Sunday, January 08, 2006

Cardboard Boxes
There are still piles of them on our new balconey following this weekend's move. But C did all the heavy lifting, or hired strapping young bucks for ridiculously low wages to do the rest.
"Just stay in Hong Kong until I call you. I know how you are about moving," she said. Sweet words, lemme tell you.
As for the new digs, it's not as bad as I'd feared, though there were some possibly-unique-to-Shenzhen twists in the relocation.
Transportation is one. There are precious few taxis or buses servicing wherever it is we are now but the forces of capitalism and illegal commerce have quickly filled the vacuum. Idling and parked outside one entrance are fleets of small, spiffy privately owned cars chauffered by fellows eager to undercut the legal taxi trade. They're also cleaner, cheaper and -- so far -- have shown that they'll also make change without a squawling heebeejeebie fit, wait outside your destination for a return trip if you're not going to be in there long, and are available by appointment.
No 2 is home entertaiment. It's cable ready -- real cable, as in HBO, Cinemax, ESPN, CNN, BBC as well as Chinese fare. But a twist. There's always one, right? We were in the cable office where initially the best entertainment was live. A young woman and her apparent beau were literally screaming at the hapless cable staff in a very unChinese manner.
"She's angry because they want her to pay an extra 7 yuan for something," C whispered as I watched in awe as the disgruntled female subscriber uttered a loud profanity and heaved a vinyl and metal chair one-handed against a wall where it rattled and fell.
Seven yuan is about 85 cents. Man. I would've paid twice that to watch the whole show unfold, but we caught the tail end which ended with everyone in the office -- save me -- pretending that nothing ever happened. That was after the rabid woman had relented and thrown 7 yuan across the room and then sat down and sighed loudly.
Me? I sighed loudly when our turn came and C told me the cable staff needed to photocopy my passport.
"What for?"
"Because we are subscribing to western news. BBC and CNN," she said. "Chinese citizens cannot have western TV news in their homes in China. Only foreigners. And foreigners who live with Chinese citizens, I guess."
"Tell them that what CNN offers isn't really 'news' as most real journalists understand the concept," I replied. "And that the BBC wastes too much time on 90 minute documentaries on elderly pensioners in Waddage-on-Fullbottom who collect 1950s-era soup can labels and footage of men in silly shorts and jerseys plastered with corporate logos mincing, prancing and kicking balls around for scores like 0-0."
No dice.
"So...what? You have to leave the room whenever I watch BBC?" I asked. Nonetheless, I handed over the passport, which was studied and passed around to at least four different cable employees before disappering briefly to be reproduced multiple times with copies presumably going to whatever Shenzhen security bureau monitors illicit western news cable TV subscribers. "Anybody else want some BBC?" I said loudly, waving the passport around to the uncomprehending onlookers. "Freedom of information! Use my document and learn the truth: 'Real Madrid, Tottenham on course for Cup glory! News at half past!'"
Oh no Justin... you do realize that it's only a matter of time before the Anglo hordes unleash a flurry of vengeful comments for what you have said of their beloved "Foot" ball... I wouldn't want to be you right about now.... Imagine all the grammatically-correct things they're gonna shoot at you. I think you should go back and insert some snarkisms against rugby while you're at it.
I've gained a grudging respect for rugby. No pads, just grime, flesh and muscle. The action is usually faster than "our" football but the vaguely homoerotic scrum thing kinda squigs me out sometimes. It's like a sodomyfest in a sports stadium or something.
Cricket on the other hand ... Don't get me started. That's a real sticky wicket of discussion in our US vs UK-centric sports grudge matches here in HK.
When are u gonna pay the charges?
I've got debts and cable charges no honest man can pay.
Hello justin,
Thanks for the good blog, started reading it last Sat. and finished
on Sun.
I wanted to change my mind
and stay home but the wife ( a green card now) says I have to
go with her to Shenzhen where she has a apt and store, I measured the distance on google earth and it is only four miles from the seaport from Nan Shan district apt, I am hoping maybe she will let me out at night, she didn't a few years ago when I was there for a few weeks visit. I think I deserve some fun, after teaching her how to drive and she passed her driving test here in wis. on her third try, you know how they drive.
I will stop here, Thanks again
Hello, welcome and thanks for reading bugbee.
Well, maybe we'll be new neighbors. Our new digs are in Nanshan as I finally learned after taking the initiative to do the obvious and actually ask: 'Hey, where are we?'
Gimme a holler via email when you arrive and maybe we can both arrange for a guys' night out.
PS C does have a Chinese driving license. Which is like me saying I have a facsimilie of one of Elvis' old driving licenses. It doesn't make me Elvis or prove that I can drive. Nonetheless, I let her "drive" while we were in Boulder, but only on a straightaway highway for about 3 miles. So, yes. I know what you mean.
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