Showing posts with label china. Show all posts
Showing posts with label china. Show all posts

December 06, 2013

Poor Arnab

A pretty Chinese girl expressed her sympathy for me after hearing about my sad state of affairs with K-girls: 

Poor Arnab... Indian black hairy IT nerd

The description sounds tragedy enough...

November 01, 2013

Honeyed Words

Chinese girl: When I ask some favor form you, I should say something good, especially handsome ~ cool guy ~~something like that haha

Me: That's right!

August 12, 2013

A Kind Reminder from China

I had mentioned to a Chinese beauty how badly her Korean counterparts were treating me, so she supplied some gentle words to soothe my suffering:

"Girls...hmm, never a problem, if they don't like you, it's their lost! However, you do need to express yourself more than just showing your HTML code...not every girl get it...a kind reminder ;P"

April 07, 2013

End of the Long March

As my time in China came to an end, one of my final trips was to Yan'an. The small city in Shannxi province is a major stop on the red tourism circuit, as fans of Mao flock here to see the caves in which the Chairman once lived. The legendary Long March came to an end near Yan'an and a revolution was born. It was here that Mao and his comrades set up camp, and engineered their plans for domination of the Middle Kingdom.

From 1936 to 1948, the town functioned as the headquarters of the Communist Party of China. During World War II, the Japanese flattened the city through aerial bombing. The citizens stayed in cave dwellings during wartime. The Yangjialing house caves where Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai once lived and the accompanying auditorium and office buildings are the main stop for those on the Communist pilgrimage trail.

Yan'an is situated on a dusty plain surround by hills on all sides. The colossal Yan'an Revolutionary Memorial Museum, explains the tale of Mao, the rise of the Communist Party, and the corresponding increase in prosperity and power of a nation that had taken a back seat in world affairs until the past century. The museum had the the requisite Mao statue in the courtyard and gift store filled with Mao-morabilia. Apart from the propaganda pieces, a cliffside temple in the middle of the city is quite a sight to behold. Pagoda Hill also has some nice monuments and viewpoints on top. It is a relaxing spot to soak up the atmosphere after spending a long day basking in revolutionary glory.

We had a night train to catch to Beijing, but it seemed all the taxis were going in the opposite direction of the station after supper time. As the clock ticked ever closer to our departure time, my friend began to get jumpy. Finally we caught cab, but at the exact same moment two Chinese girls also caught it. My chivalrous nature took over, and I stepped aside and let them take the cab. The taxi driver refused to take them wherever they wanted to go and drove away. "What are you doing!? We have a train to catch!" my agitated travel buddy exclaimed. Seeing him gesticulate wildly, the girls asked if we needed any help. One of the two was ravishingly beautiful, and the other spoke a little English.

I showed the beauty my train ticket, and the other girl deduced that we wanted to go to the station. She suggested we cross the street and try there. I almost got run over by an oncoming truck, but the beauty pulled me to safety just in the nick of time. Some minutes later we found a taxi, and the ladies directed the driver to take us to the station posthaste. I bid them a melancholic farewell. Once in the cab, I wistfully remarked that I should have torn up the ticket and stayed in Yan'an - the "Cradle of Chinese Revolution". "My god, I have never seen anyone fall in love so fast." my friend said, shaking his head.


"We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view." - Mao Zedong 

June 04, 2012

Surgeon General's Warning

South Koreans annually top the international rankings of the most surgically enhanced people per capita, with approximately one in five ladies having gone under the knife to get some upgrades. This still leaves a lot of natural beauties around, as every other girl walking in high heels and short skirts down a street in Seoul on a Friday night looks like a contestant from the Korea's Next Top Model reality show.

Pretty much every Chinese person had an identical reaction when I told them I was moving to Korea. They told me to be careful about a nation of artificial beauties, although I usually cannot tell who has been modified. The message from one Chinese girl sufficiently summarizes their concerns for my well being:

Don’t get a korea girl~ they have fake face!!!!horrible!


Korean girl has fake nose,fake cheek,fake lip,and fake boob and ass~ don’t touch it!
They will treat you very nice with their fake body~
Enjoy it~~hahahahahha!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe,when you kiss,her lip collapse~~~~~~~wow hu~ that will be very ugly~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do not do the plastic surgery!!! It is popular in korea,but you just wanna Hold on!

The good thing you head off to that country is:you will be the NO.1 cute guy in the country,coz ,u know,they don’t have handsome guy ~~

Sadly, the Seoul sirens seem to have gotten a similar memo warning them to avoid me.

May 17, 2012

Words of Encouragement

A Chinese girl was inquiring about the status of the Indo-Canadian Temptation in Korea.

Chinese girl: Hi sen sen. How r you? did you got a new gf? 

Me: No gf yet. A few failed attempts so far, but they were entertaining. Most are afraid of me and run away.

Chinese girl: HA~~~~LIKE WHAT I THOUGHT,U DON’T GET ANY ONE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~U  SUCK~

May 06, 2012

Heads of State

Five thousand years ago the first Yandi ("Flame Emperor") ascended the Chinese throne. He was credited with introducing basic agricultural techniques and herbal medicine to the masses. The last Yandi was defeated by the first Huangdi ("Yellow Emperor"), who also got a lot of accolades for bringing about the invention of the Chinese calendar, astronomy, and character writing system. In the Chinese doctrine of five phases, fire creates earth, and yellow follows red, so everything fits together quite nicely. At the Yellow River Scenic Area near Zhengzhou, these two legendary figures have been immortalized in China's homage to Mount Rushmore.

A massive man made square separates the two stone figures on the mountain from the mighty river, which was barely visible due to the heavy fog. On the square, a reenactment of a royal procession kept me occupied for some time. A bevy of long haired beauties were dressed in colourful ethnic wear. After the show was over, my travel partner Swathish and I climbed swiftly to the top of the mountain to examine the two large sculptures of the emperors heads. On the way down we took a more circuitous and relaxing route, stopping three times.

The first stop was at the viewpoint from which Mao had stood and declared the Yellow River to be of great strategic importance. The second time was when we happened upon a fine artist who could very quickly modify traditional water brush paintings he had prepared in advance and add personalized calligraphy to them. Impressed by his handiwork, we commissioned the artist to create several parchments. The third stop was when several Chinese girls spotted me and asked me to pose with them for some pictures. Always the gentleman, I gladly obliged. My travel partner stood to the side, simmering with quiet jealousy.


"Arnab reveled in the some of his favourite items - Chinese beauties and concrete monsters." - Swathish

May 04, 2012

Finger Bowl

I was sitting at a restaurant in a Beijing alley with my coworkers when a dirty bowl of soup arrived at our table. One of my colleagues seized the opportunity to recount a Chinese pun:

Several friends were sitting together at a streetside eatery when the waiter arrived with a bowl of piping hot soup. His thumb was halfway submerged in it.

"Your finger is in the soup!" exclaimed one of the disgusted customers.

"Don't worry." the experienced waiter calmly replied. "It doesn't hurt."

December 21, 2011

A Man And His Dicos

Dicos is the premiere homegrown fast food chain in the People's Republic of China. Whenever I was in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 city and spotted a franchise, I would rejoice. At some point during my stay in that town, I would dine at Dicos. In a strange place the hint of the familiar is enough to calm the nerves. Be it at the beginning of the day before I braved the unknown, for a lunchtime break in the midst of adventuring, or to wile away the hours until a midnight train arrived to whisk me back to Beijing, Dicos was always there in my hour of need.

The heavyweight duo of KFC and McDonalds dominated the big cities, so Dicos focused on areas where they had yet to set foot in. Some of my travel partners sulked while I enjoyed each zesty bite of processed goodness, while others refused to enter the outlets altogether. During Ramadan in Kashgar there was barely a restaurant open, yet my fellow traveller Preston steadfastly refused to entertain the thought of obtaining sustenance at Dicos. Fortunately, most readily embraced the joy of Dicos. Friends would send me an instant message from afar, saying they had stumbled upon a Dicos in Inner Mongolia or some such place.

The staff at any Dicos, being Chinese, found me completely incomprehensible. Once I pointed to a combo I wanted to order, but they only gave me the burger. I again pointed to the combo I wanted and they gave me another burger. The manager came out to see what all the fuss was about. He figured out I wanted a combo, so he added it to my increasingly long bill. Other travelers had similar experiences, often accepting the items they received (but had not ordered) with serene expressions on their faces.

Physically a Dicos outlet looks like a cross between a McDonalds and KFC outlet. The format and presentation of the food is similar. It tastes somewhat better, but not in any discernible manner. Perhaps it was the knowledge that my days in Dicos were limited to my time in the far reaches of China that made it so enjoyable. To know that no other foreigner had defiled the premises before I was an uplifting thought. I estimate I visited about 25-30 Dicos in my two and a half year stay in China.


Go: Dinner at Yoshinoya.
Preston: Why? 
Arnab: No Dicos nearby.
Preston: You are shameful.

October 17, 2011

Forbidden City

After arriving in Beijing one of the first places I went was the fabled Forbidden City, former home of the manliest Chinese natives. One million workers were needed to construct the walled city, and nowadays almost ten million people visit it annually. I visited on a chilly February afternoon, when the air was crisp and the crowds were sparse. The grandeur and magnificence of the architecture is best enjoyed from atop a hill in Jingshan Park,  located directly behind the moated complex.

Unlike the Great Wall or the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City never managed to take my breath away. After serving as the Chinese imperial palace for 500 years it has now been reconstructed to perfection. Not a hint of character or charm remains in the sprawling compound, which in the past could only be entered or exited with the consent of the emperor. Each room once had a colourful history of its own, but even with a fresh coat of bright red paint they now looked lifeless and dull. I traipsed through several dozen of the Forbidden City's nearly one thousand buildings, turning back when it became repetitive.


"The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become." ~ Mark Twain 

October 03, 2011

Not Interested

The elevator in my office building in Beijing was packed with the lunch crowd. Among the occupants was a friendly man who worked in an adjacent office and his cute colleague who was friendly to all but one.

Friendly man: Where are you going for lunch?
Me: The Place.
Friendly man: Which place?
Me: The Place. You know...the shopping center.
Friendly man: Oh, I see.
Me: Do you guys want to join?

The friendly man conferred with his cute colleague while the rest of the elevator riders eagerly awaited her response.

Friendly man: She is not interested.
Me: In the Place? Or in me?
Friendly man: Both.

The elevator audience chuckled in unison.

September 24, 2011


Me: You are dressed nicely today.
Wide eyed Chinese beauty: You means usually I dressed ugly?
Me: Umm... I mean even better than usual. Is it because you want to have dinner with me tonight?
Wide eyed Chinese beauty: No. Misunderstand.

August 02, 2011

ARNABeer: The World of Tsingtao

Tsingtao (pronounced ching-dao) is for all intents and purposes the national beer of China. It is not the best tasting beer in China, but it is the one with the most name recognition and availability. Beer advocates give Tsingtao a 'C', griping that it is the colour of urine but grudgingly admitting that it goes well with spicy Chinese cuisine. It is not even officially the world's most consumed beer, with that honour belonging to its tastier compatriot Snow.

Fiercely potent rice wine, baijiu, has been the staple drink of the nation for generations, but now faces stiff competition from its less alcoholic brethren. Beer is steadily gaining popularity as China's middle class swells like the belly of a mother awaiting to give birth to her only child. Tsingtao is leading the way, both locally and as the leading exporter of Chinese beers. Germans living in the coastal Shandong city of Qingdao founded the Tsingtao Brewery in 1903.

Although pronounced the same, the beer and the city are spelled differently in English. Tsingtao is spelled using the old Wade-Giles romanization of Chinese, while Qingdao is the spelling using the present day pinyin system. The brewery fell into Japanese hands during their invasion of the Heavenly Kingdom, before being repatriated and privatized after the People's Republic was founded.

The original brewery in Qingdao is now a museum and visitors are offered freshly brewed beer at the end of their tour.  Since 1991, the brewery has organized the annual Qingdao International Beer Festival. Foreign friends are plied with free booze by the Chinese, if they are lucky enough to stumble into Qingdao during the summer months when the festival is held.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder." ~ Kinky Friedman 

July 29, 2011

Ngong Ping 360

A cable car made a slow journey across Hong Kong's Tung Chung Bay and over the lush green hills of Lantau Island. It was raining intermittently. After disappearing into the mists above the rolling greenery for 25 minutes, the cable car emerged on the other end 5.7 kilometers away. It's destination was Ngong Ping village, home of the giant Tian Tan Buddha. Three British girls sat in the gondola, eyeing the stranger sitting in front of them with a mixture of fear and delight.

The cable car switched directions twice, with the gondola temporarily detaching from the cable at the angle changing stations. With low visibility outside, their only view was of this handsome man. Occasionally their attention would be diverted when an empty cable car going in the opposing direction would break through the mist for a few seconds, before disappearing into the same fog once more. One of the trio squealed "This is straight out of a horror movie!".

My face remained impassive until I arrived at Ngong Ping village. I let the three girls get off the cable car before me, and then climbed up the many staircases to reach the giant statue of Buddha. It was my last day in Hong Kong, and I had a plane to catch across the border in Shenzhen later on the same day. I wandered the island for a little while, before having a quick lunch at the village, and taking the bi-cable gondola lift back to Tung Chung. This time I was alone.


"In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true." ~ Buddha 

July 27, 2011

Beijing's Underground City

Despite spending almost two and a half years in Beijing, one place I never made it to was the fabled underground city. Built in the seventies to shelter Beijingers from a potential nuclear attack by the Russians, the tunnels reach depths of 18 meters, with 30 kilometers of tunnels covering an area of over 85 square kilometers. 300,000 people chipped in to build a thousand shelters that could hold forty percent of Beijing's then population. Beijing's city walls, its ancient defense mechanism, were torn down and the material used to construct the underground complex. Apparently, each citizen knew where to find the nearest trap door entrance to the tunnels from their house, and could quickly go into hiding if necessary, which it never was.

There were a few underground shopping areas scattered through out the city that I explored, but I could never confirm they were previously bomb shelters. I located the official tourist entrance in a back alley near Tiananmen Square. A polite message, shockingly inscribed in English, was posted on the door saying that it was closed indefinitely. A few friends mentioned that there was a staircase that descended into complete darkness in their apartment complex, and surmised that this could be an entrance to the subterranean chambers. Another urban legend is that these underground shelters have been converted to makeshift dwellings and rented out to poor migrant workers, who emerge from them only to work, eat, or smoke. Another rumour is that due to safety reasons the underground city will not be opened to the public anytime soon. Until then, what lies beneath will remain lurking in the catacombs of the imagination.


Message posted at the entrance: Welcome to our under-ground City. Since April We have a big constru-ction inside until now So we don't open for the public. We're so sorry about this. May be. it'll open next Year.

Beneath this, someone has scrawled: May be. I'll come back.

July 20, 2011

Shanghai Tang

Shanghai Tang revealed its Spring Summer Collection for 2011 in Beijing's Honglingjin Park. Despite its moniker, Shanghai Tang was actually founded in Hong Kong in 1994. I had received an invite to the launch celebration being held by the "global ambassador of contemporary Chinese chic" from my good friend Swathish. We were welcome additions to China's fashion scene, posing on the red carpet as photographers clicked away.

My favourite Chinese bombshells were in attendance, including actress Fan Bing Bing and MTV China VJ Zhu Zhu. Fan Bing Bing and I made eye contact for a moment. Time froze and a lifetime together was imagined in that split second. I had first seen the captivating Zhu Zhu hosting an event at the Sanlitun Village in my early days in China, and did not expect our paths would cross again. Zhu Zhu interviewed Fan Bing Bing. After regaining consciousness, I went to get a drink.

After cocktails were served, the guests were ushered to seats near the stage. The actual fashion show portion of the gala was over in a flash. One model was indistinguishable from the next, presumably so the clothes could stand out and grab the attention of the trendsetters in the audience. The models strutted to the front of the catwalk, jutted out their bony hips, swivelled, and returned backstage. Even though a warm weather collection was being revealed, Beijing in March is still quite chilly. I empathized with the plight of the scantily clad beauties that stiffly patrolled the catwalk, understanding why they had broken neither sweat or smile.


“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” - Yves Saint Laurent

July 17, 2011

Somewhat Perplexed

A Japanese guy with decent Chinese speaking skills and I are sitting at a train station in a small town. A Chinese man approaches, staring at me intently.

Chinese guy: Where's that one from?
Japanese guy: Canada.
Chinese guy: Then why is he so black?
Japanese guy: All sorts of people can be Canadian... Chinese people can be Canadian... Indian people can be Canadian...

The Chinese man shakes his head disgustedly and walks away. Soon after, another approaches and conducts an identical survey.

July 09, 2011


Chuanr is Chinese for kebab or skewer. Originating from the Muslim region of Xinjiang, it soon spread to street side vendors throughout the nation. You know that you are pronouncing it correctly if it sounds the same as the noise your stomach makes immediately after your eyes have spotted a chuanr vendor. A variety of delicious meat is normally attached to the sticks, but potatoes, lotus roots, bread, or anything else imaginable can also be skewered in a positive manner. Priced at only a few RMB each, the sticks can make for an affordable snack or a full course meal depending on the quantity consumed.

Some of my best memories of China involve chuanrs - from my first independently purchased meal in the country, to the times spent eating and drinking at local joints, to insect tasting at Wangfujing. Once a friend and I consumed 120 meat sticks at a single sitting, leaving behind only a few chunks of fat, onions, and astonished looks. On another occasion I was strolling the streets with an American-born Chinese, chuanrs in hand. After finishing each stick, he casually tossed it on to the pavement. I arched an ARNABrow at him, intrigued by his penchant for littering. "Just keeping the peeps employed" he wisecracked.

July 07, 2011

Nanjing - The Purple Mountain

Many of Nanjing's famous sites are clustered around Zijinshan ("Purple Mountain"). By sites, I mean tombs. The Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and the Ming Tombs are the headliners. Dr. Sun founded the Kuomintang party based on the Three Principles of the People - nationalism, democracy, and social welfare. He went on to become the first president of the Republic of China, naming Nanjing the capital.

Although he died in Beijing, the Father of Modern China was laid to rest in Nanjing. Construction of the mausoleum was completed in 1929, four years after his death. About four hundred steps have to be climbed to reach the main hall at the top. A fat child complained loudly to his mother as he approached the halfway mark. A magnificent music stage near the base of the mausoleum is home to hundreds of doves, elegantly blending in with the natural surroundings.

Purple Mountain is very green. A lush canopy covers the roads winding around the mountain. I took a taxi to Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and then a bus to the nearby tombs of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty. The scenic burial ground is made in the traditional manner, with a long pathway leading to the tombs, accompanied by a lake, parks, and hills. Nanjing's Ming Xiaoling shares its World Heritage status with similar tombs from the same dynasty in Beijing and Shenyang, but was still worth a visit.


“The Revolution has not yet succeeded. Comrades, you must carry on!” — Sun Yat-Sen 

June 22, 2011

Inside the Mind of a Chinese Woman

Although love can never be broken down logically into a set of discrete and measurable characteristics, a noble scientist nonetheless attempts to do so after using himself as a guinea pig for the experiments. The ideal man in the mind of an Indian mother had been studied previously, but the intricacies of the Chinese female brain are an altogether different matter.

1) Categories

Let us begin with ten distinct traits a beautiful Chinese woman would find desirable or undesirable in a man.

Desirable: Is he Chinese, funny, handsome, honest, hygienic, kind, rich, smart, and well-mannered?
Undesirable: Is he scary?

2) Test candidates

Two archetypes, the Indo-Canadian Temptation and the Rich Chinese Guy, will act as the objects of desire on whom the experiment will be performed.

3) Scoring mechanism

The two candidates will be given scores of 1 or 0 for each trait, with 1 going to the man who wins that category. No ties will be accepted, so each category will have a clear winner. If neither candidate merits a win in a particular category, there shall still be a loser. Scores of 0 and -1 will be given with the stronger, though still weak, candidate getting a 0 in this scenario.

4) Test Data

After sorting through real world data, the results were compiled. The Indo-Canadian Temptation secured 7 categories, while 3 were claimed by the Rich Chinese Guy.

Exhibit 1 - Raw Data

4) Weighting

Now that we know who the participants are, the characteristics that will be measured, and the ranking methodology to be used, only one other variable remains. The relative importance of each characteristic must be determined. A weighting must be assigned to see how much impact each trait has in winning a beautiful Chinese girl's heart.

Two tables are henceforth displayed. The first shows the results if an equal weighting is given to all categories. The second shows the results with weightings matching the importance of each trait.

Exhibit 2 - Equal Weighting

As expected, the Indo-Canadian Temptation's strength and consistency across most categories allows him to win the girl's heart with a score of 30. The Rich Chinese Guy hangs his head in shame with a -10 performance.

Exhibit 3 - Relative Weighting

When relative weighting is used according to the preferences of a Chinese girl the Rich Chinese Guy scores an unbeatable 80 by putting all his eggs into the highly weighted baskets of being rich and Chinese. Despite dominating 7 of 10 categories, the Indo-Canadian Temptation falls short of his goal with a lousy -20 rating.

5) Analysis

Exhibit 4 - Average Score and Margin of Victory

When an average of these two measures is taken, the Rich Chinese Guy still comes out on top 2-1. He also has a larger margin of victory over his opponent when he wins. At first glance, the equally weighted index seems to indicate a landslide victory for the Indo-Canadian Temptation based on his across the board excellence. Further investigation reveals that their are some hidden variables that have to be taken into consideration. This tilts the game of love heavily in favour of the Rich Chinese Guy. Although the Indo-Canadian Temptation has delved inside the mind of a beautiful Chinese girl, he still remains outside of her heart.


“He who studies books alone will know how things ought to be, and he who studies men will know how they are.” — Charles Caleb Colton