Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'll try most food, but this...

I look for the strangest item on the menu and order it when I am traveling abroad. The other day I had a frog dish.

This evening I was in a small alleyway of stalls in beijing (right behind the modern mall; a little like quincy market in Boston) with lots of food stalls. Many had shish-ka-bobs of various types. Chicken, beef, squid. While you would have difficulty finding them in the US, they aren't too strange.

Then I looked closer at the selection: starfish perch un-geometrically on the skewer, and sea horses proudly there. Then I noticed what looked like cocoons. Sure enough, silk worm cocoons as large as the last knuckle of my thumb. Next to them were beetles of the same size. I didn't take a picture because it felt too much like uncouth gawking nat having purchased and eaten some. But walking back out of this alleyway I found something I had to photograph: scorpion shish-ka-bob.

No, I didn't eat it to assuage my feelings of voyerism. I just clicked and ran.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the menu.jpg

Here is the menu: just point at the squirming fish.
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Dinner choices

The problem with traveling alone is that I can't try enough food. The menu at tonight's restaurant includes duck tongue, fish balls (probably not testicles), and many other strange dishes not available in your local US chinese restaurant. And the acquarium behind me ha writhing eels, flounder, shrimp...

But I can't order enough to try all these things. It is hard to eat "chinese style" (which in my family meant sharing dishes at a restaurant) when eating alone.
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Medical tourism

A few months ago I lost a lens from my glasses and, at $500 for a pair of glasses (between frames and lenses), I've been using my contacts ever since.

I stopped in an optical store to purchase contact lens solution and I find that frames run $25 to $35. Finally, a reasonable price for a couple of pieces of wire. With lenses I'll have my new glasses for $80.

Ok, now I am out of the store and it cost me a bit more, but only because my perscription is just a bit too strong for normal lenses. This isn't jus a line from the chinese salesman; this happens to me for every set of glasses or contacts I get. $115 total, still a good deal.

We'll see on Friday whether I'm really satisfied, but the equipment was the same as every other optician I've ever been to.
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Here comes the sun

I have arrived in Beijing to the first sun of my trip. Shanghai was socked in with fog and rare snow that is paralyzing much of China.

I can't say much about Beijing yet as I am just arriving from the airport. The road are great shape, unlike New York!

Shanghai was great. From the modern buildings, to excellent electronic and physical infrastructure, to shopping and nightlife, Shanghai appears very livable.

Ok, I just hit the first sign of traffic here in Beijing...

At least it is sunny!
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Sunday, January 27, 2008


The streets of Tokyo are more crowded.
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Fireworks in Shanghai

There seem to be fireworks tonight in Shanghai. Anyone know why?
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( I can't post as a comment from blackberry so they are separate posts)

Lots of electric scooters and mopeds in Shanghai
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Ok, so I made the affirmation that there are only subtle differences between the physical cities of Shanghai and Tokyo. "What are they?" you may challenge. I'll list some I see; everyone else add some.

Shanghai's streets are wider

1920 european architecture near the Bund

Beijing 2008 signs occasionally

still more bikes on the street

More imported car brands
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I am traveling! Now in Shanghai.

Hello all!

You may have guessed from my recent posts; I am on the road.

I was in India last week, visiting Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and Delhi. It was my first time in India, in spite of living in Asia for years.

Today it is snowing in Shanghai, a rare event, they tell me. I am taking a break from visiting the city to warm up.

I arrived in Shanghai yesterday. I was last here in 1989, so the city has changed! I find it almost indistinguishable from Tokyo. Sure, I speak and read Japanese so I can figure it out at the first storefront, but the qualitative differences are subtle and someone less familiar may take a few minutes to figure out which country it is were he to suddenly appear in the middle of the city.

I must say I didn't expect such a large development gap between today's India and China. They are so often grouped together as the emerging powerhouses. I only visited the large cities of India, but they have decades of development to catch up to Shanghai. But every Indian with whom I met is working hard to get his country there.

I think my hotel here is now one of my favorite in the world. Beautifully designed room. I have been telling my Italian friends, who are very proud of their country's slick design sense, that they should watch out for designers from China, and this hotel confirms that.

An interesting tidbit: my hotel in Mumbai cost almost 3 times the nicer hotel in Shanghai. A friend in Mumbai who works in a leading hotel put that in perspective. He tells me there are 110,000 hotel rooms in New York City and only 90,000 in all of India. That explains the prices.

I am finding intermittent connectivity problems from shanghai to our site and I want to assure you that we are working on that.

Later this week I will be in Beijing and then next week I visit Tokyo. An interesting and fun trip! but I also miss my kids.

I am writing from my Blackberry, so forgive any typos. I also can't post this in Japanese for the same reason. Other posts I have made while I was walking around are shorter simply because my hands are cold.

See you soon back on yappr,

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-----Original Message-----

Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 06:38:49
To:"Ginevra Dell`Orto" <>,"BJ Greenspan" <>,"Jose Suarez" <>
Subject: lunch.jpg

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not lunch.jpg

Not lunch!
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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Changing retail in India

To get a feel for consumerism, this is Reebok store with US$ 200 shoes.

My friend Rohan says rent for 400 sq ft retail shop is now US$ 3000 / month or $7.5/sqft/month or 90 per year, like Greenwich Ave.

75 percent of customers in Reebok right now look Indian.

Indian wisdom

Here is some wisdom I've seen on the streets of Mumbai:

Children are like wet cement; whatever falls on them makes an impression.

Better to make a slip of the foot than of the tongue.

Which is more profitable this quarter?

Which is more profitable this quarter the store on the left or the right?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Horror movies

This commercial refers to famous horror movies such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" from the 1980s. Bud Light is attractive enough for the guy to ignore the obvious signs of homicidal maniacs!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Beatles - Yesterday

According to biographers, McCartney composed the entire melody of Yesterday in a dream one night in his room at the home of his then girlfriend and her family. Upon waking, he hurried to a piano, turned on a tape recorder, and played the tune to avoid letting it slip into the recesses of his mind.

作家によると、マッカートニーは、ある夜、当時のガールフレンドの自宅の一室で寝ていた時に見た夢の中でYesterdayのメロディーを思いついたとい う。目覚めと共に、彼はピアノへ向かい、テープレコーダーをオンにし、メロディーを忘れる前にピアノをひいて録音したという。

Monday, January 14, 2008

Republican Debate: Abortion - 共和党討論 中絶について

The legal status of abortion has been an important topic for the Republican party. Some oppose it because they believe it is unconstitutional, others oppose it for religious reasons.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Paris Hilton and David Letterman

David Letterman interviews Paris Hilton just after she gets out of jail. It looks like the two of them aren't good friends!


Monday, January 7, 2008

Hillary Clinton and Healthcare

Tomorrow the New Hampshire primaries are taking place, and they have become extremely important to Hillary Clinton. People are already talking about her withdrawal. In this clip she speaks about America's healthcare system.


Billy Joel's New York State of Mind

Billy Joel was born in Hicksville, NY on Long Island. This song is from his 1976 album Turnstiles.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Former Mayor Giuliani and Health Care

Mayor Giuliani did not do very well in the Iowa Caucus on January 3rd, so he will have to do very well in New Hampshire to remain a candidate.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Tom Cruise and Flying

I will think twice if Tom Cruise ever asks me to fly with him!


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Drunk driving in the US

If you are going to visit the US, remember that American police treat drunken driving very seriously. This policewoman is determined to not let this guy back on the road!