Tuesday, September 18, 2007


This email just appeared in my in-box:

The weather forecasting a biggest typhoon ever in recent 10 years is approaching Shanghai. Considering the severe traffic and security situation, and on behalf of Managing Director's instruction, I would like to inform you that, you might go home earlier upon your team head's agreement now.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday afternoon

A new Hyatt hotel opened about a fifteen minute walk from our apartment. We walked there for lunch today. It's nice -- enormous and luxurious with terrific views.

Here's a photo from our walk back home.
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Juan and I went to Seoul a few weeks ago for a long weekend. Why Seoul? It's only a 2 hour flight, they have special weekend hotel rates, and, eh, why not? Some friends here tried to dissuade us -- "It's Tokyo's dull cousin." and "The only good thing there is the airport." I wouldn't listen.

Wow. What a dull place.

Some excellent restaurants, but mainly just a banal urban monotony punctuated by unfortunate attempts at contemporary architecture (at least the modern architecture in China is spectacularly bad -- kitsch is always better than bland.)

Upside: Korean BBQ, the Krispy Creme near the Lotte Hotel, good public transit.

Downside: Everything else. The drive from the airport lasts longer than The Exodus. Also the DMZ tour doesn't happen on Sunday so we didn't get a chance to see the only interesting bit.
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Happy, happy

We recently won a pitch for Disney in China, so we had our agency kick-off meeting at the park in Hong Kong.

Prior to the visit everyone I asked about it uniformly remarked, "The park is so small!" Yep, it's small. After 3 hours of the suffocating crowds, wailing children, heat and humidity I felt like I was being buried alive.

They had some kind of water cannon parade during our visit. We went on Space Mountain (45 minute wait.) And then I bought some of those mouse ear hats as souvenirs.
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Friday, August 31, 2007

Market visit

Some final photos from my Weifang market visit. I tried to find something a bit more scenic, but honestly not much to see in Weifang as it, like most Chinese cities I visited, has a relentless aesthetic sameness. Expansive boulevards and rows of apartment developments in an ever expanding urban planning nightmare.

Instead I'm including some photos from our store checks. The first is the scene outside the supermarket, the rest are interiors. For store checks we go in and photograph our client's products along with the competitors' stuff, check out the in-store promotions and chat with the staff about business, what shoppers are asking for, average spend per customer, etc.

I'm glad I majored in film and art history in college. Really coming in handy.
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More Weifang

Another photo from my visit to Weifang.

A guy had set up a impromptu pet store on the sidewalk next to the river. Here's he washing a cat with laundry detergent.
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Donkey soup

I haven't had the time to properly write about my recent market research visit to a third-tier city called Weifang, but it involved:

- Going into several local residents' homes and taking photos of their toothpaste.
- A visit to the regionally-famous monument to kites.
- A banquet hosted by the staff of the local Weifang TV station featuring donkey soup, sea slugs and a platter of fried bugs (pictured.)

I will add some more photos later. Not much to see really.

The donkey soup tasted like a wet dog. The bugs were crunchy. I didn't eat the sea slug.
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Friday, August 10, 2007


I finally figured out how to connect my camera phone to my craptastic Lenovo laptop. Now I can download several month's worth of photos.

Juan and I are taking a pottery class on Saturday afternoon. I started with the wheel thing and gave up after about 20 minutes. Everything ended up as a "Frank Gehry-inspired abstract sculpture" (i.e. pile of mud.)

I took a photo of ceramic hipster Maos waiting to be sealed in the fiery oven. Depending on your historical perspective it may be where the real Mao is spending his ever-after.

I made a plaster mold of a wine bottle and created a ceramic version. (Last photo.)
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Monday, August 06, 2007

Another view from my window

The smog finally cleared to give us the first spectacular summer day in a long, long time.

Here's the view from my office on the 29th floor around 9:45AM. On the right in the background is the China World Trade, still under construction. When it's finished it will be the tallest building in Asia.

I'll try to post again and re-cap the past few months.
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

View from my window

Weifang, Shandong Province. Saturday, July 29th around 5PM.
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