First time on this blog? Beijing Traffic Lesson: Left Turn is probably a good place to start.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Frank's Place Part II: Prince, Chinese Style

It's Friday night again, which seems to happen about once a week here, so I went back over to Franks Place for another delicious burger and a little baseball (they seem to show a replay of an MLB game at 9:30 p.m. local time). Today it was Giants-Mets in New York, and I got to see Barry Bonds pop up weakly to the third baseman.

I also noticed a soundcheck happening out on the patio. So after I finished my burger, I took my Tsingtao (if you're ever here, be sure to pronounce it "Shing-doe" or the waitress will laugh at you) and went out to the patio.

It was raining, so I was one of maybe 7 people listening (still better than the Sam Scratch gig in Fargo, am I right?). I took a table under the umbrella and soaked in some American blues and funk.

The band was led by an African-American on lead vox and guitar, with a Chinese drummer and bass player - the bassist was named Wen (he had painted a giant 'W' on his cabinet grille) and played what may have been an authentic Fender P-bass.

So I'm just chillin', feet up, and they launch into a song I'm sure we can all enjoy:

[EDIT: June 6 - I've been censored! Not by who you'd think. The following was an ultra-poor quality 8-second snippet of a band covering Prince's song "Kiss," and I now see that when I click on it, I get the following message:

"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Universal Music Publishing Group"

Well done, gentlemen. I hope you feel the $250 an hour your lawyers charged you to kill my little funny was well spent.]

(Sorry for the quality. My phone can only take 8 seconds of video at low resolution.)

Ah. A slice of home.


As you may know, the company was kind enough to fly me to Beijing first class. My wife was amused when I called her from the plane on May 10 and was interrupted by a flight attendant handing me slippers and a wine list, something that rarely happens in coach, where I normally sit.

Anyway, as a cheapskate, I kept the slippers and have used them in Beijing. But they got ratty and torn (they are essentially disposable), so I decided to switch to the complimentary slippers the building supplies with each apartment.

I might as well have been putting on Audrey Hepburn's 5th grade ballet slippers.

The crane farmers have nurtured and fertilized them all year, and these cranes are almost ripe!

Soon it will be time to harvest them, pack them in ice and ship them off to construction-deprived nations, like the U.S.!

Beijing is nuts, as you may have gathered. There are probably 40-50 skyscrapers under construction right now, many of them designed and built as though money were no object.

One of the most famous buildings under construction is the new CCTV (China Cable Television) headquarters, which will look like this (watch for it in your local Olympics '08 broadcast!):

Here's what it looks like now:

Just for the curious, here's a typical street scene one block from my work building:

And that's all I got for today. Beijing OOT!