Sunday, May 30

Fresh Chicken just next to Tiananmen

Was teaching in the daytime and then after with Timo to the cloth tailor to make some more shirts. On the way there was a cage with 2 chickens outside a crappy looking restaurant, at least their chicken is fresh here!

The tailor had bought me a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label because I've got her so many new clients! Just as my whiskey was running out :)

Also saw China-Logistics in action on the way. A lot of these 3 wheelers in the street with a lot of stuff. Most of it is recyclable things like cardboard or empty bottles. If they make a quick turn it's down, CRASH and not so easy to lift up...

Saturday, May 29

Oldschool BLCU

Went to Wudaokou to see Addie and passed BLCU on the way. When I came to Beijing last year this building had just began construction and was pretty much just rubble on the ground. Now it's almost ready and will start having new classes after the summer.
The buildings in China grow like mushrooms from the ground, one week there is some old house, next month it's a skyscraper. It's the only place in the world where I've seen such rapid growth but when you can hire 100 workers here for the same money as 5 workers in Finland it's no wonder. Minimum wage for a construction worker is now 900 yuan a month which is about 90 euros but some workers work without contracts and get maybe half of that. There are so many people here that if YOU don't do the job for a lousy salary, someone else will do it...

This building here is where I learned my Chinese for a painful 8 months. Every morning from 8-12. It's build around 20 years ago and the facilities are more or less WHATEVER but it also gives it personality :)

Stuck in the subway

In China they don't have monthly subway/busscards like we have in Finland. Here you go and charge your card when it's out of money. The subway is really cheap, you can go anywhere in the city for 2 yuan which is around 22 cents at the moment. The buss here is only 4 mao which is about 0,04 cents.
Anyway, I had to charge my subway card because it was running low on money and it got stuck in the machine. The reason why it got stuck was because I had put some stickers on it and kinda forgot about that. Had to get a maintenance guys to open the whole machine for me so I could get the card out, took away one sticker but left my "employment declaration".

Hou Hai

A very touristy place and full of people and bars. I don't really know why this place is so famous in Beijing. There is a man made lake in the middle and around it full of bars. The employees really try to get you to come to their bar "friend come looky looky beerbar" but when saying something in chinese they go away when they notice ur not a tourist. In the bars the music is too loud and there are a lot of live singers which sounds more bad than good. There were a lot of chinese tourist groups there last night and it always looks funny when they follow their leader who has a flag and they all wear orange or red hats :) In the evenings they have so many people dancing in front of the entrance, pretty cool.

We went to a rooftop restaurant for dinner in the evening because Yuki's friend came to Beijing from Tokyo for a few days sightseeing. It was a really chill and cozy place and the night was clear. No clouds or anything else, for once you could see the stars in Beijing!

Wednesday, May 26

Cars and China

About 30 000 cars are sold monthly in Beijing. The traffic here is slow, jammed, noisy and messy. Some time ago I met a swedish guy working for the Chinese traffic department. He told me that Beijing actually has capacity for 40% more cars but the problem is that people here can't drive, not according to the rules at least.
Usually we drive straight and then change lane when we want to turn. In Beijing and other parts of China as well drivers constantly change lanes because they want to arrive faster. The mentality here is "ME FIRST ME FIRST! MEMEMEME!!"
When everybody constantly changes lanes traffic gets a lot of bottlenecks , specially when this happens in crossroads and intersections, traffic lights etc.

I'm not really sure how much they teach in the driving school but by looking at this parking lot outside my work I kinda start having doubts :D

Tuesday, May 25

Pets in the street

In Beijing and other cities in China for that matter you can almost find anything. Weird things, cheap things and just awesome things in the street. Today there was a guy selling pets just outside the the supermarket. He had chicken, dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, fish etc etc. Well you can see from the picture...
I just ordered my ticket to Finland!! I will be arriving at Helsinki Airport the 10th of July and head straight for Pellinge the summer cottage! I even tattooed the coordinates of my summer cottage on my hip about 3 years ago...
Great lunch today at Sanlitun! Lunch set is 6,5 euros, a little pricy for China but it was great!

Monday, May 24

The Class

I don't make any preparations for the classes I have. Just go into the classroom and see what I feel like talking about. This weekend I randomly chose Summer Vacation since it's getting hot here! I had the kids to draw their own summer plans and then talk about it afterwards. I also made my own masterpiece on the board for 2 classes :D
It's cool because you can draw with the finger on this kind of digital board. Most of the kids drew beaches and ice cream, the usual stuff. But there were also 2 other who had different plans. One draw a car escaping the police and then shooting them while the other drew dinosaurs chasing him. He gave me a 5 minutes presentation about some weird dinosaurs I've never heard about...
There are some writings on the wall of the class and one of them was about a worm. Some of the kids had written "I think a worm want to go to the forrest" or "I think the worm like to eat vegetables" "I think the worm will like cooking" just brilliant...Gotta love kids creativity.
The whole weekend was 34 degrees and sunshine, was on the roof for an hour sweating like a pig. Got a nice tan this weekend. Was a pretty chillout weekend, no party or late hour beers in Sanlitun. Only a great Chicken Bacon late night snack for 4 euros :)

Thursday, May 20

Project Consulting Manager

I got my working contract this week and they gave me an awesome title. At the moment I am a PROJECT CONSULTING MANAGER for NSN. Sounds very cool and professional. Never been a consult OR manager before and now I am both. I wonder what they will write there when I someday get a promotion...

Out for a dinner

We had a team dinner yesterday at a barbecue restaurant and I probably has a few kilos of meat and liters of beer! It was really a lot of fun!

Chinese people are not really like finnish people when it comes to drinking. Some can only drink a few small glasses of beer and then they fall asleep, others choose not to drink. I would like to see a finnish person who does not want to drink in a restaurant...
Like this guy here, my fellow worker took a longer nap for dessert :)

My boss on the other hand kept drinking buttons up (GANBEI!) with me the whole evening. Came home pretty early but can't say that I felt super at work. BUT! I was one of the first one to arrive at the office, seems like the other co-workers were decided to sleep a little longer after those late cups of beer. Now I have the reputation as "The Drinking King" like they put it at work. I guess this should't come as a surprise since I'm Finnish :P

Tuesday, May 18

Teaching English

I had work on both saturday and sunday teaching kids. The classes varied from 8-22 students all in the age around 4-10. Some classes were easier to teach when the students english level was a little higher.
I started the lesson by asking their names and then having them tell my about their favorite animal or favorite fruit. After that just asking random things about what they did on holidays and what kind of food they like...All went really nice, the assistant there said they loved me and next weekend same session...

Monday, May 17

WoFo Temple

Next to Beijingss Fragrant Mountains there is an old Buddhist Temple called WoFo. Its surrounded by gardens and trees. There are very few "green" places like this in Beijing. Inside the temple there were huge Buddhist statues but it was not allowed to take pictures of them. People in China go to Buddhist tables to give a short prayer and light up a joss stick which burns for a long time and gives a nice smell. (Rökelse/Suitsuke).
In the inner yard of the temple was a huge pool full of golden fish! You could buy a bag of food for them and feed them. You can also buy a fish from here for good luck...Nice business, first buy food for them so they grow fast and then sell them...

Saturday, May 15

Field trip with NSN

Friday was a real chill-day at work because there was no work! It was the Q1 day and also an event for newcomers to introduce themselves. I had my first presentation in Chinese at NSN for the whole department and it went really well!
After the Q1 meeting we went to a really nice Buffet restaurant at Zhong Guan Cun (where I used to live before). They had everything there! Salmon, steaks, chicken, salad, booze, ice cream, cakes etc etc. I picked a few plates full of stuff and when I was done eating I felt like rolling out of the restaurant...

We had a whole buss rented for us and it took us to Beijing's Botanical Gardens where we went strolling around and had a kite flying competition. The one who got the kite highest won. The wind was pretty bad but almost everyone managed to get the kite as far as there was thread.
I don't know when I flew a kite last time...Probably at my summer cottage and the line got screwed up and dad had to fix it for me. Daddy always fixes everything!
The botanical garden was nice, a lot of huge plants and a neatly made garden.

Thursday, May 13

Out for 1

The famous finnish saying "mennään yhelle" always works and you end up with 10 instead. I stayed out at Sanlitun a little too late last night and was pretty tired at work.
We had some awesome food at a Mexican place and a lot of strawberry margaritas...Now the terrace season is open in Beijing! Notice the HORSE seat in the down right corner. This place is called THE SADDLE!

For dessert COLDSTONE which is a really big Ice Cream shop, they have all the tastes you could ever wish for here...Mom, you will love this! Miss you! Dad too :)
Today I had my first meeting in Chinese! It went pretty well and it was understandable but I was just a little tired for. After the first meeting followed another meeting and then I joined an english corner for one of the teams. Next week I will be in charge or organizing another english corner (activity where my co workers get to practice their spoken english).
I told them to choose 3 favorite movies (not chinese movies) and tell the group why they like it. I wonder what they will choose and i also wonder if someone chooses a movie I have not seen.

There are only 8 new foreign movies on cinema every year in China because the government is afraid nobody will watch chinese movies anymore if they let the movie industry be open here. Then there is also the censorship, a lot of movies are banned or then cut here...But you can always buy new DVDs in the street for 50 cent and they work fine. Sometimes the subtitles are really really bad but its not like you need them anyway.

Tuesday, May 11

Good old 5DK

Today morning on my way to work I saw something funny. There are a lot of small newpaper stands here and there in the road. Looks like on of them was packed with too much magazines because it had broken down in the night. It was just in pieces on the ground. The shopkeeper should be lucky it happened in the night!

It's been really nice and warm the last few days. Up in 27 degrees! Ventured up on my roof on the 27th floor to take some sun! Views are really awesome from the roof when it's a clear blue sky.

Beijing is in a valley surrounded by mountains, on clear days like this you can see them...Been a few times climbing them but it's usually really full of people, annoying.

Went back to Wudaokou to eat at Lush and have some beers...The old home! Streets are so full of people selling stuff that it is hard to walk around...or at least very slow. You can find the newest books for 2 euros, shoes for a few euros and what not....

Saturday, May 8

New part time work

I was introduced to a company that teaches kid's english and I am gonna start to have classes there in the weekends. This place is much more organized than the last english training center...By doing this in the weekends I can pay my whole rent and save more money and get to know some new people. They told me I'm gonna have classes with 10-24 students and I've never had anything like that before...Just playing games with bigger groups...Let's see how it goes :P

In China they always hire a lot of people and when you walk around in shopping malls or anywhere you see people standing doing nothing. Today I saw a good example of this, 1 woman cleaning the street and 7 watching her cleaning it. Incredible! This is super efficient use of labour....Then again China has too much labour and there is always someone who will do a job for less money then you...
I read an article in a newspaper that a woman was making 70 euros by standing in the elevator 8 hours every day and also working in a store for another 8 hours and getting 50 euros from that. That's 120 euros a month for 16 hours of work a day...And people are striking in Finland all the time for really small things and always complain. Think about these people who have almost nothing and work their backs off...Finland, your a little spoiled...

Friday, May 7

Summer is here!

Since I came back from Japan it has been abour 25 degrees and sunshine here, finally. Took almost 2 months longer than last year...
I also wonder where all the pollution goes in the summer. The sky it really deep blue and air pretty fresh. Maybe the strong winds or something...If you look at picturs from Beijing a few weeks ago you can only see smog and visibility a few hundred meters...The view from my window this morning was just great!
I got my first working phone today! A brand new Nokia E63 :)

People never really eat breakfast home in China. All my co-workers always have something with them when they come to the office. They turn on the computer and start eating while doing some light morning stuff...Here is one of those Pancake sellers you can see in the morning. Cost's 3 yuan which is about 30 cents in Euro...ei ainakaan hinnalla pilattu!

Wednesday, May 5

Back home in Beijing

Felt good to sleep in my own bed again! As a matter a fact, felt good to sleep! The last 5 days in Japan were just 2-3h each day to maximize time!

First day at work here was really chill because it was YOUTH day in China. By Chinese state law everybody between 18-28 years only have to work for half a day. I had dinner with my team and my boss bought me beer because of the "holiday". After the dinner it was just to go home...I like being young :P
Awesome view outside my office...The Lama temple!

Tuesday, May 4

Bye Bye Japan

I got home from Roppongi about 7 in the morning, wake up at 8:30 and then to Akihabara for the last day! Really like that place, weird stuff everywhere and a lot of Anime stuff.

Saw a guy who looked like the was going hiking in the subway and his shoes were huge and kinda weird...
So much for Japan for a while, loved it there. Next time travel more around than just in Tokyo but this time was the wedding so there wasn't much choice. Getting to the airport took almost 3 hours because the lines weren't really clearly marked and it took some time for the trains to arrive. Luckily I started in good time and even had time to do some shopping at the airport. Got a big box of KitKat WASABI and CHEESECAKE! Lunch today was 2 Japanese riceballs, really good :)

Saw Mount Fuji from the plane, nice view! Still ice on the top, global warming has not reached Japan yet :P

Monday, May 3

Capsule Hotel

Just to experience real Japan (and get away cheap) I took a room at a capsule hotel on my last 2 days stay. It's called capsule hotel because you sleep IN a capsule. The original idea to develop these inexpensive hotels came from the Japanese business culture. In Japan you have very long days and if you manager want to go out and eat with you or drink with you after work you are not allowed to refuse. You also have to pay your bill yourself so it sucks if your not a manager...well that's out of the point but many people commute from far away places because Tokyo central is immensely expensive! Tokyo has 16 million people by daytime and 12 million by night time. That's how many people travel far away to work....

Well, let's imagine Mr. Yamato daily commuting 1,5 hours with train to work. In the evening at 9 a'clock his boss wants Yamato-san to go out for Sake! Yamato is a good employee and does not want to lose face so he kindly accepts evil bosses idea to go out. After 12 in the night Yamato-Sans last train already left and taking a taxi home would cost him 2 days salary. Option two is taking a hotel, rather a cheap one because he doesen't really have time to enjoy a fancy hotel with a 5 hour sleep.
Yamato goes to the nearest capsule hotel and pays a nice 20 euros for a capsule bed and sleeps well!
This is the story of capsule hotels in a nutshell...

And by the way, the bed was really nice!