Feiyue Shoes

Today I decided it was finally time to cash out my deteriorating shoes and upgrade to a new pair. I’d heard of the brand Feiyue and a small store which has them is just a 5 minute walk from my place so I headed on over after work. I’d known that Feiyue was a locally produced Shanghai shoe and no reason not to represent the home town with some styling shoes.

I got curious about the history of them and checked it out as soon as I could hop online. These shoes were first produced in Shanghai in the 1920’s and have been going store ever since. In 1963 they set became the best-selling shoes in Shanghai. Ever since they have been gaining more and more popularity. Apparently they are renowned with kung fu monks and soccer players throughout China. They are known for their good quality , low prices , and are comfortable to wear while being active.

Kung Fu clubs outside of China started to import the shoes for their members and the international world started to take notice. Depending on the sources looked at a French company either bought licensing rights for distribution outside of China or they started to distributed unlicensed version of the shoe to international markets.

Looking at the French website they were asking prices of 50 ($62) Euro for a pair. I just bought mine for 98 rmb ( 12 Euro) or $15 USD for my American friends. While this may seem like a great deal I read online that 10 years ago a pair was running from 20-30 rmb . The Chinese distributors took notice of how much cash the shoes were fetching out of China and decided to play up the prices a bit. Oh well , I still think they are cool.

I’ve seen stores stocking Feiyue (which in Chinese means flying forward) throughout Shanghai but only know the address of the one near my house , if anyone is looking for a pair of cool shoes or custom fixed gear bike equipment head on over to  62 JianGuo Xi Lu !

Kids Wonderland and Space Upgrade

Well , I finally did it. WordPress space upgrade 10 more gigabytes of room ! More photos for you! Woo hoo!

The first new batch of photos comes to everyone from our kindergartens June field trip out to Minhang plaza shopping mall and the Kid’s Wonderland inside.

Imagine a tripped-out psychedlic world of colors , light up slides , ball pits , and insanity. It was a hell of a good time for all the kiddies and I quite enjoyed myself too. I must say it was no D-Z discovery zone from my youth but still pretty awesome. (Anyone back stateside remember that place?!?) I was a little too big this time to fit into some of the tubes and crawlspaces but I did my best to provide entertainment by twirling the kids around in a sort of spinning contraption with seats. I did almost make 2 of them puke though. Sorry about that! You should have seen the looks on their faces. Hahahaha!

My heart melted a little bit that day as one of the students who was waiting to board the bus , saw me , reached out her hand and beckoned for me , and then said ( in Chinese) David sit with me on the bus today! We proceeded to spend the rest of the day together.

Here are some flics. Try not to get sick from cuteness overload. Days like this I wonder is this really my job?!?

 

Rainy Season Again?! Already?!?

Well it’s late June again and with that comes Shanghai’s rainy season once again. The plum rains kicked off with a nice 12 hour downpour on the 18th and we have been getting little bits of rain everyday since then. Of course the 4 day work week is relatively un-rainy with the main blasts expected to start on our free Friday , a heavy downpour with thunderstorms all day Saturday continuing on to Sunday. Monday will see a clouds , with the rains picking up again on Tuesday and Wednesday. The next two to three weeks will continue on like this.

Hard to believe it was already a year ago my family picked the start of the rainy season to arrive for their first visit to China. It was quite fun wandering around Suzhou’s gardens trying to balance a camera underneath the umbrellas. Last summer I had two whole months off and traveled with my family throughout China (Shanghai , Suzhou , Hangzhou , Xian , Beijing) before heading off alone to Yunnan province and then finally dipping down into Laos. This summer will see myself working the whole time with no break until a Taiwan stop-off in October. While my mind might not quite be as satisfied my bank account will certainly be much happier. For next summer I think I hear India calling my name.

Along with the plum rains it means it’s time for the dragon boat festival. While the forecast doesn’t look too good for catching the boat races on the Suzhou river , I’m still gonna try.

Last year’s post had me explaining some of the history behind the dragon boat festival and this year with my new apartment I’ve caught something I didn’t encounter last year.  People are hanging leaves from the Acorus and Artemisia plants outside of their doors in the hallways. On the way to work this morning I saw many older people carrying bunches of these leaves back home and heading up the 5 floors to my new apartment I saw about half of the apartments were hanging these branches. Apparently they have anti-toxin functions and also work to keep insects out. Sounds pretty good to me.  I told my girlfriend to keep an eye out for them. Couldn’t hurt!

I Don’t Dread Getting Bills Anymore!

I think I was getting ripped off big time at my last apartment. Are there rogue electricians who instill energy guzzling chips into the electricity meter who then proceed to split the profits with the electricity company? Do Triad gas company workers secretly advance the meters? What the hell can possibly explain the discrepancies between my previous pad’s utilities and the current ones?

An average electricity bill would hit us for around 400 rmb at the old place so then that was split 2 ways. When the third guy was sleeping on the couch and using the heating unit during the day all day everyday the electricity bill jumped up to 900 rmb.  Now I pull out the bill and its a cool 50 rmb.

My total bills now are :

Electricity- 50 rmb   (USD  7.93)

Gas – 40 rmb ( USD 6.34)

Water – 20 rmb  (USD 3.17)

Total Utilities  just over one pink Mao Zedong

as compared to

Electricity Average  400 rmb   Peak 900 rmb  (USD 63.49 and 142.85)

Water Average 80 rmb                Peak 200 rmb   (USD 12.69 and 31.74)

Gas Average 100 rmb (this went up a lot after the companies switched) One time peak of 450 rmb       (USD 15.87 and 71.42)

Guy on the couch (not my friend and not at my invitation) didn’t want to pay his share. I remember why roommates don’t workout for me.

Western Actors Please Don’t Try to Speak Chinese!

With China’s economic rise and growing importance in the global markets comes more mention and notice in Western pop culture. Where in the 80’s  the C.C.C.P (more commonly known as the U.S.S.R) would be the enemy or the hero’s would find themselves speaking Russian now the Chinese are commonly taking those roles.

The update of the 80’s Red Dawn sees Chinese soldiers instead of Russians invading the U.S and more and more movies see some of the heroes busting out some Mandarin to impress the crowd.

They should stop trying to speak it. Their Chinese is awful.

I’ll go on with two examples.

First , the cult sci-fi classic Firefly. This t.v series envisions a futuristic wild style setting in space. The two dominate superpowers , The U.S and China , led the way to space and we see a mix of these cultures. The main characters use chopsticks , drink tea , and swear in Chinese! However, native speakers of Chinese can’t understand the heavily accented , toneless , non-sense coming out of the actors mouths. With my Chinese friends we had to replay over and over again to finally get what the characters were saying. Some sentences we never did figure out what was happening. Since it’s entirely Western characters in the series , I’ll let it go that the Mandarin evolved into a more Englishized version. This couldn’t be the case with example number 2 though.

2011’s Limitless is a great film about a new designer drug that allows the brain to fire at 100% capacity. Every synapse is going full blast and allows anyone who takes it to master piano in 3 days , learn any foreign language by merely listening to little bits over the course of a week , and make a complete killing in the stock markets. The main character busted out some pretty authentic sounding Italian around the middle of the movie but when it came to the last scene Chinese language completely won out over the drug . The lead character busts out some “Chinese” . I guess you could call it that. Kinda sounds like a funky mix of Cantonese /Mandarin and the waiter understands fully and responds. In real life this would not have gone down . It sounds nothing like authentic , native speech at all.

Mandarin/Cantonese +1    NZT -0

There are some other examples I’ve heard while watching other movies but they aren’t popping into my head right now. (Though I watched Iron Man with some Russians and they said the main bad guy’s Russian was horrible haha)

Time to bust out that Rosetta Stone , Hollywood!

Crackdowns

What is up with commies and their crackdowns? China loves to ignore the enforcement of various laws almost year round except for brief spurts of frantic ticket giving , fining , and confiscations.

Usually these crackdowns have no effects on me considering they are usually directed at various brothels , motorbikes with illegal plates , unregistered dogs , street vendors , etc. Ignore the people driving around on improper license plates , taking 2 weeks to confiscate and fine the riders , and then over the 2 weeks completely ignoring the problem again.

However , the new big thing going around now is directed against foreigners.  Now they are cracking down against the “three bigs”.

1. Illegal Entry ( More aimed at Southeastern Asians sneaking in looking for work and North Koreans escaping hell.)

2. Overstaying Visas

3. Illegal Employment.

I have nothing to worry about since I fall into none of those categories but it means dealing with carrying around a copy of passport and visa at all times. Dealing with potential spot checks near popular foreigner hot spot hangouts , maybe a knock on my door looking at residence registration , and an overall atmosphere of paranoia and checking over your shoulder for the man. The mix of Shanghai’s summer humidity and oppressive paranoia wouldn’t make a pretty mix.

Last week the authorities (around 50 cops) showed up to Yongkang Lu and a bar called The Apartment . Both super hot spot for foreigners (and near my house) to check for papers. They have a passport/visa number checker machine and if the indicator light turns green you are good to go if red it’s trouble.

Two recent events most likely influenced this crackdown. That of a Russian cellist (formerly) working for the Beijing Symphonic Orchestra and his verbal abuse of a fellow Chinese train rider and that of a drunken British tourist trying to sexually assault a Chinese girl and then Chinese guys beating the hell out of the Brit.

Screw both of these assholes. These things are horrible enough to do in your own countries and when they are done in foreign countries it does much to ruin international respectability and is a great loss of face. The Chinese government knows its populace is maddened at the events and they turn this anger outward towards the foreigners wanting to turn the attention away from themselves and how badly they can treat their own population. This attention also is turned outward on everyone. Not just the Russians or the British it becomes an against them (foreigners). You know , us 1.3 billion people versus them 5.7 billion people.

I wish “the man” would be man enough and own up to the cause of this being these two events instead of side stepping the issues , claiming the crackdown is completely unrelated , all while bringing up the calls to kick out the foreign trash.

Okay enough , please don’t block or re-block, or crack down on roomaomao just trying to teach the little kids and enjoy a brew.