Friday, May 29, 2009

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween Ghosts

One layer of our novel deals with the supernatural. Gary experienced several supernatural experiences early in his journey.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics!

I found this on You Tube and know you all will love to watch a tiny piece of the opening ceremony. This is very cool.

Good luck to all the athletes and we hope every country has some success!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Part ONE-- The Chinese Culture and Why They Do What They Do.


Saving face means that you don't admit your own mistakes and you don't publicly humiliate your co-Nationals by exposing their mistakes. If a Chinese National who admits to making a mistake not only shames himself, but also brings shame to his country in front of foreign visitors. Losing your temper, confronting someone, putting someone on the spot, arrogant behavior,(like many Westerners at times present themselves when visiting China) or failing to pay the proper respect to someone or something, can cause a loss of face.


The biggest cultural difference between Chinese and Americans relates to the role of the individual. The Chinese place great importance on the group. For example, everyone gathers around a round table and shares their food dishes. Consensus,(not making an important decision on your own but waiting for several people to help make the decision) and outward appearance of harmony are valued.

Proper etiquette = harmony and face. Believe it or not, there is an appropriate way to receive and give a business card with two hands. The true emotions of a person do not matter as long as you maintain composure/harmony. Many foreigners visiting China wonder why Chinese people don't get over excited and show emotions such as smiling and yelling and giving each other the "finger", like we do in the US.

Confucius historical rules of behavior are still deep-rooted in the Chinese Culture and apply to family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Many times you will notice they do not apply to people that they do not know. For example-- if a Chinese person bumps into you or pulls their car in front of your car or pushes their way into the front of a line-- it is not considered rude to not offer an apology.

You notice this in everyday Chinese living as the majority of Chinese are not kind to strangers. They share no emotions. Which is not rude but just indifferent. Another perfect example is with my Chinese National fiancee who usually gets mad at me when I am kind to a stranger in China or will help a Chinese person financially that I do not know.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Leave at Home When Traveling to China or the Olympics

1. Hair dryer—3 star hotels and better have hair dryers as an amenity.

2. Tooth brush—all hotels and hostels offer a sealed and clean toothbrush and

3. 50% of your clothes—when you are finished packing your clothes, take 50% out.
You will not need that many clothes. Hotels have inexpensive cleaning services.
Or, wash them in your room and hang dry.

4. Dress shoes—waste of space. Comfortable shoes are more important.

5. Shampoo and soap—hotels and hostels have as an amenity.

6. Large suitcases and luggage locks— buy in China if you have too many gifts and
need more room. Leave behind luggage locks, unless TSA-approved.

7. Sharp objects— security checks at the airport and elsewhere will confiscate them.
Knives are illegal to carry in China or Hong Kong.

8. Computer and money for electronic gifts—you can use a computer in your hotel’s
business center, at coffee shops or internet cafes. Electronics weigh you down.
Don’t buy electronics in China-- In contrast to Westerners’ perceptions,
computers and cameras are not cheaper to buy in China.
If you find a great deal on an electronic item, be careful—electronics may look
great on the outside but the inside will not function the same as you are
familiar with.

9. Cell phone— if it’s not enabled to operate internationally. Call your
provider to find out if your phone has this capability, and the costs associated
with that service.

10. Closed mind —keep an open mind and you will experience over 5000 years of history
and a fascinating culture.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Traveling to China for the Olympics? Top 10 Things to Take with You

1. Antibiotics/Imodium/Tylenol/Neosporin/Eye drops/ Benadryl—for emergencies, stomach virus, diarrhea, pollution that dries your eyes, or other aches and pains—Use when Chinese herbs and medicines don’t work or you are not sure about the prescribed Chinese drug. Don’t forget to have an emergency contact number and a number with address to a credible Chinese hospital.

2. Cash/ATM/credit card---hotels and some restaurants take credit cards. Most restaurants, stores and any small restaurant and shops only take cash/ RMB (Chinese currency is called Renminbi (people's money).
3. Small compact camera that takes video and photos (with several 4GB SD cards)—for those unforgettable moments. Don’t forget a strap to hang camera around your neck as the unforgettable moment usually happens before you can get the camera out of the case.

4. Money/passport pouch –comfortable pouch to wear under your shirt. Keep with you at all times. Scan copies of your credit cards, passport and important documents. Make them easily accessible on your web mail.

5. Map, backpack and walking shoes—take a backpack to keep your hands free when shopping, comfortable shoes for touring the sites and an English map of the cities you will visit. Google the city you are visiting and download a map.

6. Personal care goods---small hair gel, good shampoo/ razors-use shampoo as shaving crème (tomorrow, look for the “top 10 things to leave at home”)

7. Hand sanitizer and wet wipes---if you end up at small restaurants or eating establishments that have no soap or hand towels to dry and clean your hands. Wet Wipes for dirty messes or if you get stuck where there are no western toilets or toilet paper; wipes come in handy during these tense moments.

8. Gifts for Chinese people that help you—beef jerky, dark chocolate, herbs from the US; Chinese LOVE these as gifts. China makes everything else.

9. Small bags of to-go snacks—when traveling you will rarely have the convenience of convenience stores and fast food to pick up a quick snack. If you are nervous about eating at the small Chinese restaurants—pick up some peanuts and energy bars.

10. Book, (White Ghost in China) and Mini-MP3 player with loads of music and family photos---you will be traveling by bus, train, plane, taxis waiting in traffic and standing in long lines. Purchase your book at:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Floods in China

Local media reports called the gale forced rains and winds on Friday "the worst in 100 years in our city of Shenzhen."

I have never experienced this type of non-stop rain for hours. Usually the mid-western thunderstorms will last for up to an hour. And it is convenient to stay out of the rain as we all have cars to hide in.

Our candy-purple electric motor scooter was not working because Kendy used it early that morning. Water soaked the battery, disabling the scooter until drier days.

I was outside for 10 minutes trying to find a taxi, with my oversized golf umbrella and gale forced winds and rain blowing sideways. The wind collapsed my umbrella.

I found a taxi but it was no use as my clothes and shoes were soaked, along with my back pack with my computer inside. I had to keep going as I had a meeting in our office 30 minutes away and decided to dry off when I got to work.

That night my friend tried to take me home in his car. We were not prepared for what was to come. All three roads leading to my home were lakes, at least two feet deep, and the bridges had large holes which many drivers did not dare to cross. When the waves hit our car it would lift it up and spin us sideways. Luckily we didn't float to long--- as the water would retreat low enough to allow our car to touch the pavement. I jumped out of the car and decided to try walking home through the lakes and across the unstable bridge with large horizontal holes where you could see the road below.

After an hour of walking I made it home, drenched, smelly from the dirty water, and ready for a shower. But I had made it to home sweet home with another experience in China that I probably would not have in the US.

See my 25 second video on you tube:


Xinhua News Service --the main news agency for China reported this bad news during the weekend which I am not happy to think about more rain drenched clothing and walking home. I am sure this will also effect consumer goods being manufactured and shipped around the world as the big trucks were delayed when the roads were turned into lakes. If the drivers attempted to cross their car was disabled after water got in the engine or the electrical system got wet.

BEIJING, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Heavy rains were forecast for most parts of already-drenched southern China over the next 10 days, and some areas could experience torrential rains, strong gales and thunderstorms, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said on Sunday.

Floods had forced more than 1.27 million people to evacuate, with 55 dead and seven missing in nine provinces as of 9 p.m. Saturday.Vegetable prices soared amid tight supplies in some flooded regions. In the worst-hit Guangdong Province, vegetable prices jumped 30 percent to 70 percent on Saturday alone in the cities of Guangzhou, Shantou, Chaozhou and Shaoguan.