Gaobeidian market China

I had to speak to you before leaving, Chinese furniture in general, and in particular Gaobeidian market.

Furnitures were made in Liao Dynasty, excavate...

Furnitures were made in Liao Dynasty, excavated from the underground palace in Tian Kai Ta, in Fangshan District of Beijing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Located southeast of Beijing, between the fourth and fifth ring road and 20 minutes by taxi from the center, Gaobeidian is first an ancient village.
But what interests us here this is the “market”, which is actually a street are grouped decorative lamps, contemporary furniture or traditional junk especially true fake antiques.

It is there that we were a few weeks ago to finalize our purchase Chinese …

This long street (1.5km) is lined with shops (over 300), and most often it is even just large warehouses where entreprosés furniture.

If you have a very clear and precise about what you want, you have donations or artist for drawing a detailed picture of a magazine, you can also make your custom furniture … but be aware that it is still quite complicated to understand what you want exactly, and the end result was still quite unlikely to be true to the image you were made in the start (when it is not the poor quality of the material used!).

Otherwise there is absolutely Gaobeidian to all styles of ancient Chinese Ming dynasty and Qing furniture traditional Chinese, through the most modern bamboo furniture, etc …

Flag of the Great Qīng Empire, 1889

Flag of the Great Qīng Empire, 1889 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our case we went to the most simple: choose Chinese style furniture, or old, or falsely old, and we do deliver.

However do not expect much negotiation. Exit prices divided by 5 or 10 as in Panjiayuan or any market in Beijing. The price we will tell you here is virtually indisputable.

For your information, we purchased three pieces of furniture – which each have 120, 120 and 130 years, hin hin – 2000 kuais (about 200 euros), including delivery. We did not get that 300 kuais reduction … This is not heavy!

Either they took us to the Americans – as my grandfather would say – or I lost the hand, but after consulting with other people, it seems it has become very difficult to properly negotiate Gaobeidian.

The power of the needles in china

English: Basic Acupuncture.

English: Basic Acupuncture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After testing with various remedies such as massage, application of ginger, creams, sprays, finally, last week, I decided to try and fix my muscle pain using acupuncture, one of the most popular techniques in traditional Chinese medicine. Age of the few things that I had already tested in this country, in terms of medical treatment is concerned, and I can certainly confirm that the effects are wonderful. Today, suffering acute pain in the right arm to get up every morning has become mild discomfort, which tends to disappear with each passing day.
As you know, the art of acupuncture involves inserting into the patient a series of needles (I nailed my 8 in each of the two sessions I did) at key points in our body, in order to improve their health and welfare. These points are at half power flows, called meridians, and their stimulation helps it is distributed properly by the body, reducing imbalances that can lead to pain and disease. The needles are inserted for about 30 minutes, during which we can, for example, chat with other patients (at least here in China, three or more “acupunturizados” can share the room with no problem).

There are several types of acupuncture. In my event, the therapist used electroacupuncture, which electrodes are connected to the ends of the needles, while a gadget emitting electrical currents will activate our ailment associated points. However “gore” as it sounds, the procedure does not hurt in the least, except the pricks of principle, that last milliseconds. It’s mostly uncomfortable, especially if you do it for the first time. After removing the needles, the doctor finished with the art of the cups (I put only three), of which we speak here about a year ago.

Old Chinese medical chart on acupuncture meridians

Old Chinese medical chart on acupuncture meridians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from muscle pain and disorders related thereto, acupuncture is also used in patients with digestive problems, respiratory diseases (bronchitis, asthma), rheumatism, headaches, insomnia, and even sexual dysfunctions, such as impotence. It has also proven benefit in the treatment of alcoholism and other addictions, as well as in the treatment of obesity.

There will possibly more than one who is reading this in disbelief, and distrust of the effectiveness of traditional methods in general. Often acupuncture is often seen as a fraud, a fraud in which some scammers prey on the naivety and ignorance of the patient to get the rooms. Opponents benefits attributed to placebo effect and the patient autosuggestion, arguing that the location nailed needles is totally irrelevant. I do not know if they are right or wrong, what is true is that my arm is much better now. No doubt there is much fake out there loose and it is desirable be careful with these things (if done without knowledge can lead to secondary problems), but in my case, I have confidence that I found a doctor who knows his stuff, and do not rule out returning if it were necessary in the future.

China GDP

One of the most important news about China in recent months has been that this country has advanced recently to Japan to become the second largest economy in the world, behind only the U.S. (well, and the EU if we all attached). This compares the gross domestic product of each country (GDP).

English: A world map of countries by gross dom...

English: A world map of countries by gross domestic product (nominal) for the year 2010 according to IMF. Français : Carte du produit intérieur brut des pays de la planète (nominal) pour l’année 2010. Português: Mapa do produto interno bruto nominal dos países para o ano de 2010 segundo o FMI. > US$ 1 000 billions 999 – 200 billions 199 – 10 billions No data (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The truth is that the ad was a little rushed, and has shown great cagaprisa that journalists have to declare China’s great economic rival of the USA. Rushed for to start the year is not over, and these things should be compared by adding the annual GDPs. And because the GDP of the April-June period was indeed higher in China than in Japan, but the January-June GDP was still higher in Japan than in China. That said, many, many rush.

In any case, the fact is that China’s GDP today is pretty impressive, especially if we compare it with that of a few decades ago. When I came to this country, back in 2001, was to be the eighth in the world. A half-decade ahead of three European powers (France, Italy and the UK), shortly after Germany, Japan and now stalks.

Production in China is such that if we see the GDP of each province in China, we can compare without problems of entire countries, some of them in the group of developed …

… and here is where my passion for making maps of China, a passion that I have shown in the past.

He produced a map that identified each Chinese administrative division with a GDP which it resembles. The idea has been taken from a graph similar but made ​​with U.S. states, released the other day at GraphJam. That map used names of countries, I prefer to use their flags. It’s just a game, Do not take this too seriously, but goes beyond representation:

beijing time

Sometimes hard to believe, if you live in Beijing or Shanghai, that 10 or 15 years of life in a Chinese city was very different from today, more like a village, where much of modern life that today are taken for normal nonexistent.

English: Beijing CBD 2008-6-9 Jianwai SOHO, Yi...

English: Beijing CBD 2008-6-9 Jianwai SOHO, Yitai Center, CCTV ‪中文(简体)‬: 北京中央商务区夜景(可见央视新址、建外SOHO等) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I took a few years in Beijing, so it’s hard to imagine the city as it was then. But there are things that provide clues. One, for example, is that most people my age (20 or 30) can not swim.

In Spain, there are many people 40 and older who can not swim, but young, everyone to some extent, we’ve all had a swimming pool and a school workshop to learn. These are things that have to do with the development of a country, right? In most developed countries, people learn to swim for fun, while those in developing roads, only learn those in need. In southern China, where there is more water, more people who can swim, but are those who have lived all their lives the rice fields, rivers from overflowing, or seas.

In China, by the way, who can not swim are called “Hanyazi”, which literally means “upland duck”.

Another fascinating expression just taught me: to say “frac” the Chinese say “fu yan wei”. Yan is translatable as “swallow” wei is “tail” and fu is “costume”. So it’s a “swallowtail suit.” Someone should make a book with expressions how are you, and encourage many people to learn Mandarin.

Next step of my life in shanghai

National emblem of the People's Republic of China

National emblem of the People’s Republic of China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A good lesson and a few lessons and perspectives

I cracked, but I think mostly I just take a good and expensive lesson! At every opportunity, always padlocked his scooter, especially in places where one feels most safe!

Some days I have therefore thought. After all these years here without any security incident (or almost), I may eventually overestimate Chinese security: theft exists and is current. My guardian angel may have disappeared in recent months, or simply good fortune can not last forever: I met my first incident of its kind after 7 years in China between Shanghai and Canton.

Probably that’s what it takes to continue to spice up my life here, and feed the blog I’m having lived a long time in China, as I still live this kind of vicissitude without more damage than it I tell myself that I still have things to do here. Good, provided that there is still much more to good adventures misadventures)

I take the position as the independence that I have acquired through my Masters in particular Chinese. Between my last trip to Xinjiang often far from any laowai-friendly environment and this last event, I am surprised myself of the relative ease with which I passed through these experiences that would be a nightmare for any non-Chinese-speaking and are instead a breeze for me.
The effect laowai-who-runs-the-Chinese opens the door and smiles, and finally makes the experience even more rewarding for Chinese. Really, really, every day I thank this crazy idea that I had 9 years ago to start learning the language! She avoids many pitfalls, and even if it does not protect me from all troubles, she knows me the way to their solution much easier to find and fun to cross.

My scooter, is dead

English: Maicoletta

English: Maicoletta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My scooter is dead, long live my scooter!

Next stop: my favorite scooter dealer, just to see what is feasible.
I begin by explaining my plight. From the time they know me, I fitted all around me overwhelmed! Finally, the depression did not last, when we begin to talk business;)

They do that scooter “not simple, not ugly,” and anyway, what I want is not super standard: I want to pull my lithium battery in my 60 km / h and 50km my autonomy. More than the carcass is the battery (also stolen in the vespa) which will be costly. My heart is torn, it is a little more than the budget that I wanted to fix, but my favorite merchant knows how to negotiate and especially gives me the coup de grace by taking me in his “warehouse” (storage rooms in sub-floor buildings with a somewhat decrepit home …). Because he used his contends that there is more metallic orange, but he remains convinced that one would like to have the heart net. Anyway, the other colors I do not like. We arrive at the first room: no orange. 2nd room: hidden against the wall, my orange scooter waiting for me there quietly, exactly the same!
If this is not a sign of fate that!

Back to the shop, I pretended to hesitate, but my heart is conquered. Recent negotiations, I finally let go and the boss took me to the bank on his scooter to him, withdraw money from the account.
In three days, I could recover the bitumen and the Shanghai gang to yellow flags!

The beautiful story of my Chinese scooter

Return to the home Friday night, I asked the guard if illico I can see the video of the previous night. He knows of course. The guards have already watched: about 4am, 2 scooters are out and the grand entrance! Incredible, but how did he not recognized my scooter known as the white wolf, seeing that it was not me it!
Against by the fact that there has been a 2nd makes me think: it was perhaps not only laid against my scooter laowai. Just bad luck, bad decision at the wrong time?

I leave to spend the night, and go to the police station in the early afternoon on Saturday.

English: The skyline of Shanghai, China.

English: The skyline of Shanghai, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Statement to the police, Chinese, as great!

Arrival at home that I know well for recording annual residency, I suggest that for once, this is not what brings me here, and I am taken to the police office real business (not flicage citizens …). Of course I’m surprised. It is not every day that passes laowai office (quiet way), which is more alone! I can not help thinking of my last ‘extended contact’ with police Shanghainese: another context;)
I quickly explained my case, and am finally guided in an adjoining room. I expected no more no less than the Chinese government dispensary with desks and mismatched chairs in a room completely naked with bars on windows. It is familiar ground!

The agent installs office and beckoned me to sit down. It’s party taking deposition. I had foreseen all my papers were all useful to me: passport of course, but also a work permit. I also prepared the photos on my phone, easy to describe my equipment;)

Increased identification name, address, work, another officer joined us: he wanted to ensure that there was no need for a translator and I can read my testimony. I do not have time to answer the first already told him that I speak well enough, and I reassure them that as long as it is written clearly and simply, I would understand. Same second agent tells me he must finally check my visa, of course I understand. He would like to explain that the protocol requires that foreigners are well stuck in this kind of situation. Not surprised;)

Shanghai Stock Exchange

Shanghai Stock Exchange (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Staff are friendly and courteous professionals visibly. It was very easy to give evidence, while understanding the agent while taking handwritten notes. I saw that he transcribed while alternating questions and answers. Finally the time to read and sign “read and approved”. Not always easy to decipher the handwriting of Mr. Officer, but the point is clear. I stumble on the recognition of the conditions of deposition. They took me to see a sign at the entrance that explains how plaintive should ensure that they understand their testimony, or they can request a translator, then roughly. I do not know if this is standard in large countries, perhaps especially in China, because of the diversity of dialects?
I said I understood, and I in turn sign the document in my best Chinese writing. Then, a little red ink on the thumb applied to each signature to refine everything.

Shanghai Skyline

Shanghai Skyline (Photo credit: Keith Marshall)

I rassoie few minutes for the agent to do the data entry. Can I get a nice summary on printed paper. In case there would be a sequel, I would need.

Actually, I asked one of the officers if there really is a chance to get my scooter. Of course it is difficult, but everything is in the shared database policemen Shanghai. If it is found by a police officer in Shanghai, they will be notified and will warn me.
I leave without much illusion anyway. It has taken an hour I think, or bounce smoothly incredible.

My scooter again

Naturally, I hasten to notify guards supposed to monitor the residence. Expecting to find a little help, I am taken aback by their indifference. The shifty eyes, one says “We had put more locks, your scooter is too bright, it attracts attention.”. The other is laughing, “Well it’s really bad luck, huh … 真倒霉 Zhen daomei” as they say. Admittedly, I finally … And all three are there more to me than trying to ridicule me for help. I leave the house puzzled and hailed a taxi to get to work.

English: Maicoletta

English: Maicoletta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And then I realized my loss even more. Again, I’m walking. Here I am again dependent on taxis and other public transportation (Admittedly I have a bike but when you bump 8km from home does not count). Taxi I have time to rethink this. I am melancholy, sad yes have lost my scooter mascot. A flight is a bit of an assault, rape. I felt robbed, disgusted and revolted after all these guards to smile and inefficient well, are not they in collusion against the laowai and his scooter too shiny?

At the office, I hasten to announce the event. The flight of the famous orange scooter is known to all my colleagues compassion (after all he had been a shooting anyway;]), and the new is rapidly around the office. My Chinese colleague makes me note that the entrance to my residence is video-monitored. Well done, I must inquire me!
And topic of discussion is whether at lunch: sure, it is observed. It is perhaps in our homes that our vehicles are less safe! The guards are necessarily in combination, or so much bad guards. And then, what do I do now? I rebuke another or not? Simply an ugly necessity, to ensure that it never happens again. “Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me”, is not it? But would it not also admit defeat by thieves?

I am still undecided but promise to report the incident the same evening at the police station near my home, more attracted by a new experience in the vain hope of finding the scooter … what do I do now : surprise potty colleagues on Friday night. Now that I’m on foot, at least I can enjoy the happy hour!

shanghai scooter

A driver get his scooter checked. The police i...

A driver get his scooter checked. The police in front is on his way to give him a ticket (has his little ‘ticket book’ i his right hand). The man probably have plates that claims that his scooter is powered by LPG instead of petrol. The police opened the seat to check what fuel system the scooter actually uses (the tank lid is under the seat). If your scooter is powered by LPG you can drive around all of Shanghai, but if you use petrol like this man…you can’t in most cases. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even after more than 7 years in China, I still new adventures. Latest of: my scooter, my scooter so dear dream was stolen from me! Theft that is not without consequence: I take this opportunity to go complain to the first time in a police station.

It happened on the night of Thursday to Friday.
Thursday night, I park my scooter down my building as usual. I block the handlebar and covers the vespa its protective cover black, but for once, I omit the large padlock. With the recent moisture, rust and it no longer works. These days, I still enroulais around the front wheel just to make illusion until my seller gets the room to fix it. But tonight, probably by laziness, I do not do anything. After all, this is my home where I put it for almost 1 year. I should have remembered that it was here that he had been stabbed in the head …

Farewell my scooter

Friday morning, all enlivened by the sun beaming hot, I go out with a bang (in a rush to change!) To ride my horse proud … yes but here I flabbergasted: point steed at the usual place. In a few seconds I realized the horror penetrates me, it happened, my scooter was stolen!

I do a little tour of my home to check, just in case, gentle dreamer that I am, it would not have just been moved by any team move. But it has to do: he has disappeared, evaporated in the streets of Shanghai: S

shanghai traffic moderation

Since yesterday, ABSOLUTELY ALL corner Changning District is criss-crossed by a gang of armed Chinese yellow flags calling us to move from “civilized way”.

SVG map of Shanghai's administrative divisions...

SVG map of Shanghai’s administrative divisions with Changning District highlighted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These are similar to 4 per crossing, one at each corner, sometimes accompanied by one or more police officers on major intersections, for once, seem to take their roles to heart.
What is really amazing is that they are really everywhere. The smallest streets in major intersections like everywhere you find to keep you happily grilling fire or moving cars on the road that made you go so fast.

There is really China to get out such an army of volunteers is more, overnight!

I do not know how long it will last, already two days away, and a real pain to circulate for 2 wheels at once! Note that today they were already less zealous yesterday: sometimes you could even go without noticing;) Nevertheless, it makes trips scooter morning much slower and friendly.
I have noticed this phenomenon in the Changning District so far, nothing to report Jing’An. And other districts how it happens?

This is probably for the sake of road safety, prevents, it does not really help the flow for now … Stay tuned!