Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ling Ling Qi

...Bond, James Bond

Yesterday was the biggest-ever foreign film opening in China. 零零七 Ling Ling Qi –Chinese for 007– has never before been officially released in China and new James Bong Daniel Craig, James Bond Girl French actress Eva Green and producer Martin Campbell flew in especially for the event. “The premiere on Monday is the first one of “Hollywood standard” to ever be held in China”. Western film companies have been trying to break into the China market for years despite widespread pirating of movies and restriction only allowing 20 foreign films to be shown in Chinese cinemas each year and often with censorship.

The funny part is that violent scenes of Casino Royal were cut in the United States and England but it got through without any censorship cuts at all here in China!!!

For the anecdote during a day of shopping in Beijing, both Craig and Campbell were offered to buy pirated DVDs of Casino Royale !!!

And for info here are the 19 films that have been approved for release in Chinese cinemas this year*:

  • The Guardian (惊涛大冒险) by Andrew Davis with Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher (Jan. 13 )
  • Arthur and the Minimoys (亚瑟和迷你王国) by Luc Besson with voices of Madonna, Robert De Niro (Jan. 19)
  • Casino Royale (007: 大战皇家赌场) by Martin Campbell with Daniel Craig, Eva Green (Jan. 30)
  • Flyboys (空战英豪) by Tony Bill with James Franco, Martin Henderson (Feb. 9)
  • Night at the Museum (博物馆奇妙夜) by Shawn Levy with Ben Stiller, Robin Williams (Feb. 16)
  • Déjà Vu (时空线索) by Tony Scott with Denzel Washington, Jim Caviezel (March 9)
  • Spider Man 3 (蜘蛛侠3) by Sam Raimi with Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst (May 4)
  • Shrek 3 (怪物史莱克3) by Chris Miller, Raman Hui with voices of Mike Myers, Eddy Murphy, Cameron Diaz
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (忍者神龟) by Kevin Munroe with voices of Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • Tranformers (变形金刚电影版) by Michael Bay with Shia Labeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
  • Young Hannibal: Behind the Mask (年轻的汉尼拔:面具背后) by Peter Webber with Gaspard Ulliel, Gong Li, Helena Lia Tachovska
  • Meet the Robinsons (拜访罗宾逊一家) by Stephen J Anderson with voices of Angela Bassett, Paul Butcher
  • Eragon (伊拉贡/龙骑士) by Stefan Fangmeier with Edward Speleers, Jeremy Irons
  • Happy Feet (欢乐的大脚) Director: George Miller Voices: Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Nicole Kidman
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (哈利波特与凤凰令) Director: David Yates Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ruppert Grint, Emma Watson
  • Shooter (射手) Director: Antoine Fuqua Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Mara, Michael Pena
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (谍影重重3) by Paul Greengrass with Matt Damon, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez
  • Rush Hour 3 (尖峰时刻3) by Brett Ratner with Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Zhang Jingchu
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (加勒比海盗3) by Gore Verbinski with Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Chow Yun Fat

*Thank goodness for the free flow of DVDs in Beijing!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"How Are You?"...

...or is it "How Old Are You?"

This weekend we were a little lazy so we decided not to put our tourist hats on and instead went to FunDazzle (indoor playground) since we had promised the kids we would take them one day. So while Chloe and Jeremy were doing this:

Fun, Fun, Fun

This little girl came to sit right next to me and watched me for a while. I could see from the corner of my eye that she was mumbling something when she finally got the courage to ask me what she had been silently practicing:
: How are you?
Me: I’m fine, thank you. How are you?
Girl: I’m 6
Me: euh??.... How old are you?
Girl: I’m fine thank you.

"How old are you?" or is it "How are you?"

Well if you think about it, these two questions do sound the same to a foreign ear. So from now on I’m not going to complain anymore about Chinese sounding always the same.

But I have to say that I was really impressed by the effort she made to come up to me and practice her English on me; I wish I could have struck-up somewhat of a conversation with her…

Thursday, January 25, 2007


...at its best

Bicycles don't pollute

Saturday, January 20, 2007

To "Chai"...

...or not to "Chai"

Chāi 拆

If you see this sign on your house/building it’s time to move out because it means up for demolition.
The street south of our apartment complex is full of those painted signs on the side of the buildings… Well Beijing is up for a face lift before the 2008 Olympics (Click here to know how much time is left) and everything must look nice especially around the “official” routes.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Everything is Negociable...

One of my friends here (Hi Jodi!!) mentioned a few months ago that while touring one of the hospital to get some information on medical care provided in Beijing and while inquiring about pregnancy it was mentioned that if she was to sign up for a maternity package she could get a discount.

And this is what I found in a magazine…

I know the date has expired but don’t despair friends who are blessed with good bargaining skillsI’m sure you can get this offer any time.

-Click on the picture to enlarge-
- Click "Back" Button of your Browser to come back to this page-

Monday, January 15, 2007

While the French Work 35 Hours...

...The Chinese Are Working their A?? Off!!!

This is an article I came up in a free English-language magazine called That’s Beijing (i.e the Expat’s Bible!!)

Excerpt from the article:
“I get to my office at nine thirty. I go online and read the news for an hour. Then I work for half an hour. Usually around eleven, I go to the toilet and shit for 30 minutes so that I can read some history books. It’s a squatter toilet - very tiring. When I’m done, I talk to my girlfriend for a while. Then it’s lunchtime. After lunch, I’ll sleep on my desk for an hour. From two to four, I work. Then I read the newspaper. There are different news media, so it’s important to read many different sources. Then I take a break, and eat dinner. I’ll take another nap sometimes after dinner. There is so much to do. I sleep until eight and then from eight to ten-thirty I’ll work again. Then I go home. It’s exhausting”

So I counted and that poor guy, named Yin Kai by the way, is at the office 13 hours a day, no wonder they are beating us !!!

I also counted that he’s effectively working 5 hours a day (30’ in the morning then 2 hours from 2 to 4pm and finally 2.5 hours from 8 to 10:30pm)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bicycles Are Everywhere...

...Even ON The Lake

Bicycles are really the main mode of transportation in China.

This weekend we went to Houhai Lake situated in the north east of the Forbidden City to indulge in yet another local custom: ice skating on the lake or should I say ice skating with a twist. I present you:

the Bicycle skate

the Chair Skate

Urgent Snacking Needed

As always in China, you are never alone

Chloe and Jeremy had fun too

Anyway it was a nice outing day and thankfully the temperature was pleasant too.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

If The Popular Saying Is True...

...I Guess I Am a Man Now

As everyone knows the common saying goes不到长城非好汉的意思就是说 (pronounced Bu Dao Chang Cheng Fei Hao Han De Yi Si Jiu Shi Shuo) which roughly translates to: “Only if you have climbed the Great Wall are you truly a man.”

So it’s one of the coldest days so far in Beijing (-8.5°C/15°F with the wind factor it feels like -15°C/ 5°F) and I’m going to see for the first time the Great Wall of China. My friend mentioned that she was going to the 长城 (Chang Cheng) as it is known here since she had some visitors in town and she asked if I wanted to tag along. Being in Beijing for almost 5 months now and not having seen it yet I jumped on the occasion to go see a section of the wall (the touristy part!!)

I will tell you that there weren’t a lot of people on the wall (the temperature might have been a factor?!!) but anyway you are never alone when you are in China so when I say not a lot of people I mean to Chinese standards of course. Here are a few pictures of the Great Wall, the best I could take with my ski gloves on and /or frozen fingers.

I will tell you a bit more about the famous wall after the next family visit

Great Wall, Here I Come
First You Have To Climb It
So Worth It
It Was REALLY Cold

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Jeremy started school this week and he is really exited to go to “English” as he calls it.

Jeremy with the School Mascot

The school bus ride to and from school might be the highest point of the day…

So Grown Up, So Independent!!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

No Comments

For the ones who cannot read French (?!!) it says:
"Fluent English required" and
it was sent to Jeffrey's work address

Friday, January 5, 2007

We Are Back...

…From Vacation!

It’s been a month now since our last post and we need to get back on that horse and ride write again. So first I hope you had a wonderful holiday and since I’m sure you were all really good, Santa must have been kind with you. New Year has come and gone and the alcohol has been absorbed by your bodies.

On our part we’ve survived the 14 hours flight back (with 14 hours time difference too) and we are almost back to normal. Jeremy still wakes up at 4.30am and want to proceed with his day time activities as normal (i.e plays ball in the apartment for example) and by 6:00am Chloe wants to see if her upstairs girlfriend is ready to play since she’s been up for sooooo long.

So as you can see we are back to normal and we were surprised to find Beijing under a small blanket of white black snow but the temperature are not as bad as everybody warned us about.

Nota Bene
Due to an earthquake in
Taiwan on December 26 that damaged the undersea cable connecting China to the United States, the network has been initially paralyzed and has now disrupted and slowed internet connection. Well that’s a euphemism since the connections are so slow that we are almost regretting the time of dial-up and 56 Kb modem!!!

The congestions were expected to continue for a few days. Sources with China Netcom (CNC) said seven repair ships have been working round-the-clock, but the nature of the undersea terrain and bad weather had combined to slow work. To make matters worse, the extent of the damage to the cables was initially underestimated. And this is my excuse why the posting have been so slow!!