we miss you, twitter.

btw, we just have to say this: we really miss Twitter (you know we can’t access it inside PRC, right?)

so there are all these conversations going on, inside twitter, and we can’t hear you.

it’s strange.

and lonely.

anyway we also can’t see You Tube (not that we missed that, so much, to be honest) and search results are truncated and weird too.

although team gloria DOES have Google HONG KONG search results (see below) which gave us a little giggle of strangeness.

and when we wanted to reference something we went to imdb (as we always do) and that was blocked too.

did you know what happens inside the people’s republic of china when they censor the inter-web?

you get an error message that says:

because the server unexpectedly dropped the connection

which is not exactly the Cold War spy-level response that we were hoping for :-(

btw, at a business meeting on tuesday we asked one of our colleagues (actually from taiwan) why the Party doesn’t approve of IMDB and he laughed.

it’s to protect local Chinese markets – we have our own IMDB competitor!!

we were SO disappointed.

we really wanted more of an IMDB is subversive with all that decadent western hollywood data about julie andrews…..

sigh.

we wouldn’t do well here.

it’s now 4.01 AM and we’re starving. so we just thought “perhaps a little chicken and rice and broth and the LARGEST POT OF COFFEE YOU’VE EVEN SEEN PLEASE” would be nice.

but the line was dead.

omg.

we got a secret thrill.

are they reading team gloria?

then we used the other phone and ordered.

it’s good to have an overactive imagination.

believe us, it’s not dull being us.

weird. yes.

but never NEVER dull.

beijing subway tales

whenever we travel for the day job, we always squeeze in a few things – see a museum (about to post on the lama temple), catch local transport (see below) and visit a supermarket to understand more about the culture (and stock up on fruit for jet lags hours – hello – like now – sigh ;-)

beijing subway = oh lord. CRAMMED. orderly. the only sounds coming from handheld devices on which people were watching television/movies as we shuffled in a very long line upstairs (no moving staircases here – everyone looks very fit as a result) and down corridors and up more stairs and down. weirdly (bet this was for the olympics in 2008) the audio track on the subway is in both mandarin and then heavily accented american-style perky “the next stop is for the lama temple!” but the strangest thing is how organized everyone was. as soon as the crowd surged (silently apart from the handheld devices burbling out chinese movies) down onto the platform, a long orderly line formed, as if by magic, there was NO LINE telling people where to arrange themselves (for the subway doors) – they just know. or perhaps that’s what the people SHOUTING IN THE MEGAPHONES (oh yes) were telling them (“LINE UP IN FRONT OF THE L’OREAL AD PEOPLE!” maybe ;-)

btw, team gloria adored being stared at.

especially by the children who are so frankly fascinated (any attention, people, we love it, don’t tell anyone) and just gape.

and then the groovy-out-there-punk-t-shirts-and-pink-hair people – we love them too – they recognize a kindred spirit as soon as they spot the doctor martens. we grin. and nod. in a “hey man” kinda way. it’s gorgeous.

so – once on the subway – crammed into a tiny space – anti-perspirant alert! there’s no actual personal space. and no one seems to mind. no creepy stuff. just squished up against everyone else. and nobody talks. people just watch the television promos on the subway car walls (yup, moving images are everywhere). and then – halfway through the tunnel something fabulous happened……….

ADVERTS APPEARED MOVING ON THE TUNNEL WALLS!

yes! projected onto the tunnels outside the train – actual television ads!

you know what……? this place is exactly like Bladerunner.

it’s like someone from the Party (and we don’t mean up in the hollywood hills) saw a screening of Bladerunner back in the 80s and said to his/her (hey optimism – Mao said that women hold up half the sky) compatriots:

“wow. doesn’t that look cool? let’s build that!”

and – people – they did. right here.

happy 90th people’s republic of china!

despite the fact we’ve never dined on the 80th floor of anywhere, we decided against the “western style” restaurant and headed to the 4th floor where we were the only non-chinese person (of course we loved it and did a polite little bow and a nihao to each guest who looked either mildly surprised and/or amused, we couldn’t quite work it out) and read the china morning post where we learned (we’re sure we knew this before but forgive us – we’re a day ahead of the West now) it’s the 90th birthday of the People’s Republic of China!

well, many happy returns!

the chinese television stations are re-playing some old classics which we’d love to tell you what they are but the listings magazine appears to be missing from the hotel suite (a junior suite but delicious all the same with a bathroom that’s a “religious experience” to quote ms. andrews in-a-two-piece-tailored-suit)

we’re also feeling a tiny bit lost in translation as you can see from this shot of our view from the 76th floor (note the strange pastoral large-scale painting behind the california king – curious)

it’s a tiny bit vegas – but with subtler neon (mostly red, obviously, with the touch of chinese worker blue on some of the buildings) and very understated and charming water features.

and here’s the team gloria hat ready for unbelievable humidity tomorrow (we just took a constitutional after an excellent yet deceptively simple chinese meal and it was still incredibly hot at ten PM) and the patent leather dr martens and regular day wear issue.

the swimming pool was lovely, by the way, very holodeck. and we did enjoy the range of hydrotherapy on offer as well as a light box room which cycled through the chakra colours/colors in a heated area to cheesy 80s pop soundtrack. very austin powers, love.

and here’s a small video we made – be kind – this was before we learned how to use all the Right Tools n stuff….