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James Hong

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Shanghai Nightlife

I've been having a great time in Shanghai, but my liver hasn't been.

The party scene here is unreal, and it's more the norm than unusual for me to get home around 6am on a daily basis.. More interesting than the fact that there is a strong party scene here is the fact that it is just as cosmopolitan as NYC and London. I really wasn't expecting that, I'd always had the image of china being a backwater country stuck in my head. Here are some pics and videos of what I've found:

This is Bar Rouge, a fancy expat bar on the rooftop of a building on the Bund. Every now and then they set the bartop on fire and pass out

Here are some pics from a party we went to thrown by French champagne maker Vieux Clicquot.. I'm not sure exactly what the party was for, I think it was just some sort of brand building event, but all I know is that they were uncorking bottles of their top end stuff like there was no tomorrow, and I wasn't complaining!! I actually don't normally like champagne, and maybe it is just the amount i drank speaking, but this stuff was pretty good..

Pics with some geishas they had walking around.. That's my buddy martin from beijing on the left, me in the middle, and patrick (founder of on the right..

Here's a pic of me with some mimes they had walking around..

They also had Wushu artists performing in the crowd.

The clubs in Shanghai are also pretty incredible. First of all, they must have the best air conditioning systems known to man, because even in a crowded room full of hundreds of dancing bodies, it's always comfortable. Lots of clubs like to have gogo dancers, and in the club in this video, the dancers also liked to have random props and would come out and do random performances.. In this one, a bunch of songs they were playing were "revolution" themed, so they came out decked in army pants. For just a normal club, it was all pretty over the top.

Finally, here's a pic for my friend jameson to see. I finally met his friend Alina, who was Miss Universe China 2004 (and in typical asian style, has decided to start acting, and i'm sure a singing career is also in the works,lol) at a small party thrown by Warner Brothers Asia. We met a bunch of famous chinese actors and directors, and some American ones like Ed Norton, who appeared to be just as smashed as I was. (Unfortunately, I was too smashed to think of taking a photo). Also pictured is Martin, myself, Jason, and Patrick.

Friday, June 23, 2006

China's Infrastructure

I had a previous post about how smoggy China was, due to all the economic "progress" they are making. What's good for their GDP isn't so great for the air here.

So I thought I should highlight some of the interesting positive things i've noticed so far.

China gets a lot of flak for being such a controlled society, but that level of control also seems to allow the government to force standardizations that might have a harder time happening naturally in open markets. For instance, all the various forms of transportation here, public AND private (bus, subway, all private taxi companies, etc.) can be paid for by the use of a cardkey. So many implementations of stored value cards in the US have failed, yet the government here does stuff like force everyone to adopt things, so things sometimes get done here that wouldn't get done back home.

Another advantage in building good infrastructure here is that everything is being built pretty much from scratch.. so there are few legacy issues to deal with, and they can be quite thoughtful sometimes. The city planning in shanghai is quite excellent, and has all sprouted within the last 10 years.

Some examples:

The Maglev train: This train is actually powered by magnets, and levitates over the track. Because it is basically floating over the track, there is no friction, making it extremely energy efficient and smooth. This train cruises along at over 250 miles per hour, and is a very, very smooth ride.

Another example is pretty unnoticable, but is pretty important and effective. All the sidewalks and all the subway stations in this town have little elevated tracks everywhere. For the longest time, I thought it was some sort of wierd design thing, just for aesthetics, but then I realized.. it's for blind people to know which way is straight. they don't need walking sticks because they can rely on these pathways.

Finally, Internet connectivity. I'm told Korea is really the place to see this, but the basic issue is that.. in the US, virtually nobody has broadband. What we call broadband, many countries regard as slow. Why is this? Much of our connectivity is logically being built on top of existing infrastructure: the telephone lines and cable tv lines that were put in the ground decades ago. In many other parts of the world, their entire infrastructure for connectivity is brand new, and therefore.. faster. I heard in Korea, people get 25 Mbps lines to their home (that's about 75x faster than the standard rating for a DSL line in the US). It's a marketing trick that companies in the US call their products broadband.

Although the bottleneck on my slingbox is in reality the upload speed of my DSL line at home, I took a video of me watching my slingbox in beijing, just to show that the lines are no slower here.. even when watching my tv from 8,000 miles away! Check out how good it is (and get yourself a slingbox!). (btw, yes i still watch the real world :) )

World Cup fun

One of the cool things about being in beijing during the world cup is that there are so many people from different nations here.. so a ton of bars are open all night long for world cup, and there are always crowds of people out watching and supporting their home countries together.

Here's a video I took of Korea's first game versus Togo.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blue skies!

Finally, after 3 days, i see blue skies here!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

From Fog to Smog

I just flew into Beijing from San Francisco last night, I'm here visiting my sister who has been living here for a long time now..

While we were landing, I looked out the window and noticed there was a pretty heavy fog over the city. Wait.. there's not supposed to be any fog here! and I thought LA smog was bad..

Hopefully they will be able to clean things up before the 2008 olympics!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Cutest. Puppy. Ever.

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