14 August 2011

China Vacation 2011

Geek Cruise, that is what I need.  Mac-based Geek Cruise, even better.  One of these, that's what I will have as a vacation.  No waiting around while others do their shopping.  Just me and a bunch of geeks.  Maybe there will be lectures about some up-and-coming technologies, or maybe classes on some existing apps.  That may sound boring to the typical person, but then again, hanging around with nothing to do while others shop is boring, too.

I just came back to the U.S. from a 5-city, 5-day bus tour of Shanghai, China and nearby cities.  Each city has its unique culture or history and the tour guides were good, even though my Cantonese is not that good, but I know enough to figure out what they were talking about.  It was actually more interesting to hear the stories related to the places we were heading to.  For example, the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge's story was about Chinese citizens scraping together to finance the bridge and Chinese engineers overcoming technical difficulties to create the bridge.  It was not a beautiful bridge, the tour guide said, but it was the first to be built entirely by Chinese, without foreigner's assistance.  Earlier, the Russian helped built two other bridges that also traversed the Yangtze, but disagreement started between China and Russia and Russia recalled its engineers from the Nanjing project.  We arrived at the a building under the bridge, took the elevator to some viewing platform and took photos of the area, then got "treated" to an art gallery.  The near-extinct art involves painting on the inside of snuff bottles.  Not just bottles, but many kinds of glass objects, like globes and vases.  The work requires serious skill as the painter would have to pain on the inside of the objects, doing things backward or mirror-reversed.  Great stuff, but then we spent an hour or so there as many people in the tour went gaga over the artworks.  The visit to the bridge turned into a shopping spree of artworks.  Likewise, other visits to factories that specialize in products of the region also turned into shopping experience.  Some even appeared to be infomercials!  "Buy this set of silk bed spread and blanket NOW and we will throw in another set for free!  But wait, there's more!!!  We will also include, free of charge, a small handkerchief for you to clean your camera lens or eyeglasses!"  Haggling over the prices of some jade jewelry, persistent salespeople offering pearly necklaces or bracelets, medicine men telling us overweight people we need his herbs to live a healthier life... things I do not need to be involved with while on vacation!  In Cantonese, some tours are called "duckling tour" because the tourists get rushed about like a group of ducklings.  I don't know what these apparently vendor-sponsored tours are called but I think I'd rather be rushed about instead of sitting around waiting for others to shop.

I did have some fun looking for signs with incorrect or bad English to snap.  Here is one:

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back to America the beautiful!
    Glad you are home safe - look forward to more "funny" photos and interesting stories from your "sort-of vacation"!
    My ideal cruise would be with hockey and football players and games showned on every televisions on the ship!
    This week the rains (with thunderstorms) brought cooler temperature. I am sure the heat will be back.
    Perhaps you won't mind back to work after a "not really" vacation - haa haa
    Have a good week,