Wuhan Update — June 2011, part 1

Arrived in Wuhan on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago after a comfortable soft sleeper train from Beijing. On our nifty private TVs in the sleeper car they played the Karate Kid remake with Jacky Chan and Jaden Smith. The Beijing portrayed in this movie is ridiculous — the temperature is never remains mild through month after month of training; it rains all the time; the streets are narrow and the buildings rarely more than two or three stories tall; the city is lush with trees and greenery; repair guys speak fluent English; parents can call their kids, find out where they are, drive to pick them up, then take them to the  music conservatory — all in 20 minutes; and, best of all, and groups of 12-year-old Chinese mini-hoodlums roam the streets and beat up smaller foreign kids in public parks with impunity. Continue reading “Wuhan Update — June 2011, part 1”

The TFF Taste Test™: The KFC Extra Cheesy Pizza Pocket


I’ve had numerous discussions with Nator, ODB and Uncle Ronald on the unique offerings in Asia by the jewels of the American fast food crown – McDonald’s and KFC.  From time to time, I’ve been tempted to sample a green tea- or taro-tinged dessert or a Peking duck flavored burger.  Recently, an offering from our dear Colonel (HK branch of the Kentucky Colonels) has both inspired my taste buds and a new report.  Behold – The Extra Cheesy Pizza Pocket. Continue reading “The TFF Taste Test™: The KFC Extra Cheesy Pizza Pocket”

North Gate-Gate

The neighborhood I live in was pretty remote before the Line 5 subway was built. Since my building was finished in 2006 or 2007 and the subway line opened in September 2007, it’s safe to say that the building was built in response to the newly available subway. All of which makes it puzzling why the north gate is closed.

Here’s my building:

When I moved in, both the north and east gates were open and in use. At night the north gate was often kept almost closed, so that only pedestrians could fit through and cars had to go through the east gate. Fair enough. But after a couple of years, the north gate was locked shut without warning. I asked the wuye about it and was told that there wasn’t enough money to keep a guard posted there.

Let’s do some math. Continue reading “North Gate-Gate”

Thank You, China Mobile, for Belatedly Notifying Me of Osama Bin Laden’s Death

This SMS came in at 2:59pm on Monday, May 2:

新闻早晚报快讯:美国总统奥巴马1日表示,美军方当天对巴基斯坦一所建筑发动袭击, 打死了“基地”组织领导本·拉丹,并对其尸体进行了确认。新华社

News Alert: On May 1st, United States President Obama said that earlier in the day U.S. military forces had attacked a building in Pakistan, killing Al Qaeda leader bin Laden and confirming the identity of his corpse. Xinhua News Agency

Continue reading “Thank You, China Mobile, for Belatedly Notifying Me of Osama Bin Laden’s Death”

Cold Call Olympic Recruitment?

Just received the following call:

Hello, sir, I am calling from the National Olympic Sports Center (国家奥体中心). Do you have any 5 to 16 year old children in your household?

I said no, and he immediately hung up. Now I wish I had kept him on the line a bit longer. If he wasn’t from NOSC (and I don’t think he was), then what was he trying to do? Promote some sports activity for kids? Conduct a survey? Or maybe just identify mobile numbers of parents with kids in that age range? Continue reading “Cold Call Olympic Recruitment?”

Wuhan Weekend — Hassle at the Hanting

And then when we finally got to the hotel…had a bit of an episode. We booked two rooms for one night at a Hanting – booked online on Hanting’s snazzy website and got a reservation number. The idea was to stay at a quick and easy place not far from GZ East so we could check in right after arriving, drop off our bags and grab a late dinner.  We finally get to the hotel. Tired, very hungry. As we walk in, we see two guys trying to get a room get turned down as the hotel has no vacancies. Nothing at all available. I get a bad feeling. We show our reservation number to the front desk lady.

Sorry, we have cancelled your reservations because you didn’t show up by 9 and when we called you there was no answer and you didn’t re-confirm. And sorry, we are completely out of rooms.

Continue reading “Wuhan Weekend — Hassle at the Hanting”