Day 264 in Beijing: Time To Shop: Tibetan Style.

So, this was a blog post that I wrote about a week ago.

For some reason, none of the material I wrote, or the pictures that I posted, showed up.

I was at work today so I couldn’t do anything about it so I wrote this blog to make up for it.

The joys of trying to figure out blogs, written in China, that go out at 10 AM in San Francisco, while trying to trouble shoot at 12 in the afternoon, Beijing time, a blog post that was supposed to go out at midnight that morning.

If that sentence confuses you, you know how a small glimpse into my everyday world.

Cheers and I’ll post the original post tomorrow to make up for the missed Tibetan Style blog that was supposed to out today. 


Day 262 in Beijing: Cute Doggie!

Don't mess with Super Chihuahua!

Don’t mess with Super Chihuahua!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I love the little doggies people own here in China.

Beijing actually has a law against bigger dogs but I know people that have full sized Afghans (the dog, not the people) living in their apartments.

Most people have tiny little cute dogs that make Jill and me laugh when we see them walking around.

As I came home from work, I saw this little guy and couldn’t stop laughing.

I pulled out my iPhone and started taking a picture and then switched to video.

He had so much spirit and pride.

And if I was forced to wear that outfit, I’d have neither.

Day 258 in Beijing: Geographer Cafe.

Welcome to the Geographer Cafe!

Welcome to the Geographer Cafe!

After walking around for a while, we decided to grab a bite to eat.

We love Malaysian food and we decided, on New Year’s Day, to start being vegetarian.

This is somewhat difficult in China because we can’t speak Mandarin and there is so much meat in the food in most restaurants.

However, in Malaysia, where English is a primary language, it is quite simple.

We walked into the Geographer Cafe and thought it looked like a good place to have a nosh.

So, we ordered up some vegetarian spring rolls and some other Malaysian food that was delicious.

As we looked around the place, we noticed how it was a “world traveler” kind of cafe and we asked to go upstairs and into the closed areas of the restaurant.

The staff smiled and agreed.

We really enjoyed checking out this place and definitely recommend stopping by if you ever get a chance.

Heck, they even had an tango floor upstairs!

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Day 257 in Beijing: Shantaram.

Shantaram on the horizon.

Shantaram on the horizon.

And we bounce back to Melaka, Malaysia on our around the world post today!

Jill, Dipesh and I were walking through the back streets of Melaka and just taking in the sites.

Jill has been reading the book Shantaram for about a month now and seems to enjoy it.

She’s the kind of person that when she starts something, she doesn’t quit.

She almost never gives up and stays on track and keeps a positive attitude.

The few times I’ve seen her have a rough patch, we do a little Daily Mood Log work from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and she’s right back on the beam!

I only write this because I’m a huge fan of people practicing what they preach, and I preach behavioral therapy.

I also use the mood logs, downward arrows, cost benefit analysis and other techniques myself.

I’ve found they allow me to let go of the automatic negative thoughts and cognitive distortions I used to believe and that caused me incredible pain and anguish.

They still pop up, once in a while, and it is now so easy to defeat them and continue on with my amazing and happy life.

Jill is able to do that now also which is something I’m quite glad she was open to learning and able to master so quickly.

Notice the interesting masks just below the overhang.

Notice the interesting masks just below the overhang.

Suffice to say, she’s an amazing person.

As to how this pertains to the blog post:  She has been reading this massive book for over a month and is continuing to work through it and finish it.  I applaud this sense of personal drive and hard work.  I’m also glad she enjoys the book, because, if she didn’t, it would be a pretty miserable way to spend her time.

We happened to pass by this little eccentric bar and noticed its name immediately.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy traveling so much: The unexpected surprises and “connections” that I make to other parts of the world and to my, and other’s, lives.

Unfortunately, the bar was closed so we didn’t get a chance to go inside but I’m guessing it probably was just as amazing inside as it was outside.

Day 249 in Beijing: Matching Shirts.

We love our little motorcycle and sidecar shirt!

We love our little motorcycle and sidecar shirt!

Jill and I went out to dinner with our friend, Brian, a few months ago.

He introduced us to one of his friends, Laurie Burkitt, who writes for the Wall Street Journal.

She did a piece on couples that wear the same shirt to show love and affection since there isn’t a lot of public displays between people in China.

Well, Jill and I took it one step further.

Love on a bug!

Love on a bug!

As we were walking around Maleka, with our friend Dipesh, we actually found shirts that are a “combined” cartoon when we wear them side-by-side.

Yes, we really are that dorky.

We have worn them a few times in Beijing and our friends laugh and think they are pretty cool.

I’m glad we bought them so we can show affection to each other while not offending anyone.

Actually we do hold hands and kiss in public.

We are so scandalous!


Day 235 in Beijing: Love and Marriage…and Pedicabs.

First time I've done a wedding day photo.

First time I’ve done a wedding day photo.

Jill and I were walking around Melaka, Malaysia and noticed all the gorgeous pedicabs.

During the day, they are pretty to look at but, at night, they are a sight to behold!

As we started taking pictures, a camera crew and this couple walked up holding hands.

As you can see, he is wearing a very nice suit and she is wearing an immaculate hijab.

I doubt I’d want to wear one all the time, but I’ve found that the hijab seems to really compliments a person’s face and highlight the person’s eyes.

In the pictures, you can see how it truly focuses the viewers eyes towards the person’s face.

This may not be noticed by some but the hijab allows most women to have their own way of showing off and drawing attraction to themselves.

The colors, the designs and the jewels that are added to the hijab make them very personal and very descriptive of the person wearing them.

This was the only time we saw a woman in a hijab that was only orange.  Usually they are mixed and sometime they are even paisley.

They hopped into a pedicab and the crew started taking pictures.

I asked permission to take a couple and they agreed.

They told me they were just married and this is the photo shoot.

I think you can see in their eyes, and their smiles, how happy they are together.

Love is beautiful.

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Day 176 in Beijing: I. Want. This. Car.

Zoom Zoom!

Zoom Zoom!

The title says it all.

It is smaller than the “Smart Car” by a long (short?) shot and electric.

It would be perfect for Jill and me.

It is also pretty inexpensive.

It goes for about 400-500 USD and you can remove the lithium-ion battery and plug it into a normal household outlet.

I want to cuddle this little guy!

I want to cuddle this little guy!

The battery is about 1 foot by 5 inches by 5 inches and weighs about 5 pounds.

Maybe when Spring comes, we will buy one to cruise around Beijing.

It would be an easy, and economical, way to get around this rather huge city.

And, I guess, it would be a little safer than a scooter.


Day 126 in Beijing: Freewheels, Fixies, And Custom Bikes Galore!

I’ve been taking pictures of bikes all over Beijing and decide to take some while I was down in Shanghai also.

There are all kinds of bikes and people take a lot of pride in making them special.

I caught this particular group in Shanghai going to a 1940s style bicycle festival on the Bund.

They were incredibly friendly and loved showing off their bikes to anyone that wanted to check them out.

It reminded me, oddly enough, of growing up in Healdsburg, and the bikes and cars that the Low-Riders were cruise around in to show off.  My mom grew up in Los Angeles and she still has friends from there that take pride in their cars paint jobs, culture and style.

Orale, vatos!

As if that wasn’t enough, there was a design conference going on in Shanghai and these were some of the nicest fixies I’ve seen in a while!  These bikes are sold in Beijing by a company named Polo & Bike.  In case you didn’t know, there is a bike polo league in Beijing also.

And, last but not least, the Shanghai bike share program has these really cute and colorful bikes on street corners around the city.

One of the Shanghai Bike Sharing bikes.

One of the Shanghai Bike Sharing bikes.

Day 21 in Beijing: 48 Bucks For A Haircut? Are You Kidding Me? Nope. They Are Dead Serious.

I walk away from Wu Mart (hmm, sound anything like a really cheap mass supermarket we have in America? Nah, total coincidence!) with the things i bought for furnish my new apartment.
I’m looking for a place to get my haircut.

I see the spinning barber sign (like we have in America) except it is blue and white.

I peek in the window and it is a very classy place.

No way I could afford to get my haircut in this kind of place in America.

What the heck, I decide just to go in and ask how much.

As detailed as you can get.  Or not. I can't read it.

As detailed as you can get. Or not. I can’t read it.



They basically show me a novel about 20 pages long regarding the business.  Little of which I can understand.

From what I can tell, it is a detailed story about the place and when it started and other stuff in Chinese script.

They notice I’m confused and turn the page for me.






This is something we all understand.  Cold hard cash.

This is something we all understand. Cold hard cash.

Ah, the price list.  A common language!


Three different prices for a haircut:



and 128.

I don’t want to spend more than 48 bucks for a haircut so I go with that.  I’m in a foreign country, somethings are much cheaper others are much more expensive.  Live and learn.




They lead me towards a chair and take my backpack, and the 12 pack roll of toilet paper I just purchased, a lock it up in a locker.  They then hand me the key for safe keeping.  If someone wants to steal my toilet paper, I’m thinking, they need it more than I do and I’d gladly give it to them.  However, the service level impresses me greatly.


I sit me down and they begin to wash my hair. I already showered today but why not? Enjoy the experience.

Finished with the washing, they move me to the hair cutting area and my stylist starts to go to work. There are about 15 people working today and about 3 clients. Lots of people seem to just welcome people and make them feel at home.



Quite a collection of tools.  Very professional.

Quite a collection of tools. Very professional.




One of the 15 people pull out a leather case and lay it on the desk in front of me.  

He opens it, very slowly and with precision, and all the utensils my stylist will need are immediately visible in front of me.






My personal stylist starts to cut my hair.  By the way, check out his hair, dude is definitely a stylist!


And so it goes.

And so it goes.



He works on me for about 30 minutes. Very smooth and friendly.  He smiles often as I take pictures while studying my hair intently as he keeps working on my hair.










My hair?  Steel wool? Both maybe.

My hair? Steel wool? Both maybe.


At one point, I look down at the sheet covering me and notice my hair…and that it looks a bit like steel wool. Oh well, that is life and this is my hair. I don’t color or dye it because I love it short and I think it fits my skin color and eyes rather well. I’ve been going grey since I was about 15 and why bother stopping it now?







My stylist keeps going and is getting closer to the finished product. He continues to smile and seems to enjoy my silliness with pictures. He actually threw an “I’m cool” sign at one point!

We were both having fun and laughing a lot.

We were both having fun and laughing a lot.


Okay, all finished…










or so i thought!



Once again, they tell me to stand up and I follow their directions. I still have the purple towel around my neck and so i look around awkwardly. they lead me back over to the hair washing area and have me sit back down.



The Second Washing.  I'm feeling like a VIP.

The Second Washing. I’m feeling like a VIP.





They wash my hair a second time.










The Blow Dry.  The Final Touch.

The Blow Dry. The Final Touch.






After that they take me over to the stylist area and my stylist blow dries my hair.
My hair is pretty short so it doesn’t take much but I love the effort and the time that he takes.

It seems very respectful and kind.






As my stylist finishes, I pull out a 100RMB note. The total is 48RMB. They don’t have change for it so they run around asking other people for change. They finally find someone and give me 52RMB in change.

Yep. 48 bucks for a haircut..oh, by the way, 48RMB, is about $7.50 American dollars.

And no tipping allowed.

So, yes, 48 bucks for a hair cut? Are you kidding me?  Nope. They are dead serious.