Thursday, November 27, 2008

Chinese Opera

Chinese Opera

Chinese Opera



Face Changer

Happy Thanksgiving from Wenzhou China

Happy Thanksgiving from Wenzhou China

Nov 20, 2008 Japanese Restaurant Menu in Wenzhou China

Thursday is my day off from school. So after I checked email and did various chores, we headed into town. There was a Japanese restaurant we wanted to try out in the European section of downtown Wenzhou. The food at the restaurant was very good! They offered fried rice as we know it in the US that has brown rice and perhaps a whatever we want to add, such as ham or chicken along with some small vegetables. Apparently, fried rice is Japanese because we have only seen white rice in China and Hong Kong! The food was very good and we plan to go back. They did not cook at our table as we often see in Japanese hibachi restaurants.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First Papa John's Pizza in Wenzhou China

First Papa Johns Pizza in Wenzhou China



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday, November 19th Korean Dinner

One of my translators on Wednesdays is Justina. She is from China and actually is from the countryside of Wenzhou.

After class this late afternoon, we began talking about dinner. She explained that in the business center there are several good restaurants and shops. Unfortunately, we are very limited to KFC, Houcaller because they have pictures on their menus. Another restaurant on the third floor has the actual food in beautiful displays so that you can point to what you want. The electronic pocket translator helps with this as well when ordering.

Justina offered to go with us to dinner and point out what the various businesses had to offer. I was VERY grateful and thought this would be extremely helpful. There were several fast food Chinese restaurants. She explained that some establishments emphasized Chinese milk tea, that the students and the Chinese people in general love this beverage.

One was a Korean restaurant that much to our surprise they have pictures on their menu! YEAH! We decided to go there.

I know that Korean food can be very spicy in comparison to western food. So I was careful to ask while she was with us that we liked it a little spicy.

We were served hot tea in small green pottery that was great. The weather here has gotten a little colder, it was about 56 degrees F today and the wind was blowing.

The first dish came and it was a crock pot filled with brown rice, assorted fresh vegetables and a fried egg on top. The dish looked wonderful and smelled like sizzling rice! The waitress placed the crocks on the table, poured a red sauce over the food and immediately began blending and chopping up the food with a large spoon.

I was concerned that it would be too spicy, but it was not, the taste just had a little bit of a spicy flavor.

Next came the spicy pork and cabbage. Then, pan fried tofu known as Dofou in China. I have not been able to find pan-fried tofu anywhere.

Everything was delicious!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday, November 18th Houcaller

Another American professor teaches on Tuesday afternoon next door to my class. She is from San Francisco and teaches onground for University of Phoenix at several sites in the bay area. I invited her to dinner at a western style restaurant called Houcaller.

I had a great steak dinner that included mushroom soup, sirlion steak, noodles with some tomato sauce and an egg all served on a sizzling hot cast iron skillet plate. This reminded of how fajitas are often served in the US in a Mexican restaurant. The "complete" meal includes a glass of hot green tea and one trip to the salad bar which I got all fruit with my trip! My new friend enjoyed a seafood pasta meal, which she mentioned was delicious!

Her name is Fariba and this is her third teaching assignment in China. She mentioned that the air and the water were much clearer and cleaning than other parts of China that she has been in. She is very well traveled and has been to Bejing.

When she leaves here in two weeks, she is going to Shanghai, then Hanoi to visit some friends prior to returning home to San Fran! Thanks for the great information and it has been nice meeting you Fariba!

Monday, November 17, Class Presentations Begin

Back in class this week and next week, the students are giving group presentations over various assigned chapters in the book. I tried to place students in groups, but they wanted to stay with their friends which are usually their room mates as well. The dorm rooms here house 4 per room with each group sharing the bathroom facilities. So most students live together, go to the same classes and spend most of their free leisure time together as well.

The groups mainly are composed of all males or all females. One group had four males and four females, they presented in pairs of one boy and one girl. This was very unusual and the interpreter pointed this out to me as well.

The student presentations were the same as in the west. Some students were ready and anxious to get it over with. Other groups wanted more time and did not have their power point slides (PPT) or their hand-out to me ready. Some PPTs were excellent with lots of graphics and sound effects along with current events based on the topics from the textbook chapters that they were to cover.

One group had a chapter of slides that had been accidentally deleted, so they did not want to present today but rather asked to present tomorrow in class. I was told by the group leader in her best English that the "dinosaur" that lives in the computer had "eaten" that part of their PPT! I guess this is the Chinese version of the "dog ate my homework" OR "there is a virus in my computer".... perhaps.

There were some very creative PPTs. I told each class that they needed to introduce each member of their group, so one group put their pictures on a slide with their English name under their pictures. They started some upbeat fast paced music, while they each walked under the screen and pointed to their name as they said their name as well! Very nice introduction.

Another group played a short, quick video of a famous cartoon pertaining to monkeys in a tree. Then, the monkeys began discussing something. Next , we see the monkeys holding each others tails as they hang from the tree to grab the reflection in the moon. When the monkey holding on at the bottom actually does catch the moon's reflection there is great laughter that goes up in the room! I was told by the translator that this is a children's story throughout Asia and the monkeys do NOT catch their reflection, so this is a different twist of this story in this cartoon. The group effectively used this illustration to demonstrate that in organizational behavior what happens with good team building and appropriate team work. It was an excellent example!

Here is the story of the Monkeys and the Moon

"The Monkeys and the Moon - Tibetan Tale In long-past times there lived a band of monkeys in a forest. As they rambled about they saw the reflection of the moon in a well, and the leader of the band said: "O friends, the moon has fallen into the well. The world is now without a moon. Ought not we to draw it out?"The monkeys said, "Good; we will draw it out."So they began to hold counsel as to how they were to draw it out. Some of them said, "Do not you know? The monkeys must form a chain, and so draw the moon out."So they formed a chain, the first monkey hanging on to the branch of a tree, and the second to the first monkey's tail, and a third one in its turn to the tail of the second one. When in this way they were all hanging on to one another, the branch began to bend a good deal. The water became troubled, the reaction of the moon disappeared, the branch broke, and all the monkeys fell into the well and were disagreeably damaged.

A deity uttered this verse: "When the foolish have a foolish leader they all go to ruin like the monkeys which wanted to draw the moon up from the well.""

Sunday, November 16 Big Buddha

There are actually three areas known as Hong Kong. We were staying on the island of Lantau where Disneyland is located and the largest bronze Buddha in the world. So we were told that we had to go out and visit "The Big Buddha".

A taxi was called and we were off after being told that it would be about a 45 minute drive. However, we were stopped still for about an hour in what we thought was construction. Our driver explained in his best English that there were people stopping the traffic, but not to worry that the police were aware of the situation and they were on their way to remove the people.

Once traffic began again, we could see on the side of the cars "Protest for the reduction of Bus #38: Slow Drive Protest"!! I have never encountered a "Slow Drive Protest". Have you?

Apparently, the protestors had to register with the local authorities and had received the signs for the vehicles that were involved in this protest.

After about 1 1/2 hours, we arrived at the Big Buddha. I believe that studying other cultures and their religions to be very fascinating. I think it is very interesting to note that all cultures have some type of belief in God within their society at some level. The belief that we have a creator or force that is greater than ourself is a common link that cultures often share.

I was under the impression that most of the Chinese native people were Buddhist. However, since being here I have been told that the government has declared atheism as the national religion, but recognizes that there are Buddhists, Muslims and Christians living here.

We climbed the steps to see the Buddha and there were signs to be silent. This is also a site for a Buddhist monastery.

We returned to the hotel to collect our bags and set off on our return trip after our holiday in Hong Kong!

Small World Clock Disneyland Hong Kong

Small World Clock Disneyland Hong Kong

plays every 15 minutes!

Sunday, November 16 Character Breakfast

On Sunday, we went downstairs to the character breakfast with Goofy & Pluto dressed like chefs and Minnie, Micky and Daisy! Each character came around to our table and we had a great time seeing each one.

Saturday, November 15 Hong Kong Tour

We began our day taking the subway and then, walking to the downtown Hong Kong Hard Rock Cafe. Upon arriving, we did not have a great deal of time, but enough to grab a few shirts/hats in the gift shop and ordering a great American burger! I can always depend on Hard Rock to provide an awesome burger for about $8 - 10 US.

After leaving Hard Rock, we went to the Sheraton Hotel to take a tour of Hong Kong. It was great! We started by driving up to Victoria's Peak, then to a fishing village with a ride on a real sampam or "junk" boat as they are called. Next, we went to the famous Stanley market.

We found out that Hong Kong's official languages are Cantonese Chinese and English. China's official language is Mandarin Chinese.

At 8:00 p.m., each night in the overlooking downtown Hong Kong harbor there is a tradition of a laser show flashing on and over the buildings lighting of the skyline in a most brillant display of lights.

The day ending with dinner on the largest floating restaurant named Jumbo.

Downstairs you could see a massive amount of fresh, live seafood that would be prepared for many upcoming meals along with a brief museum display of the history of the restaurant and some pictures of famous guests, such as Yul Brenner, Elizabeth Taylor, William Holden, the last Bristish Governor of Hong Kong and Queen Elizabeth.

Before riding the junk boat back across the bay to take a taxi back to the metro subway station (called the MTR), we got our pictures sitting in the Emperor's Chair along with Joe from the restaurant.

A great day was had with a whirlwind tour of Hong Kong!

Friday, November 14 Disneyland Fireworks!!

We spent another great day at Disneyland. One of our friends from Orlando, Florida who is an "Imagineer" (engineers with imaginations as Disney calls them), was here in Hong Kong this week. He was discussing that there are 10 rides here and more to come as with any business when the money allows. I asked him about The Haunted Mansion ride and if there were any cultural issues to why it was not at this park. The answer reflected that there will probably be one to come in the future and yes there is a cultural aspect, which would translate into a darker, more sinister Haunted Mansion than in the United States.

As I always note to my business students, when a business goes to another country or region, the cultural aspects of that area must be taken into consideration. The Disneyland and Disney World in the United States has special night tickets just for Halloween, Christmas and Princess/Pirates nights in February/March. These parks have held these events for several years.

This was the first year that Hong Kong Disneyland had added special ticketed events specifically for Halloween. This trick or treat night is not native to China, but the two nights the park offered this event it was a huge success! What a surprise for a culture that does not traditionally celebrate Halloween, but for there to be a crowd at the park for the two nights it was offered is amazing! I thought this was very interesting from a cultural and marketing perspective. However, I have been told that at Disney, patrons are expecting a slice of America so that Halloween would be expected to be celebrated there.

The park was also decorated in Christmas and some special Christmas ticketed nights are being considered, especially since the Halloween nights did so very well!

We loved all of the rides. But I think the overall favorite was Space Mountain. Here, the ride holds 6 passengers with 3 rows of two, which is different from the parks in the states that look like a rocket and only 3 people can sit one behind the other on the ride. Once the ride begins, both the ones in the US and in Hong Kong are very similar.

Here is a interactive map of Disneyland Hong Kong.

At 3:30 p.m., each day there is a spectacular parade.

We often hear and see little fireworks a couple of times each week. The Chinese culture has fireworks before the wedding ceremony, unlike American weddings where the "fireworks" begin after we say "I do"! (Ok... a little joke, I couldn't help myself!)

Fireworks are also seen for very special occasions. So the day ended with an awesome fireworks show over Sleeping Beauty's castle, but I was expecting nothing less from a fireworks display in China!

Thursday, November 13 Room Service?

Believe it or not, breakfast was over except for room service. So we had to order room service with Mickey Mouse waffles and pancakes of course!

Then, we were off to a fun filled day at the "House of Mouse " also known as DisneyLand in Hong Kong. The rides were great! The people were nice. We were told that there was little shade in the park and it was hot that day, so we purchased umbrellas for the children. This was the first thing we did prior to entering the park.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Evening, November 13 Hello there! Goofy the Disney character would say: "Well....hello there!"

After a hot, fun filled day at Disneyland, we went back to the room and took showers/changed into clean clothes. I stopped at the elevator (or as the British/Hong Kong label noted, the Lift) and listened to the band playing for a few minutes.

Then, I proceeded on downstairs to the Garden restaurant for a Character dinner. The food was fabulous and it was a gourmet style buffet!

The characters were Goofy, Pluto, Minnie and of course, Mickey!

The entire restaurant got a good laugh, when Goofy attempted to "kiss" Carter! Carter began running around the restaurant with Goofy hiding, then chasing him. All was in hilarious fun!

We took numerous pictures and videos with the characters. I enjoyed dancing with Goofy and Mickey Mouse.

I asked someone who was walking around with Minnie if we could get a picture with Minnie AND Mickey together. I thought this would be great!

She replied by explaining to me that they were not to be photographed together and this was in their contract. They are suppose to walk around separately and go from table to table. BUT she realized that this was a special time for me and my family to be at Hong Kong Disneyland. So if we were willing to wait, she would work it out. I said OK.

After about 15 minutes, she and another worker came over to our table and escorted us to another dining room next to the kitchen door behind a wall. Suddenly, Mickey and Minnie came out of the Kitchen and we ended the evening with pictures of the most famous mice in all the world!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wednesday, November 12 Off to Hong Kong!

Well...I'm off to teach class and then, we are flying to Hong Kong to stay there for four days! On to another grand adventure.

After teaching classes, Tom arrived at my classroom door to say that he had called a Taxi and it was waiting downstairs with my family.

We took the "scenic" tour to the airport! Our taxi driver did not speak any English. He took us through very little towns and even through a congested construction site where only small vehicles could cross, so we had to wait until the traffic cleared. We still made the flight though, thank goodness!

When we arrived at our destination it was absolutely gorgeous, I expected nothing less from Disney. We stayed on property at The Disney Resort Hotel in Hong Kong. We were excited but we were exhausted. Everyone really enjoyed sleeping in a western bed where there are box springs and a soft mattress. I have been very surprised though that the board that I have been sleeping on has not had any negative effects on my back and neck! It is nice to see a different country with different cultures than the west.

Monday, November 10 Art Show & Superbee Pizza!

On Monday afternoon, we were invited to an Art Exhibit at the Howard Johnson's in downtown Wenzhou by Wendy, one of my classroom translators. She has a car and picked us to take us there. It was awesome! Thanks Wendy this was THE best sculptor exhibit I have ever attended.

Later that evening, I had another let's get on the bus and go downtown moment! So we had seen a Steak House that we thought was a similar to our Japanese Steak Houses. So we took Bus 38 to downtown Wenzhou, got off where we saw the restaurant.

We went in and it was gorgeous! After taking a quick look at the menu and realizing that it would be about $50 a person, we decided to leave and return another day.

We walked down the street and as destiny or fate would have it, we saw a SuperBee Pizza restaurant calling our names. We went in and were seated immediately. Here, customer service is awesome! The restaurants are very clean and the staff are all wearing the same neat, freshly pressed uniforms of that company. You are happily greeted at the door with smiles and friendly welcomes!

Here, we sat down and the only other person in the restaurant was Chuck, an American from believe it or not...Atlanta, Georgia! We began talking and he came over to eat with us. He then took us to a European market where we were able to find milk and cheese! We have searched every where for cheese, this is not something that is part of the food culture here.

So we have met a new, great friend! Thanks Chuck for showing us the western side of Wenzhou!

Saturday, November 8 Tom's Apartment

Saturday morning was filled with excitement! We had been looking forward all week to going over to Tom's place for lunch.

Julie accompanied us and was very helpful in finding the right bus, which was Bus 38 to Bus 40 into Wenzhou. We went to the end of the line and got off the bus. After a quick phone call, Tom came walking up and said hello. He told us his mother was very excited to meet us.

When we arrived at Tom's building, we walked up to the six floor. The apartment was immaculate and just beautiful! The view over the city was awesome!

We met two of Tom's relatives who were there. One was dressed in a very nice business suit with a beautiful, gold round lapel pin that appeared to be from the government. We learned that he was a business man in sales for his company and would have to leave after lunch to go to work.

His mother is a manager of student housing here at Wenzhou University. She does not speak English, but Tom translated for her. She has a beautiful smile!

Tom's mother had been cooking for quite some time and had prepared a beautiful meal for us. One dish here that is of great honor to serve to your guests are crabs. They showed us how to peel a whole shrimp and to eat the little crabs. Everything was delicious!

We felt VERY welcomed!

After lunch, everyone played various games including different card and video games. Tom can really shuffle a deck of cards. About 2:oo p.m., Tom began asking what we wanted for dinner. I said that we were leaving and quickly found out that was NOT the plan. Tom said that his mother wanted to know what to cook.

So we said whatever she wants to do is fine with us. We walked downstairs and around the corner to the most fresh market you can imagine. Live birds and fish of all kinds along with a variety of vegetables were plentiful. She picked out some live shrimp and various meats with more fresh vegatables.

We went back to the apartment and had another delicious meal! Another great day. Thanks to Tom and Tom's Mom!

Thursday, November 6 McDonald's Attack!

The Americans could not wait any longer! WE had a junk food attack. So it was dinner time and told everyone how about let's go to town and find a McDonald's to get a hamburger and some greasy french fries. We have been eating the most wonderful real Chinese food that is healthy and not fried with lots of vegetables and fruit.

BUT it was time to help increase my cholesterol count! Unfortunately, once I mentioned it to the family and especially the children no one said: "NO mother! That is junk food and we cannot go!" No one said: "But that is an hour ride on Bus 38 to downtown Wenzhou and we do not know exactly where McDonald's is and by the time we are finished the bus will no longer be running back to campus and we will have to take a taxi!"

No instead the uproar was MOST encouraging! Who knew..right?

Well, we went downtown and YES we were following the smell of potatoes frying, that plus seeing the McDonald's sign as we rode around on the bus on previous adventures helped us to find our way!

With the help of pointing at the pictures, the restaurants usually have a picture menu for the foreigners who do not speak Chinese, and the use of our electronic translator I am here to report, can get a Quarter Pounder with cheese hold the lettuce and special orders still do not upset them at a Chinese McDonald's. The menu included some of the most familiar items that we are use to seeing. We even ordered some to bring back for later enjoyment.

Everyone had a great time and wants to know when they can help contribute again to my cholesterol count!

November 3 - 7

This was another great week, the weather cooled off a little and we had almost daily light rain showers. Here the umbrella is used a lot! The umbrella here is similar to our sunglasses. The foreign instructors including myself are the only people I have seen wearing sunglasses. So the umbrella is very important and is used when it is raining as well as when the sun is shining.

I am teaching organizational behavior and I was trying to make a point about in business the business must sell what people want, need or desire. If the business does not meet the consumers needs, then the product will not sell and the business will not make a profit. So I picked up my umbrella and said: "Do you NEED an umbrella when it rains?" The translator conveyed my message. Everyone said yes and agreed with a nod from their head. Then, I asked: "Do you NEED an umbrella when the sun is shining?" I am thinking class will say no!

After the translation was given, the class answered YES! I then realized that here was a cultural difference with this product that was not going to help me with my illustration. lol

So I had to change my illustration to another product. The umbrella is so important that I have a few female students whose English names are Umbrella.

On Monday, November 3 in the evening. We met a music student named Julie and she quickly became a great friend. She has been very kind and helpful. She plays a Chinese instrument pronounced "Pea-Pa". She invited us to wonderful piano concert.

I was looking forward to doing some exploring around the town on my day off, which is Thursday. We went right off campus to a restaurant called La Defense and had a wonderful lunch! Madison ordered a bananna split for dessert. Here, the food is prepared fresh and it looks like a gourmet meal with the way each dish is presented.

Saturday, November 1 Jiangxin Island/Park

Tom came by the apartment about 9:30 a.m. to take the 38 bus to downtown Wenzhou. After getting off the bus and walking for several blocks, we purchased our tickets for a short ferry ride over to Jiangxin Island.

This island is in the middle of the river off the coast of Wenzhou. There are a lot of outdoor activities there, also a 500 year old well and a 1000-year old Buddhist Temple.

Friday, October 31

Happy Halloween! The children were very excited because it was halloween. I told that there would be no trick or treating in China. Before we left Georgia, the neighbors were all very nice and allowed the children to dress up and come to their house to receive their usual, annual candy calls. Thanks Mary, Sandy and Jennifer! That was VERY much appreciated!

The children thought there might be something going on here, the supermarket in the Business Center had a few scary, ghosts masks, mardi gras feathered masks and some plastic pumpkins that the kids like to use to put their candy in. There was a sign out front that was in all Chinese EXCEPT for the word Halloween was on the poster a few times. So the children thought that maybe there might be something going on there. We went back down on that Friday night to check it out, but alas no tricks and no treats were going on!

At the end of teaching on that Friday, one student gave me a beautiful lace, see through red pouch, like a money bag filled with assorted candy. In her best English, she told me that this was for my children for their Halloween trick or treating. She had worked hard and used her phone that had an English translator to tell me this. She learned the English words to tell me to give this to the children and Happy Halloween!

When I came back to the apartment, they were just thrilled to see the candy!

October 27 - 31

This was my first week of teaching and it was very hot! It was great exercise for me to walk from our apartment in the Faculty Expert Building. We are living on the fourth floor and my walk is about a mile and then, my class is in Building 1 on the fourth floor. There are no elevators, so it is a great workout each day. I do love the marble step though, those are beautiful!

I met several translators as well as students and enjoyed meeting everyone. The people are very friendly and want to help. Most people here do not speak English, but when they see us trying to do something they will come over and begin to attempt to communicate. We have noticed that in general they do not use one finger to point as most of us do, but rather point with the entire hand and all fingers together trying to show the way.

My children noticed that spitting in public in not uncommon. That if someone needs to, they will spit on the sidewalk and we have seen a few on the bus. I have seen a couple of the male students in my class spit on the floor in the halls and in the back of the class. This is part of the culture and is not unusual.

I learned many names this week, all English names. As I have been told, their Chinese given names are too difficult for us foreigners to pronounce. I was welcomed by the staff as well as the students this week. We also met several other instructors here in this building that have all been very helpful.

Monday - Friday, October 26 - 31

This was a week of getting settled into my teaching schedule.

Monday 8 - 10 a.m.
Tuesday 8 - 12, 1:30 - 3:20 p.m.
Wednesday 10 - 12, 1: 30 - 5:10 p.m.
Thursday off
Friday 8 - 12, 1:20 - 3:20 p.m.

I also learned that I could not correctly pronounce the student's Chinese names, so I begin to call out their English names on the roster when taking the roll. Some of the names include Judy, Tom, Rebekah and Sam. Other names include CP3O, Pass, Yum-Yum, KFC, Sidewalk and Umbrella!

Saturday, October 25 Famous WuMa Street

Tom came by the apartment about 9:00 a.m. and we showed us where to get on Bus 38 to go downtown. We went to the famous WuMa street in downtown Wenzhou. WuMa means five (5) horses street.

It reminded me of downtown New York as a busy inner city with lots of things going on. People buying and selling in the stores along with people on the street trying to sell their products.

There was also a 1000 year old Buddhist Temple in downtown Wenzhou.