6:45 am. On my way to Luohu train station to take the high-speed train to Guangzhou and add additional pages to my passport at the American Consulate. The metro is so quiet and comfortable. Within one hour, there will barely be any standing room left.
... it's a phone instead of a computer and it's Leonardo instead of Steve.
Coastal City. Nanshan, Shenzhen
I can't believe what I'm reading. This has to be a hoax. How could a situation that's already so messed up and full of twists suddenly turn around and kick you right square in the crouch. For all I know it could be fake and completely made up and I apologize to all the people involved if this does turn out to be the case but the story is clearly gaining momentum. What story am I talking about, which you can read HERE?
Let me just say the Tags for this post are as follows: Bo Xilai, Zhang Ziyi, Daily Mail, prostitution
My jaw is officially dropped and world shattered.
I eat at a place that probably cooks with it. Oh well. The food was still really tasty.
Was raining last night, so the little BBQ guy by my apartment and his diners moved under the highway overpass.
The South China Morning Post, a daily newspaper in Hong Kong, reported Tuesday that propaganda officials from Guangdong Province, which includes Shenzhen, had ordered the news media in the province not to emphasize in their reporting that an electric car had been involved in the fire.
Chinese news media reported that the sports car driver was a drunken man accompanied by three women. The occupants of the sports car were not seriously hurt and the driver fled. A man later turned himself into the police to take responsibility for the accident, but the Chinese news media questioned whether he had been hired to do so, as he did not show any signs of having been in a crash.
The intrigue builds...
They're not a single photograph; nor are they video. They are able to capture a single, frozen moment in time, and yet still convey motion and life. Yes, GIFs are mostly used by Internet folk for more lowest common denominator material such as people falling down, strange facial reactions, car accidents, and funny cats. But when done right, they truly become art. I apologize I have put so many below; I hope you have a fast internet connection. I'll post artistic GIFs from time to time when I come across them.
In Town. Futian, Shenzhwn
Some of my friends can't go one meal here without talking about 'gutter oil' and wondering if it's in the food they are currently chowing down on. For other foreigners (and even some Chinese), it's a reason to stay away from smaller, local Chinese restaurants. It's like a ghost that you think might be haunting your food but have no way of proving.
I was surprised to wake up and find an article in USA Today that not only discusses food safety in China, but makes direct mention of gutter oil:
For months, authorities have cracked down on "gutter oil," used cooking oil dredged from the gutters outside restaurants and resold. Today, the term refers to any illegal oil, such as the stuff made from rotting animal parts in Zhejiang province and from industrial fats used for soap in Yunnan.
While the possible use of this oil hasn't stopped me completely from eating at the small local restaurants surrounding my apartment, I have found myself more and more eating fruit from a local market and meals originating at Western restaurants or larger Chinese restaurant chains. In the past I've generally eaten just about anything here, no matter the state of the kitchen but even I have been evolving my eating habits as new food scares arise.
Unfortunately in China, I can't even be sure if the fruit I'm eating is completely safe. Guess you can't have it all; America has a lack of jobs and China has a lack of food safety. Nothing's perfect.
On May 1st I walked by the Aston Martin dealership here in Futian, Shenzhen and was amazed to see a One-77. It was one of the most stunning cars I have ever seen in person. I was very lucky to get so close to one knowing only 77 had ever been made. Two weeks ago, the little while One-77 had disappeard from the dealership.
Then today on the metro I decide to surf about some car news and discovered that a One-77 had crashed in Hong Kong. Not only that, but it was a One-77 from Shenzhen. Did my precious car that I had only seen one month ago and thought was the most beautiful in the world just get distroyed in HK? Standing there on the metro, I let out a deep, disgusted, worried sigh.
Just got home and am looking at the photos of the distroyed One-77. It's difficult to tell (either because it truly is difficult to tell or because I'm colorblind) but I believe the crashed One-77 in the photos is silver. It's difficult for me to tell because the wreaked One-77 has been photographed outside. Maybe someone can help to confirm its color for me so I can atleast find a little confort in knowing it's not mine from May 1st.
It's like in the movie Children of Men where no more babies can be born and the youngest person on the planet has just died. Everybody is heartbroken knowing no one will ever be that young again. That's how I feel today; that car I saw on May 1st was the most beautiful my eyes had ever seen and today its species is one step closer to extinction.
Be safe little white One-77 from Shenzhen. I pray I don't see you any time soon on the front page of a car blog.
The car accident I wrote about earlier today that occured pretty close to me really is becoming worldwide news. Jalopnik even just posted a story about it. And it seems the driver in the GTR was not only drunk but had three girls with him. Like I said before, guys in fast cars usually don't have a sober driver with them; too many girls to impress. Hopefully this accident will cause Shenzhen police to patrol the highways a little more closely, especially early Saturday and Sunday mornings.
What started out as an opportunity to point out issues with Google Translation has turned out to be a much more significant situation that could have repercussions for BYD Auto company and its line of electic cars. I found an English article about the accident, and while I finally discovered what the 'red sports car' was (Nissan GTR), I also discovered that the accident deaths were not from passengers in this sports car, but from the taxis hit by this sports car (and its drunk driver) at 3:08 am on a highway not too far away from my apartment and office.
I have posted before about BYD's electric taxis here in Shenzhen. They're newer, cleaner, quieter, and even cheaper than the gas-powered taxis because passengers aren't subject to the same fuel tax. If you're in need of a taxi and you find one of the 400 BYD e6 taxis currently on Shenzhen's streets free of passengers, you immediately try to get in it.
The drunk driver of the Nissan GTR was speeding at 180+ kmh (112 mph) when he hit the electric BYD taxi and subsequently hit another taxi (although this second one was gas powered). The electric taxi, with its driver and two female passengers, hit a tree and the car burst into flames. Everyone inside died.
The driver of the Nissan GTR fled the scene, only to turn himself in to police later that morning.
According to the English article, people are now asking why the all-electric taxi, without a gas tank, exploded into flame upon contact with the tree by the side of the highway. As the article points out, Shenzhen's electric taxi fleet is expected to grow to 800 this year and the Chairman of BYD has previously stated, "Batteries from BYD would not explode even if you throw them into a fire." So what happens now?
Most importantly, what should the normal taxi passenger take away from this incredibly sad story? What will I learn from it?
1. Will I think twice next time about getting in an electric taxi? Probably not.
2. Will I think twice about taking a taxi home (be it electric or gas) on one of Shenzhen's main highways at 3 in the morning? Heck yes.
Even with the incredibly severe penalties, tons of Chinese people, no matter the city, continue to drive drunk. And even worse, the people that seem to do it most have cars with the ability to drive very fast. Fortunately, most of my Chinese friends I see at the bars have personal drivers and don't drive themselves after drinking. But I guess it's different if you have a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, or Nissan GTR. There's only room for you and a girl (or two). No room for a sober driver.
Next time I have to take a taxi home at 3 am, I'm telling the taxi driver to take the back roads.
Luckily he (or she) didn't transform into robot form when I was taking a picture.
Today my Chinese teacher told me there was a car accident a few days ago on a highway in Shenzhen and 3 people died. Apparently they were in a sports car. I was intrigued and wanted to know what type of car was involved. So I went to the QQ (as in the Chinese social network) home page and looked at the news section. I saw one headline in Chinese that mentioned three dead people. I guessed that was the article about the car accident and my teacher said I was right.
I started to read the article in Chinese but became restless and decided to put the page through Google Translate to find the answer about the car's brand more quickly. This is the translated headline as it popped up while in the middle of class:
The Shenzhen informed drag racing case that does not exist fucking the family of the deceased question (Figure)
I hate to post dirty words on this blog but I figured it was a good opportunity to state the obvious; Google Translate is probably the most used translation service in the entire world and it still sucks. I did a survey a few years ago at Qingdao University and 90% of the participating students mentioned they had used Google Translate or an equivalent online service at least once a week for translation help. Online translation services are improving day by day but in many cases they're still awful.
The article never did mention the car type involved in the accident. It only stated something about the people drinking at a bar in Coco Park (near my house) and then racing at 180 km on the highway (near my house).
I'd like to see the guy that drives this around. Could be anyone from a weightlifter with tattoos to a skinny bank chief. And being in China, it could also be an 80 pound Chinese woman with gold glasses carrying a tiny poodle in her purse.