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Back from Vacation

Yep, 17 days of vacation over from a visit to Historich. I’ll be breaking the post into two main parts, one of (gasp) the first half of my vacation and the second of (gasp) the second half of my vacation, since one post would be too image-heavy and I WANT TO UPLOAD ALL OF THESE IMAGES (really, both posts are more picture dumps than actual posts)! Unfortunately, I forgot which half came first, as I’m writing this post AT SEPTEMBER 5TH, A DAY BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS. I don’t even REMEMBER what I did because I LOST THE DOUBLE-SIDED SHEET OF PAPER I TOOK ALL MY NOTES ON :|

Wait, back up a bit.

Historich?!

I really don’t get how you even misspell that – it’s not typed, it’s ENGRAVED. How do you screw up an engraving that adds an extra letter?! Why would you /want/ to add more letters?! Interrobang are good subbers‽

First, we went to Wuhan, the centre (in all aspects – political, financial, cultural, etc.) of central China. The pollution was holy crap – the sky was perpetually in a muddy grey. It wasn’t as bad as the last time (two years ago) we went, as we went earlier in the year this time, so it wasn’t as hot, but compared to Vancouver… :|

There wasn’t much to do around Wuhan – well, there was, but we had no guides to guide us. Thus, we immediately proceeded to go to Gong’an County, where my grandmother (on my father’s side) lived. Here’s a picture of the ceiling of some (Vancouver or Shanghai) airport because that’s a COOL THING to put on posts. I bought Catch 22 in the Vancouver airport and read it twice during the trip. This is important because it is important.

There were chickens and shit at my grandmother’s house, and it would’ve all been really rural except THEIR TELEVISION IS LARGER THAN OURS. There wasn’t air conditioning, however, and the toilets were ones you had to squat down on. All in all, it was pretty boring – I just lazed around indoors reading a book about how to play mahjong to find out that my grandmother only plays it in the Chinese style, which I already learned last time.

Several cousins (and one cousin’s daughter who is now three or six) came back to spend the May long vacation, and we just mahjong’d the entire time. My birthday also happened, and it did not actually involve mushroom cake, how strange. It involved sitting in a rented room of a fancy restaurant and gambling away all my birthday money on mahjong. Also, they had this tiny television that was playing PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, but I couldn’t see it because I DIDN’T BRING MY GLASSES and I CAN’T WEAR CONTACTS IN CHINA because THE WATER IS AS DIRTY AS DIRTY WATER, but that doesn’t stop my AUNT’S CRAYFISH COOKING from being AWESOME. Seriously, if you haven’t had crayfish, Louisiana

We went around the town a bit and ate KFC and noodles at this shady noodle place that looked like it was from KamiMemo or Steins;Gate but more Steins;Gate (the noodle was spicy as SPICY and I couldn’t even drink the soup because the soup was OIL), but mostly just hung around at home. The town’s rather small, with about a hundred thousand people. I guess that’s actually quite big for a town. Was it a city?

I probably took some pictures of the experience, but I have no idea where they are, since I did something to the photos as soon as we got back (four months ago) and I don’t remember what I did to them, so here’s a DIALOGUE ON URBAN PLANNING instead.

If you’re wondering where these historich dialogues came from, they were from the 2010 Shanghai Expo’s China Pavilion. That’s right, after playing more mahjong, buying more ice cream (since wow so hot compared to temperate climate), and lazing more arounds, we went to Shanghai to visit my grandparents (on my mother’s side), where I didn’t play mahjong (my grandparents are more CIVILIZED people, and my grandfather was an UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR), but bought more ice cream and lazed more around.

There was no internet in Gong’an (the Internet Cafés were scary as CAFE), but there was internet at Shanghai. However, the computer had like 3 MB of memory and the connection’s speed was at like 3 kb/s, so I really didn’t do much – thus the string of stupidly short posts before this one (I’m not prepared enough to write 17 posts in advance!!)

I also had a cousin on my mother’s parents’ side, except he didn’t have a three or six year old daughter. Apparently he was SUPPER SMART (i.e. he ate dinner SMARTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE) and is actually attending SHANGHAI’S BEST HIGH SCHOOL, and last time I visited HE THREW A BOWL AT ME BECAUSE I WAS TOO ANNOYING. Seriously, some stupid people on twitter follow me and think I’m not annoying, but imagine somebody talking like I’m typing in this post – after a while (e.g. half an hour) you’d think he was annoying too.

So here’s the China Pavilion, which we eventually went to. We were pretty lucky, since it closed as an expo on May 31st, so we made it just in time to visit. Indeed, Shanghai has changed dramatically from the last time we visited – after all, significant cleaning had to be done to make the expo a success, cleaning that started all the way back in 2002! Six new subway lines were added just in the last two years, making the transit system even more comprehensive and confusing, now over 400km long – the longest in the world. Shanghai’s public transportation is just amazing – imagine if all these commuters all drove their own cars instead. If there were less people, China would easily be one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world.

Anyways, it would’ve been nice to see the other pavilions, especially the Canada Pavilion, but the expo was over and we couldn’t possibly make it during the expo. The inside of the China Pavilion was… interesting. There were all sorts of typos and weird things, so that at the end, it just felt like some teenager said some things that made no sense but he took to be ‘philosophical comments on life’, which were subsequently prominently displayed across the pavilion without anybody actually knowing what the fuck they meant or what the fuck putting them around the pavilion was even for.

There was this little train-ride, though, showcasing China being natural and cool and THE ROCKS WERE MADE OUT OF PLASTIC

PLASTIC ROCKS

THIS IS LIKE PUTTING CHICKEN IN AN OMELETTE

A bunch of people were selling tickets and shit outside, and by shit, I mean fake merchandise. I hope nobody was stupid enough to buy things from them, but there had to be people who bought things from them, or else they would not be there.

The entire pavilion was structured as a tour, and I think that worked wonderfully, guiding us on a story from Historich to Aujourd Hui. The ending of the tour was done nicely, an escalator that took the audience down, down, down, past a beautiful waterfall. Whereas the previous pictures were all resized to 768 x 576 (which is ~175kb, and quality isn’t lost since the camera blurs anyways), you can click on the following picture for a full-sized 4320 x 3240 picture (which is THREE MEGABYTES – obviously, it’d be way too much space to upload every picture at this size).

Next, we went to Nanjing to SHOPPING because that’s a SHOP thing to do. Actually, we didn’t buy anything except some movie tickets to watch The Next Three Days, a movie that made no sense from the beginning to the end. It wasn’t even thrilling!

Nanjing Road wasn’t really crowded, either. I wonder if that’s what Akiba is like? It felt a bit like Metrotown, except outdoors – there was even a little train, but compared to the Metrotown train where everybody’s happy, the train operator had a huge :| on his face and all the little kids in the train were crying.

:|

I mean, what is there to buy there? Everything looked either expensive or cheap – which you’d think is obvious, but by cheap, I don’t mean inexpensive. I don’t know, I just don’t know how so many small shops can accommodate millions of visitors daily.

I just realized the pictures I took aren’t exactly good. You can’t even see the street in that shot.

My cousin just kept on playing on his iPhone the entire time, and we drove past the tallest building in Shanghai twice, because my aunt accidentally drove in a circle. There were also snails on the grass next to the building, except they were giant snails and giant meaning larger than two cars. I don’t know why there were snails on the grass, but I’m sure they had a cultural meaning.

He took a picture of the building from his iPhone, because I didn’t have my camera, and now I’m too lazy to ask for the picture, so here’s a picture of SHANGHAI’S FIRST FOOD STORE instead.

The Financial Centre was so tall that you couldn’t see the top if you were sitting inside a car – you’d have to stick your head outside the window to see it. How the heck did the construction workers even work, being so high up? I guess I’m really not fit to be a construction worker. While everybody else was climbing up the big climbing spiderweb thing, I was always at the bottom. I reached the top a grand total of once, though, and up there I almost fainted from imagining various bones in my body being dislocated at various times during my eventual fall from the top, due to landing on ropes at inopportune locations. I didn’t actually fall down, though.

I guess I really am running out of things to say – the true reason of splitting this into two posts was so that I could write them at different days, and so not get stuck by writer’s block as often. Here’s another picture of a tall building, the Oriental Pearl.

The view is from across the river – we went inside the Pearl last time, but not this time, as we were lazy lazers. Lazy lasers.

We went to the Xixi Wetlands next, but I didn’t bring my camera, and I really don’t remember all that much about the trip, so I’ll skip that. for next time.

Instead, I’ll talk about us going to Huangshan in a brief summary. I think you guys all know that when I say ‘brief’, it’s not actually really brief…

1. Huangshan is a mountain and mountains have rocks.

2. Huangshan is a mountain and mountains are high.
3. High places are cold.

4. Huangshan is a mountain and mountains are beautiful.
5. Click image for full size.
6. This summary is actually not underwear.

Yep, I’ll outline the Xixi Wetlands trip and Huangshan in the next post. I really feel like I’m running out of steam now. The sign above is the entrance to the historic ‘Old Street’ of a town close to Huangshan.

The following is from a waterfall near Huangshan but not actually on the mountains (Huangshan is actually a series of mountains – not as large as a mountain range, but just a couple of peaks in close proximity to each other) – it’s called the Nine Dragons Waterfall because apparently EACH WATERFALL IS A DRAGON and if there are nine waterfalls THERE ARE NINE DRAGONS (click for full size).

Yeah, this post really showcases more the images than my words – after all, I can’t possibly describe these images in a thousand kilobytes, much less a thousand words.

Finally, at the end, we tried to go back to Vancouver. Tried to, because the plane was delayed by four or eight (I forget exactly) hours. As I was peacefully sleeping on the airport benches (seriously, if people keep on sleeping in the airport, why not make the benches more comfortable? :|

Anyways, this creepy weeaboo started TALKING TO ME and he was CREEPY and WEEABOO because his WIFE was CHINESE. He talked to me about CREEPY THINGS like being able LISTENING IN to people’s conversations in Chinese… IF YOU CAN SPEAK CHINESE, and how the chicken with rice that China Eastern Airlines gave us was… NOT ENOUGH. Some things he says do hold at least some sort of uncomfortable truth – while a four- to eight-hour delay would cause lawsuits and mass riots in the West, everybody in China just took their compensatory chicken with rice and an extra 400 RMB without complaining. Of course, this could be entirely untrue – perhaps Westerners take delays even more peacefully – but only the riots and lawsuits are broadcast through the mass media, giving an entirely different impression about Western society. Just as not all American hockey fans will start to riot after a game (and how not all rioters are hockey fans), not all Japanese earthquake sufferers will behave so peacefully after an earthquake (and not all earthquake sufferers are Japanese, either).

At the end we basically just flew back home while watching two lame movies, one in French and the other in Japanese about a Korean person, even though the plane was from China. The end!

P.S. This is something else we saw at the China Pavilion.

7 responses

  1. Sounds like a cool trip, thanks for sharing! I wonder why they are so interested in plate tectonics…

    2011/09/06 at 14:07

  2. Actually, Tectonics is a ‘Dialogue on Architecture’, while Paradigm is a ‘Dialogue on Urban Planning’. I don’t know how they came up with these :|

    2011/09/06 at 17:32

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  4. I uhh guess you had a cool trip, I mean, I read the entire post, yup, why not reading all of it would just be plain rude, I read it all, yup, yup, hahahaha, yup, yup

    On a more relevant note, those are some fantastic pictures that you seem to have taken. Good job!

    2011/09/08 at 02:20

  5. You are undoubtedly referring to the last one, right?

    2011/09/08 at 23:54

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