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I will never get back the last 1 hour and 40 minutes I spent watching The Hangover, so I figured I will relieve my feelings and at the same time write about things that give me joy. ^^;;;

Let the Right One In )

Trainman (Densha Otoko 電車男) )

The Hangover )

Yes, so I am alive! The movies I did recommend are worth spending a little time on, I think, and I am going hunting for the Densha Otoko novel once I have time to go to the library. At some point I will do a post about my trip to China for my cousin's wedding, and have pictures. Here's hoping that will actually be before New Year's, haha. Love to all you darlings! ♥
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Yes, I suck at updates. But here I am, currently in San Diego at [livejournal.com profile] calculusdude16's house. Will be in Claremont/LA area starting Sunday, through Thursday, and leaving Thursday morning-ish to drive up with him to UC Santa Cruz. Gimme a call on my cell if you want to hang out, kay?

Also? Mmm bagels. Tastiness. And my last meal in New Orleans before I left was a catfish po-boy. Yummm.
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And I am back in the United States. To back track from my last post, here's a quick rundown of my last couple days in China. ^_^

-Day of the monster post of DOOM! Right after I got back from the wang ba (net bar) my Mom, lil bro and I went out to wan (play) with her school friends. Basically, we went out to karaoke and ate buffet food and stayed there from about noon til about dinner time, hehe. Listened to Mom and her friends reminisce and rag on each other (her group is basically five women and one guy, and they've known each other variously from childhood living on the same street, middle school and high school).

Also watched lil bro and two of my "aunties'" sons play this kind of gambling thing with dice that's basically like BS with cards. Roll your (5) dice and guess how many total of some number exists in the group, like 10 fives. Each successive guess either has to have a higher count of the same number, or the same count of a higher number. You don't believe someone's claim, then reveal your dice. The boys and my "uncle" and one of my "aunts" were playing with forfeits- cough drops. *sigh* I learned how to play but got bored after a couple rounds. :P

At about 5:45 we got kicked out, so walked to the Saxophone Bar for dinner. Wow food, of Chinese and Western style. Very tasty, and there was a lot of it. I got grilled on my future plans while the boys were (again) playing dice, and the crew thought I expressed myself surprisingly decently in Cantonese, and suggested avenues to explore in jobhunting. Mainly, working in government (local or whatever), or possibly looking into a US or other international company with an office in Guangzhou or Hong Kong, since my day-to-day Cantonese is decent, my Mandarin is decent (and all writing regardless of what you speak is done with Putonghua grammar and phrasing anyway), and my English is native, so that would be an advantage. We'll see if anyone wants me first. :P I'm not terribly ambitious, but if I did get hired by anyone in GZ or HK, my uncle said to think of it as an internship or whatever, work for a year or so and get experience.

China is so competitive now that the theory is if I'm able to do well in China, then I'd certainly be able to do okay in the states, because people who follow all the rules in China? Don't get very far. you need to be flexible and whatnot, and we're (me and lil bro especially) are too used to a society where people "play by the rules" or something, too nice, hehe. so I guess my aunties and uncles want me to get toughened up.

then i wandered over to the dice-gamers to watch world cup. Oh man, Australia v. Japan. The first, oh, 80 minutes of the game were just bleh. It was like, wow they really sucked. That one goal Japan scored was pure dumb luck. We were thinking about leaving the restaurant with fifteen minutes to go but decided to stay. And OMG, three goals in nine minutes from Australia. o.O That was incredible, considering earlier in the game both teams had an awful (it seemed to me) passing/interception rate, and kept getting close to scoring but never kicking the ball with enough force to get it anywhere into the goal, etc etc. Crazy game.

-Okay, day 2 in GZ. Basically an all-day shopping expedition. Kill me now. Mom and I went with one of my aunties back to the street they grew up on, where there's a highly recommended hairdresser. Shampoo and cut and dry, all for only RMB 12. Crazy how in the states it's lots extra to shampoo, forget the hairdryer. :P I've never had my hair take so long to wash in my life, all massage-y and everything. And now I have boy-hair! "Western style" um something, so it's super short in the back like a boy's, and slightly longer in front. I like it. ^_^

we then went to meet up with the other aunties at a wonton noodle shop. Soooo yummy. They were all o.O at my short hair, since right now no one's cutting their hair like that now, long hair is in. And then they decided to make me their dressup doll. Yeah, Claremont folks might know how Wendy was always talking about dressing me up? Yeah, my aunts and cousins actually succeed in doing this to me, and I get carried off in their whirlwind. So a day of shopping. Mom got some stuff too, but a lot of the clothes my aunties directed her to were a bit too expensive or too...young and stylish for her taste. :P But I ended up getting clothes- lots. And also a suit, craziness. For interviews and whatnot. o.O

right before dinner it started raining really hard. And my aunts saw a tang yuan (sweet dumpling) shop, and ran for it, giggling like school girls. Sesame dessert (zhi ma hu) with and without the yuan, so yummy. we ran in, spend ten minutes eating it and ran out for the car one of my aunt's husband was driving to pick us up for dinner. :P My mom's friends are too busy to get together often, so my mom's presence was basically a great opportunity.

- Day 3 in GZ. Hanging with my cousin and my actual aunt before leaving for Shenzhen and crossing the border to Hong Kong. Shandong food of tastiness (it's nice to eat qingqing dandan GZ-style food again after the heavier, saltier, oilier, spicier food we've been eating during our travels through Sichuan and Chongqing) with potstickers, dumplings, tasty veggies and tianji (ahaha frog, the literal translation is chicken of the fields, the way tuna in US parlance is chicken of the sea XD). Bought more shanxia (cranberry) snacks to take home, and then off to the train station.

Going through borders stuffs was pretty standard, and then we were in HK. Stayed the night, eating Taiwan-style food and wandering the local area around the mini-hotel we were staying at. Turns out the tv didn't get any sports, so no football for us. But lil bro and I ended up watching this bizarre US movie called Species. I understood what was going on, but nothing of why. ^^;;

-Up in morning at 4:45 to take the airport bus with all our luggage. Then on the plane- first a four-hour flight at 9am to Narita Tokyo. Stayed in Tokyo for a couple hours reading this week's Newsweek in the airport and going O.o over the news, then on a 9-hour flight to SFO to arrive at 9am, hee. Narita-SFO dinner was surprisingly tasty- beef noodle with tomato sauce and carrots and broccoli, and there was a little box with a slice of salmon (wow, salmon that I could actually eat and was very tasty), edamame, and a slice of pineapple. I ate lil bro's portion of that. :P Ended up watching "The Perfect Man," which in the synopsis sounded horrifying but in execution was actually pretty clever and funny. Hilary Duff's girl friend makes me think of a punked out Gabby from Ghostwriter, hahahaha. The boy draws comics! hahahgeeky. The actual scheme is kinda dopey, and we were hit with the irony sledgehammer with an inclass discussion of tangled webs of deceptions, but overall i liked it. not too many humiliation!squick moments.

arrived in SFO, cleared customs at 9:40, and then I hung around with the luggage til noon since the car could only take half of it. ^^ Back home to crash, and I am now as you see me online. I'll post up pictures at some point soon, we'll see how that goes. :P

Hope everyone's summers are going well, that you are relaxing, or enjoying whatever your doing, whether it's travel, gainful employment, lab *pokes Christine and the Sharonkitty* or whatever. *hugs* My love to all.
rhythmia: (Default)
hey everybody, I am currently in a wang ba (netbar) in Guangzhou, down the street from where my aunt lives (we're staying with her). Also I can't get any LJ notifications at the moment, mainly being that yahoo mail is spazzing out, so I will look at them all once I'm home.

Anyhoo, back from a week of traveling, which I will write updates on once i'm back home, most likely. For a brief itinerary run down:

- Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. yeah, spicy foods, a bit too spicy for me, ehehe. (Esteban, Priya, you two would prolly love it) But the chao shou, a kind of dumpling, is really tasty. Also there's this great restaurant called Dou (as in Tofu) Tang (as in soup) Fan (as in rice) where instead of tea they serve you free doujiang, soymilk. Add your own sugar, yumyum. Lots of various historical/cultural things here to look at.

- Jiuzhaigou valley, it's amazing. The most crazy blue lakes and rivers running through, gorgeously clean air, the visitors' center has a video explaining the science behind why the lakes are blue and the sunken trees don't really decay but get covered in some calcium compound so they look like coral (CaCO3, anybody?), and what kind of fish could possibly live in this kind of water, hehe. Also: tadpoles in the shallows!

- Emeishan (aka Mt. Emei), land of mountains and dinosaurs. There's a kind of sauropod called Omeisaurus Tienfuensis that used to live here (there's an adolescent and a baby's fossil on display here!), and the mountains are special, apparently a couple thousand species each of plants and animals live here, and the museum talks about geology. Now I've seen the Chinese translations of the Ordovician, Cambrian, Triassic, etc. Periods. Shiny. also strange rock, there's a kind where the crystal formations make it look like chrysanthemum flowers blooming in the rock, way neat.

Also hot springs! where i got eaten alive by mosquitos, but there was a neat area called a kang (my beijing friends should remember this- Xi'An, watching Korean soaps on New Year's, wut?) where you lay on the stone surface and it is heated from below. So fried below, sweating out toxins on top, heheh.

Day 2 lil bro and I were kinda sick and stayed in, but that's all right because it was raining, and turns out Mom and Aunt got attacked by wild monkeys, who stole mom's waterbottle right out of her purse, and they got pushed down some steps. er...

- Leshan (le as in happy), a major Buddhist site (we keep going to all these temples and what partly cuz hey, history and culture, and partly cuz my aunt is Buddhist. My mom's family wasn't religious, but my aunt converted after she started working as a manager of a factory/company, she's retired now.) So yeah, there's a giant Buddha in repose, and statues of various bodhisattvas, and the whole mountain (looking at it from the water) looks like a reclining Buddha, though that sort of thing takes some imagination.

- Dazu (da as in big, zu as in foot, like zuqiu, football) Another Buddhist site, we're now in the Chongqing area. Lots of rock carvings of Buddhist imagery- it's amazing. Various grottoes, somewhat exposed to the elements, but a lot of the original bright colors remain. Also, it was done during the Song dynasty, and the architectural design is pretty neat- they took into account drainage and so forth, so there are various form/function things with bowls and pools and channels so water off the mountain doesn't run across the carvings and leave black water marks, but gets channeled artfully elsewhere. Very cool. The food here is also very good, lots of fish. Also apparently the water here is very han (as in cold), so everyone compensates by eating lots of spicy foods and huo guo (hot pot) and I'm basically all "Wah, it's so hot! how can you eat huo guo in this weather?!" but the people here are used to it. Us being Cantonese, we want our food more qingdan (clear and light) and so all along the way Aunt has been yelling at people to add less oil, less salt, *no spicy!* to our food, to varying degrees of success, eheh.

- Chongqing, special economic development zone like Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenzhen. Crazy crazy drivers, crazy crazy up and down roads since like Hong Kong it's built on mountainous land, so all the roads wind and curve and there are no straight paths from point A to point B *anywhere* unless you're on a bridge crossing the river, which by the way is the Changjiang, aka the Yangtze River. Someone riddle me this, why the hell is it called the Yangtze anyway?

Anyhow, here we booked tickets to go by boat down river to Yichang in Hubei, where we would fly back to Guangzhou. Totally got shafted, but the motto here is "develop! Anyway you can!" so the gov't largely turns a blind eye if you get massively overcharged for variously services and goods, since it's all towards economic development.

- On the boat- teeny rooms. You have to pay to get passes on the upper fore and aft decks, but the tiny second level viewing platform is free. Anyhow. ^^;;; We're on the Changjiang, going towards the San Xia, the three gorges. The view is...not bad. Especially around the entrances to each gorge. we also went to the three lesser gorges on a smaller, more comfortable boat, and the view was awesome. I saw wild golden monkeys!

- Off the boat- at the Three Gorges Dam. I've heard a lot of environmental kerfuffle from international sources, so now I've heard stuff from the Chinese side. Still withholding judgment, since any project has it's good sides and down sides. Did you know the dam project idea has been floating around since 1919, when Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan to everyone else) proposed the idea, and over the last 70 years or so there've been various proposals and research before the final proposal passed in 1992(3?)? Also, the main purpose of the dam has been to control flooding, which the river does every year. Electricity generation is a bonus, as it were. Yeah, I've heard on the other side that the flooding renews the land with fertile silt, etc. but also there's the cost to the gov't with having to rebuild every year. The area behind the dam will flood, and the water level will rise all the way back to the source, but the past years have been spent relocating whole towns and various historical and cultural relics to higher ground and compensating people for having to migrate. Since they know where and when water will be rising, this relocation has been steady and controlled.

we actually got the see the dam, and that day was only the second time that some hatch thing was released and a lot of water coming through, I forget for what reason. But it looked pretty damn spectacular. Also we saw the boat locks, heee. I remember learning about that from Reading Rainbow as a kid, hehe. There's the "elevator" for the small boats, while the big boats take three hours to go through a series of five lock to go from the high end to the low end.

-Yichang, where all the tour boats end up. That night was the start of the World Cup- whooo! I saw the opening ceremony, and the first game between Germany and Costa Rica. (what a puzzle, trying to read characters and figure out what transliteration of what country each name is) Germany won, but damn Costa Rica put up a good fight, I thought. I always seem to end up rooting for the team that loses, but I'm an underdog sort of person. :P We basically chilled, since we didn't intend to stay overnight two nights here, and went to the Xinhua bookstore, where I got a couple CDs and got Chinese translations of Alice in Wonderland (which is the book I brought to read this trip ) and Little Women. It's a great way for me to practice my reading in Chinese, with stories and characters I already know so I won't be totally confused by name transliterations. I wasn't brave enough to get the Odyssey or Vanity Fair, heheh. Books have their titles in their original languages, so it was cool guessing Anna Karenina from the Cyrillic (and by the Chinese transliteration/translation beneath) and the Iliad from the Greek. There was some book called the Amazing Adventures of Nils, anyone recognize that one?

-flight back to Guangzhou. There's these crackers called milk digestives- wow they are really yummy. eheheh. ^_^

That's all for now, at lunchtime we're going out with my mom's group of friends out for karaoke, and all y'all beijingers remember crazy times, ne? With the weird buffet food, and "when I got high" eheheheh. Should be interesting, anyhow. Also, before I go home I'm going to get my hair cut even shorter, since my aunt knows a good place and didn't think the earlier stylist did that great a job detail-wise, though she (and my cousin) think my hair looks a lot better shorter than it did when it was long. I'll post pics and get your reactions, ne? XD All the best, next time I'm online I'll be back in the States.

Oh a shoutout! [livejournal.com profile] emryssa, i hope you got my lj reply about Chengdu? How are your travels about China??

all the best, and all my love *hugs*
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Hey everybody,
Just a quick hello, since I don't have time to do a long post a la [livejournal.com profile] commodoremarie at the moment. I'm in Chengdu, which is the capital of Sichuan province in China. Awesome place to visit, but I don't want to live here. Why? The smog is worse than in LA, the blue sky is never really visible.

But I just got back from two days in Jiuzhaigou, which is a national park in the mountains in a 10-hour bus ride north of Chengdu. And it is absolutely *gorgeous*. You'll see what I mean when I post photos once I'm back in the states. But think lakes blue as anything, tropical blue, with tree trunks sunken in water visible down past 6 meters, looking like coral because the water? Is full of calcium (um, carbonate? CaCO3) Science and beauty. Way cool.

eep. the mosquitos are eating me alive. But then again, it's not really a trip to China if that *doesn't* happen. ^^;;; Mom says it's my blood type.

Now I'm off, see you June 15th, or sooner if I get internet again!
rhythmia: (Default)
Okay, in happier news, a further update of SD trip-last Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday was busy, what with taking a long trip to downtown San Diego. *snerk* We walked the couple miles to the post office to drop off E's mail (I'd finished my crocheted scarf while he finished writing, whee! I'm not sure I like how it looks though...) and from there down H street to the trolley station. Had lunch at this...taco place? I forget what it's called. It's based in Tijuana and stretched it's little franchise over the border. Was very yummy. Little tortillas with meat and guacamole and cheese. We had an entertaining conversation over how to tell the difference from Mexican and Chinese restaurants that are 'homestyle', 'real' Mexican and Chinese food from the junk food places. :P According to him, as long as he doesn't try to think of Taco Bell as wannabe Mexican food, just as junk food, he can eat it fine. XD I'm afraid I can't get the same kind of distance with food from, say, Panda Express. *shudders*

Took the trolley down to SD, after seeing, what, five going in the opposite direction in prep for rush hour. It took *forever* to get there, since apparently there was an *earthquake* nearby and everything was running slow. O.O With the jostling of the crowded trolley, we didn't even notice. :P We finally got to SD and hung out at Seaport Village for a grand total of about...oh, twenty minutes before having to head back in time for his sister Gloria's band thing at the roller rink. ^_^;;;;; However, had ice cream (eep! $_$) and looked at entertaining shops, like one with slaaaaashtastic magnets. XD And fun ones, too, though I can't remember any sayings off the top of my head at the moment.

His mum picked us up by the amtrak station, we got back just in time to switch cars and jump into his abuela's with Gloria and Vicki, to head to the roller rink. Now that was fun. I haven't skated with the two-by-two skates in such a long time, it was marvelous. Woot muscle memory. Sad how all the kids were going for the blades, since the old-style skates were free with admission, and you had to pay extra for the cool blades. Whatever. Twas fun, though the music was silly and the pizza was just plain bad. :P E took a while to get back in the skating groove, but we both had a good time. Heh, once I got off the rink, started walking, and the front wheels just came off! I had to get another pair, while the folk at the counter teased me like hell. :P Came back still earlyish and hungry-ish, so at some leftover mole. Yum. Though I did still miss eating vegetables. ^^;;; But the fruit, glorious. ^^

Last day was utterly lazy. Took care of computer stuff so I could fix my comp and the home comp, and got Alice from 'm. Whee! (though, Esteban, if you're reading this, I don't think the install worked quite right, I'll have to try again since when I try to play it it asks me to insert another CD, and doesn't accept the burnt ones and closes again. Meh.) Dinner was at this Mexican place in Old Town, it has a beer of the month. *snerk* Had carnitas with tortillas, and a plate full of veggies to put in them, hehe. Yah, i'm obsessed. Had a fun talk and eat, watching the siblings interact with each other and all. ^^

thursday morning got up early to go to the station, since everyone else had to get to Gloria's school early for her promotion from eighth grade. I really like E's sisters, so I do hope to visit again someday. oh, and E of course. *snerk* Missed the early train, but since that was just a hopeful it was okay. Bit of panic anyhow, but it worked out. I took a nap in the station and knocked over my orange juice though. ^^;;; Ride back was uneventful, amd had lots of munchies. ^_^ So, I go back to Claremont August 20th, or thereabouts....

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