Friday, July 30, 2010

798 and the silk street market: 秀水街

Whaddup guys. This is Andrew, writing from my room on a Friday night, past twelve. Tired and worn out from days worth of shajia-ing (bargaining). Last weekend, I went to 798 and looked at some pretty crazy stuff. They had all types of art, from the scary looking babies, to depressed looking girls, to pieces of cow skin on the wall and weird caged demonic, muscled, jacked, juiced -up body builders. As you can see above. My friend here, Jamie, aspires to be like one of them beings one day (I hope if you read this, Jamie, you don't come knocking on my door with your juiced up arms). But seriously, 798 is such an interesting place. I definitely recommend all those who love graffiti, art, small collectibles, etc to go.

Today, I went to Xiushuijie, the silk street market, the place that overflows with fake brands. Too many eager salesmen grabbed my arm and dragged me into their stores. They all say " are very awesome. since you are a student, i will give you a very good price. lai lai lai lai." The Chinese way of selling things is really outrageous. They first quadruple the original price. Then, they try to scam you with sky-high prices. When you say no, they tell you to leave. THen when you leave, they tell you to come back and reconsider. When you come back and reconsider, and again say it's too expensive, they tell you to just forget about it. Quite interesting!

I bought a pair of shoes to bboy in, a bathing monkey shirt, a white armani belt, and a panda hat for my lil sis. I was tempted to buy so many things. Cheap goods, mostly illegal goods, hang from the ceiling all the way down to the floor. It's unbelievable.

I only have about three weeks in China.

Crazy. Time flies.

Sorry, I'm too tired for more blabbering. I will update again soon.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Monks, Shaolin Temple, Buddha, and bugs galore

One word for the Shaolin Si. Ill. My time at the Shaolin Temple was "feichang bu cuo!" From day one to the very last day, there wasn't amoment I was disappointed. From the extremely sore legs and feet to the bugs mating right next to my bed, everthing was "hen you yise." That's "very interesting" in Chinese pinyin for those who don't know.

Learning gongfu was a big challenge. It requires flexibilty, endurance, strength, perseverance, and concentration of mind/energy. I was so amazed by the number of kids who studied gongfu in the vicinity of the Shaolin Temple. Kids starting from age six come to the gongfu schools and start learning martial arts. They train intensely everyday by drilling, practicing, running, stretching, sparring, jumping, flipping, swinging, you name it. The gongfu schools are the very manifestation of the word "intense" or "厉害".

Climbing the Song Shan, the central, most sacred mountain in the area, was certainly a task. Simply put, it was "freaking tall." My legs burned like crazy. Yet, I found it meaningful to climb those thousands of stairs to the top, the highest point I have every been in my life (besides in an airplane). I kept wondering to myself why I was even trying to get to the top. Curiosity? Sense of accomplishment? Finishing what I started? I still don't know exactly why. But I climbed it, and I feel like it was more than just a physical journey. It was also a reflection of our spiritual journeys. The higher you climb, the harder it gets. It's harder to breathe, harder to step, harder to climb, harder to see out because of the clouds. Similarly, our journeys with God gets harder as we feel like we grow more and more mature. More temptations, more roadblocks, more distractions, more everything. Yet, I did realize something. There is a distinct difference between climbing that mountain and climbing the wall of spirituality. As it got harder and harder, I relied on my body, my own strength to climb each step. As the spiritual journey gets tougher and tougher, you learn to rely on God more and more.

Here are some pics of my time at the temple. If yall wanna see some more pics, I have lots posted on my facebook! Peace.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Pepsi Boxers and Squat Toilets

Wassup wassuppp. I did not have any pictures from this week. So i have posted previous pictures of my first week in China. Pepsi undies and Squatting toilets. These are two new things I have encountered while in China. I went to the supermarket bear BCLU the first day I was in China. There I saw a couple of interesting things. First, I saw a sign that said "there be no candy drink." I also saw a sign that said "there be no fire in the fore-forbidden area." These two awkwardly translated signs are examples of the dangers of translation. I always thought that Chinese people in the States just had terrible grammar. And they do. honestly. But I can finally understand why they have such horrible grammar, the grammar you hear comedians imitate on tv. The way Chinese sentences are structured can sometimes be very bizarre. When directly translating Chinese into English, these bizarre sentences turn into awkward, grammatically incorrect english sentences.

Another interesting thing I saw were the Pepsi boxers. o.O Who would have thought that Pepsi sells UNDERWEAR? I certainly thought that it was hilarious. I guess Pepsi is not just some soft drink company but a multi-product business? Anyways, I think I will have to buy me a pair of them pepsi boxers. They're too funny to pass by.

THe picture of me hovering/squatting over a toilet is not real. Just to get that out of the way. Unlike in the states, Chinese people like to squat when taking a dump. They think it's more sanitary also, which it actually is.

Couple of new things I learned about China: Apple products are popular here but REALLY expensive. The age people Chinese marry is getting older and older. Houhai is a really awesome place full of people, energy, fun places, and live bars. Beijing can ACTUALLY have blue skies. I know, it's crazy. Chinese people love to sing and dance in the morning in random places and parks.