China


Shenzhen View Pano

I can’t help but wonder how the other half of the world perceives a person like myself. I was asking this very question on Friday while I performed my near-sacred morning ritual at the hotel buffet. For anyone who knows me, it is almost universally understood that I enjoy my opportunities to overeat and consume large quantities of coffee. This very fact makes me a true sucker for any hotel buffet, especially the “fancy” ones, which are quite the common occurrence when I travel for work.

Well, my introspective query came soon after sitting down with my first plate of food. I had never really seen what maple syrup looked like mid-flight before, but as soon as my fork broke free from the mystery cosmic force in the center of one of the triangles of french toast on my plate, I was provided front row seats to that very sight. I swear the syrup quadrupled in volume as it rocketed towards my half-shielded crotch, and somehow spread out into a giant ASL version of “screw you” before making contact with the lower left quadrant of my polo shirt and the entire uncovered section of my jeans. This picture perfect display of sticky, sugary staining power was like a heat seeking missile, fired with the most sophisticated targeting algorithm ever devised to hunt down portions of clothing unprotected by napkins.

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Kempinski Entrance

The mind is a muscle, which must be exercised like any other to get stronger. The stomach, on the other hand, is not a muscle; however that won’t stop me from pretending that it is.

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Construction in Shenzhen

24 hours ago I was in the Raleigh-Durham Airport. It was early Monday morning, and I was still trying to come down from the inexplicable emotional high that was felt watching my best friend of the past 15 years get married. I believe an apt description for my mental state would have been tattered, but honestly who’s keeping track these days?

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Note: I realize I’ve skipped day 8.  There are few words for what happened on the eighth day, and I am trying to bring those words forth, but pictures are worth a thousand words as they say.  And I don’t know if I want to publicly show the pictures.  We’ll see what happens… Anyway, enjoy my final day in China because I don’t think that I did…

Day 9: The best prank I’ve ever fallen for

China Eastern Airlines may quite possibly have just pulled off the greatest April Fools joke ever.  Let me indulge you in a story of peculiarity and confusion.  This involves myself, of course, and approximately 108 other people.  It is my last day in China and I have a long day of travel to look forward to.  This is the story of those travels…

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Day 7: Testing the Limits of the Human Stomach

Today wasn’t much different from any of the other days.  We started off with some breakfast and then took the taxi to the Fu Tian Free Trade Zone and then hopped on the Shuttle that took us all the way to ISH3 where IBM/ISTC is located.  We spend a couple of hours working and then went out for lunch at a local Chinese place.  Today’s lunch was at a restaurant that is a stone’s throw from the main entrance to Fu Tian and also where we catch the shuttle in the morning.  This area where the restaurant was, featured tables located along the walls of the space and additionally around a large oval shaped fountain in the middle of the room.  The fountain was not operational (possibly to save costs in the same way that many levels of ISH3 are kept totally dark throughout the day and only illuminated by the glow from laptop screens), and rightfully so as there was one additional table located right near the spout at the center of the fountain.

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Before we begin today, let me introduce you to the Dragon Fire Fruit (its real name is Pitaya), or as it’s known in China 火龍果 (huǒ lóng guǒ).  Every morning for breakfast I’ve been enjoying this white, juicy delicacy and have remarked at how similar to kiwi it is in texture.  Lo and behold, I looked it up on Wikipedia and it’s actually a cactus fruit.  They say that apart from Southern Asia it grows in Mexico, Central, and South America, which surprises me because I’ve never once heard of or seen this thing.  If you ever get a chance to eat it, don’t pass it up because it’s very tasty.

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Day 5: Learning the Art of Bartering

The above image really describes this day surprisingly well.  I know it’s similar to the picture I used on Day 3, but if you clicked through to the album, you’d already know that I promised to get a better picture of this sign.  I still don’t understand its meaning or why it exists, and therefore the sign in and of itself is crazy.  The simple fact is that today I saw a many things that I will never forget, and I took an astounding number of photos to help document the entire thing.  Expect a LOT of pictures in this post, so I hope you like my photography as much as you like reading my blog, otherwise I’d advise you to turn back before it’s too late.

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