Monday, April 4, 2016

Glorious Fermented Eggs in Kinmen, Taiwan

Sign for Yeh's Fermented Eggs (葉氏酒釀蛋) in Kinmen
When a sign for fermented eggs beckons

Recently near the historic Wentai Pagoda in Kinmen, I noticed a sign for "Yeh's Fermented Eggs" (葉氏酒釀蛋) and a group of tourists in a short line. I can't say I was craving fermented eggs at the time, but I figured it was worth trying one for posterity. I didn't expect much.

eggs for sale at Yeh's Fermented Eggs (葉氏酒釀蛋) in Kinmen
Beautiful fermented eggs

Now I will write something I had not expected to write. Yeh's Fermented Eggs are tasty. Really tasty. They might not be enough on their own to justify a trip to the Taiwanese island near Xiamen. But if life brings you to the Wentai Pagoda, I heartily recommend giving an egg a try. The Yehs will appreciate it and so will your fermentation-craving tastebuds, if you have those.

Based on some online photos, it appears Yeh's Fermented Eggs have been sold at no less than two different locations near the pagoda. So my best advice to find it is to ask somebody or follow people who have a twinkle in their eye due to knowing some fermented eggs are about to make their day a bit more special.

people standing around Yeh's Fermented Eggs (葉氏酒釀蛋) in Kinmen
When you wonder if you should buy a few more eggs for the road

Eggs aren't the way I had expected to first mention that I am currently in Taiwan, but it will do. More about the journey I made from Jieyang and other non-egg topics are on the way.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Donald and Hello Kitty in Jieyang

Writing the previous post reminded me that I saw Donald in Jieyang a couple of weeks ago.

Sculpture of Donald Duck holding out his hand next to a sculpture of Hello Kitty

Feel free to come up with your own caption to the photo.

I will return to non-Donald topics tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Donald Trump to Bring His Chinese Car Brand to the U.S.

While Donald Trump's campaign in the Republican Party presidential primary has received an unusual amount of media attention in the U.S., his growing car brand in China has gone relatively unnoticed. Recently in Jieyang, Guangdong, I saw one of the aptly named vehicles.

Back of a Trumpchi SUV in Jieyang, China

As reported by China Daily, Trump has clearly left his mark in China:
Trumpchi sales grew rapidly, especially in the last few years. Today, it is a household name in China.

The numbers tell its story. From 17,000 units in 2011, Trumpchi's first year, sales progressively surged to 190,000 units in 2015. That's a whopping more-than-1,000-percent rise over a four-year period!
When China Daily uses an exclamation point it is undoubtedly a big thing. Yet success in China won't be enough to satiate Trump. As Car and Driver reports, Chinese experts believe Trumpchi's entry into the U.S. market is practically inevitable (emphasis mine):
Song is “90 percent confident” that the new Trumpchi GS4—a surprisingly not-ugly SUV with vague Hyundai and Nissan overtones—will be sold in the U.S., and the company has begun looking for U.S. dealers.
But Automotive News reports some experts are skeptical Trumpchi can succeed in the U.S.:
James Chao, managing director for Asia Pacific at consulting firm IHS Automotive, said it will be difficult for any unknown brand, no matter where it is from, to crack the U.S. market.
Trump would surely point out that many pundits were equally sure he wouldn't have much success in the Republican primaries. So perhaps people will soon be proudly driving their Trumpchies next to the Great Wall of Trump (paid for by Mexico (the wall, that is (the cars too if Trump is really good))).

No word on whether any future Trumpchi vehicles will be installed with China-made Trump toilets.

Additional Info: Please note the special date of this post.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Brick McSteps

four bricks used as a step at the entrance to a McDonald's in Jieyang, China
At the only McDonald's in Rongcheng, Jieyang, China

It looks like there may have once been a bottom step which matched the others. Perhaps McDonald's had extended the steps too far according to watchful eyes and paid the price, though it would seem to be a minor transgression in Jieyang where sidewalk space is often obstructed or nonexistent. Whatever the case, the narrower and probably less-stable brick step may do more harm than good.

At least they have another entrance to use.

Friday, March 25, 2016

More Blues: The Losing Bar Lost in Jieyang

One night about a month ago on Wanjiang North Road in Jieyang, I noticed a bar with an unusual, but possibly fitting, name.

Losing Bar (迷途酒馆) in Jieyang with a partially falling sign a no lights on at night

The bar's Chinese name "迷途" (mítú) has a dictionary translation of "to lose one's way", which expresses a different message than the English name chosen for the bar. That doesn't necessarily mean the name was a mistake or the creator wasn't aware of the difference though. Whatever the case, it appeared the Losing Bar had, well, lost. The sign was in need of repair and there were no lights on during a prime bar time.

Two nights ago at the same location, I saw things had changed.

Mu Blue Pub (沐蓝酒馆) in Jieyang, China

The Mu Blue Pub took a different approach to translating its name, 沐蓝 (mùlán), into English by using the standard Pinyin transcription for the first character and the English translation for the second character. Perhaps this was done to avoid a more difficult task of translating both characters into a fitting English name.

I didn't go inside the new pub and won't have the opportunity to visit it in the near future. Given the turnover I have seen in Jieyang, a topic for another day, I wouldn't be surprised to see something else there if I return in a year or two. But maybe the Mu Blue Bar will be a winner.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Hidden Logo No More: Apple Goes Darker in Xiamen, China

When I visited Apple's store in Xiamen, China, during its opening a few months ago, I saw there was no shining Apple logo visible from outside the store. Employees explained this was part of a new look, and one of them told me about an Apple logo hidden on an outside wall. It took me some time, but I found it.

I would be rather impressed if anybody noticed the logo without first being told of its existence.

hidden, barely visible Apple logo on a wall outside the Xiamen Apple Store

The above photo provides an accurate sense of the logo's visibility. Really, it's there. It can be seen a little more easily close up.

closeup of a portion of the hidden Apple logo

As I wrote before:
Employees explained Apple wants people to focus more on the products than the logo and believes its stores' distinctive design will be enough for people to identify them.
Apparently they have had a slight change of heart since then. When I returned to the store today, I saw that the hidden logo isn't so hidden anymore.

darker, more visible "hidden" Apple logo on a wall outside the Xiamen Apple Store

A store employee told me there had been several versions of the logo, each progressively darker to make it more visible, since my earlier visit. I joked that I expect if I come back again the logo will have a border of flashing lights. I refrained from joking about iterative design.

I have questions, such as whether the initial design was truly deliberate and what feedback motivated the latter changes, but answering them would require reliable information about behind-the-scenes decision making. I'll just hope for the lights.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Hidden Pitcher of Water in Jieyang

Earlier I shared a photo of two men sleeping in carts. I have seen the man on the left side of the photo several times in the same area of Jieyang. Sometimes he has a cart.

man wearing a police hat pushing a wheelbarrow in Jieyang, China

Sometimes he doesn't. But he is always wearing the same hat. I haven't seen it up close, but it appears to be an old police hat.

Yesterday I saw him again. I watched from across the street as he sauntered in a general direction without his cart while a light rain fell. Soon he stopped in front of one of the missing persons signs I shared in the previous post — one he had surely passed before.

He looked at the sign for a few seconds, and then casually peeled most of it off the pole — not difficult due to the recent rain.

What happened next was even more unexpected. Just a few feet away he reached into the bushes which surround a public square and pulled out a large metal pitcher. As it continued to rain, he poured some water over where the sign had been. It didn't make much of a difference on the paper which remained stuck to the pole.

He then returned the pitcher to its place hidden in the bushes and walked off.

It didn't appear to be part of a more widespread effort. Other nearby missing persons signs still remained.

I had many questions.

And I wondered where the man was headed next.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sixteen Signs of Missing Persons in Jieyang, China

I haven't only seen signs for a missing dog in Jieyang . . .

Earlier this year, China's Ministry of Civil Affairs launched a new missing persons website. China Daily reported:
In the past, shelters mainly published a missing person's information on local media for a limited time. If the missing person was not a local resident, families from outside the region may not have been able to see the information.

According to [Wang Jinhua, director of the Social Affairs Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs], despite the Internet, most missing persons are still located in a traditional way - cooperation between shelters and police.
The website is currently limited to those in shelters — places where many missing persons can't be found, whether due to kidnapping and child trafficking, secret police detention, or other reason. But at least the website may help reunite some of China's missing persons with their families.

Below are sixteen signs I have recently seen in Jieyang posted for seven missing persons. Like the photos and descriptions on the Ministry of Civil Affair's website, they expose a more personal side of a problem than what can be expressed merely through numbers. And the settings of everyday scenes, some with people going about their lives as usual, only amplify the signs' poignancy.

missing person signs in Jieyang

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person signs in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign and boys skateboarding in the background in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person signs on top of an automobile advertisement in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

missing person sign in Jieyang, China

Sunday, March 20, 2016