In the Knick of Time

With one full day of work (love those rearranged work on saturday for the holiday schedules) and about 48 hours until touchdown in Phnom Penh my timing couldn’t be any better. Check out this screengrab from a Chinese weather site


Notice the characters on the night of the 21st  雨来雪 (rain turning to snow) and on the 22nd 小雪 ( little snow). Considering I’m leaving my house 5 am ish on the 22nd I say the timing couldn’t be better.

The weather will then be turning to this

Not too keen on the thunderstorms but we’ll see how that pans out. I’m not (re) adopting that outdated format you Americans like so much. Sorry readers, figure out Celsius to Farenheit yourselves!

I’m going to Cambodia whooooo hooooo!


NBA Chinese Team Names

I was always a baseball fan although today I barely follow any kind of sport. Being a Cleveland sports fan tends to do that to the soul. It’s been more than 60 years for the Indians and might as well be another 60. The Cavs shoulda gotten it done when they still had Lebron , and the Browns hahaha the Browns. Fun times.

The Chinese ,however, love basketball. They have their own league , the CBA, which is loaded with foreigners playing , and they follow the NBA quite intensely. Every morning on the subway commute to work, when I can actually see the television screens through the wall of people, the news plays and the NBA games are given a quick recap.

Ever since the first time I saw these scores , I’ve had fun trying to read the Chinese equivalents for the teams and figuring out which team it is in English. The names make sense in Chinese and I’m surprised how many I can read and figure it out. Especially surprising that I remember the team names in English since I never payed close attention.

So here we go with a list of the teams’ Chinese names and an English translation . See if you can figure them out!

1. 快船  Fast Boats

2.国王 King

3.湖人 Lake people

4.太阳 Sun

5.勇士Brave Person

6.灰熊 Gray Bear


8.小牛Little Bull

9.火箭Fire Arrow

10.马刺 Horse Thorn

11.爵士Jue shi (transliteration- it’s trying to sound out the word)

12.掘金Dig Gold


14.森林狼 Forest Wolf


16.76人 76 person

17.凯尔特人 Kai er te (transliteration) person

18.尼克斯 Ni ke si (transliteration)

19.篮网 Basket Net

20.猛龙Ferocious Dragon

21.山猫 Mountain Cat

22.老鹰 Eagle

23.热火 Heat Fire

24.魔术 Magic

25.奇才 Genius

26.雄鹿 Male Deer

27.公牛 Bull

28.骑士 Horseman, Knight

29.步行者 Pedestrian

30.活塞 Piston

Alrighty , here are the answers:

1. Clippers














15.Trail Blazers







22.Seahawks  Hawks(Update – Thanks Pat! I prove my ignorance of sports. This is especially bad seeing as how this is now the number 2 google link for Chinese NBA teams haha. I saw 老鹰(Eagle) and the first thing that popped to mind was Seahawks but that would be (American) football. Atlanta Hawks everyone , sorry!









Let it rain , let it rain , let it rain.

Shanghai’s weather so far this winter has seemed to me a much warmer affair than last year. By much warmer I don’t mean blue skies and t-shirts but a couple of degrees centigrade higher. This week the lowest high has been 6C with temperatures supposed to rise up to 10C by the middle of the week..  Last year by this point in time we had a couple of days with snow and it seemed that I was nearly freezing to death in my apartment every night.

Listen you Ohioans, I know you are suffering through snow storms , whiteout, slippery driving , and all that fun stuff but still sometimes I like the snow. Maybe after a week or two yea I’m done with the snow but it has its days. Nothing like being the crazy ones bundled up and going to Holden Arboreteum in the winter during a blizzard or grabbing some hot chocolate after sledding. When it snowed in Shanghai last year , I took the opportunity to walk back home from work (2 hour walk) and detour into Fuxing park to take in the sights and enjoy the falling white matter. With my trip to Cambodia and February looming ahead will this be my first winter completely without snow?

Anyways , It’s been rainy the entirety of this Saturday and I couldn’t be happier. Usually rainy weekend and happy are at odds with each other but not today. Shanghai has been hit with disgusting polluted fog aka smog this week. The (acid) rain is now washing out all the chemicals. Walking around outside today , of course keeping the umbrella very close to myself, felt great. The air was easier to breathe in and the sky was much lighter than previously this week.

Here is a Shanghaiist article about the air condition this week.

Weathering the Zombie Apocalypse

It only took 24 hours for me to devour Max Brooks “World War Z”. This book is set-up to be an oral history of the zombie war that engulfs mankind in modern times. It tells the tale of the zombie infestation through series of interviews from all over the world and it just so happens that the zombie invasion starts from my current country of residence, China. The author does an amazing job exploring the cultural aspects from different countries during the zombie attack. Dealing with China, Brooks describes a situation where doctors are reluctant to go help the “nongmin” farmers, he has the zombie infestation spread from China from the “shetou” people smugglers, who are trying to help some infected pre-reanimated people escape from the government crackdowns, and also deals with issues related to China’s migrant labor force. However, China is only one of many countries examined in the zombie attack.

Being located in China myself and reading this book got me to thinking about how I would deal with the situation. Rolling over , giving up, and dying isn’t an option here. I want to weather out the storm of reanimated corpses, maybe have a little fun in the process, and help to re-populate humanity.

Densely populated areas are a no-no for trying to stay alive. The district I live in , Jing An District , had a population density of 41,994.8/km2 (108,765.9/sq mi) as of 2008. Considering 3 years have passed this number could easily have doubled. (Just kidding there, Shanghai’s growth isn’t quite that crazy but still expect the numbers to have increased). Once someone is infected in this area the spread would be incredible. 42,000 potential new zombies per square kilometer. Around 300,000 in Jing An district alone. 23 million in Shanghai total and with  Add in Shanghai’s efficient subway and bus systems and the spread would be all over the city , fast. Then consider the rail and bus links between Shanghai ,Suzhou, and Hangzhou. Less than one hour by high-speed rail gets us to Suzhou with 8.8 million people and Hangzhou with 10 million people. The two provinces directly bordering Shanghai (Shanghai is its own province) have 80,000,000 (Jiangsu) and 54,000,000 (Zhejiang) people. Basically it would be time to get the hell outta the Eastern seaboard. We will deal with that situation later, the situation if escape from Shanghai were possible.

For now though we will examine survival options within Shanghai’s administrative borders.

Guns are illegal in China and most police officers do not carry them. Therefor we will be arming ourselves with blunt objects , knives, clubs, and any other sort of handcrafted battering device. This could also make things a little difficult.

Now stuck within Shanghai we could have several options:

One would be to flee to the least densely populated area of Shanghai , Chongming Island. If you could make it to Chongming and then blow up the connecting bridge this might be an alright option. Forested parks, relatively low population density , farms , isolation (except for the bridge) from the mainland all work in favor for this location. However , Max Brooks makes it clear that zombies can and will walk across the seafloor. So now we have the 23 million potential zombies from Shanghai walking under the water ( don’t have to breathe!) and coming up on shore on Chongming Island. This could present a major problem.

Hmmmm. Back to the city center. We would need an enclosed fortified area with room for growing plants or raising animals. This is potentially feasible. Many Shanghai apartment complexes are walled and gated and have a little green grassy area inside the complex. If the gates could be completely sealed then possibly survival could happen. The biggest problem would be the amount of people inside. For example my building is 28 stories tall and contains 3 apartments per floor. My apartment has 2 bedrooms and 2 inhabitants but the ones next to ours are split into multiple tiny bedrooms and I would say we have 7 people crammed in one apartment. If we go on the low range and estimate 4 people per apartment that leads  28 floors x 12 people = 336. However there are 4 such of those buildings. 336 x 4 = 1344 people. Oh yea plus 3 smaller 14 story buildings.  12 people per floor x 14 floors x 3 buildings = 504. So 1848 people crammed into the apartment complex. Definitely not enough room for vegetable gardens outside in our limited green space. Indoor plants are a possibility but we would have to have these prepared in advance , grab them during the early days of the mayhem , or somehow make a near suicide sneak mission outside to grab materials. Hmm not the best situation possible. I wouldn’t just barricade myself up in my 28th floor lair either. Maybe the zombies wouldn’t get me but I would eventually slowly succumb to death by starvation. Carrefour (grocery store) is a 3 minute walk ( less than one minute sprint) but man all those zombies out there would rip me to shreds and I would have to contend with all the survivors stripping the shelves bare.

Another option I can think of would be to go to one of the city parks. The parks are walled and gated (closed at night) and might offer a reprieve from the undead. If we could effectively block off the entrances from zombies and not let too many humans inside this could be okay. Century and Gangqing also have lots of trees so firewood for cooking and heating would be available. The problem is too that too many of Shanghai’s 23 million residents would also have similiar park aspirations.

Now onto the subway tunnels and shopping malls. Forget about it. Simple as that. Suicide to do that. With so many subway stations and exits to the outside world it would be very hard to ensure that all entrances to the tunnels and stations would be sealed. Imagine groping through long pitch black tunnels and running into a squad of zombies. Nope not for me. It would also be very easy to get cornered and subsequently devoured. Same as shopping malls , too easy to get trapped and too hard to ensure it’s sealed from the outside.

Basically the greatest hope lies with escaping the cities and going far , far, away. I personally think the idea of the mountainous sparsely populated regions of Tibet , Xinjiang , or northern Yunnan , sounds best. A mountain hide-a-way would form a natural obstacle to the swarm. If this mountain home was additionally fortified by humans than even better.

Some prime locations to survive would might include , the great wall , Datong hanging monasteries , Tibet in the Himalaya mountains , and the TianShan mountain range in Xinjiang. A bit closer to Shanghai Huangshan in Anhui province could be viable as well.

For me the plan would be to grab a nice bicycle and leave Shanghai right away. I would keep on biking west avoiding major population centers. If perhaps I could find a section of the great wall in a mountainous area then I could settle on the wall. They have guard tower sections with walls and a roof to ward off the elements and provide a shelter , veggies and fruits could be grown on top of the wall , and most importantly it could keep the zombies at bay.

All in all I hope this situation never comes to pass but keep yourself entertained with World War Z!

Metro Madness

In a massive densely populated city like Shanghai rush hour can be intense. Whether it be public transit or private car things can be hectic to say the least. We don’t have the subway workers whose jobs are dedicated to shoving people into the already overpacked subway cars that those Tokyo residents may be familiar with but that’s because we don’t need them. Here in Shanghai, the metro riders take care of that work themselves. Shoving , pushing, old ladies grinding their pelvises against me , and other general forms of jackassery can ruin an already morbid mood during the half-awake haze that is the morning commute.

Come soon I plan on having a series of subway survival tricks and tips but that is for another time. Now time to focus on a subway jackassery witnessed today during the (gasp) non-prime time rush hours.

I was sitting down on the bench-style seating near the end by the door. The very last seat next to me was open. We had just stopped at a station and through the doors directly across from my position came a younger girl walking towards the seat. From the other side of the car came a late 30’s early 40’s woman. This woman ran from across the car and bumped the younger girl out-of-the-way a little bit to slide into the seat just as the younger girl was beginning her descent into the seat. As if that wasn’t bad enough the lady was laughing as she did it. A maniacal bitchy kind of laugh directly in the girl’s face. It didn’t even happen to me but I was still pissed.  When a country has 1.3 billion people personal space and some forms of social pleasantries aren’t strong concepts.

Good thing she (probably) couldn’t read English as a quick glance over at my Kindle and the insane text of American Psycho exposed on the screen might have given her second thoughts about trying to sit next to me…..