Chinese Traffic is Unreasonable (so proclaimed by others, not I)

On this cool, drizzly afternoon in Shanghai, I was waiting for the light to change from red to green at a pedestrian crosswalk.  As it was, I was on the curb, but 6 people were one step off the curb in the street (which is a cardinal no-no if you’ve ever been in Shanghai).  The “Traffic Helper” blew her whistle from afar beckoning everyone to hop one step backward, up onto the curb.  Four complied.  The two nearest me, two middle aged Shanghaiese ladies, stood oblivious.  The traffic helper approached, her whistle getting louder as the distance between her and us was reduced and her blowing intensity increased.   Finally the traffic assistant was 2 feet from their faces blowing the whistle but to no avail.

 SHTig, rather than cover the ears, opted to excoriate the women for ignoring the helper.  They ignored me but pointed out to the helper that the intersection had red lights in all directions for pedestrians Continue reading “Chinese Traffic is Unreasonable (so proclaimed by others, not I)”

Do you stiff Chinese wait staff? Shame on you, says Forbes

According to this Forbes Global Guide to Tipping, when dining, “in China, giving 3% is expected at restaurants, while in Hong Kong, 10% to 15% is the norm if the gratuity isn’t included in the bill. For taxis, you don’t need to tip in China, but in Hong Kong, you should round the fare up to the next dollar amount.”

3% tips in China?  Where and how did Forbes’ come about this silly percentage?  With a simple fact check (or an actual visit to China), Forbes would know that tipping for meals is not the norm in China, except at high end places where service charges are added automatically.  My guess on how they got this percentage: Continue reading “Do you stiff Chinese wait staff? Shame on you, says Forbes”

eLong Gets Its Act Together (almost)

I received an email from eLong with the long overdue news that it will now accept foreign (i.e. non-Chinese) credit cards for payment without the need for a ridiculous payment authorization letter. For those not familiar with the aggravation, if one wanted to pay for a flight with a foreign credit card eLong required you to call them (or they would actually call you) with credit card details and follow that call with a fax or email attachment authorizing the payment that included your signature. Here’s an excerpt from their yet-to-be updated website FAQs:

“For credit card payments, an eLong agent will contact you to retrieve your credit card information by phone. Please note that we require you to fax or email a signed authorization form before we process payments from foreign-issued credit cards.”

Well, no longer. The complaints must have piled up – I certainly lodged mine when paying for tickets. The email announced that payment would be “Hassel Free from Now!”

Next job for eLong, a publicly-listed company: make sure to use spell check on English language e-mails.

Peach Pie = bad


McDonald’s released a new peach pie a few days ago, and I tried it for the first time today. Disappointing. The peach chunks (assuming that’s what they are) have no discernable flavor, which is instead supplied by some peach-like essence that tastes like candy. I give it a D.

What was wrong with apple pie? They had it, took it away, brought it back, and took it away again. Banana was decent as well. I guess this means I’m staying with pineapple.