Friday, July 3, 2009

The Art of Negotiating with a Chinese Vendor.

As promised, I have compiled through my own good and bad experiences, the proper way to get any product of your choosing for the best possible price sold by any vendor in China. Here are the rules you must go by for an almost guaranteed success.

1. When you first decide you want a particular item ie: a set of chopsticks. You must first walk around and get a market price. They will all differ, so you want to try and find the items of the most similar qualities like design, workmanship, and materials. If you don't go looking around first, you're going to get screwed. I worked the whole bargaining process to what I thought was successful, however when I went to the next vendor the same thing was 1/4 of the price from the first spot I went to. Big mistake. So always establish a general market price for the item you want. Never buy too soon, the same items are practically in every corner you go.

2. After you've established the item you are interested in, you must ask them how much they want. Remember they are out to make any dollar they can, so the starting price is always going to be high as hell. Let's say the chopsticks will go for 150RMB. You should always respond with a lowball offer of 1/3 the asking price. Say 50. They will always laugh and say no. Then you ask them what they feel is a reasonable price. They will probably throw another price back at you say... 130. You just need to be firm with a little flexibility and say 60. They will be stubborn but you need to be stubborn back. They are itching for any American dollar they can get.

3. If you don't speak Mandarin, it's ok. In fact, it might be better that you speak English. I've tried both ways negotiating in Mandarin and in English. With Mandarin, it seems like you need to really know what you are saying. My speaking level is pretty conversational at best, but I knew what to say. With English, you are empowered. When my American friend and I were at a store we purposely spoke English to each other so that we can discuss the pricing. Later on, we realized some of the vendors can speak English as well. So we started to speak a little Spanish and at even Pig Latin... Es yay, I yay aid say ig Pay atin Lay! Silly, but sometimes you want to dicuss in private without them breathing down your neck. A typical line is.. "too much" or "your chopsticks aren't made very well, they are bad quality". You have to keep emphasizing that you can get the same thing in the USA for much cheaper than what they are asking for. Remember, more than half of our American goods are made in China. Why? Because the big wigs in the States are trying to capitalize on their sales by having cheaper costs. You gotta figure that anything you get their is only worth a few cents on the dollar. You have to let them know that you are aware of their seller's cost. Say something like... "I know your chopsticks only cost you 20, That's why 50 is reasonable." They are going to play it off like they are better than that, but in reality they REALLY want to sell it to you.

4. Before executing the sale you should always separate your money. If you have an idea of how much you want to spend, say the 50-75 RMB, have it prepared in one pocket. I bought these sunglasses for 70 RMB. The starting price was at 180 and I wasn't going to quit until I got the price of my preference. I purposely put 70 in one pocket so when it came down to it you won't show your wad of cash and it looks like you only have 70 to spend. Waving it around might also work... not like in an offending way. But show them you have the money and you are ready to buy, usually they start to blink $$ and will give in.

5. Do not look desperate. You have to be nonchalant about the whole thing. Let them know that if you don't get your price, you will go to the next vendor. That's last thing they want to hear because you are a tourist, and you ARE going to spend money if not with them, then with the next vendor you see. Tell them, if you can't get it here then, no worries, you'll go next door.

6. Most importantly, this is the single most effective gester in all of buying from the Chinese... WALK AWAY. If not, then step by step inch your way out of their storefront. As soon as you get near or out the door, they lost that sale and it sucks for them. I've done the showing them the money, and saying I'm going somewhere else and they didn't budge. So I walked. To be honest, it didn't matter to me that I didn't buy from that guy. But literally 200 ft. down the sidewalk, He chased me down and said "ok ok, your price is ok". So I went back and bought 2 items for 30. He originally wanted 50 each. Success!

When buying in China, unless you are purchasing from a fixed rate store which is hard to find unless you are in a legit shopping mall, the prices will always be flexible. Don't be afraid to bargain, and if you don't get the exact price you wanted that's also fine. As long as you can live with the amount you paid for, that's all that really matters. In my many purchases in China, I've gotten good prices and I've also gotten bad ones too. Through trial and error you will figure out what works and what doesn't. It will take a few times until you find that right groove and then it's just smooth sailing. I'm still a student at this, but I feel like I've learned alot this trip. My cousin told me he once got something (I forgot what it was) for 40 when the starting price was 250!! He is a native Chinese speaker which also helps, but it shows that the markup is ridiculously high geared for tourists like ourselves. So don't be a sucker (trust me, I was one at the beginning too) and pay anything more than half of their asking price. Most of the time, following these basic rules will work, but not everytime. It's all about perfect timing with these people. Remember this is all fun stuff, it's not like you HAVE to buy something. But if you do, let's make sure you get the best bang for your buck! Good luck!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Get Ready, this is like a thesis paper...

Hello all. Because of communism and heavy censorship in China, I wasn't able to post anything on Blogspot for about a week. Here are my own entries, that I just cranked out during my stay over there. These are the posts here all at once. Server is slow here, I'll add pictures when I can. I just can't be sitting around waiting 25 minutes for a posting if I just add one picture. If you follow my facebook albums, you should be able to match up the blogs according to album dates. enjoy!

I went to Taishan to visit my aunts and my cousins. It's been 7 years since I've been back to Taiwan so it was nice to see them again. My cousin retired something like 4 years ago so he cooked lunch and we dined over a nice long catch up conversation. My nephew (who's actually 2 years older than me, this is my dad's oldest sister's family) took me out to the local pool hall here. I rode on a scooter and followed him there. I would never ride one out in the city because there are way too many cars/scooters/traffic out there and I don't have enough balls to weave around like the locals do. In Taishan, it's more of a suburb outside of the city so there are much less cars and traffic, although it can be just as hairy to be riding around. I had him take me the back way so I didn't have to deal with that kinda shit. The pool hall was very nice. We played on a Chinese replica of a Gold Crown 3 but it had Simonis 860, solid rails, and Aramith Pro TV balls. Because my nephew rarely plays pool, he called up his old classmate who came out and played with me. We played some straight pool and I was getting whooped. I kept making too many silly mistakes on shots I shouldn't have missed. My average run was about 4 balls while Gary, my opponent, was packing 8 to 12 balls a run. He was already at 40 something while I was still in the teens. well something happened. Perhaps I finally got used to the house cue (I did switch cues 3 times while I was there) because I started to fire it up. We played to 70 and he was at 68, he made a failed breakout attempt. I ran 22 balls to win that game! It took me nearly 2 hours to get into stroke. we played another 15 racks or so of 9 ball and then called it quits. Table time boiled down to something like 3.50 an hour for 4! Not so bad! I had some hot pot dinner with the family at this restaurant where we each get our own pot, pick out our own ingredients and then cook it. Delicious it was!

I am now in Shanghai. It's a much different town than Taiwan. Firstly the air is thicker here.. I guess its all the smog and other pollution floating around. It's pretty much just as humid and hot, but that is already to be expected. Because we had a house out there, living in Shanghai was much more comfortable than having to go find hotels or whatever. We got some massages at their local spas. They treat you with a lot of respect, which might be a Chinese thing. But for about 23 US dollars, we got an hour long foot massage and an hour long back massage. It was really good. Here the streets are pretty dirty, they have people paid by the government specifically to sweep the streets, with a broom. haha!

I am sitting here at the Hong Qiao Airport as I wait for my flight. I am going to Fu Zhou from here in Shanghai to visit my friend who moved there from LA. I haven't written a blog in almost a week because in China they actually ban websites like Blogspot. I figure it's because you get free speech on those kinds of websites and unfortunately in a Communist society, there is nothing such as free speech. The past several days have been rather interesting. Upon arriving to Shanghai, the first thing we did was head to this shopping mall which looks like a regular mall. As soon as you walk in you realize that everything looks high end, however nothing is authentic. From Louis Vuitton bags, to iPhones, PSP's, clothing, shoes, golf clubs, watches, leather goods... you name it. Anything that is expensive if it were real has been replicated in this store. The quality is actually pretty good. I was very surprised in the worksmanship of these products. Over the years, they've improved ways of making these things and selling at a pretty damn cheap price. I picked up some stuff, but learned the hard way. More on that later.

We went to the Pudong district where we took a ferry down the Yellow River. It was very nice seeing the city from the water. It's certainly a different perspective than from the shore. The city at night is beautiful, lots of sky-scrapers and nice buildings that light up at night. The city really glows in the dark. Later that night we went to a family dinner. This is my friend's family, who is a fairly large party. We ate at the Jade Garden and had lots of authentic Shanghainese food.

The next day we went out to the Yi Yuan which is this old Buddhist temple that was transformed into a tourist spot which lots of little shops and street vendors. There you can buy lots of little trinkets and other gifts. There are people walking around with a brochure of many replica pictures and ask if you want stuff. If you do you follow them down the street into this "house" which on the inside is a full on replica store. All leather goods, watches, clothing, electronics and whatnot can be found there. We followed one of the guys into this store, and I was quite amazed to find many other tourists inside shopping there. You can see white people saying "oh this is very nice!" and stuff.

Everyday in Shanghai minus today (Sunday) I've managed to pull some marathon sessions of pool with Angela. So far we've played no less than 3 hours a day and at some times, up to 6 hours. Pool isn't the cheapest.. about 40 RMB at this one spot close to home which boils down to about 6.50/hour. We also went to a more upscale one for 50RMB/hr. The only thing is we saw some cockroaches running around which didnt seem to bother me as much as it did to Angela. I mean, I figure it's China... What more can you expect?? You can smoke inside, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you see it. But the coolest part about pool halls in China, is there is always a girl who is on standby to rack for you. Sometimes, I'd rather just do it, but as soon as they see you rack, they RUN over to take care of it. They insist! So really, to be paying about 7 bucks an hour, you really cant complain!

The streets are much different comapred to Taiwan. China seems to still be developing economically speaking. The people look poorer and more like peasants at times. The street vendors are everywhere and seem more desperate for your business. Time to board the plane.

During the plane ride, I noticed many beautiful Chinese women, probably in their 20's. If I had a means to I'd bring one home, I think I would, haha. Next to me was a mom probably in her later 20's with her 7 year old son (I asked his age). He was a cute little kid. When it was ok to unbuckle the seatbelts, she put up the arm rest between them and he laid down on her lap sideways. While he was sleeping, she was just rubbing his head, making sure he is sleeping well, caressing him because he is her only child. She then called for a blanket I was really moved because I can really see true love between mother and son, and also reminds me of when I was a little boy flying with my mom. That was more of a throwback to my own childhood and a reminder of how much my mom took care of me when I was a young lad.

I arrived in Fu Zhou. upon picking up my luggage, over 10 cab drivers from all directions are running up to me asking if i need a ride. They are even pushing and shoving each other to pick up their next customer. It was a funny scene. Fortunately my friend Tony was there to pick me up. We drove through a nice countryside region into the city of Fu Zhou. Here, he tells me is a 2nd world country. The streets are grittier, the city is still developing, and tourists are a rare sight. here prositution, drugs, gambling, and all the vices of mankind are very much present. The cops dont do anything about it. In Shanghai, Angela and I got massages (legit kind). So I asked Tony if I could get one here. He tells me all the massage parlors here are happy ending kinds, there are no such thing as legit in Fu Zhou, that also goes for the same in Canton. Your only protection in many parts of this city is from the gangs. They offer protection but of course the store owners have to pay some kind of fee. Aside from the dark side of this city, I can't say much about it yet. I arrived at night and outside of my hotel room window, I'm looking at many more hotel windows which are all facing each other. I think this is going to be fun.

I got up and was famished. I waited for Tony to pick me up from the hotel. Tony, his wife Summer, her friend, and I got Dim Sum for brunch with his which was very tasty. My favorite dish since I was a child, turnip cake, was not that great. Turns out this place does not specialize in making it too much. I we back to Tony's office where he can finish up some work before we went out. He works on the 21st first floor right next to the river in Fu Zhou. There is a very nice view with a pretty good range of the city. He has a balcony on both ends of the office so I can see from the east to west. After his office, we went to the Yushan mountain. There is a hot spring resort there were there are more than 15 different springs to hang out in. It was way too hot out, so we just went out to the wave pool. At the wave pool was another party of people. Turns out they are from some kind of mafia. You can tell because they all had particular Chinese tyle tattoos on their arms or backs. They each had a girl hanging out with them. Basically we just minded our own business which was no big deal. I mean, we are all there to get outta town and chill out, so that's exactly what we did. We then went inside where there is a chill out room with AC and nice couches where they serve you fruits and drinks. You can watch TV, or sleep, or do whatever you'd like. Later on, we drove back down the mountain, about 27 kilometers to the city. We met up with Summer again and went out to a nice restaurant. You pick out your dishes first from a giant menu on the wall, or pick your fish from the tank, then they take you upstairs into your own prvate room where they serve you. There were alot of very weird and rare looking sea creatures, like a crocodile turtle and H which looks like a giant crab with a turtle shell over it..

Anyhow afterwards Tony took me to a new Hotel. The Fujian Tianfu Hotel. It's supposed to be a 3 star place. It looks nice from the outside, and the lobby seems kinda fancy. When I got into my room, it was OK. Was more spacious than the Home Inn, but was a bit musty. Well after everything seemed fine, Tony and Summer left to go home. I went to take a leak and next to me on the sink counter I see a baby cockroach crawling around... Shit! I was freaked, but I dont panic to those kinda things. I grabbed a wad of toilet paper and killed it and flushed it down the toilet. I went to call Tony to tell him I need a new room. I was sitting on the side of the bed, and while on the phone with him, another one crawled out from under the nightstand. HOLY FUCKING SHIT! I said to him. I need a new room now! well they got me a another room on the other side of the floor. It wasnt humid and we all check every inch of the room, banging on the walls, checking under the bed, sinks, tables, looking for any sign of bugs. It was fine, so I stayed. Well another thing about hotels in Fu Zhou are the call girls. They call your room and ask if you want a "massage" Tony tells me these are hookers who work for the hotel. Remember, this is a town where the cops look the other way when it comes to stuff like this. I said not now and hung up. She called again something like 45 minutes later and I said I'm too tired. She was like "it's really not that late, I can rub your back". haha bull. It's not like I dont want a massage. The naughty part, well I wouldnt mind it so much but the truth is, I've never paid for any sexual favors and I dont know how I'd feel afterwards. Next, I'm an American and they can immediately tell by the way I speak Chinese. I wouldn't want to have her come in and then she calls her peoples who would then come in with weapons and rob me. That would suck mighty goat balls. China isn't the safest place when you are in a town with minimal tourists, alone, and barely speak their language. My Chinese comprehention is pretty conversational at best. It was only about 11pm or so when the girl called me for the last time and I said I was going to bed, and I did shortly after. I was burnt out. Tony says the girls typically give full service for about 200 RMB or approximately 30 US dollars. HAHA, not this time! Note: I was just told that all hotels are like that... whether you are in Shanghai, Fu Zhou, Beijing, wherever.. there will always be a girl calling up to your room to see if you want a massage. Even in the nice hotels like the Shangri-La and Ritz Carlton, there will probably be a phone call offer their services

I woke at about 8am to the symphony of car horns of all pitches and octives. There is mad girdlock at the intersections around the hotel. I went downstairs for their free "continental" which is actually full on Chinese food. I had some steamed buns, fried biscuit, chow mein, steamed cabbage, and soy milk. Not bad for a free meal. I went and checked out and got my deposit back. I paid 178RMB for that one night which was about 26 bucks. I guess I REALLY can't complain about shit like roaches when you pay that much. Just kinda funny bc it's supposed to be a decent one. Tony took me to work, then I met up with his dad who is also my friend. He took me around town and to the historic temple in Fu Zhou. It is where they also trained soldiers to fight against the Japanese in the 1930's and before. Taiwan used to be colonized by Japan and Fu Zhou which is a center of the Fujian province.

I am supposed to have a 9:25pm flight back to Shanghai to arrive sometime around 10:30pm. We were so damn late getting to the airport we were blasting down the freeway. Tony in his Audi A4 was ripping around 150kmph. I'm guessing that around 100mph, but we were flying. we get there around 8:50 and I'm running like a mother with my luggage to to ticket counter. Tony by my side with another one of my bags ran with me. We got there and my legs were cramped, my shins have been splinted, and I'm all sweaty again. I finally get to the counter and surprise for flying domestic in China, we are delayed... Ok fine. I check my stuff through and get over to the waiting area.

It's 11:08pm right now. They couldn't tell us the new departure time until less than 5 minutes ago. our new departure time is 12:40am. fucking bullshit. I need to head back to Shanghai to repack the rest of my luggage to be ready to leave at 8am to Taipei. I am just glad its not canceled. That woulda been bad. So here I am waiting. Everyone around me is restless and as soon as we got our new flight time, chaos errupted! people start running to the counter to complain, people throwing hands in the air, shouting... the whole bit. It's kinda funny. I can't do anything about it so I just sit there and deal with it. It's quite unfortunate, but at least the plane is still going to send me back to where I gotta be. My battery on the laptop is unfortunately at about 50% so I don't think I'll have too much to kill time with this computer. Anyway, just sitting and waiting, listening to some tunes... On the Go playlist: Deadmau5, Thrice, Chromatics, Rx Bandits, Tiesto, Alkaline trio, ATB, Pendulum and more.

Update: So the plan took off at the new time. In the middle of our flight, the captain made an announcement saying that we aren't going to land back at Hong Qiao Airport due to weather conditions.. Instead we are flying into Pudong Intl. Airport which is a whole hour away from my house rather than 10 from Hong Qiao. Man the crowded errupted again. So as soon as we landed they said they would give us a shuttle to take us back to Hong Qiao. When the seatbelt light went off, everyone unbuckled and started to get their stuff. The light went back on and the flight attendant said everyone sit back down we arent done with the taxi. AHHHH the crowd.. Its already past 2am at this point. So we had to take a shuttle which bussed us out of the runway area into the airport. Then in the airport, pickup our luggage and then head out to get on the bus to take us home.. that was also chaotic. I threw my stuff into their compartment and luckily grabbed a seat. less than 2 minutes later it was full and people who had already put their bags underneath in the compartments had to take them out and wait for the next bus. These were like charter busses. The ride back to the city was about 45 minutes until I woke up and the driver was dropping people off in the middle of this one street. I asked him if I was closer to home from this point or from the HQ Airport. He said this place is closer so I got off here. Next was a taxi war. There was about 10 people who got dropped off there. We were all fighting to get taxis by walking up the street to cut the next person. Actually I just walked up a little to hold my spot. But there were people that started arguing over who got the next cab. Take in mind it's already 3 in the morning and taxis aren't the most abundant at that time. Anyway I got the 5th cab or so and then took another 18 minute ride back home. By that time it was around 4am. So much for that... 8+hour adventure for an hour long flight back to Shanghai!

Well remember when I said when I learned something the hard way? well I was rather ripped off that that replica department store on the first day and at the Temple. When I told uncle Steven how much I paid for some merch, he was apalled... which made me angry. I have learned the ropes through experience and many trials and errors. Stay tuned for my next blog where I explain the art of bargaining with a Chinese vendor with the power of US dollars!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

And.... We're Off!

2 days ago, I started a month long journey to Taiwan and China. I am traveling with my good friend Angela who pretty much knows her way around these places. When we first got to LAX and completed the check in, we hung out at the International VIP lounge which is a place for people with business or first class flights to wait their grueling airport escapades. Typically flying economy, we got Dynasty(business) class tickets which meant we could go in and chill. It was a first for me. There they had lots of food from instant noodles, sushi, sandwiches, chips, fruits, to all the drinks you could want including beers and hard alcohol. I just had myself a light meal of a small turkey sandwich, kimchi instant noodles, and some fruit.

The flight itself is about 13.5 hours from LA. I thought it was going to be pretty bad because my flight to France last summer was unbearable. But in the Dynasty class the seats were wide, and leg space was more than plentiful. I could recline pretty low and enough to be comfortable in that position. We were treated with real nice service and airplane food, yes the airplane can still be delicious! During the flight I was able to finish up Jay Helfert's book POOL WARS which is now a book on my "you better read this" list. Angela and I played Pasoy( aka: Pasoy Dos or Big 2) for quite a while with The Action Report match between Shane and Alex in the background on my latop. I saw some Chinese romantic comedy (I had to read the subtitles but the dramatic acting was enough to tell the story), Taken, and The Road to Perdition which just made my top movies list. All in all a decent flight, and next thing you know we are touch down in Taipei.

So upon getting to Angela's house we settled in a bit. It was about 9 in the evening or so which was 6am in LA time. I made some calls to family to on both the home front and in Taiwan to let them know I've arrived, then Angela and I went out to see the city. Being a Saturday night, I wanted to see where all the people are going. So we went to a nearby night market after seeing what appears to be an evening swapmeet down a street I kept seeing the same thing over and over.. cheap bags, clothing, random trinkets, shoes, and of course... the food. After about an hour we got bored to we walked to a pool hall to hit some balls around. This one was on the 9th floor atop the famous nightclub Luxy. The equipment was pretty damn good for the first pool hall i walked into this trip. Gold Grown 4's, blue Simonis 860, and Aramith TV balls.. all well cleaned and maintained. Angela and I played some 9 ball for about an hour or so then we headed back. We hadn't taken a rest since we got off the plane.

The next day (yesterday) we went to Mos Burger for breakfast/lunch. I guess they started in Japan, but it's a burger joint that's open 24 hours. I got a normal burger with fries and an iced tea. Oh my goodness! their portions are so small! Their burger was about the size of a 99cent McDonalds cheeseburger with some lettuce and the fries were also about a small sized. The ice tea was approximately the size between a small and medium cup from McD's. I feel like next time I should order 2 bc at less than 4 bucks for that how meal I really couldnt complain. After lunch we walked to this one spot near a McDonalds were I got an iced coffee from a walk up window of the McCafe. There we met Angela's old high school friend Tami who now lives Taipei. We walked around a bit then ended up at this tea house where we had some cold beverages and played more Pasoy. It's my understanding that this is the card game of choice in Taiwan and the gambling can get a bit crazy. I will let you how it goes if/when I get into that action.

After drinking and playing cards, we went to KTV or kareoke. I was never that great at singing, but I know I can hold my own. However, when you take an American such as myself and give me a library of songs in a Taiwanese kareoke joint... well let's just say I was moreso the spectator for the next couple hours, haha! After Angela and Tami pretty much exhausted their vocal chords, when went back to the same pool hall ( I promise I'll get the name next time I go) to hit some more balls. We played me against them 2 race to 80 in straight pool. I had already gotten to 24 and they only had 4 balls. My longest run was only 10 during that session, but hey I can't complain with the way I was playing. I brought my cues with me and still have yet to bring it out with me. The last two times we were being tourists and on the go so bringing our sticks wouldn't have been all that convenients. I think tonight I will make a trip out to either this or a new pool hall with my cues to play and maybe feel out the action side of things.

I left Tami and Angela at the pool hall to meet with an old childhood friend Ann who lives here to have dinner with her boyfriend Hogan. We had Thai food which turned out to be pretty good. After dinner we met with her friend Jessie who is an actress/singer/model (pretty damn cute too!) here in Taiwan and also the only friend of Ann who has a car. You really don't need a car out here, but it does make things more convenient. She drove this little BMW 120d couple probably small than a Civic and oh my God... I think I had found the epitomy of crazy Asian woman driver! We survived but she drives with a heavy foot, loves to weave lanes, and text message/call at the same time! I was on the edge of my seat and even put on my seatbelt which they all found funny. People only wear seatbelts in the front seat, but I would rather wear one all the time.

So we went to the the top of this mountain just outside of the city and I wish I remembered the name of it. But we ended up at this lounge called The Top which is nestled near the summit with a beautiful setup and scenic view. There I had an iced hazelnut coffee which was made rather well. I practiced my shitty Mandarin as much as I could while they learned about my life here in the States. There a black cat was roaming around one of the cabanas and then we saw a spider with a diameter of 5 inches. No joke... it was huge! As soon as the flash to my camera went off, it ran from the planter 5 feet away to under the table we were sitting at, which then scared the girls, which caused a funny little scene, which pretty much was perfect timing to leave, haha. So we headed back down the mountain to the city once again. There we went to what is said to be the most famous night market in Taipei. Once again, sorry for my lack of Chinese skills but I forgot the name of it. If you ask anyone in Taipei, they will probably take you there. There we roamed around getting little things to eat like salted papayas and cantelope among a sea of people doing the same. There was alot of funky stuff too like insides of pigs, ducks, and cows... I duno, not too interested in that department. We stopped by this indoor section with a pet store. Jessie loves animals. She's got 4 dogs at home and I think she'd probably get more if she could. She was basically "ohh I want him!" to a rabbit, a buncha dogs, a gerbel, and then a goat in the back. HAHA. I think she'd open a mini zoo if she could.

Now in this night market, I guess its comprised of a few streets, then the vendors on the street are in the middle of it. I didn't know, but I guess the street vendors arent allowed to be there. Because when we came out of the pet store, the street was pretty much cleared minus the shops physically on the street. I was confused. I was told that when the cops come, they pack up and go... actually no. They roll away and hide. Then when the cops are gone, they come back and open up shop. Within 5 minutes, the street is crowded with people again. It's such a crazy thing! The 4 of us went to this shaved ice parlor and we got ourselves a mango shaved ice and a peanut shaved ice. Yes, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into but damn it was delicious! The evening then boiled to an end and it was time to go home. Jessie dropped off Ann and Hogan then me to Angela's place. So far I've been very moved by the hospitality shown by all the people I've been around. I was going to write this blog before bed, but I knocked out in the middle of backing up my pictures, hehe. So now is 9:38 am and I have just about finished here.

Not too much jet lag, I lived a nocturnal life in LA anyway. In less than 2 days, We are flying to Shanghai for a week. Stay tuned!

NOTE: I can't get my pics to upload right now. And since words are only half the story, I promise to get them up when I can.. time for breakfast!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Photoshoot gone bad.

So today my friend Daniel and I were asked to be subjects for a photoshoot taken by a talented friend and photographer by the name of Hamesh Shahani at Mr. Pockets a local pool hall in the South Bay. We were all dressed up in nice shirts, ties, and vests to give it a classy look. We were both taking shots and just posing for him and all was going well. He then tells Daniel that he wants to take some breakshots of him. Instead of literally breaking a rack he just broke the cue ball straight into the cross corner pocket. Since they were drop pockets, I was just fetching the cue ball and returning it to him standing directly in his line of sight. Well the KINO light was in his face so I guess that was blinding to him. Of course I was looking at Hamesh take the shots so I wasnt watching the ball. After the 10th or so shot, Daniel just whacked at the cue ball and for whatever reason(not chalking, getting tired, jacking up on the cue... who knows) the freaking ball shoots straight into my forehead.

FUUUUUCK I yelled. I just grabbed my head and bend down. I initally head laughter, which is fine because it is funny, just not when it happens to me. I looked at my hands to realize there is no blood and then I calmed a bit. Everyone rushed over to me and told me to sit down and whatnot. I mean it really hurt, but not to the point of me passing out or anything. The thud was pretty loud. They all said they could hear the cue ball's impact on my domepiece. With that we took a short break while I got some ice to put over my head. I usually have great reflexes. I mean I was a hockey goalie for years. But the normal overhead light was off bc H wanted to control his light better and I just wasn't looking. Had that overhead light been on, I woulda seen that white ball shoot at me and I would have either caught it or dodged it. Too bad it was neither. I know Daniel didn't mean it. But shiet jamofo! You just threw a rock at my head! haha. Moments later we were back at it, but I kept poking at my bump to see how badly it swelled. It swelled alright, but not as bad as I thought it would. We continued shooting, and then Hamesh started taking close up shots of my face. I hope those pictures don't accentuate my bump.

Overall it was a good shoot. I still can't believe it happened to me though. This is the first and hopefully last time I'll ever take a cue ball to my head. Yeah, they can jump off the table and maybe bump into someone's leg or something. But I've never seen that happen. Too bad it wasn't filmed bc it surely woulda been online by now. My head still kinda stings when I touch it. But I think the swelling should be gone by tomorrow. sigh.... what a day!

I'll have more blogs about past events later.. Just had to put this one out first.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's About Time...

Hello there,

Today I have finally decided to get on with the blogs through a new venue. Blogspot seems to be the more widely accepted and easier to handle site for this kinda stuff. Those days of Livejournal(yes, were YOU there?) and Myspace are over. On February 22nd, or a day close to it, I opened this account, and over 3 months later I have gotten my lazy ass to restart these short stories and ramblings of my life. So without further adue, here it goes... enjoy!