Beautiful Sanya, Ugly Markets

Bain retreats to beautiful beaches of Sanya for the weekend! I must say I didn't have any expectations for the "Hawaii of China". Like many other popular Chinese tourist spots, it usually is overrun with people, poluted, and with squat toilets (I have a really funny squat toilet story that I can't share... sigh). Not at all. We stayed at the brand new Hilton (room situation could have been better) and the entire facility was beautiful and actually quite nicely designed.
Twas good for Detox 2.0 (1.0 was pretty good too). I even took out a sail boat.
Anyway, here are some pictures.

While we frolicked in Sanya, the Financial Markets rallied behind a massive $700B bailout plan by the US govt. I'm still reading up to understand what is going on. Anyway, I wanted to share the following articles that are quite good.

The last few days in Hong Kong we find a bunch of investors crying foul over CDOs they bought from banks that had Lehman as one of the gaurantors. Why didn't the government regulate these financial products? I was lied to! The bank didn't explain the risks! The government should have regulated this shit! I want my money back!

One guy said it best: I can't read. The bank told me these were safe investments with good returns. So I just signed on the dotted line.

Signed away his life savings. As a rule, if you don't read, try not to invest in something that is 20x the risk free returns without knowing the risks.

Why do I have to bail out greedy people?


Uh huh, you feel this way too?

On my way to work... (pardon the fuzziness, was on a bus)
That's the feeling when I finally gave in to Google and paid $20 for 10GB storage on Picasa. Arg. I've been fighting it (irrationally) since a few months ago by limiting my uploads and deleting pictures from before.
Fuk Tat!
So with my new space for storage, I've uploaded pictures from the Hong Kong harbour, around Hong Kong, hiking in Sai Kung, and a Hangzhou getaway.


False advertising

It's been a while since I posted. Must say I've been busy lately (not to mention the financial market shock waves...).

Anyway, PNGF was in town a week ago and on our "last meal" in Hong Kong was a visit to IFC's I-Scream. Understand that Hong Kong does not have Cold Stone, so I-Scream Gelato's offering of mixing ice-cream and fresh ingredients was extremely tempting.

(OpenRice of Hong Kong is the equivalent of Citysearch, though the spin is more for Chinese clients... I hear WOM is with a western twist, but their coverage is limited and requires a membership... I have too many passwords to remember, WOM folks... anyway... I digress as usual)

OpenRice's comments are generally positive with some really nice pictures of their ice cream. Here's what we experienced...

First is the tempting advertisement. Choco Nuts, yummy! PNGF and I forgot to think about why the chocolate gelato looks... um... too purple.

Anyway, I won't dignify these with words. The making process...

heh heh. (Sh)It wasn't bad at all. A bit sweet. But we couldn't stop laughing as the man made the the mixed ice cream.


7 Years...

Today, I was walking in Central earlier tonight when I suddenly realized it was 911. I lose track of time these days since I'm so busy at work. It got me thinking... apparently 911 doesn't mean much in Hong Kong.

What does 911 mean to the world?
  • Democrats & Republicans: The day Bush started being a real president, for better or worse
  • World leaders: The day Bush starting being a real president, for worse
  • USA: The day people got to know Osama Bin Ladin
  • UK: The day we became US's bitch in war
  • Afghanistan: The day that is the start of the end of Taliban
  • Iraq: The day Saddam started digging his hole
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Travelers: The day airport security became serious business
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • so on and so forth


Shopping in Hong Kong

Random links: ought to have been a banker... Tibet monastery reopens (finally - with spies, of course)... and the Aussies mimed during the Olympics too (Don't get confused... I'm not justifying the Chinese replacing the poor little girl cus she wasn't good looking enough - the Aussies did it for the sake of the event... the Chinese... I don't know what they were thinking)

Anyway, PNGF is in town and naturally, we go shopping.
  • Target: mobile phone that can browse Internet
  • Shops: all are fair game
Well, apparently, what they call a "Shopping Paradise" is not really. We spend half the day walking around Hong Kong and this is what transpired:
  1. Fortress (Central): okay, so with my expertise in cell phones (laugh), I recommended the HTC Diamond, LG KS20, Samsung F488, Nokia E-66 and E-71. PNGF put all of them in her hand and ruled out LG KS20 immediately. Can we try browsing Internet please? NOPE. Is there any phone we can try? NOPE. Jeez.
  2. 1010 Shop (Central): Nobody really helped us... Can I try some phones and brwose the Internet? You can try the Diamond over here. Is there one that can use English? Over there. It's not working... The Chinese one can work. Can you change the language menu? NOPE. Anyway, I got to the browser and tried to use the touch screen to type in Couldn't do it. PNGF is not liking it.
  3. Elements (Kowloon): Hong Kong's hottest mall is also the biggest disappointment. A poorly design mall that felt more like a chamber than a nice stroll among stores. The five elements (Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth) hosted different types of store and blah blah blah. Frankly, bad mall with no reliable map to tell you where you are and what else there is. Given the success of other malls (Times Square, IFC), I can't believe a mall designer won't use an open space to show case shops on differnet floors and also create a sense of openness. And of course the two electronic stores that were there were completely useless (Fortress and Broadway). PNGF was able to test the F488 at Fortress a little bit. Saleperson had no idea how to type English though (nor teach us).
  4. Nokia (Causeway Bay): Back in shopping mecca Causeway Bay, we finally were able to browse the Internet on an E-66 and E-71. Took the staff a while to change the phone to English and also activate the Internet though. Staff was very helpful and we got very good attention and was finally able to test browsing on a phone. PNGF liked the QWERTY keyboard very much. E-71 it is for now. She still wants to try a touch screen...
  5. Fortress: This is truly frustrating. Can we try the F488? Here you go. Oh, can you switch the menu to English? No, this is my personal phone. PNGF: Forget it.
  6. Broadway: Again, there's only a demo for F488, and nobody can use it in English. The other phones didn't have any demo. Josekin: that's why Broadway will never be #1. I meant to say that about Fortress too... but they are #1 for no good reason.
  7. Chung Yuen: The salesperson with a mask was very helpful. He showed us two Sony Ericssons (which I knew weren't very good) and had a good demo on how we can browse Internet. The only problem is that we need to use a keypad to enter the alphabets and it's slow. Oh, and the masked man was also very helpful in answering all our other questions about other handsets. No demo, but at least the answers are helpful. PNGF has narrowed it way down: HTC Diamond and Nokia E71.
  8. 1010 Shop: SAM KWOK. Mr. Kwok was extremely helpful. We asked for a Diamond demo (We've only gotten a very unhelpful one in Central), and Mr. Kwok took one out. He showed us how to play with it, let PNGF handle it (I like the wow factor on this phone, she says), and answered all the little questions we had (like how do I find out about the weather in New York). Um, we got greedy... can we try the Blackberry Pearl and Bold too? Mr. Kwok: no problem. My colleague will assist you. 5 minutes later, PNGF decided the HTC Diamond was for her and I decided the Blackberry Bold will be my next phone. Finally, the shopping odyssey ended.
Lessons, as always: LET THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IT. And if it's good, they'll be sold in a second (okay, a few minutes).