Monday, January 31, 2005

Your representative in China

This last summer I tried to establish contact with some companies in my home region. I went around and met a handful company executives that were interested in doing business in China. I wrote about it here. I have now started to negotiate with one of them. I don't expect it too very fat since this will be a small operation, but it is a start. Since everybody knows each other where I live I might get more offers later. Meanwhile I will try to get some free travel and earn a little at the same time.

Bad medicine

more medicine
Today was another really bad day. My coughing is really killing me. Couldn't go to work today either and it has actually gotten worse during the day. I'm taking some other pills now , but they have no use either. Maybe I'm alergic to the weird stuff I got from TianMengYuan. She said that if I'm not cured today that medicine only works on Chinese I think she is on to something... Chinese medicine probably do only work on Chinese. Chinese that believe in Chinese medicine. Guess my problem is that I really don't have that much faith in it. I for example don't believe eating pig feet is good for my feet or eating fish-eye is good for my sight. Maybe if you believe, then it works, or not.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Chinese Medicine

The Chinese medicine that I'm taking. Some sweet syrup and an unidentified seed of some sort to put in hot water and drink. It is called PengDaHai (胖大海) according to TianMengYuan.

Neither work... atleast for me right now... I caughing really bad.

TianMengYuan in pyjamas

Our 'living-room camper' in pyjamas!

A sneak shot of TianMengYuan in our living room. Today she has been running around all day in her pyjamas! After the apartment brawl we have gotten to better terms. I made her coffee today and she gave me Chinese medicine for my cough.

Her tent where she lives is in the background. In the evening she is laying in the tent watching TV peeking out from the opening. Looks really funny. Unfortunately, when I try to take a picture of her she quickly closes it.

The lawyer

WuZheJian eatin noodles
He's cool, he's smart, and he's got a Korean girlfriend. My hero and lawyer WuZheJian. I helped him translating a business letter he received as a test for a job. The hardest thing was to guess whether the guy who is going to judge it is Chinese or not. That actually makes quite a difference, since if it's a Chinese it would probably be preferable to have a little bit more Chinglish sounding letter.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Beijing Zoo

Today I visited Beijing Zoo with Wen, YangBo, and a Canadian friend of theirs coming to Beijing on business. The place is rather depressing, mostly because of the sad concrete cages, but also because everything is so dry and grey in the winter. Luckily we had a clear sky today and the sun was shining. I caught a really nasty cough though. Possible because of the fresh air. My system is just not used to it. Hope we get back some of that ol' Beijing smog tomorrow.

ZhangWen wouldn't let me take a picture of her and the hippo together.
A "LongNeckDeer".

Hanging out at Souk

After work this Friday I hooked up with Wen, YangBo, and later on my former flatmate WenYa. The place is an Arabic restaurant called Souk. Got good music and a nice atmosphere.

Hanging out at Souk
WenYa, YangBo, me, and ZhangWen drinking sangria and smoking waterpipe.

Smoking Waterpipe
Think it was supposed to be orange flavor. Not bad actually.

In all the haze and confusion WenYa suddenly mistook the place for a Karaoke bar.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Selfish love

After having stayed in Stockholm for some time doing her internship, I wanted to know how WangJun ("Uma") was doing and what she thought of Stockholm. In reply she basically terminated our friendship accusing me of being selfish.

[20:16] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: hej!
[20:17] Uma, Stockholm: What's up?
[20:17] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: not much
[20:17] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: you?
[20:17] Uma, Stockholm: i am fine
[20:17] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: the job?
[20:18] Uma, Stockholm: nice
[20:18] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: stockholm?
[20:19] Uma, Stockholm: nice to
[20:19] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: just nice?
[20:19] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: cold?
[20:19] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: boring?
[20:20] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: what have you done during this time?
[20:21] Uma, Stockholm: well, i have to say, if u would not let me know what i want to know , i ll never let u know what u want to know, maybe just ll never talk to u
[20:22] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: :-S
[20:29] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: i all the time tried to be crystal clear. i never wanted to be anything but friends.
[20:29] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: if you misunderstood you can't be bitter towards me.
[20:30] Uma, Stockholm: ok, i am not BITTER toward u!
[20:30] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: i suspected that you were fond of me so i tried to be careful not to hurt your feelings since i wanted to be your friend.
[20:30] Uma, Stockholm: well, ok
[20:30] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: how would you treat a friend that are fond of you? total rejection?
[20:30] Uma, Stockholm: seems u tried very hard
[20:31] Uma, Stockholm: at least u can say sth instead keeping slience
[20:32] Uma, Stockholm: and i do not even think ur a good friend, cause for my part, i think u never think about others, u only care about urself
[20:33] Uma, Stockholm: that is my opinion
[20:34] Uma, Stockholm: guess i should not be the first one said this
[20:34] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: i don't think there was anything i could have done to help you. i would not fake feelings you know...
[20:34] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: if that's what you think of me then i don't understand how you can be hurt.
[20:35] Uma, Stockholm: ok
[20:35] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: well... i won't bother you more then.
[20:35] Johan 佳宝,Beijing: bye bye

I can't say anything but than this conversation was quite annoying. If she ever helped me with things it was because she wanted. I believe it was rather mutual. For example I helped her to find a place to stay for free during her month in Stockholm. Noone has caused me so much trouble as her (the apartment fight, following me around). I was VERY clear that I didn't want anything else but friendship and I'm sorry, I don't think that there could be much more I could have done to break that illusion.

I do feel rather hurt by the remarks and I don't really know what you mean. I liked hanging out with you because you are very open-minded and easy going. If you feel you have sacrificed a lot of things for me, it was never what I wanted. If hanging out with me was a sacrifice that you got nothing out of, then I would never had wanted to hang out with you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Eat Camera

Eat Camera

Well... This ad does not make me want to buy a camera, make me hungry, nor turn me on. It did catch my attention so I guess it succeeded with something.

Reading Mao

Reading Mao

Reading a book about Mao in the subway.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Back pain

My back still hurts like hell. No work nor babies going to be produced today.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Worst day of the year

"Dr. Arnalls from Cardiff University has crunched the numbers and has precisely determined that Monday, January 24th will be the worst day of the year. For those of you who might be wondering, the formula to use when deciding what day to stay in bed is 1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA. The fact that the 24th happens to land on a Monday is purely coincidental.

Early morning. Stumbling into the bathroom. A quick look in the mirror. Horror... such horror...

Woke up this morning with a really nasty cough. It was ass cold in the room and I was really tired, Monday morning tired. The caught was so nasty so I called up the office and told them that I wanted to work from home. I fell asleep again and didn't wake up until the afternoon. Half a day wasted. Probably better so anyway. When I finally managed to get up to take a shower I started coughing so bad that my back started to hurt! Hurting really bad! I can freaking hardly walk!

When I turned on the computer there was no internet connection. When getting to the internet company on the phone they said they knew about it and were working on it. No internet, no work.

I decided to go to the good old Sculpture in Time Café since they have wireless internet. That's were I'm sitting now. It is way to cold and I have my jacket on me. Next to me there are some girls using their laptops to watch some movies. With loud volume. Really annoying. My back hurts really bad and I can't really work effectively.

I'm feeling really shitty, but if this is as bad as it is going to get, I guess I will make it through this year too. And I bet I will have quite some fun.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Beijing Suburban Villa Compound

Dragon Villas
The entrance to the Dragon Villas villa compound

Entrance For Residence only
Clean, safe, and empty streets.

At this place (mostly foreign) rich and connected people live in Beijing. It requires car, but comes with a golf course, bowling hall, indoor tennis court, a large fence around the whole compound, and guards patrolling the streets.

It is very quiet and probably very safe. The whole place gives an impression of being mostly empty and hardly anyone is seen on the street. I understand that people choose to move out to these places, especially if they have children, but I can't help thinking it is very sad having this kind of segregation. For a society as a whole I think this is a very negative development. The children living in these compounds, studying in private schools, growing up with the best potential of becoming influential and powerful will have very little experience of the difficulties of less privileged people.

Sporty Birthday Party

Some people prefer to celebrate their birthdays a little bit different.

Dear friends,

We are organising a birthday party on SUNDAY January 23. This is Aila's first birhday (Jan. 18) and Sieg's 40th (Jan. 28), and Aila told us that she would love for you to share this special occasion with her. We hope that you and your partner and (non)existing or future kids can come and join the party.

11h30 Running 10k
12h30 Shower
13h00 Lunch
13h30 Indoor bicycle challenge
15h00 Basketball game (teams of 3) Kids playroom at Dragon Villas Club
16h30 Bowling at Dragon Villas Club
18h00 Dinner and party games at home

Sieg was Wen's boss when she was working at the Belgian embassy during this last semester. They all belong to a group of people they call 'mobsters' who do a bunch of pretty extreme sports. Sieg has the Guiness world record at biking at the highest altitude: 7000m.

At the very international party there were at least three married couples, consisting of a Chinese woman and a Western man, having mixed race Children. I know many couples like that, but it was actually the first time getting to know couples that had stayed together for such time, gotten married, and had children. These children are very cute and look very special!

Morning run
The morning run. Me and Wen actually took a walk instead. These guys were too hard-core.

Taking picture of butterfly girl
Little 1-year old butterfly girl getting all the attention.

The basketball session

Bowling was never my thing

Birthday people
The two birthday children

Olympic Aquatic Park

Near the Dragon Villas is the site where Shunyi Olympic Aquatic Park is supposed to be built. We came across it when we were out running. It is a huge place and the when I came across it and realized what it was the first question was "Where will all that water come from?" and the second was "Who the hell is going to use all this after the Olympics is over?". ZhangWen's dad is actually involved in this project and she has told me that after his company had spend millions of dollars in preparations, the project has been put on hold and might be cancelled.

Guess this doesn't make me more enthusiastic about this Olympic business. Sure this country could do with a couple of more schools and teachers instead of a huge Aqua park in the middle of nowhere.

This is some sort of damn, possible the lower part to the left of the plan below.
Shunyi Olympic Aquatic Park

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Welcome Tina!

Tina just put up her blog here on Blogger!

It's not much yet, but it would be great to read what she is up to. I don't think I'm the only one that is wondering. Tina is my 3rd little sister and she is currently working as an Au-Pair in the States.



Me cutting my hair in the place a few houses away from the WuDaoKou 'Sculpture in Time' café. I had just bought the freakin camera-phone thing so I couldn't resist taking a picture. Haircut 20 RMB. Camera 1900 RMB.

Office MeiNv

Office MeiNv

Arissa and Eva when going out together for lunch. We used the coupons that they got when the whole company went out together to eat, so... it was free! Who said there was no free lunch?

Office ShuaiGe

Office Shuai Ge

Ben and Jamie trying out my camera-phone at the office. American dudes that to my annoyance speak good Chinese. Pretty impressive. That puts me down to being the 3rd best Chinese speaking white guy in the office. 3rd out of four. Not good. They are both easy to hang out with and focused when it comes down to work.

Ben, in the white shirt, recently lost his phone in the Starbucks at Fullink Mall. A guy came up and pointed at their laptop. While Ben tried to politely make him go away someone else stole his phone, also laying right infront of him. Suddenly the annoying guy just walked out. By that time the phone was gone.

Jamie has lost one of the companies laptops, so he is the office's hangdog right now.

Friday, January 21, 2005

What do I do for work?

My sister Johanna's (my 2nd little sister) boyfriend Jakob asked me what I do for work. I will try to explain.

This is how I got the job. I answered an ad on That's Beijing's job-site and went for an interview for the company working halftime with PR. I'm not a PR guy but the company seemed interesting.

The company helps foreign telecom and IT-companies, usually small start-up firms, to do business in China. We start out doing initial market assessments and if the costumer decides to make the move, they usually let us becomes their representatives. That means that we hire people that works for us but are payed through their account. If their operation grows they might in the end choose to start their own office, and then they finish their account with us. It is usually huge Venture Capitalists that introduces these smaller start-ups. If a small company did this themselves it would take a very long time, be very risky, and very expensive. We can hire people in a couple of weeks, don't need to find office spaces and we can get started right away. Since most of the work is done by Chinese it is more effective (no culture and language barriers) and cheaper.

They called me for an interview and pretty soon it became clear to them too that I wasn't a PR guy either. It seemed like they would be more interested in having me coordinate and managing their various accounts. They already have an American guy that does that, but they might soon need a new person to do this. Since they probably won't have enough accounts until spring they offered me doing a part-time freelance project so I could get to know them and the company better.

My little project is to do a market assessment for an American fabless chip maker. They produce a chip that can enables a handset to use both the GSM network and WiFi. I will suggest to them possible clients and prepare meetings with them.

Basically I sit and surf, write business proposals, SWOT analysis, PowerPoint slides, drink coffee, and chat with the secretaries. All the thing that you might not understand from this, I didn't understand either when I started. Use google if you want to find out.

I think this will be a very useful experience. This all is very different from everything I have done before and I'm smack down in the middle of a huge business-culture-clash in progress.

Blog spammed

I have no idea how that spam ends up on my blog... I'm not allowing emailed post right now... Will try to fix it when I get off work. Meanwhile I will try to understand and love spammers. Now that is a challange.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Then new black one

Then new black one

I like it. The screen is so much better than the old one and when typing I can easily switch between the English and Chinese dictionaries. Since I'm used to the Nokia system, I send away tons of half written SMS since I accidentally press 'send'. Another annoying thing is that I will have to add all essential words to the dictionaries again, such as 'lol, 'fuck', 'shit', beida' 'mafan' and 'ceren'. ;-)

It is a Sony-Ericsson, so now when someone sees my phone I have to live with the:

"Ah, Sony-Ericsson! Of course, you are Swedish"

Even though I've had nothing but Philips, Siemens, Nokias for the last ten years or so. Then again when I had a Nokia I still had to live with:

"Ah, Nokia! Of course, you are Swedish"
"Nokia is Finnish"

Little red phone missing

My red little Nokia phone has gone missing. It was last seen just laying on a table next to me in the KFC at WuDaoKou. Me and Ceren was waiting for Wen to come. Maybe it was the moment when I put the phone aside to take a picture of Ceren that somehow the phone walked away and got lost.

Whoever took it must have been fucking invisible. Both me and Ceren was astonished that someone could have taken it in front of our eyes like that.

I was supposed to just go and quickly buy a new one, but with the money constraints I have and the importance mobile phones have in my life at the moment, I pretty much spent the whole next day finding a new one. My budget was already in a screaming desperate state before this happened, now it is almost dead.

Bad thing is that I lost all the numbers. I had not written them down and I had no backup. Good thing is that I could get my number back from China Mobile since I could show them the PUK-number.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Hotpot + DVD

Hotpot + DVD

The only proper way to finish off a day of walking up and down streets is of course to eat hotpot.

Being a good foreigner in this town we added a DVD to that: Kung Fu Hustle. The sound didn't work, so we ended up watching Chungking Express instead. I finally got to see this movie. Somehow always imagined that movie taking place on a train. I don't know where I got that from, there wasn't the tiniest train involved.



Shopping in China. Western models, everything constantly on sale, and hysterical clothes for women. Clothes for men are mostly black, grey, or brown.

Needed some more office clothes. Went to XianDai ShanCheng, but ended up buying stuff in the small shops on the streets outside. Among them a jacket for RMB 150, a real bargain. Well, at least if the zipper holds the week out. My shirts are more expensive then my jacket! The old Marlboro jacket really got worn out during the trip to Mongolia last year and will only be used if it gets really cold again.

Mao looking at Mao

Mao looking at Mao

Two blocks away from where I live there are two universities facing
each other, DiZhiDaXue and BeiJingKeJiDaXue. In front of each main
building there is a huge statue of MaoZeDong facing the other statue.
These huge statues always gives me the creeps, and having two of them
is not making the feeling go away.

I try to see it as one is a statue of Mao, and the other is a statue
of Mao admiring his own statue. In most other countries statues of
people are usually built after people die. In authoritarian countries
the trend seems to be that the statues are built when they are alive,
and so were these two. The trend also seem to be that the statues
built that way are torn down when the person is dead. Mao has shown
resistance though. Guess his not quite dead yet. He has turned into a
ghost that is haunting in people's minds.

Eating Pizza

Eating Pizza

ZhangFan had serious problems using fork and knife to eat her pizza. It was pretty amusing and she was constantly wondering why foreigners just wouldn't use chop-sticks too. This was her first pizza ever and she thought it was pretty good.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Apartment fight again...

Thursday night I got completely knocked out by a cold. The lack of sleep took it's toll. I'm already feeling fine, after taking the day off on Friday, pretty much laying all day in bed feeling crappy. While I was lying in my bed Friday morning there was an argument going on in the living room. My flatmate TianMengYuan was arguing with the landlord about something. Wen later told me that she had heard the landlord say that she was behind with the rent and that she had threatened to move out. Behind with the rent? And I have already paid for 3 months in advance... how could that be?

When coming on from the room the apartment had been cleaned and the tent was removed. There was a backback on the floor. It sure looked like she was moving out. Taking into consideration a row of argument about the electricity fee, the broadband fee, my trust for her was not really on top. I wanted to believe that it was just a bunch of bad coincidence, since she otherwise seems to be very friendly.

In the evening I managed to go out and have farewell dinner with ZhangFan who was going home for Chinese New Year. Coming home TianMengYuan was there. I asked her about the argument and what was going on. I wanted to see the contract she had with the landlord or a receipt that showed that she actually had paid my money to the landlord. She refused! From having a friendly talk it got more and more into an argument. She showed some pieces of papers that looked like a receipt from an ATM and something that was supposed to be a contract. Neither me or Wen was at all convinced. In the end we asked if we could call the landlord and get confirmed that TianMengYuan had the right to the apartment until March, but she refused this too, getting a more and more hostile tone towards us. It was really a nightmare for a while. She was planning to leave the apartment early next day. If she left and didn't come back there would be no way for me to find her away. I swear to god that I would have forced her to stay in the apartment until she called the police or let me talk to the landlord.

So, who do I call when I'm in these tricky situations? My lawyer of course. WuZheJian (Andrew), sounding really concerned, promised to come right over. Knowing my skills to handle conflicts since Apartment World War I with Mr Evil, he was probably quite reluctant to get involved again in the upcoming AWWII.

To our great relief the phone call seemed to have an effect and we got the number to the landlord. She wasn't in at the time but at least we got confirmed we had the right number by her husband. Later on the landlord called back and we got our confirmation. So much trouble for such a stupid thing. My theory was that she wanted to keep it a secret how much she actually pays for the apartment. It turns out that she's actually not paying anything, but earns a couple of hundred by renting out these two rooms.

Me, Wen, the lawyer, and the lawyer's Korean girlfriend went out for a drink instead, relieved that I am rather sure that I don't have to live on the street the coming weeks. Would be difficult to combine with the work. Pretty cold too.

Wedding in Thailand

As I mentioned in the previous post, David, the founder of , is on honeymoon in Thailand. He has married a woman that is supposibly rather famous from a TV-series. Their wedding was held on a small island on the east-coast of Thailand, as far from group-tourists as possible. Ben, the Executive Director, was there during the wedding and had came back to the mainland just after the tsunami had struck. According to him they didn't know anything, except that they had received phone calls from people that was flying in from the States and watched TV in the airports, asking them if it was possible to come.

I heard that before the wedding the bride and the groom had been arguing a lot whether to have the wedding on the west-coast or the east-coast. His Chinese bride had wanted to go to a more 'developed' place in the east, but they had in the end settled for the east-coast. Guess Dave will have a pretty strong card in future arguments.

The Plan

I've gotten started on my little project which is to plan an initial market assessment for a US company. The guys have been really helpful and have not assumed that I know anything about the telecom market and not much about telecom at all for that matter. I've had 'lessons', where my colleague Jamie taught me how the infrastructure of the networks work and who manages them here in China. They have forwarded a zillion documents and emails that I have to catch up reading. The plan is the following:

* Read and try to understand the zillions of documents.
* A miracle occurs
* The great plan emerges
* Profit

How could people survive in the pre-google era? Guess that will come in handy too.

The office is on the eight floor in the Union Plaza, just behind the Fullink Plaza. I take the subway to ChaoYangMen and walk a little bit. Doesn't take me more than about 50 minutes from my room to the office. During this week there hasn't been that many people in the office since most employees are out on location. We've got Arissa the always cheerful Receptionist, Eva the Office Manager, Ben the Executive Director, Jamie the Market Development Manager, and me the Project Manager. The rest of the 15 people or so I don't really know that well or haven't met yet, including the founder and big boss David since he is on honeymoon.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Working, working, working, getting a cold, working, working...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


That was a really late post last night and despite being really determined to get up early I still slept until afternoon. I've felt weird all day and I really don't feel prepared to go to work tomorrow... today morning actually. Fact is that I wish I wouldn't have to work for another week or so, my mind is just too full of other things. I'm sitting here typing and I'm not the least sleepy, though tired.

Access Blog in China

For those of you that are in China and still uses the feedburner link ( to read my blog, I encourage you to use Anonymouse instead.

Yeah. It's ugly and long, but for now it makes it possible to circumvent the nanny governments silly attempt to block it. If you have a slow connection maybe you will have to try a couple of times.

This way it is possible to check out a lot of blocked sites, though I never get to work.

Latin guitars @ Lush

Latin guitars @ Lush

Bye Annie

Bye Annie

Me, Nathalie, and Annie. Good bye party for Annie @ Lush. She's going back to Australia. We'll see she will be able to stay away from Beijing. People tend to come back. Annie has also found a job for an American company and seems to be rather busy lately. She was the one who proved to me that you could actually find a decent "real" job. A job that you found here and wouldn't only be because of your English skills. Nathalie is French, though her English is excellent.

By the way, I do get to use a lot of Chinese in the office since my colleagues are constantly using it among themselves.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Got the job

I got the job. On Wednesday morning I will start working. Now I better go and try to get some sleep. Good night.

Eternal Sunshine

She is free to do what she wants.. She doesn't need no ex-boyfriends advise, which probably would be to go to celibacy. I wish I could put here in a little glass-bottle somewhere so I could control her and so she couldn't hurt my feelings. I'm still pitch black jealous, fueled by all the pain in the past. The feelings after finding out she had cheated on me and the humiliation after taking her back never went away. There was too much pride for me to swallow being another white guy in her life, and so many parts of me that didn't want to go with me on the ride that is the life with Samantha.

Just as we had spend a couple of weeks not talking, or not exchanging much more than some angry lines on New Year's Eve, things started to feel more neutral and I wanted to know how she was doing. I had been thinking about asking to be my sister, an attempt to find a place for her that would be bearable for me. That Friday night at 1.54 am she suddenly got online

[01:57] wana talk to u... as a friend.....

She was crying and drunk... after having made out with a 38 year old married expat that works in her office, in front of many of their colleagues. This, the day after she had kissed the college next to her in the office in a taxi on the way home.

I was trying to comfort her at the same time I felt the wound in myself open up again. I was glad she turned to me, it satisfied the possessive side of me to know she still had feelings for me, but it was unbearable to listen to it.

[01:59] Junkette: drunk
[01:59] Junkette: stupid
[01:59] Junkette: messed up
[01:59] Junkette: i dont know whats happenin
[01:59] Junkette: iim just messedd up.

She got on the phone, and cried... I was in chock and talked about us being friend, trying comfort her while inside I felt all black. The connection broke after a couple of minutes since her phone ran out of battery.
We continued to chat...
[02:52] Junkette: do u love zhNG WEN?
[02:52] Junkette: i feel horrid u replaed me so quuickyly
[03:02] Junkette: i miss a lot of pple.
[03:02] Junkette: i miss ou
[03:02] Junkette: u
[03:02] Junkette: [the name of the expat guy]
[03:02] Junkette: (germab n
[03:02] Junkette: merried guy
[03:02] Junkette: scvante
[03:02] Junkette: everyone..
[03:02] Junkette: i miss bits n puieces of evertone
[03:02] Junkette: i miss having somenoe.
[03:02] Johan in Beijing: guess i wasn't that special
[03:03] Johan in Beijing: so i could hold on to you
[03:03] Junkette: no
[03:03] Junkette: u were
[03:03] Junkette: u beli9eved uin me
[03:03] Junkette: u shared..
[03:03] Junkette: u were willing to stick w me
[03:03] Junkette: a girl like me
[03:03] Junkette: im really a piece of shit.
[03:03] Johan in Beijing: i'm off...
Session Close: Sat Jan 08 03:03:57 2005

The last pieces... I could understand her, pretty much have felt the same. There is many people I have feelings for, but it's not the same as making it possible to base a life together. I so understand her desperation to fill a void.

She will hopefully make the best decision, a decision that she feel that she can stand for and afterward look people in the eyes. One should never let the adult person's desperation and desires kill that inner child (which in Samantha's case right now is about 10 years old).

I was the one who broke up but I'm still sitting here feeling hurt and melancholic. We couldn't go on in our vicious miserable circles. I guess my senses caught up with my feelings in the end, but they are coming back with a vengeance. What that girl is doing is still seriously effecting my feelings. And I wish there would be an easy way to make it go away...

This is Samantha's blog entry:
Carnal desires


ZhangWen has been great to me and she is definitely right being causious with me. She knows that she came into my life when there was a lot of things going on in my head. It is a good thing that she is busy with her exams and let me have these days by myself. I admire so many things about her.

I guess this break my silence when it comes to handing out private things on this place... but I guess it will only be good friends that bother to read it... and hopefully it will help you understand me a little better. That was the point with this thing from the start.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


With the country still in chock after the thousands of people that died in South-East Asia, my parents have had to think about other things.

Letter from my dad:

[Last night we had full storm here with winds peaking at strength of a hurricane. The forest across the main road is completely devestated, it looks just like a giant has been roaming around. Loads of trees has been snached off a couple of meters above the ground. We have been without electricity the last couple of days. Some of the power lines are in such bad shape that they will have to be rebuild. It has been nice to have a wood fired stove to cook on! Take care of you and lots of hugs... God's blessing from all of us. Dad.]
(My own translation)

Natten som gick har det varit full storm med orkanbyar här, skogen på andra sidan Hångervägen är fullständigt skövlad som om en jätte slagit ner den , massor av träd är knäckta några meter upp. Vi har varit utan ström ett dygn och fick tillbaka strömen ikväll, men många hushåll får ingen ström på upp till en vecka, vissa ledningar är så förstörda att de måste byggas om. Det var skönt att ha en vedspis att laga maten på då. Ha det nu så bra många kramar och Guds välsignelse från oss alla genom Pappa.
(That was in Swedish...)

My parents live on the country-side, in Åminne (just outside Värnamo) in Sweden.

Modern Art

Modern Art

Good or bad art? Scary according to ZhangFan. According to a book by the painter it was something about the focus on our clothes and style. Something about people trying to get attention. Guess without looking in that book I wouldn't have a clue... now I have... perhaps a clue... Well... it's...hmm... fun?

Well... No matter how fun it was, I'm a hell of a lot more touched by movies, books, and music. This format doesn't move me much.

DaShanZi Art District

DaShanZi Art District

Ceren contemplating the connection between human sexuality and the creation of this Mao bust. Sexuality is our drive for everything we do, right?

Today me, ZhangFan, and Ceren took a taxi down to the much hyped DaShanZi Art District. Very few Chinese seems to heard about it, while the whole foreign community seems to have been there. The place is a factory area where some deserted buildings have turned into art galleries and studios. Since there are still factories in operation, on the streets you see foreigner and workers in a quite odd mix. The contrasts are remarkable. Most places seemed to be closed at the moment, but there was still a handful of places worth visiting. As usual, modern art drives me crazy, being so pretentious and incomprehensible. The fact that it exist though I find very amusing and it gives me a warm feeling for the whole of humanity and the ways we seek to express ourself and get acknowledgment. Really!

My favorite

My favorite

Feels actually pretty good and I can understand the use of this one.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Exercise equipment

Exercise equipment

You can see these machines all over the city. Must be some regulation that forces each block to have them. ZhangWen said that it was some sort of lottery that paid for them. To me they seem very pointless since there is no resistance in the movement. Could possible be good for your blood circulation, but walking or going up some stairs would have more effect I think.

Friday, January 07, 2005


SkypeI have lately tried to persuade my sister to get Skype. It is a little program that turns your computer into a phone. This is supposed to work as a little reminder to them... I'm you do not qualify in the category of being one of my numerous sisters, you might still want to consider it.

Do you have broadband? Consider buying a cheap headset with a microphone (my cost 32 RMB=$4 in the supermarket) and try it. My ID is "johan_garbolino". Free calls over the world. Very easy and works great. For a fee you can call fixed and mobile phones too. Skype should really pay me for the advertisement I'm doing for them.

Go get him!

Last night I was talking a couple of hours with Eddie in Boston. He just quit his well-paid job and is heading off into the world to learn all languages there is. He's got a little bag of money with him that will let him be able to survive a couple of years without working. He could retire now if he settled in China. We've got a young, single, Swedish guy out there with a bag of money, high education, great future prospects, a lot of time, and unsure what he wants to do with his life. Did you hear me all Chinese girls out there! I want him over here so I have someone to drink beer with, so go and get him.

Go get him! UPDATE: Edward requested me to add that he is handsome, has a great body, is gentle and modest. If that is not enough I can say that his salary recently got raised a lot (he will continue to work as a consultant for a while). He's 1.78 m (?) tall. He could very easy get the things that is absolutely necessary for marriage (TV, washing-machine, and fridge), he could possible also satisfy the most demanding of Chinese women (car, flat, and RMB 100K+ in the bank). Guess that is all needed to know. His email will be available on request. Please attach a picture. Go get him!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

What is your size?

What is your size?

Discussing this and that.

Buying YouZi

Buying €œyouzi€

This is according to my dictionary a "pomelo", a fruit I didn't know the English name of, but knew the Chinese name for it! My Chinese getting better than my English? No.

2.4 Jin (= 1.2 kilo) youzi was with todays price 4.8 RMB ($0.57).

The street outside

The street outside

The street outside is bustling with activity from early morning to late

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Change of Mood

When calling Stefan on midnight New Year's eve, his tone of voice and the fact that he almost immediately started talking about the disaster made me realize what a large impact this has had on people back home. He is working as a journalist for the Swedish public radio and had been calling relatives to victims of the disaster. Reading the Swedish news leaves you with a different impression than the other international news. It gives you a very Swedish angle on it. The focus is on the Swedish victims on the beaches in Thailand. The geographical distance to the disaster is not important, it's of course the emotional distance that the readers and viewers have to what has happened. In this case a large part of the population knows someone that has been affected, and a very large part of the population has visit these beaches, including myself.

I can't really say that I'm very affected, being away from much of TV and not reading tabloids, and only the foreigners that I meet here bring it up in conversations. I'm not aware of anyone close to me that has been involved in the disaster and I feel very grateful for that.

More than 9,000 foreign tourists, mostly Europeans, were still missing nine days after the Indian Ocean tsunami hit coasts and devastated beach resorts.
The Guardian 4 Jan

Sweden, the European country hit hardest by the disaster, has warned that its death toll could rise to 1,000. So far, the government has confirmed 52 deaths, with a further 827 people missing. It said it had no information about 1,495 others believed to have been on holiday in the region.

The death toll from the Indian Ocean tsunami is set to rise "exponentially" above current estimates of 150,000 as relief workers reach remote villages and survivors succumb to disease, UN officials warned today.
The Guardian 4 Jan

Monday, January 03, 2005

How I publish my Blog

How I publish my Blog

I got asked how I publish my blog. This is how I do it.

The Blog
I have set up my blog using Blogger, the perhaps most popular blogging service around at the moment. It is very easy to get started and it's free. The blog will be posted on the address Since is blocked in China I can't see it in its original form nor comments made on it. I have configured it so that comments are automatically mailed to my gmail account. In fact, I can't edit or reply to any comments. The only power I have over comments is to remove the whole post (and possible repost it).

Image hosting
It is possible to post images directly to blogger without paying by using the program Hello, but since it doesn't work with proxies and it leaves you with little control over the images, I have decided to use the Flickr site to host my images. For their free account they have an upload limit to 10 MB/month. Since I compress the images to 50kB to 100 kB that is acceptable. In the future I might consider subscribing to their services or perhaps even moving my blog to their
site. Flicker also offer my the option to mail the images to the site and automatically have the images and the text posted on

Extra feed
As I said above, is blocked since some official in China has judged that something written there might be harmful to the Chinese on line population. It is not blocked because of my blog. There are probably thousands of blogs on To let my Chinese friends or friends in China be able to read my ramblings I use the services at the Feedburner site. Using their service I repost the blog to It is not so pretty, it will only contain the last couple of postings, but it let people read my postings here and it is free.

UPDATE 050109: It is possible to load blocked webpages by loading them from other websites. One such service is Anonymouse. It is a little bit slow but so far it works. You can for example check out my blog here.

Complicated? Not really. The problem is that I'm in China using a service which is blocked and I don't want to spend any money. When I post, I right click on an image, choose 'send to' -'Mail recipient', choose 'Make all images smaller'. My email client starts and I write my post and send it (using the Gmail account) to Flickr - Voilà! - it's up on the web with my picture. Not that hard.

Any ideas for improvements are welcome.

Coffee in the afternoon

Coffee in the afternoon

No school today so I use the time to write a couple of lines and have an afternoon coffee by myself in my little room.

This is not a diary. I don't reveal my most intimate feelings or secrets. It is not what it has turned into. When writing about things that I feel is very personal, then I get impersonal. The postings will be small reminders of what I have done and I think when I read these postings I will be able to fill in the blanks myself. Some good friends of mine might be able to do the same too.

I'm not sure what kind of impression the little anecdotal pieces that I write make, but I'm quite sure it won't be a very balanced view of how it is to live here. I write what I feel like, and that might not be what might be most interesting for others. I like this medium and I want to
continue writing. After my stay in India, studying in Germany, Spain, US, university years, people I've met, I have very little left but a box of pictures in my parents home. I never see them and the memories and impressions are fading fast. These post will stay up and be more easily remembered and accessed. Hope it will make it easier for me to stay in touch with people that I care about.

I huset där jag bor...

I huset där jag bor...

The building where I live on the fourth floor. Flags are out to celebrate the new year. This and slogans on the public billboards are the only sign of celebration.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

ZhangFan's birthday


ZhangFan is my friend and language tutor since more than a year back.
We've spend A LOT of time together chatting by now and we have become
good friends. At periods of time we have met up every day and chatted for about 2
hours. I think she mostly does it because she think it is interesting,
but I also pay her a little for the trouble (10 RMB/h). Yesterday we met up as
usual at BeiDa, this time at ShaoYuan building 7 since all other places
are so cold. After chatting for about 2 hours, mostly about whether people
that were passing by were Korean or not (ZhangFan has a thing for Korean guys)
and/or whether she considered them to be fat or not (only if it was a girl), she told me it was
her birthday! She's born on January the 1st! I didn't know. Guess I'm
not such a good friend after all... on the other hand I hardly remember
anyone's birthday... We went to her favorite place on earth, KFC, and
had French fries and ice-cream, waiting for her friend to come. Later
her friend bought her even more stuff to eat.

We made an appointment to go out for lunch today. Since sat up all night
surfin' (I'm still working on a proposal to that company) I delayed it
to dinner. We went to the 'Sculpture in Time' Café in WuDaoKou, which
she seemed to think was very exotic. I'm sure she will talk a lot about
that experience with her friends. I bought a book for her as a gift, and
then... back to the glorious KFC for more dead chicken.

Happy birthday ZhangFan!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The plan

I've gotten started on my little project which is to plan an initial market assessment for a US company. The guys have been really helpful and have not assumed that I know anything about the telecom market and not much about telecom at all for that matter. I've had 'lessons', where my colleage Jamie taught me how the infrastructur of the networks work and who manages them here in China. They have forwarded a zillion documents and emails that I have to catch up reading. The plan is the following:

* Read and try to understand the zillions of documents.
* A miracle occurs
* The great plan emerges
* Profit

How could people survive in the pre-google era? Guess that will come in handy too.

The office is on the eight floor in the Union Plaza, just behind the Fullink Plaza. I take the subway to ChaoYangMen and walk a little bit. Doesn't take me more than about 50 minutes from my room to the office. During this week there has't been that many people in the office since most employees are out on location. We've got Arissa the always cheerful Receptionist, Eva the Office Manager, Ben the Executive Director, Jamie the Market Development Manager, and me the Project Manager. The rest of the 15 people or so I don't really know that well or haven't met yet, including the founder and big boss David since he is on honeymoon.

New Years Dinner

New Years Dinner

Me and Wen.

We had a really good evening going out with TianMengYuan and her boyfriend. After finishing dinner we went to Moonhouse celebrating New Year, made a quick visit to Lush, and finished the evening eating bbq:d Chicken wings in a 'greasy spoon' kind of place.

TianMengYuan's boyfriend got drunk after a couple of glasses of the weak Chinese beer! Got all red faced and fell asleep while we were eating! He told us he easily got drunk, and yes, he was telling the truth. Pretty funny.

New Years party

New Years party

We had dinner together in the apartment on New Years eve. In the picture
TianMengYuan is steaming buns and frying vegetables together with
ZhangWen. Afterwards we headed to Moonhouse and made a quick visit to
Lush, before ending up eating again (grilled chicken wings) at a small
place close to the aparment.



This place sells hamburgers made of Ogre meat.

Spotted by the 4th ring next to BeiHang University.