Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale

I recently went to a ‘post-participation’ sculpture exhibition in Shenzhen’s OCT (Overseas Chinese Town) neighborhood, at the great halls of B10 and OCAT, to check ot the SZ Sculpture Biennale.

More information can be found at: http://www.biennialfoundation.org/biennials/shenzhen-sculpture-biennale-china/

 

Pictures:

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Dating – visitors and friends, others

Dating in China, this blog series, is basically a personal memoir. My writing inspiration of late consists of sifting through my memories, see if there was anything I was supposed to learn, and share it all for your infotainment.

Today I would like to do something different. On today’s post I would like to write about other people’s drama. A certain episode comes to mind. No action for me at this juncture, yet I was in the middle of it and have all the gossipy details.

My good friend from the States had decided to visit me, back I was living in Guangzhou in the second half of 2011. Having recently traveled myself, I welcomed him with open arms. But it’s not like we were going to go to the Great Wall or anything, I was too traveled out. We just keep it down South, Guangdong Province. He was cool with that.

I picked him up at the Hong Kong airport, and we went to see some sights in HK together. It was glorious. Then we crossed the border to my town of Shenzhen. It was a hectic night; full of old friends and drinking. I had planned to just come upon a hotel room like I usually do backpacking in China, but everything was filled up for some reason. Partying with luggage isn’t ideal. We ended up crashing at a DJ friend’s place after his gig. It always works out.

So. Before my buddy came down, I had to get him excited to visit with the obligatory “you can totally get laid in China” bro sell. In keeping with this, I had introduced him to some girls online. He particularly got along with Hailey.

If you will remember, there was another episode with Hailey. She was my open-minded platonic female friend in Shenzhen who climbed into my bed one night and thoroughly confused me, and we never ever did do anything of that sort.

My friend and her seemed to get along well. It usually doesn’t succeed when I play the matchmaker, but when it does I find it so fun to scheme. Have you ever tried?

For the next week-and-a-half I had to spend almost all my free time tour guiding all over the place. Clubs in Shenzhen, clubs in Guangzhou. It was mostly clubs. However, for one day he went to Shenzhen by himself to spend a night at a hotel on his own. With her. Sexy fun times were had, I assume. Good for them.

It was a crazy time, a very fun trip for him. I do believe he was left with a positive impression of modern China indeed. At last, the the final day was approaching… We needed to plan around a morning flight out of Hong Kong, which meant spending previous night in Shenzhen. Guangzhou wouldn’t have worked, too far.

“Look,” I sad. “I want to see you off, man. But if it’s all the same…”

“Fine,” he agreed.

I called Hailey, since they were obviously going to spend the night together anyway, and simply asked if she could take him to the nearby Huang’gang border and direct him to one of those direct shuttles to the airport.

“No way!” she yelled. “I’m not his babysitter.”

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SZ Daily: A holiday at Lianhua Hill

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Kite-flying park

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Posing in front of the Civic Center building, best pic I got

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IF I was asked to choose my favorite place to relax in Shenzhen, I would say the Lianhua Hill area. When the weather is clear and I have the day off, no place is better. Containing some of the most beautiful scenery in central Shenzhen, in the heart of Futian District, the area boasts the best of both worlds: a calming natural setting and convenient shopping nearby.

Last May Day I enjoyed the holiday by first checking out the book mall and then taking a stroll along the hill path. My day began by taking the Metro to Children’s Palace Station and walking to Shenzhen Book City CBD Store. I enjoy their Eon import bookstore very much because they have an ample selection of English-language books. The nearby library also has a broad range of tomes from both the United States and the United Kingdom, and even though I live in China to learn Mandarin, I am still grateful that there is international literature in my native language on hand.

The book mall has lots of other shops to choose from, including various high-end restaurants, but I wasn’t there to partake in consumer culture. After some snacks, I climbed to the top floor. The roof leads to Lianhua Hill Park, where some friends of mine were waiting.

At the entrance to the park there is a square where kite enthusiasts gather. I hadn’t planned to fly a kite that day, but when the opportunity presented itself I spontaneously bought an inexpensive one from a vendor. The vendor even helped with a refresher course on how to fly a kite, a skill I haven’t practiced much since childhood. It was fun to see my kite go higher and higher into the air, and it provided good photo opportunities for my friends.

Eventually, we made it all the way to the top. The hike might not be too demanding as far as mountain climbing goes, but compared to other mountains in Shenzhen, such as Wutong Mountain, which require hours and hours of work, Lianhua Hill makes it easier for a briefer and simpler afternoon outing.

Once at the top, the whole city of Shenzhen is visible and is perfect for taking pictures. Besides the famous statue of Deng Xiaoping, the view of the iconic Civic Center building is one of my favorite sights.

We took the leisurely path back downhill as a cool breeze came with the setting of the sun. Back near the book mall, the large square contains many aspiring musicians and artists during the evening. At a mere (optional) price of a few yuan in tips, we could listen to rock musicians as well as watch caricaturists and painters practices their craft.

It was a wonderful day and I didn’t even have to travel very far. The diversity of activities in Futian District is the reason I have stayed here the past four years and counting. I can’t wait until my next opportunity to further explore Lianhua Hill Park.

Yet more… American ‘Chinglish!’

Who would have thought it, but yet more badly spelled and funny Englishes I came across while in America.

I should have known finalizing my last post was premature. I can have a bad habit of getting ahead of myself…

If you’re new here, please take note of: this is Chinglish

 

WP_20140616_001Nice and ghetto, gotta love Long Beach 

 

WP_20140615_022Father’s Day at Little Tokyo 

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Dating – China to Thailand to Cambodia

tuk tukOn a tuk-tuk

 

Dating in China etc. sometimes expands to surrounding countries, and a common country to visit is Thailand. It’s nearby, it’s cheap flying, and it’s beautiful. Even easy for Chinese friends to get a visa. One day back in the mid of 2011. I decided to take a girl to Thailand. And what a mistake that was…

I don’t like to live a life of regrets. I try to interpret all positively, believe it or not. I do my thing, I have experiences, I learn. It’s not like I’ve burned that many bridges, it’s not like I do that bad. Yet there are certain things that have happened to me, certain people that were a complete waste of time, and I’ll feel regret. This is one of those.

I met Cynthia at a club in Shenzhen. One of the few times I successfully picked up a club girl. Although I had recently moved to Guangzhou, I was going to Shenzhen often, and we had fun together when I was in town. Not like I was tied down to anyone else. The relative distance prevented us from growing too close, and fun was all it was. Even that didn’t last long.

After crazed inebriated night in Shenzhen, I slept at her place and discussed my plans to vacation soon. Free time was approaching and I decided on a quick trip to somewhere Southeast Asia. With so many countries to choose from we narrowed it down; she had never been to Thailand before, and we searched prices together on Air Asia and suddenly tickets were booked.

I’ve written before about the challenges in traveling with a girl, but this thing was dead before it even began. When we later met at the Guangzhou airport, she didn’t even want to talk to me. She hadn’t kept in touch much in the intervening time, and I couldn’t believe how cold she was. It was hard to read. Was she mad at me? Did I do something wrong? She probably just had other guys by then. We weren’t serious or anything. No real relationship whatsoever. Perhaps she regretted committing to this trip with me. In all fairness, it was extremely stupid to make travel plans with a fuckbuddy I barely knew. I just get way ahead of myself at times, what can I say.

Or, I don’t know, like maybe she expected me to be a rich foreigner and take her to five-star hotels and pay for everything, have that sort of glamorous travel. I specifically told her that I want to have a backpacking-style travel experience at youth hostels and I don’t have infinite money. We discussed it at length, really. I mean, we were never boyfriend and girlfriend. I paid for a lot, taxi rides and a few meals, but I didn’t pay for everything. What exactly was expected of me?

I didn’t handle it well. The first night we went to Bangkok, I booked a guestroom and went to sleep and we didn’t touch each other. The next day there was a bad energy in the air; we went sight-seeing and forcibly took pictures (never together) and traveled by boat, temples and malls and so on. Eventually, she preferred to hang out with frat boy types from the youth hostel. They went to see the infamous sex shows and all that.

“Let’s go our separate ways,” I said. “No hard feelings.”

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Backpacking with a library

I said it before and I shall say it again, the hardest part of moving is having too many books. My rate of buying new books is exceeding my rate of getting rid of old books (the latter something I don’t like to do but must at times…)

Know what else is hard? Backpacking across the globe and picking up endless amounts of books. It is not easy on the shoulders. But, I mean, I’m in an English-speaking country and there are used bookstores and I can use Amazon in America at my friends place and I need all this stuff.

Here is what I speak of:

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Not going to be easy to transport on my LAX to HKG flight tomorrow…

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Dating in China – GZ edition: Kendra

Dating in China continues, with my crazy Guangzhou Year.

It was a struggle at first to make friends when I moved to the suburban Panyu District. Wasn’t much of a foreigner scene in my neighborhood; I wasn’t lucky enough to immediately be introduced to cool neighbors like when I first moved to Shenzhen. I often used Guangzhoustuff.com, our local social networking portal, and knew a lot of bars and various interesting places to go. I am open to making Chinese friends, by the way, but I must be honest and admit I usually hang out with Chinese people who speak fluent English and are in the expat scene. For the Nth time, that’s why my Mandarin is passable yet not that fluent-good.

One of the first people I met wasn’t through Gzstuff.com at all, but through Pof.com. Wouldn’t you know? As far as the big free dating websites go, Okcupid seems to be more for relationships and Pof (stands for plenty of fish) seems to be more for *ahem* simply getting laid.

It’s all about the scarcity. In my experience, Okcupid has too much detail. When you fill out all those questionnaires, and endlessly list your favorite music and favorite movies and favorite books, it’s more about friendship than forging attraction. Too much in common is great, but somehow doesn’t usually work when it comes to animal attraction. Honestly I’ve become platonic friends with girls I met on Okcupid more than once, and that’s fine even if not the point.

On the other hand, the brevity of Pof makes for projection and fantasy, which are key qualities in attraction. Just tell barely enough about yourself to get people interested in more. That’s the trick. Guess I could say I had more than a bit of ‘success’ in my Pof escapades…

Anyway, I met Kendra. I met some Chinese girls too in those early days. Later I will go on and on about more people I met throughout the year. Allow me to focus on Kendra for now.

She was from Florida. She was quite curvy. She had energy. She was in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend back home, and she was in an open relationship with him (and I did not feel guilty at all in this instance). She was wild. She was the first girl I was with since I broke up with Zoey. We celebrated my birthday and got very drunk and stayed in hotels and lots of stimulating conversation.

She was ambitious with her own writing goals, and I don’t think she’s written much anything of merit lately. She was a feminist. Outspoken. Spunk. She was a sensualist. She reinforced my negative prejudices on Florida. She was crazy.

 

First date

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Dating in China – My Guangzhou Year

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In early 2011 I broke up with Zoey and I was depressed and I thought I should start Dating in China yet again. It didn’t go well. A full year with one person, despite the trying and failing at improprieties, and I was a tad out of practice.

A very significant chapter of my life had ended, and I knew it would take a lot of work to reach the next chapter of my life. I realized I needed a new start.

What did I really have in Shenzhen? Frankly, a bunch of shallow friendships and little job security. I liked my apartment and my general setup but I wasn’t tied down. If I wasn’t tied down, shouldn’t I take advantage and go somewhere new?

Many expats simply live out of their suitcases, but not me. The heaviest things I own are my books. I sell them, I give them away, but I always get new ones and I’m left with a big stack. That and my clothes and various knickknacks and toys, and it’s not as easy for to move to, say, Shanghai or Seoul or Bangkok as it is for that other kind of expat.

I made the decision to move to Guangzhou — also known as Canton — that third major city of China (a distant third, but third nonetheless). Why did I choose GZ? Several reasons. I liked the city. I planned to do more research of Guangdong Province for my writing projects. I even wanted to study Cantonese. Most of all, I wanted to get a van to pack up all my stuff and move somewhere only a few hours away because it’s easier.

I went there on a research trip and looked around and found a stable thing going, and I committed. Next there was the hassle of putting all my things in boxes, had a going-away bar-hopping party night with friends at the local lesbian bar, and 500 yuan later I moved. My Guangzhou year had begun.

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Chinglish – 在 美国

No this one isn’t really Chinglish 在美国, it’s just that I’m posting it 在美国 and I have to come up with some name to distinguish… I guess I should simply start numbering em.

 

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We’ve all done it, leaving while swashing

 

523798_10150737476668411_585549943_nWolf’s urine on menu, that’s what the characters literally say. Just don’t drink if you’re female

 

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These great poems, love Chinese parks. Enjoy everobyd to protect!

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Toyshelf

Continuing with my geek out – see first post about casual gaming – I’d like to share my humble toy collection.

After a recent move, it was very important for me to get a new bookshelf to organize my toys. Not that I play with them, I’m a grownup, it’s just my version of decorations. To each their own, right?

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Where to start: Classic nime characters, nostalgic transforming robots of our youth, cute stuffed-iness… I only wish I had more. One day I shall complete my collection, one day.

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Casual Gamer

Like many kids of my generation, I grew up with Nintendo. Sega was a competitor for a while there, but I was always a loyal fan of Mario. Then real life happened and I didn’t have much time for video games anymore. Meanwhile, hardcore gamers became more and more intense over the last decade(s), with mega time-consuming complex gaming reaching a levels every year. And I have since become a cranky old man lamenting that games aren’t what they used to be.

More power to the modern gamers; I am very much a geek in my own ways and they can do what they want. There are various criticisms which can be lobbed at the gaming subculture, but I don’t intend to get into that here. I just want to share what games I like.

Few years ago I got my NDS, and quite enjoyed it. I require a lot of entertainment and stimulation, so when I’m bored on the bus or waiting in line at the airport I will take my paperbacks and audiobooks and text everybody as well as play video games. I likened the NDS to having a Super Nintendo in my pocket, but even better because I can start and stop anytime I want to. Play for ten minutes, save, go do something else, then play again for five minutes to several hours. Worked very well for a casual gamer like me.

Dare I admit that the NDS was very hackable and I live in a land where people pirate everything? I downloaded the whole catalog, sorry, but then when I was over it I simply had to get the 3DS and get the new games. Which meant I had to buy the real ones, American editions, during my frequent trips to Hong Kong.

My current collection:

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Chinglish – American edition

This isn’t really an American edition, but I have to give these new titles every time and I happen to be posting these Chinglish pics from China while being geographically in America so that’s what it’s called.

In this weekend’s round, more on the topic of urination.


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The Surveillance State at work

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Too sloppily dressing, no entry for you!

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