Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dad Goes to China

This post is long, long [long] overdue. My dad visited recently (in July). I wasn't sure how he'd handle China, a country and culture vastly different from America, but he impressed me with his adaptability to this strange land.

Be sure to visit his blog for complete details of the trip.

OLYMPIC PRIDE: Traveling alone is no fun -- that's why I told my dad he couldn't come to China without someone to share the experience, and complaints, with. My dad brought his former student and long-time friend Joe Krushinski. Joe works for the state of Maryland in television and broadcasting. At our first stop, I took them to the Olympic Area to see the Bird's Nest, Water Cube and other Olympic venues.

THE CHAIRMAN MEETS THE CHAIRMAN: Aside from Maryland Public Television, Joe is also the Chairman of the Carbon-Tamaqua American Cancer Society. We felt it was only appropriate to have a photo of the Chairman and the chairman.

DIRECTIONS AROUND BEIJING: "Okay, so take Bus 101 to Fuchengmen, then transfer on Line 2 to Fuxingmen and go three stops. Get out at Exit A and hail a cap. Give him this piece of paper. And here's a cell phone in case you need to call. God speed" were my words to Dad and Joe before they left on their trip to Xi'an.

THE FAST TRAIN: After seeing the major attractions around Beijing -- Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall -- we took a relaxing trip to Tianjin on the intercity fast train. Cruising along at 350 km/h in comfortable seats never felt so good, after spending the previous days walking around Beijing or the Great Wall.

WARRIORS FOR THE DAY: After a few days in Beijing, my dad and Joe were ready to spread their traveling wings and take a one-day trip to Xi'an to see the terracotta warriors. I arranged for them to be picked up and taken on a tour around the city by a guy named Tiger Wang (not to be confused with Tiger Woods, so said my driver John Ping who had arranged the pick up).

ONE STICK, TWO STICK: For someone who had never used chopsticks before, my dad did pretty well getting food from his plate to his mouth.

ONE WITH BUDDHA: I took my dad to a few of my favorite drinking spots, including Fubar, where you can buy a buddha glass with one of many different mixed drinks.

BIG MAO: My dad and Joe stand by a giant statue of Chairman Mao at the China Military Museum in Beijing.

NOT-SO-FORBIDDEN CITY: My dad was really impressed with the architecture and overall layout of the Forbidden City.

WALKING THE WALL: Judging by the ring of sweat around my dad's neck, we'd been on the Great Wall for about an hour.

PHOTO OP: We take a break on our walk on the Great Wall. Thankfully, my dad has been going to the gym and was in good enough shape to traverse the ups and downs of the Wall relatively easily.

INNER CITY: Our first day of sightseeing included a visit to Chairman Mao's mausoleum, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

BRING YOUR FATHER TO WORK DAY: One of the best parts of my dad's trip was showing him around my office. For years as a child, I had always had fun visiting my dad at work. Now, I had fun showing him Beijing Review and letting him meet my co-workers and foreign colleagues.

AIRPORT FAREWELL: From the food to the sights, my dad had a great time visiting Beijing. And I was glad to show him around.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Shanghai Strikes Back

The last video project we filmed in Shanghai went over so well that the bosses at Beijing Review decided to produce a longer edition for DVD release. They sent us back for a week to film the new project.

HIDING FROM THE SUN: Waiting between takes, we'd hide under umbrellas and read our scripts

DRESSING UP: At one of the cheongsam stores I was allowed to try on one of the Chinese style shirts. And as much as I liked the shirt, I couldn't think of any other time in my life that I'd ever wear it

CELEBRITIES, SORT OF: At each scene, we'd be surrounded by people curious to see what was going on

AGAIN, THE EXPO: We spent two days at the Expo. A thunderstorm delayed filming for a while on the first night, but made the scenes look cool

GIMME A BREAK: Taking a rest between scenes with the French and Japanese foreign experts

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD: During filming one afternoon I ate delicious snacks at three different restaurants

PINK DRAGON: Filming in one of the parks. Large dragons protect one of the garden's sections

LION'S PRIDE: Bronze lions in front of one of the banks on the Bund

BACK ON THE BUND: The script for the second project was extended to include more lines for each of the experts, particularly along the Bund

UNDER MY UMBRELLA, ELLA: During the first project last March I got incredibly sunburned. This time, the crew made sure I always wore sunscreen, sat in the shade and carried an umbrella to protect my face

MR. MOVIE STAR: Every so often, random passersby would stop and ask for a photo

ALL EARS: After filming a scene, I watch it again to make sure everything is okay

DOWN BY THE BAY: I sit near the waters of Huangpu River, reading over my script and preparing to shoot another scene for the film

BETTER CITY, BETTER LIFE: The skyline of Pudong District, Shanghai

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Thumbs up for the final filming day

Photos by Chen Ran, Beijing Review