Oh how this Toyota Highlander advertisment is reflective of the new global order. I saw this picture in Guangzhou's domestic terminal. A Chinese couple is getting out of their Japanese brand car into what appears to be a private yacht. A white male greets them, taking their travel items and appears to be eagerin their service.
In the wonderful world of shanzai, we have a new competitor made with a Mediatek chip- a Nokia N9 knockoff, the Noka (诺卡) N9. The Noka N9 has 7 operating systems interfaces: Meego, iOS 5.0, HTC Sense, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, Smasung’s TouchWizand Symbian Anna. This screenshot below from the video shows the user switching OS interfaces.
One of the people I've spending a lot of time in my fieldwork is Yang Jie. I wrote about her a few years ago when I met her on the street selling traditional Miao clothing and trinkets in Beijing.
I've been touring underground tunnels looking for a short-term rental. This is the room that I've decided to rent. The room includes an incredibly dilapidated twin bed and a wooden desk. To give you an idea of the size of this particular room, it's as big as a large walk-in American closet and smaller than a queen sized bed. These rooms cost 350RMB/month. Some rooms have a double-bed or a TV, and those cost a bit more.
I was walking by this construction site above with my friend Lao Meng when we heard a humongous explosion and then saw large metal sharples the size of car tires flying onto the street. We both just stood there watching everyone panic and running away from the site. We didn't see any pieces of metal land on anyone; the metal flew over everyone's heads and onto the street. And we were safe in the end. It was shook us up a bit and reminded us that it's quite normal for several deaths to be associated with each construction project.
All around the city are advertisements for "Western" styled toilets that have lids, seat, and raised base. No squatting is required. In new apartment buildings, there are ads pasted in elevator entrances. Usually there is a woman in a dress pointing to the toilet. This is the first ad that I've seen with a male baby holding his penis as he urinates into the toilet.
This older man is using his stylus to write Chinese characters for a text message. He keeps having to take his glasses on and off to write it. He writes a few strokes, then presses a button, then puts his glasses back on, and then repeats the entire process. The bus is also very bumpy so he is trying to stablize the mobile with his hands.
Transportation in some second tier cities is still a major work in progress. In my city, Wuhan, roads are being torn apart to create the new subway system that will be finished in 3 years. The government is also building new highways, bridges, and canals. Incredible water engineering feats will be accomplished - East Lake will be connected to the Yellow River.
I've finally accomplished 2 very important things after a month of being here - I have my permanent residency card and am officially registered with Wuhan University. Neither of these things were easy. They required tons of running around and tons of bureaucracy. After all the quarantine health checks, cab rides, unclear answers, unexplainable long breaks, and missing officials - I am happy to say that I've learned a lot about my city. I think this advice is also useful for other cities in China.