do have designs on eating some foods that I have been missing (Papalote here I come) and buying some clothing (apparently I am not a standard Chinese size, even in shoes). Other than that my plan is to try to avoid being a vegetable because of jet lag.

OK musical recommendation for the day: Citizen Cope
Yes, I am emotionally stable enough to put music other than gangsta rap on my blog.
Yes, I know that the lead singer kind of looks like Tina Majorino from Napoleon Dynamite and Big Love (watch Big Love if you haven't already started - its awesome).
Yes, I know that they opened at one point for Nelly Furtado.

Thats it. No photos this time. I have been lugging my camera with me just about everywhere but the process of taking it out of my backpack has been insurmountable.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Beer and Clams

Pretty rad combination really. Qingdao was a lot of fun and it was great to see Liz. We did the math and we hadn't seen each other since the Christmas before last. Whew.
Despite being entertaining Qingdao left little opportunities for photos. That said, I still took some in anticipation that people would want to see what it looks like. Too bad for those people as it was foggy. Its alright though, the only person who reads this blog is my dad or as Kunan calls him "Robert". Interestingly enough, maybe, because of the Chinese tradition of using family names first, I am often referred to as Robert here in China (its my middle name). Oh yeah, Dad, I found this tshirt which I am trying to decide whether I should buy for you. Dudley is my dad's middle name. While I am at it I will plug the Stonesthrow website where you can find more about Dudley Perkins. Stonesthrow also has one of the best podcasts out there for the hip hop nerd contingency who reads my blog (this is just me).

OK fine, Qingdao
Little sister.


Fog made the spiderwebs more noticeable and photo-worthy.

One more of Liz. We went to this little gelato place and I cracked my dome on the ceiling when we climbed the stairs up to the loft. The gelato was good though and obviously Liz had a little sugar buzz going here.

Headed back to California on Friday for about 10 days for work and to see Kia. Looking forward to this a lot. I cannot believe its already been two months in China. See some of you in a week or so.