Thursday, 10 January 2008

Happy New Year !

(photo: creative Coke advertising in Beijing at a bus station)

Happy New Year 2008 !

I am back in Beijing after a busy Christmas holiday back in my hometown in Germany. I guess every visit back home is just too short to see all friends and family members and spend enough time with them. Especially when you have these long holidays when all the shops are closed in good old Germany. Imagine: you have only a half day for grocery shopping on December 24Th (Monday) to stock for 3 breakfasts, 2 lunch and 3 dinners more or less until shops are open again December 27Th (Thursday) ... similar thing on Monday 31st. You can imagine the queues...
And you want to meet friends and parents want to meet you...

I have almost adjusted from jet lag. Here are some news from Beijing:

* first new thing on the plane: no more health form needs to be filled out. So from 3 forms down to 2 forms to fill out before immigration. Progress for 2008 where half million foreigners a expected in Beijing!

* the magazine I am writing for, tbj home, is gone, kaput, no more. BUT: it lives on in the form of urbane - a new name for "China's best English lifestyle magazine" (I am citing). New is the name and that it's distributed not only in Beijing but all over China (I am not sure if the first issue in January is already distributed all over China). And I am still in.

* If you stay with kids in Beijing: the magazine tbj kids is getting better and better. Since the new editor re-designed the magazine it is really worth reading. And the website is informative as well with a blog and a forum.

* In Germany I heard that the exhibition of Chinese terracotta warriors in Hamburg was stopped as some of the worriers that were deemed as originals were fakes. I was smiling about that 'scandal'. Hey, what do you expect? In China copying is a form of art. I am also amused to read at Danwei that someone somewhere heard a gossip that maybe all terracotta warriors, even the ones in Xian, might be made by modern hand (and original clay, of course). Read Danwei's (German) critical article here.

* One more thing about China and the German media. It seems more a la mode than ever to write about China. Of course the world focuses on China because of the upcoming big event, the Olympics 2008, that start on August 8 at 8.08 in Beijing. So I read articles in Germany about migrant workers, Chinglish, etiquette training, Chinese art scene etc.

* The air quality report (see blogroll) is back online. Even if the air of downtown Beijing is not surveyed anymore on the busiest streets but in less polluted areas, I am glad it is reported again. (I am not sitting at a traffic junction all day).

* Today I passed by a river near Liangma flower market and looked twice through the window as I could not recognize the area. It took a moment until I realized that all the hutong houses were demolished and cleaned up. I remembered that I wanted to take some photos there as it was a picturesque area in the middle of a developed business and residential area. Too late.

* In China we are still in the old year of the PIG. The new year of the RAT is still to come. Chinese New Year will be celebrated a week long in February and is a national holiday. My ayi wants to take off two weeks, better three weeks! help! The trip to her hometown in Anhui province takes 19 hours by train. She will be reunited with her 9 year old son and family.

* The national holidays in May, the May Golden Week, instead is cancelled by the government. This change was made in order to avoid the negative effects when millions of Chinese are travelling and to allow flexible holidays.

I discovered this photo art by Floriane de Lassee, a young photographer born in 1977 in Paris. It is available via the photo art gallery Lumas. It is not Beijing. It is Shanghai. She didn't do any shot in Beijing, but in Tokyo, Singapore, Paris, Istanbul, NY... I am fascinated and that's why I am posting it on my Beijing Notebook. Click on the picture to enlarge. Happy New Year!

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