Tag Archives: Beijing

7 Types of Masks to Fend Off the Beijing Smog

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. And when you’re stuck in Beijing, slowly suffocating from the poisonous smog, you compensate by accessorizing with cute masks…right? Check out the collection of cool masks I found while surfing online:

The furry masks:

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The  animal masks for cutesy girls:

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The mask with a cool interior:

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Chinese guy breaks record for tightest parallel parking

With these guys, being called a crazy Asian driver might actually become a good thing.  In Beijing, one man has broken the world record for the tightest parallel parking.  Han Yue, a stuntman, does an incredible drift maneuver in a space that’s only 5.91 inches longer than the Mini Cooper he was driving!  The British car company was pretty creative with this event but I have to admit it kind of makes you want to try it at home.  Probably a bad idea, right?

World superpower builds world’s largest airport

If there’s one country that would build the world’s largest airport, it would naturally be China. The booming country’s central government just launched construction of the world’s largest airport, anticipated to be completed by 2015.

While most of us would think this is another attempt to show  political prowess, the new Beijing Daxing International Airport is being built out of necessity. In a country with just over 1.3 billion people, it’s no surprise that the airport handles around 370,000 passengers per day.

It’s also predicted that China will purchase at least 4,300 new jet aircraft over the next two decades. Does that mean a rise in Hello Kitty planes?

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Foodie’s dilemma: to eat street food, or not to eat street food

I’m traveling to Beijing next week (whoo!) to visit my brother, and I’m SO excited.  For me, traveling is the most fun when I go somewhere so radically different from my day-to-day that it’s slightly uncomfortable.  But here’s my problem — should I eat street food while I’m there?

Last year, the New York Times wrote about how some restaurants in China were using “recycled” cooking oil.  Gross.  But it wasn’t until my brother blogged about one particularly interesting bike ride through Beijing that I realized how disgusting it really was.

One afternoon, riding in front of him was a man on a tricycle with a very peculiar, rusty tank.  And tucked into the side of the tank was a long, greasy ladle.  Curious, my bro followed the guy, who happened to stop by the back of a restaurant.  Then, the guy did something really weird.  He lifted up a concrete slab from the sidewalk, revealing the oily sewage leading out from the restaurant’s kitchen.  And, yes, you guessed it.  Using his ladle, the man skimmed off the oily layer of used cooking oil from the sewage water, and poured it into his tank for “recycling.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I ain’t no frou-frou food snob — I’ve eaten everything from dog stew to BBQ rat to snake soup.  But maybe the risk of getting sick on street food isn’t worth it.  Would you still eat at China’s street vendors or cheap hole-in-the-wall places after seeing these pictures!?

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Director of “Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai” reveals China on bike

Imagine traveling 1,000 miles from Beijing to Shanghai…by bike.  That’s exactly what four American guys decided to do after the Olympics in 2008.  Equipped with cameras, a map, and their bicycles, they were able to capture the true essence of China’s people, culture, and environment, untarnished by the lens of Western media.

Director of the documentary “Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai,” Jason Reid, 32,  treks through China to tell of how his view of China changed, as well as what dog meat tastes like.  The documentary is being submitted to the Shanghai International Film Festival in June.

Why did you pick China to film your documentary?

The China project hashed when a couple of friends suggested that we go on bicycle tour from Bangkok to Beijing for 2008 Olympics.  There is website called Bike China with a bunch of routes and there was a bunch of Chinese guys who would take people on these trips.  That’s where we found Doven Lu (their guide).  He was our lens to see China.

What image did you want to portray to your audience about China?

We had three major goals.  I wanted to see what the growth actually looks like economically, socially, and technologically.  I wanted to see it with fresh eyes as opposed to what Western media would like to dictate.  We just wanted to go there with open mind, with little to no preconceived notion or research, and just let China reveal it to us.

Second was the environmental aspect of it. By going on bike, you are more connected with environment more so than if you are in a car.  It was an interesting dichotomy to see what Beijing is like with blue skies where people are doing things to regulate the environment, versus Shanghai which is an industrial area.

Third was to look at the relationship between China and the U.S.  Our goal was to learn more about the country that is so mysterious over here and that is only seen through lens of Western media. It was also an opportunity for us to break down the preconceived notions people have of China.

How did cycling through China bring a new perspective to how you viewed the country?

It revealed a country much different than what Western media would like to be.  It was open, and people were happy and proud of their country.  People didn’t seem mad and oppressed. They took pride in their country and what China has accomplished in past 10 years.  They were proud of new standing place in world.

On the environmental front, a lot of people think China isn’t doing anything about the problem, but in actuality, China has been extremely focused on that. They realize this model of growth isn’t sustainable and they don’t want unrest.  They have to do something or else they’re going to have unrest of people.

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Kim Jong Il’s favorite things: fake Armani suits

If you were one of the people who got invited to Kim Jong Il’s 69th birthday last Wednesday, you were probably a bit disappointed by his party favors this year. Instead of receiving a Seiko watch, a house, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, or Rolex, you Kim Jong Il got his guests fake Armani and Gucci suits. Kim Jong Il has bought his loyalty in the past by giving his officials luxury gifts. But with the down economy,  he’s cut back this year by buying bulk amounts of counterfeit branded clothes from Beijing’s Silk Street market. I guess even the evil dictator can’t escape the recession.

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Could this designer no-no stain Kim Jong Il’s reign as a fashion leader?

Stripping is not sexy if you’re an old fobby guy

Attention old fobby guys: Can we please try to keep our shirts on?  It might sound like a simple ask, but for many bang ye, or “exposing grandpas,” changing this time-old habit is not as easy as you’d think.  In China, summertime can get god-awfully hot and, unfortunately for onlookers, rolling up one’s shirt (or removing it altogether) is a common way men keep cool.

The LA Times writes:

“From the countryside to sophisticated urban centers such as Beijing, men of all ages, social standing and stomach sizes resort to a public display of skin. . . In the hottest weather, bang ye seem to be everywhere, striding among the tall buildings in Beijing’s business district, playing chess in parks, holding children’s hands at the zoo and negotiating crowded alleyways.”

China has put a lot of effort into trying to “civilize” its fashion offenders, but to no avail.  In 2002, one Beijing newspaper sponsored a campaign against bang ye by printing candid pics of bare-skinned, pot-bellied dudes in an attempt to shame them into keeping their clothes on. Eight years later, it looks like this is still a problem.  In a more recent attempt to curb another fashion no-no, the Shanghai mayor urged residents to please not stroll the streets in pajamas, a popular summer outfit.

But maybe we should just accept these harmless offenders for who they are. I’m all for having good manners, but maybe this is one of those cultural habits that true fobs can’t break, kind of like slurping?

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(Thanks Dunks!)

China’s bus of the future lets cars drive under it

If you can drive in China, you can drive anywhere — imagine LA traffic, only with super aggressive drivers sharing the road with loads and loads of bicycles.  And that’s why this innovative bus of the future is freakin fantastic.  In an effort to ease traffic congestion, the Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment company is developing the “3D Express Coach,” a ginormous (20 feet wide and 15 feet high) bus that has a built-in tunnel, allowing cars and other vehicles to drive under it.  And to make it even cooler, this super bus will be powered by a combination of solar energy and electricity.

The company will start building the first 115 miles of track in Beijing at the end of this year.  Apparently, it will take $73 million and only a year to build this amazing transportation system of the future.

I can’t wait to ride this!  Definitely on my list of things to do the when I visit my bro in Beijing.

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Chinese pigs get inked by Wim Delvoye

I was on YouTube the other day and couldn’t help but notice that one of the “suggested videos” for me was “Tattooed Pigs.” While I’m not sure why I was suggested such a video (maybe my frequent searches for bacon recipes and Hello Kitty tattoos), I couldn’t help but watch it. To my fascination, the video showed contemporary Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye,  tattooing shaved pigs in Beijing, China.

Originally from Belgium, Delvoye is a neo-conceptual artist most known for his unconventional and often shocking creations.  Take for example his “shit machine” named Cloaca, which essentially recreates the digestive process and turns food into well. . . poop.  In addition to creating poop machines, Delvoye has also pursued the art of pig tattooing.  He initially started by tattooing the skin of pigs he obtained from slaughterhouses and later on transitioned to tattooing live pigs.  He reasons that by placing small drawings onto the pigs and letting the animals grow, he essentially increases the pigs’ value both physically and economically.

In order to tattoo a pig, Delvoye says that they “sedate it, shave it and apply Vaseline to its skin.”  Sounds pretty simple huh? Delvoye focuses many of his tattoo designs on Disney characters, but his drawings also include the Louis Vuitton monograms and Baroque art with holy virgins.  It’s not often that we see pigs walking around with Disney princesses tattooed to them.

After establishing a reputation for his work in China, Delvoye moved there to set up a couple of pig farms dedicated to pursuing his passion for pig tattooing. According to Delvoye, the farms consist of “a farm manager, people who care for the pigs, a professional fly swatter, four female tattoo artists, a skinner and a tanner. It’s all very costly.”  However, he certainly makes up for his production costs because his work can go for nearly £106,000 or around $138,569.  His work has appeared in various art exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai.

While pigs, Disney characters, and tattoos don’t typically go together, Delvoye definitely knows how to make a pig look gangster.  Check out the video showing these pigs getting inked!

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Made-in-America products produced by the Chinese

Times are changing and the sands of fortune are definitely shifting in China’s favor. In fact, there is a growing number of Chinese companies setting up shop in the US–last year there were about $5 billion of new direct investments into the US made by the Chinese. That’s up from around $500 million in 2008.

The appeal? Because it’s cheap. Well, at least in some areas (the $2 per hour unskilled labor cost in China is kind of hard to beat!). What attracts Chinese companies to the US is affordable land, reliable electricity, tax credits and the fact that the Chinese government offers to fund up to 30 percent of initial investment costs for companies trying to establish themselves in major markets outside of China.

CNN says:

“And when China finally allows the value of its currency, the yuan, to appreciate — and it’s just a question of when — Americans can expect to see Chinese projects, small today, really take off and have an impact on the U.S. economy.”

And this is only the beginning.

(Thanks, Lu!)

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