Category Archives: China

I had the wonderful experience of interning at Herbert Software Solutions Inc in Shanghai in January and February 2010. During that time, I explored Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, and Suzhou.

Daxu, Guilin

The streets are absent of traffic, there’s not a foreigner in site, and no vendor is actively touting  —  only 20km away from Guilin, a Chinese city of 5 million inhabitants. Founded in the Song Dynasty, Daxu’s structures date back to more »

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Beijing – Jonathan Shaller

Jonathan Shaller, a fellow traveler from the Red Lantern Hostel in Beijing, rendered this pavilion using Autodesk Maya. Jonathan is a professional 3D Environmental Artist with an impressive background. Notably, he’s worked on the graphics for The Chronicles of Narnia, more »

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Back to the States

I must admit that I am now back in New York with my parents and Chris. I will continue to post occasionally, as I still have many places, foods, and cultural oddities to share. Above are impaled sparrows being sold more »

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Shanghai Violin – Recital Piece

AUDIO Recital Replay During the Spring Festival, only one music store near the Shanghai Music Conservatory was open. It had the floorspace of a typical shop window display with about 20 violins crammed inside. A teacher clapped expressionlessly to a more »

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Beijing – Forbidden City – Museum

The Imperial bedroom was the most popular scene in the Forbidden City. Crowds of tourists pressed their lenses up to the glass and peered in to see where the Emperor slept. The symbol on the far wall is “double happiness,” more »

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Beijing – Forbidden City (Gu Gong)

The Forbidden City served as the Emperor’s Palace in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1644, 1644-1911). It’s the most impressive place I’ve seen in China and happens to be the world’s largest palace complex. To enter the Forbidden City, you more »

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Beijing – Days 2 & 3

Pictures & videos coming soon. I’ve spent the past two days at The Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, Zhongshan Park, Silk Street Market, and a family music shop.

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Beijing – Day 1

In addition to the traveling,  hostel life is very interesting. I room with a Frenchman who was originally here to study calligraphy, an Englishman in the video game industry, an American w0man who volunteers for the Peace Core as an more »

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Beijing – Landing

I just arrived in Beijing and will be here until Feb 21. The only trouble I had was at security. The airport staff unloaded my backpack while asking me if I had an “organ.” Wondering if they really thought I more »

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Chinese New Year's Eve, Shanghai – Fireworks

VIDEO Fireworks From the Street Fireworks From Apartment In the first video, note the proximity of the fireworks to us, to the apartment complex, and to the car with the alarm. In the second video, note what’s happening next door. more »

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Shanghai Eyewear

Ms. Jocelyn Gibbons, the marketing director of Just Eyewear, found me through this blog and requested data on the cost of prescription eyeglasses in Shanghai. I asked around for prescription prices and determined that the most economic option would be to more »

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HSSI Company Dinner, South Beauty

To celebrate Spring Festival, our company, Herbert Software Systems Inc, went out to South Beauty, a Sichuan restaurant. We were seated in a private room around a large round table which felt more festive than the formal long rectangular tables more »

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Valentine’s Day in Shanghai

This post is for Chris Hooper in Seattle. Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day in Shanghai is a copy of the American holiday with a few added quirks. While flowers and chocolate dominate the event, bouquets of little animal heads are more »

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Chinese New Year – Tonight!

I am writing from an apartment overlooking the Huangpu River. My ballet dancer friend, Xu Yuchen, and his family just lit a box of fireworks outside the apartment for the Chinese New Year. It is now 12:40 AM and the more »

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Shanghai Violin – Chinese Film

AUDIO In the Mood For Love While my erhu was being touched up in the shop, I practiced on the Shanghai violins hanging on the wall. Most are copies of Stradivari or other famous violins and have extremely unique tones more »

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Purchasing an Erhu – Part VI

I returned to Jinling Lu with Mei’s mother’s surgeon’s son, a ballet dancer with street smarts who had his informed friends from a music academy on the phone while we browsed and haggled for erhus. His friends claimed that erhus more »

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Mandarin Chinese's Four Tones

Every conversation is a lesson and my most interesting ones have been on taxi rides. I try to start conversations with the friendly drivers who correct my pronunciation or teach me new phrases. When I first came here, I was more »

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Hangzhou – Hefang Old Street – The Glass Blower

Hefang Jie feels like an extraordinarily realistic live museum. While strolling down the old street, you can see artisans showing off their skills to the curious tourists. A glass blower works at a table covered with his creations in the more »

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Hangzhou – Hefang Old Street – Intro

Hefang Jie, a famous pedestrian street off the southeast shore of Xi Hu, is the heart of old Hangzhou. Also known as the South Song Dynasty Imperial Street, it is lined with a variety of artistic souvenirs and snacks from more »

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Hangzhou – The Bike System

Biking is by far the best way to explore Hangzhou. In fact, a bike is needed to see everything in the tourist town. There is a trail around the perimeter of Xi Hu (West Lake) as well as on both more »

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Chinese Tea Performance

I met two tourists in People’s Square, Shanghai who were attending a “tea performance.” Curious about this cultural event, I joined them and was led into a tiny room in a mall just big enough for a table and a more »

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Milk, Cream, or Yogurt?

Shanghainese milk is so creamy that expats have questioned whether it’s from a cow or something closer to a yak. I find the taste deliciously addicting. As one expat wrote, “I actually prefer the “milk” taste of Shanghai milk to more »

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CargoMax Installation

The first time I encountered CargoMax software was in 2008 when I was a cadet aboard Stolt Topaz, a chemical tanker. CargoMax is a ship stability and load management program used onboard tankers, container ships, RO-RO’s, passenger and research vessels, barges, FPSO’s, and military craft.  My classmate more »

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Upon hearing that Google may pull out of China, a group of Chinese students created a knockoff of Google,, to pay homage to the search engine. It’s worth visiting. The caption supposedly translates to, “Brother’s stay is for sister, more »

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Purchasing an Erhu – Part V

Erhus are made from a variety of wood types, red sandalwood being the most prized. The erhus that are now being mass produced in factories with impressive quality seem to be of African ebony, but redwoods are still considered to produce more »

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Hangzhou – Boating on Xi Hu

From the moment I laid eyes on Xi Hu (Xi = West, Hu = Lake), I yearned to take a boat ride on it. While Suzhou is called the Venice of China, Hangzhou’s Xi Hu has a more palpable Venetian more »

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Hangzhou – Music Fountain

VIDEO Music Fountain The Music Fountain in Hangzhou is located near Hubin Lu, the most modernized street on the lake with shops like Armani and Dulce&Gobbana. Click on the link above to see Chinese tourists watching the fountain rise and more »

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Hangzhou – Intro

This weekend I traveled to Hangzhou, capital of the Zhejiang Province. Hangzhou is known, among many things, for its long leaf tea, Longjing. The city’s famous two-square-mile West Lake, Xi Hu, is surrounded by cultural and historic sites. An entire more »

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Thursday Night Pool Tournament, Pudong

I was heading over to Malone’s, a sports bar in Pudong, to see my boss, Rob Tagg, play in a pool tournament. Above, he shoots pool in last week’s tournament at The Max, his bar. He’s the Assistant Captain of more »

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"Steamed Treasure From 8 Sides"

This little restaurant at 456 Jinling Dong Lu, East of People’s Square, opened on January 1st and has been packed almost every night since.  I happened to stop by on January 2nd, was treated very well, and have gone back a number more »

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