March 20th, 2011 §
I have joined the not so elite club of Iphone ownership. I put down a deposit on a New Iphone 4 from China Unicom. Why just get an Iphone 4 now.. Well they just came out here in Sept of last year. Then you had to wait because all the effing scalpers bought them, etc.. So, even if I wait for an Iphone 5 I would have wait till something like Sept. again. If not later. My dictionary on my Nokia blows, and lately I’ve been wanting to study more Chinese.. They best way I am thinking is through the Iphone. Pleco offers some killer dictionaries and what not. Should be a rave.. I’ve also been itching to play some Angry Birds.. So that’s pretty much why I don’t want to wait. I also don’t think that they are really going to come out with anything revolutionary. Think about it. They just sold a S ton of Iphone 4s. Why come out with a bad ass phone when everyone is locked in for two years with At&t and Version… Like the 3G to 3Gs was, I think it will just be an upgrade. The next killer one should be the Iphone 6.. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Lets look at the fine print.
I get a Iphone 4 Chinese version. There are some issues with maps, and a few other things but for the most part, I don’t care. If I move away from China I can just jailbreak it and restore it to a different version or fix these issues. So for the most part. It’s an Iphone 4.
The way mobile plans work here is different from the States. In fact I like it much, much better. You still are locked in for 2 years but it’s a tad different.
Alright. I am going for the 16GB one. The first one on the left with an orange 0. So I got to pay 5880 元 or about 859 USD. Now before you get your panties in a bunch listen up. This is a 2 year deal. I pay 5880 they give me 245 back each month for my “service.” The service plan is 286 per month. Leaving me to pay 41 x24 or 984 元. For a total of 6864元 or so. So for 2 years service and an Iphone 4 I pay 1,042USD. That’s right folks. I basically get a free Iphone. No wait, I do get a free Iphone, well providing I stay with them for the two years. If not I basically bought an Iphone 4. So really it doesn’t matter.
At At&t an Iphone 4 will cost 199USD plus service for two years, data (2GB) 29.99USD/Month and talk 59.99USD/Month. 2358.52USD Not including taxes, 911 fee, service fee, etc… Now my plan will be 1,042USD with a 1.1gb plan. If we up it to be as close as we can to 2. We are at a 1.6gb plan and BAM, 1260.48USD. Probably about half of what it cost in the States. And if I want to leave I can. There is no termination fee, although you don’t get your prepaid two years back, so you basically bought a phone. For instance, if you leave half way through, you just bought an Iphone 4 for 500USD. If you stay two years the phone is free. If you bail within the first month, the phone cost you the total amount, 1042USD or whatever plan you opted for.
In a place where there are no subsidised phones it’s not bad. But yes you do lose your ass if you leave early. The phone is unlocked but you can’t use it with another sim. If you do China Unicom locks your account. But you can use it with other sims if you wanted to.
I’m pretty stoked. It will be my first iOS device. Should be cool. If anything it will make me look hip, trendy and in the know.. Everything I always wanted.
I forgot to mention that I asked the dear sweet girl what I needed to bring tomorrow. She replies, money. Haha. I was expecting for them to say bring my passport. But I would rather not have them know that the phone number belongs to a foreigner. I’m secretly hoping that I don’t need to bring it. I probably will just in case. If they ask, I’ll have to give it to them, or rather, maybe I will lie, throw a big hissy fit, blame it on the girl that said just to bring money and then demand compensation like two free phone cases.. That’s what Chinese girl would do… Haha.. Got to get your own here..
February 13th, 2011 §
So here I am sitting at Starbucks again. For whatever reason. I just got back from the eye, or glasses, or whatever you want to call it store. Let me tell you a story.
Two days ago I went shopping at a little place called Taobao. www.taobao.com. It’s basically like Ebay but in China. Let me tell you why it’s so awesome. You can pretty much find anything there, thusly, all the cool weird stuff you can’t find anywhere else you can buy, cheaply. Why is it so cheap, well, I think there is a few reasons. There is so much competition that it drives the prices super low, China makes cheap things, and really cheaply made things, and people here don’t need to make that much money to live here so they don’t charge that much money. Point explained.
So what did I buy, well, multiple items. One hoodie, one pair of glasses, three hats, two stocking hats, 4 scraves, and a windbreaker for about 80USD. Awesome huh? Well, yes awesome. That includes shipping too. Awesome it is.
So what did I do today, well, I went to a meeting at work and listened to the boss man talk about the year ahead and what we have to do. I then ate lunch and drank a bunch of booze. I then came downtown to go to the glasses place.
There are a bunch of these places around. All super cheap, some super expensive. On Taobao, I paid 140RMB or about 20USD for glasses, white framed geek glasses. That’s right. I’ve always wanted some so I finally dropped the hammer on some. I received them today, two days from when I ordered them and decieded to go and get some lenses made for them. The cost for lenses, 13 USD, the cost for the eye check to see what prescription I needed, 3 USD. Total cost for new pair of glasses: 243RMB or about 35-40USD. At I must say that they have cheaper glasses for sure. These were actually real Japanese frames. Or so they say. Whatever the case they’re cheap, and they are awesome. I’m also sporting my bright violet/purple solid colored hoodie too. Really kicking out the vibes so to speak.
December 22nd, 2010 §
I wish I took photos but I was busy trying to keep a bunch of women from annihilating each other.
So the story goes like this.
If you haven’t read my last blog post do so. It was about me yelling at someone, which, I don’t like to do but it sets up this story quite well.
We were in Beijing walking through a clothing market. A famous one. We had gotten done with the main ground level floor and decided to head down to a lower level to scope some more things. The first thing we see at the bottom of the escalator is hand bags. Knock off LV and what not. My friends brother and I stop to take a look. He was in the market for a nice ladies hand bag and I decided to lend a hand. He asked about some LV or something. I don’t remember. She had to “open a secret compartment” under a shelf to get to the stash. She also kept saying that she wasn’t supposed to do this. Yeah right. Either way here is what happened.
I told my friends brother not to act interested. Kind of like, ugh, it’s ok, kind of face. He found one that he liked and asked how much, she said 800 yuan. I have no idea what the going rate for a knock off designer handbag is but I know it’s not over 100 USD. So I then told her Ill give you 80 yuan. 10%. Nice little starting point. At that point my friends wife rolls over to see what we are doing. The vendor starts saying that’s way too low and we have to offer higher. It’s real leather etc. So we went a little more and then I told My friends wife to take over. I left the shop, or rather cubicle and stood outside.
At that point the vendor had blocked my buddies friend into the rear of the shop and proceeded to wave a calculator saying “ok, ok, ok” I assume she had a price on the screen that she wanted him to pay. So the wife grabs one arm of the brother and starts to take him out of the store. The vendor girl grabs the other arm of the brother, still asking him to buy. He’s in between trying to get out of the store. I guess that he didn’t want to buy anything.
The vendor girl still has the other arm of the brother, the wife yells at her, to what I can only assume is to the effect of “let go.” She doesn’t. The wife them swats the arm of the other girl and all hell breaks loose.
The other girls working there start to yell push and a girl fight ensues. I luckily saw the whole thing and got in between them before the hair pulling started. Chinese girls are like fire when you mess with their family. If I had one piece of advice about Chinese girls it’s this: Never, never piss of a Chinese girl pertaining to her family.
So fists are flying through the air, hitting nothing, legs are kicking hitting nothing, a crowd gathers, the cannons are all lined up from some epic war or something.
The wife’s mother comes over and starts to try to land some punches. Myself and dad are in between all the girls. Calculators are being thrown, cussing, and all kinds of things are being said.
Finally we started to move away from the booth and down a hall when someone says something and another calculator is Nolan Ryaned threw the air. And stoked the fire.
All said and done, we finally left the floor and headed upstairs. I was told that this was the first time that anyone had seen anything like this.
Lessons learned: Beijing clothing markets can be very aggressive. They also have an ungodly amount of calculators on hand for calculation and throwing at people. Try not to toy with the vendors. We didn’t. But I can see if you got them down to nothing on a price and then decided that you didn’t want it, well, that would really piss them off. Although it’s fun. I think acting not interesting really pissing them off. Again, lot’s of fun.
Anywho, it’s a cool story. Nothing like making memories for visiting families. Just let a homie leave the store and we don’t have a beef.
December 17th, 2009 §
Well, I finally dived in and bought a watch. Not just any watch, a copy watch. Why, well they’re cheap. What else do you want. I bought a copy of a Bell & Ross BR01-92 Phantom. Retail around 6000$. I got mine for 40$. Nice huh. Now some my say that I bought a copy of a expensive watch to look like I have money. That would be wrong. At this specific store that I go too they can get any, and I mean any, watch. I chose mine because I admire the design. That’s basically all the hype is about expensive watches, right? Some my have very accurate movements, and what not but you can’t actually see a movement. Really I don’t need a watch that counts the decay of atoms to be within a nano second after a million years. I’m fine with having Casio insides with a good design copied from an expensive watch.
Square. I like. Also black on black. Which is mysterious. All the foreigners here buy all the gaudy big, gold ridden, watches anyway.
Swiss made, well, i suppose now it’s Swiss designed Chinese copied..
I have massive arms which makes me big and tough. They allow me to also carry multiple bags from the store into the house at once. Oh. Yeah. I can get away with a bigger watch too.
So as a copy it’s pretty good. The back isn’t engraved exactly the same. It’s also not quite straight. But hey, I didn’t purchase it because it’s a copy of something expensive I bought it because I like it.
December 9th, 2009 §
This blog post really doesn’t have to do with thieves and swindlers. But I really liked the way that sounded. And the fact it reminds myself of Timmy in Colorado. Something he might say after a few canned brewskis when someone was bugging out. “Hey, take it easy out there. Watch out for thieves and swindlers.” Yep that’s Timmy. Bless his little soul. Anyway. To the heart of the matter. I just returned from Hong Kong. This time it was a solo trip. I’m all grown up now and can go to Hong Kong myself. Yah.. The monthly visit. This time however instead of a in and out I took the liberty of walking around a bit. So I took the MTR into the city to go to a market. The Ladies Market to be exact.
I popped up from the subway only to be lost. Well, yes and no. People in HK are smart enough to lock their internet, so I couldn’t google map myself. So I had to find my way, the good old fashion way, I found a bus map. Ha ha. Funny. After a few blocks of walking I found the market. Which, apparently is in the heart of the densest population on the planet. At least that what one website said. It was on the Internet so it must be true. I snapped a photograph. It’s located in an area called Mong Kok. Yeah I know, sounds funny.
It’s pretty long. 3 blocks long. With three isles. For those that can do preschool math thats 9 blocks of awesome, well for the women anyway. The guys clothes were, well, they were not out in force. I did find some things though.
One of the isles. I won’t complain about how people like to walk like they’re 90 and do it three wide, I’ll spare you the rant.
I ended up getting a long sleeve shirt, and two sweaters for around 200, um, I guess you would call it Hong Kong Dollars. Or about 25 USD. Good ol market, how I love thee.
December 6th, 2009 §
So I got up this morning, at some breakfest and went back to sleep. It was great. I slept into to about noon and deceided to head out to go shopping, or looking, whatever you want to call it. I had a few places in mind that I wanted to go. The first is Walmart. No not Walmart itself but the building that Walmart is in. It contains knock offs and misc items. I hailed my taxi and told him I wanted to go to Walmart. I can say now that I finally have some confidence in speaking Chinese. I think that I could speak it awhile ago but I just and shy doing so. It’s changing. When I got there I could tell that, yeah, it’s the weekend. So many people, and then there was me. A dude in a purple beanie. Hey, sorry, I didn’t feel like fixing my hair. What can you do. I started on the first floor peaking into Walmart. They might have some sweaters, usually not but it was worth the little time it would take. I entered the store, walked 20 feet, took a look and turned around to leave. There is one entrance to this Walmart. Think of it like a horse shoe. I entered on the left. The exit is on the right. I though I would sneak out since I hadn’t bought anything. The women stopped me and point the other way. I had to walk around the entire Walmart just to exit, are you kidding me? I said a few things that I am sure no one could understand and proceeded to do my best impression of a Nascar weaving in and out of all the baby strollers, moms, kids, people to get the hell out of there. Hold on a sec. Ok cool, I had to go get my bowl of noodles. Ok, so where was I, um, oh yeah knocks offs. I also did some hand rail testing on the escelators and yes the hand rail does run slower.
When you go into one of these little shops there is someone on your ass right away. “You like, we have new style.” Usually in broken English. This is what I call “store English.” You try to carry on a conversation, not going to happen, you say you like something. Oh you like, very good quality. So funny. What’s even funnier is when you pretend to not understand any Chinese and they start talking about you, oh he’s cute, he’s doesn’t understand. Then you bust out the oh, you think I’m cute, you kinda cute too. That usually blows their mind. Fun stuff. There are a lot of foreigners at this place. Probably because of all the knock offs. You can find just about any watch you want, I mean any. You want that 250,000$ Porche Design, no problem, 50$ usd. So great.
Oh snap some foreign guy taking a photo of me building a manhole. S.
After meandering around there a bit I headed to a street that I’ve only been to once before. But I deciede to go and check it out again. The first time it looked like it might have some clothes that I would actually wear. I walked in and out of the stores looking for well, I don’t know. I found some things, actually pretty cool sweaters and what not. But, the sizes here run small. I need to wear a XL or XXL. Everything is a size smaller and depending on the cut, I may have to go up. Asia. What are you going to do. I also love people who walk three wide down the isle, the sidewalk, the whatever and take the entire path up stopping without notice to check out some crazy ass color panty hose. Damn it annoys me.
Pretty much every place that I went to didn’t have a big enough size or everything ran small, which now that I think about it are one in the same. I did find some that would fit, but I decieded to hold off. Not sure why, but, I did. I then explored a little bit, found a river, walked, took some photos and then walked back to the street with all clothes. I found what I think it the holy grail of neon clothing. They had neon t-shirts, hoodies, one of a kind screen prints. Totally rad. However they wanted 200 yuan for each. About 30$ us. What the h. Actually not too bad but man, that’s a lot in the states for a shirt. Dispite that, I will probably head back to get one or two. Too good to pass up. So all and all I ended up buying a couple dvds. Brand new, new releases for, um, 2.50$ us. But hey you didn’t hear that from me.
So that’s about it. A Sunday full of exploring. Here are the photographs from today.
Once you head out of the modern downtown away from “foreigner country” the city becomes much more interesting. I like it a little better actually.
Dude on bike, street sign, and trees with white on the bottom apparently for the “bugs.” At least that’s what I hear.
The river thing, man made, nonetheless. Plastic bags and all.
Oh this wasn’t from today but rather last night. Oh sweet Mary mother and Joseph this is a dipping sauce.
And the ender.. Me.