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WhiteGhost

Thug Life: China Style [WhiteGhost]

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Yo, wassap?

Image result for wassup gif

 

WhiteGhost here, hanging with the Adventures this time around for a couple of reasons.

 

First, as an Ambassador for the Assassins I like to get around and visit the various guilds to meet new friends and rep our guild.  Also, as an Ambassador I can pretty much do whatever I want here because diplomatic immunity (that IS how this works, right?) :P 

 

Also, I have been kicking around an idea for a different kind of challenge and this seems like the ideal time to do it.  A few challenges ago @Wobbegong moved to Japan and most of her challenge was slice of life stuff that gave the rest of us some insight into what her life was like like living in Japan.  I thought it was kind of fun to read and follow along with that.

 

Now, it has come to my attention that some of you do not live in China, and that perhaps some of you may not have ever even been here.  As such, I thought it would be fun to run this challenge more as a blog of what my life is like in China, so that you guys can vicariously experience what it's like to live in China.  

 

image.jpeg.20961d9e7defcdfa91f2aab721c647b7.jpeg

 

While I plan to keep up with my regular challenge stuff like bodyweight workouts, stretching and healthy eating, that will not be the primary focus of this challenge

 

The key KPIs for this challenge are going to be:

 

1. Daily updates - a lot of mundane stuff will be posted here, but the point is to give a feel of what passes for mundane here.  I expect that a lot of what I consider mundane may actually be interesting to some of you.

 

2. Daily visual aides - Descriptions are good, but sometimes a picture or a video can show something that you just wouldn't get from a simple description

 

3. Food Porn - I will take pictures of the stuff that goes onto our table, whether it is homemade or delivered.  I suspect a lot of it will be different from what you normally picture when you think of Chinese food.

 

There are a few points of particular interest that helped me decide to do this challenge now instead of later

 

 - I am currently unemployed, so daily updates can be more varied than just "went to work and did [REDACTED]"

 - I am involved in a labor dispute with my previous company, and the first arbitration hearing will happen during this challenge

 - My visa expires during this challenge so I will get to go through the renewal process

 - I will be working on a freelancing project, so some work related stuff can still happen

 - The challenge will finish right before Chinese New Year (China's biggest holiday) so everyone will get to see a little bit of the holiday (I may extend this challenge through CNY)

 

For the fist time since Joining NF, I can come up with a 2019 framework, and in order to bring this challenge into compliance with my established framework, I will identify a few key focuses for me to keep in mind during this challenge.  I will keep it simple, as stolen from @zenLara

Strength - At least 1 pullup per day

Dexterity - get inverted (handstand or similar) at least once per day

Constitution - Home-cooked food every day

Intelligence - Learn how to edit videos (this will be key for doing my updates)

Wisdom - Initiate a spiritual discussion in the home each week (ideally on Sunday)

Charisma - Learn at least 3 new names each week, and call those people by their name

 

These won't be KPIs per se, but just some guidelines for me to keep myself focused during the challenge

 

OK, let's kick this off with a song about living in Beijing by Big Daddy Dough, my favorite China focused, geopolitical/macroeconomic rapper

 

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Following for cultural immersion and other badass things. I have already learned a little about China's public defecation problem. I am 0.1% smarter already - thank you! 

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:D that video, "commie jungle" :lol: The bit about baby defecation and zoom on a little baby butt ha ha

 

40 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

- My visa expires during this challenge so I will get to go through the renewal process

 

Is it a formality or could it be somewhat challenging ?

 

Looking forward to learn new stuff! The past months I read a bunch of books by Pearl Buck (trying to stay away from a screen in the evening) and it was very interesting. All the stories take more or less place during Tchang Kaï-chek times so it's fairly old... but I really enjoyed how she depicts full-depth characters from very different backgrounds, with conflicting aspirations and views on their own country while getting on with their everyday life in very quickly changing times (relations with the west but also Japan for instance, stories about women caught between traditional and modern views, but not in a Manichean way).

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2 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Learn how to edit videos (this will be key for doing my updates)

 Teach me (then) master!

 

 

Sounds really interesting so I'll follow!

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9 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Also, as an Ambassador I can pretty much do whatever I want here because diplomatic immunity (that IS how this works, right?) :P 

That sounds legit to me ;) 

 

You've really piqued my interest with this challenge! I'm excited to learn a little of what it's like to live in China. 

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8 hours ago, deftona said:

Following for cultural immersion and other badass things. I have already learned a little about China's public defecation problem. I am 0.1% smarter already - thank you! 

 

8 hours ago, @mu said:

The bit about baby defecation and zoom on a little baby butt ha ha

 

Public defecation is actually a very serious problem, but probably in more ways than you might expect.  I am thinking I should take a picture of the big sign in our parking lot that says "urinating or defecating here is strictly forbidden"

 

It will likely continue to be a problem with very small children for a while, because the split pants are still the preferred method of potty training kids.  For some reason the generally accepted method is very similar to Pavlov's bell - the parent or guardian will condition them to urinate/deficate when they whistle.  So a parent (or more usually a grandparent or nanny) will often be seen holding a very small child off the side of a path or walkway whistling and trying to get them to pee.  

 

In my view, however, the even bigger problem is dogs.  Many households have dogs, but very, very few believe in cleaning up after them, so any place you have grass (and many that don't) are so completely covered in dog poop that the "please don't walk on the grass" signs are superfluous.  I am really tired of washing dog poop off of my shoes :(   I have seen news that they are starting to require dog owners to register the dog's DNA, so that if owners don't collect the poop they can come after them with a fine.  We'll if that actually goes anywhere, but I'm glad they are trying to do something about it.

 

This actually reminds me of a story, but it gross so spoilered

 

Spoiler

The first time (ok, only time) I saw a woman's genitals in public was in 2006, a couple of years after I first moved here.  I was walking across a busy intersection (think 5th Ave & 57th in Manhattan kind of busy) and as I was crossing the street I saw a woman on the other side just drop trou, bend over and start urinating in the street.  

 

8 hours ago, @mu said:

Is it a formality or could it be somewhat challenging ?

Yes to both :D in theory it is been a simple process, but the rules change every year, and if the person processing the application doesn't like the cut of your jib or whatever, they can reject it for lack of some random document that that you will need to then go chase down and then reapply, hoping the next time the clerk is in a good mood.  This year they have replaced the entire process with an online system, so I am waiting to see how badly they can screw it up.  I have my interview with the clerk on Jan 4, so we will know soon.

 

7 hours ago, Arkania said:

Teach me (then) master!

Haha, let's see if I can learn it myself first :D 

 

2 hours ago, annyshay said:

Welcome to the Adventurers!

 

Can't wait for more slice of life goodness and the usual butt kicking that happens in your challenges. :)

Thanks, I'll try not to disappoint :) 

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Following for stories of pooping in the streets and slice of life and not stepping on poop in the streets.

Now I am thinking I am going to need to help people realize there is more to life in China than just poop :) 

 

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2 minutes ago, jonfirestar said:

That sounds legit to me ;) 

 

You've really piqued my interest with this challenge! I'm excited to learn a little of what it's like to live in China. 

Welcome, I hope I am able to make it interesting :) 

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19 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

that IS how this works, right?

 

Arguably, guild leaders are more powerful than Ambassadors because we're in the trenches. :P I'm kidding, of course.

 

Welcome to the Adventurers. I am happy you're with us, and I am excited to follow your Adventures in China. Let me know if I can help you with your goals in any way.

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13 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

Following properly this time :)

 

I'm in the same place as you for a few things (fitness goals, different country, freelancing, etc.) so it will be good inspiration.

Nice to have you!  I don't know how much inspiration this challenge will be, I expect it is mostly going to be just a big mind dump.  With pictures, of course :)   If you can find inspiration in that, though, more power to you.

 

10 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Yeah, there's urine too.

Image result for massive eye roll gif

Apparently I have my work cut out for me

 

5 hours ago, Wolfen said:

 

Arguably, guild leaders are more powerful than Ambassadors because we're in the trenches. :P I'm kidding, of course.

 

Welcome to the Adventurers. I am happy you're with us, and I am excited to follow your Adventures in China. Let me know if I can help you with your goals in any way.

Sure, you have more power but you can't use it against Ambassadors visiting from other Guilds because we have diplomatic immunity.  This is the whole point of being an Ambassadorcitation needed [/sup]

 

Thanks, looking forward to getting to know more Adventurers :) 

 

Kicking off the New Year with my first post about my recent activities

 

Yesterday afternoon we went to watch Aquaman.  We had some movie cards that my MIL's previous work sent her (companies giving things to current & retired executives is a big thing here), but they didn't work at any of the usual theaters we go to.  Instead we tried out a new one near Ghostess's office.  I was a new fully automated theater.  We used the cose on the back of the card to buy the tickets online.  When we got there we input the code into the ticket machine to get out tickets

JIUanRI.jpg

Ticket Machines

 

Once we got the tickets we scanned the QR code on the ticket to get through the automated gates

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Automated gates

 

Even though the whole process was automated, they still had a bunch of employees there to answer questions or to help if the system encountered any problems.  

 

The movie was great.  If DC can make more movies like this they may have a chance of competing with Marvel.

 

After the movie, we went to have dinner.  Ghostess had some vouchers for 2 free meals at a new all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant that had just opened up in her office building.  On our way there, we took some pictures of the Holiday lights (They are up from early December through Chinese New Year)

CemvPTp.jpg

 

When we got to the restaurant they were completely booked.  We had assumed that because it was newly opened it would still be relatively unknown and because it was expensive (more than $100/person) that it would be pretty empty so we didn't make advance reservation.  We had not accounted for how many people would be out and about in the CBD (Central Business District) on New Years Eve.  Ghostess called her friend who is the landlord for the restaurant to see if she could get the manager to bump us up in the line, but it turns out when they said they were full they were literally full (they would have to kick someone out to seat us) so we gave up and went to another place nearby.  

 

The place we went next is called "The Place" and it has the largest outdoor LCD screen in Beijing, and maybe even all of China.

ND0cn0l.jpg

Apparently they were having an event where you could sent them a message and it would upload the picture to the screen, which apparently is a VERY romantic thing to do.  It was also VERY popular and even though it is normally only a 20 minute walk between the two places, it ended up being a 45 minute drive because of all of the traffic trying to get there.  When we got close, I let Ghostess and Ghostlet out to get a table while I parked the car.  They went inside and found that this place was also packed.  It was so full that even the people who had tables didn't have any food because it they just couldn't cook it as fast as the customers were eating.  They gave up and came out to discover that I had only moved about 100 meters during the whole time they were gone.  In the end we decided to go to a favorite burger joint we like called Blue Frog.  It used to be called Bleu Frog to try and give it a French je ne sais quoi.  However, I guess they had so many people comment that the spelled "blue" wrong they just changed the name :D  

 

We ordered a bunch of typical foreign food like burgers, fajitas, spring rolls, and a seafood platter.  Your know, the normal stuff you get in a burger joint

6578vZQ.jpg

 

After dinner we came home and waited up until midnight and then went to bed.

 

This morning I got up and did my Santa Sleigh 5K run, even though it was still -4C.  

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I lost about 30 seconds at the beginning because I was trying to get my phone back into my arm band, but it went pretty well after that.

 

Today for lunch I finished off the last of the leftovers from Christmas and Ghostess and Ghostlet ordered in.  They had regular Chinese takeout

sjcNP77.jpg

That's pig ears, pork calves, and pork offal with tofu for those who didn't recognize them.

 

This afternoon I will do my handstands for the holiday Inverted challenge and then probably relax or something.

 

Edit: Sorry about the coding fail.  Not sure what happened there... :( 

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Your spoilered story was not nearly as gross as I was expecting. But that's not a challenge, you don't need to find grosser things to post. I'm cool with just the food porn.

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56 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

because we have diplomatic immunity.  This is the whole point of being an Ambassador

 

Sure, until a bunch of rebels climb up your embassy walls and kidnap you, erm :D:P 

 

58 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

It used to be called Bleu Frog to try and give it a French je ne sais quoi.  However, I guess they had so many people comment that the spelled "blue" wrong they just changed the name

 

ha ha, fail :D

 

I'm so impressed by how much you work out outside, not just because of the temperature at the moment but because of the pollution level. I'm assuming that Tehran is much less polluted than Beijing but I still get pollution headaches by just walking around sometimes.

 

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3 hours ago, fleaball said:

Your spoilered story was not nearly as gross as I was expecting. But that's not a challenge, you don't need to find grosser things to post. I'm cool with just the food porn.

OK, food porn it is :) 

 

2 hours ago, @mu said:

I'm so impressed by how much you work out outside, not just because of the temperature at the moment but because of the pollution level. I'm assuming that Tehran is much less polluted than Beijing but I still get pollution headaches by just walking around sometimes.

Yeah, this is something that has been a major point of frustration for me.  I remember seeing in the news a while back that pollution in Paris got so bad they started taking emergency measures.  The AQI (Air Quality Index) for them at that time was right around 200.  For me living in Beijing, AQI 200 is my cutoff for acceptable to go outside to workout.  Ghostess thinks this is too unhealthy, but I have had to make a call because if I set it at 150 or lower, the number of days that I can actually go out to exercise will be very limited.  Some of my friends argue that going out when it is 200 I am doing more harm than good, and I would be better off staying home and doing nothing.  It is something that I continue to struggle with.

 

Luckily the government has been doing a lot to help the pollution (at least in Beijing) by limiting the number of cars on the road (Beijing has about 4 million cars on the city roads each day), forcibly relocating much of the heavy industry farther away from Beijing, and by restricting the coal burning in the areas around Beijing.  This last point is probably the single biggest factor driving pollution here, so with the tighter controls in place, the number of green AQI days here (less than 50) has risen significantly.  The upcoming Olympics is also a big factor in this.  The wind in Beijing comes from the north, through a place called Zhangjiakou, which is where the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held.  There has been a lot of investment to harness that wind for electricity, and that helps, but it isn't enough to meet all of the needs of the area.  However, there is a flip side to this.  The reason so many people were burning coal was because they had no other affordable way to heat their homes, schools and offices.  While burning less coal is arguably best for the greater good, seeing images of elementary school kids sitting in literally freezing classrooms makes it hard to enjoy the smog free trade-off. 

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15 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I hope China finds workable solutions for air pollution.

I'm sure they will, it is really just a question of how soon and at what cost.

 

12 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Looking forward to this, the cultural differences in everyday life are fascinating!

I think so too :) 

 

36 minutes ago, @mu said:

Clean air is becoming a luxury in so many places :( 

So true.  Unfortunately it isn't just air.  Last night Ghostlet was telling me about a lake in China that is famous for 2 things: 1) it has more than 1,000 islands and 2) the water is so clean it meets international standards for drinking water without any treatment.  That makes me very sad.

 

Not much to update since yesterday.  I got upside down for the Inverted holiday challenge (pictures here).  I had beef dumplings for lunch made myself some pollo negro quesadillas for dinner.

nw8Zahn.jpg

 

This morning I was planning to go to the park to work out after dropping Ghostlet off at school, but it -11C so I decided to wait for a bit.  The forecast said it was supposed to get up to 2C today, so I figured a later workout would be nicer.  By noon it was still -6, so I gave up on that just did some chores around the house.  I fried up the leftover dumplings and ate them with a sauce made from soy sauce, garlic cured red vinegar, and some chili sauce.

Mz0Q6JY.jpg

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3 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I fried up the leftover dumplings and ate them with a sauce made from soy sauce, garlic cured red vinegar, and some chili sauce.

Now I really want dumplings :) It is a shame about the air and water pollution. 

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Mmmm dumplings. 

I have to say I'm super grateful that I live in an urban area where the air quality is so good!

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9 hours ago, @mu said:

Clean air is becoming a luxury in so many places :( 

 

The area not far from where I live was once called "The Chemical Valley." There are still several major chemical companies working out of this area, but EPA regulations have really cut down on much of the air pollution in that area (I say "cut down," but it's far from perfect).

 

8 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

beef dumplings

 

giphy.gif 

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ooooh, CHINA. I had family living there in the 1990s and was fortunate to travel there for several weeks. it was an incredible experience for a 19 year old.

I am so jealous of the food, pls more food porn thx. 

 

oh and hi! thank you for telling me about the diplomatic immunity, for some reason I missed that in my intro packet and now WHO DARES DREAM THE LEVEL OF HAVOC THAT SHALL BE EMBARKED UPON. 

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