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Thread: The Zurich Caper

  1. #21
    Proudly humble LarsMac's Avatar
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    Re: The Zurich Caper

    The people of Beijing are quite used to foreigners, these days, and I also found them mostly helpful and friendly.
    "The trouble with people isn't that they don't know, but that they know so much that ain't so." - Will Rogers

  2. #22
    Senior Member Bruv's Avatar
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    Re: The Zurich Caper

    Quote Originally Posted by zurich View Post
    We're away again, this time in Beijing. I'll update this thread with this account it I may. It's warm here and 3am while jet lag persists so the boy is flat out on a sofa.
    Hope you locked up.

    Puts my trip to Wembley into the shade.
    I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth

  3. #23
    Senior Member magentaflame's Avatar
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    Re: The Zurich Caper

    I always amazed me how my boys could sleep everywhere and anywhere overseas whilst jet lagged and exhausted parents hovered over them. lol
    I do believe your boy is normal not caring about timezones.

  4. #24
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    Re: The Zurich Caper

    Quote Originally Posted by LarsMac View Post
    You might find 7-11 useful. They have a few things like that.
    I'll try in the morning, there's one a hundred yards down the road.

  5. #25
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    Re: The Zurich Caper

    I brought with me a pocket memorandum book in which, under the heading FG, to jot the occasional reminder of any passing incident. It reads, to date:

    Ad stream tunnel
    Wainwright skunk

    I'll address the second entry first.

    Were I to be asked by St Peter why I consider myself among the Elect, I might bring to his recollection that I had once attended a 90 minute Loudon Wainwright III set at which he - Loudon Wainwright , not St Peter - had sung his skunk song. Case closed, surely.

    This flitted through my head in the Dongsi WuMart, on the second floor, when the in-store DJ played it with Chinese lyrics, but I modified my interpretation after a couple of verses. The notes were all there in the right order but the words were blatantly now a love ballad sung by a glossed teenager the way they do round these parts. None of his or her vocalisation suggested any familiarity with the original, but that still leaves a Chinese lyricist with a sense of humour who primed this potential time-bomb under the singer's career, hence the jotted note in the pocket book.

    The ad stream tunnel moment was the first time I'd encountered a technique outside of a science fiction novel and I'm still amazed by it. We were on the underground between stations at something around 50kph when I realised the advert I was watching was outside the carriage,inside the tunnel itself. There were metre-high LCD screens all along the tunnel wall and the system was detecting the train speed and synchronising one video frame at a time to each screen in turn. In the novel - one of the Neuromancer trilogy at a guess - the system also knew who was passing the screens and personalized the ad, but even without the recognition part it was impressive. Very slight timing glitches, presumably rounding issues of a millisecond, showed up as jitter, but it wasn't so visible as to be distracting.

    Getting to Badaling was fairly simple, two stations north on Line 5 and Line 2, eleven stations on Line 8, walk to the mainline for the 90 minute ride into the mountains and there was the Great Wall complete with cable cars made in Switzerland (almost as strange as finding German cable cars in Zakopane). How anyone walks on the Wall in winter snow I have no idea, it has angles approaching those of a pitched roof between flights of steps, but with the temperature in the nineties the problem is more one of overheating. The degree of reconstruction is unavoidable to cater for the number of visitors but the original footway has been left visible in places which is a thoughtful piece of design. I've been coincidentally reading Puck Of Pook's Hill to the boy this week, so the Great Wall and Hadrian's Wall are slightly meshed together right now. All in all that was a twelve hour excursion so we're having a quiet Saturday to recoup.

  6. #26
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    Re: The Zurich Caper

    Jowan and I are now in Shanghai, in an apartment just off Renmin Square, having travelled something over a thousand miles in under six hours on a train the like of which Britain will never see, never afford, never come close to. The scenery was diverse and eye-popping, the rivers immense, the countryside tended, the cities straight out of 2000AD, I've never seen anything like it.

    I have a personal barometer as to whether the citizens of a country have a justifiable pride in their surroundings and that's the extent to which graffiti has wrecked their urban spaces. Eastern Europe used to be clean but no longer, the daubers have spread their filth over Russia, Poland just as much as it's to be seen throughout urban Britain. China is free of it. I would quite happily emigrate here except I doubt they'd let me.

    Jowan enjoyed the sights. After a while he asked to borrow my Android phone. He loaded Minecraft and built what he could see out of the window. Some buildings he caught sufficiently well that I recognized what he'd selected.

    A while later he asked for the bluetooth headphones and carried on building landscapes. What, I eventually said after a half hour, are you listening to, so he handed me the headphones. I had to ask how he'd done it. He was listening to Rock And Roll off Led Zeppelin IV with a rolling thunder track on top.

  7. #27
    Proudly humble LarsMac's Avatar
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    Re: The Zurich Caper

    Shanghai is a fascinating city. So much modern architecture, and yet, still a sense of the history of the place.
    More visceral than Beijing, who's major historic places seem much more like a museum set.
    "The trouble with people isn't that they don't know, but that they know so much that ain't so." - Will Rogers

  8. #28
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    Re: The Zurich Caper

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    We're taking a late lunch. The morning involved a stroll along the riverside and several shopping malls, the boy is mesmerised by shops and loves air conditioning on days like today. We found three floors of a specialist art supplier which took a good half hour to explore. There are unguessable thoughts recessed in his mind like he'd very much like a large gold trophy, I'd never suspected that one.

    As for bits of the history, there are foundation stones in the remaining stone-built banks of the financial area laid by British colonials back before the War, designed by London architects. These days the roles have reversed. Jowan's shockingly pro-Empire at the moment, I must have explained something badly. I'll try to clear that up before he discusses it with anyone else.

    I've been locked out of my debit card by a faulty ATM transaction that will take 24 hours to clear, we'll be in Xi'an by then, we fly around 1pm tomorrow. Fortunately we were only topping up on cash, not running out.

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