Tag Chinese


I just returned from another visit to Shenzhen. This time it was all business as I needed a lot of networking stuff in preparation for my home automation project on the new townhouse.

What better place to get everything at great prices, but from the largest electronics market in the world? In the heart of the city sits a 1 km2 area that is all wholesale electronics. Thousands of businesses crammed into high rise buildings selling everything from soup to nuts. It is a daunting environment and not for the fainthearted. Noisy, busy, and confusing comes to mind here. Once you get used to it, the things here are amazing.

This is the world center of manufacturing, assemble, wholesale and export of electronics. Of course we all know Apple products are built here. I decided to get right down to business and hire an assistant to help me through all this. His name is Tide. He is the man to use if you need help there. Go to www.electronicsshenzhen.com.

Time now to explain what happened……

First, I needed some pcb connector plugs. Two to be exact. They are 12 pin J connectors. We quickly found the booth that sells them. Well, they won’t sell me 2 or 4 or 10. Minimum quantity….1000! My God, I only want 2. So, ok, then how much to buy 1000? Look at my receipt…50 RMB, which is $7.90. In the US, I pay $9.50 for 2!

Let’s move on. I needed 32 plastic spacers so I can mount a pcb to a board. These are 1/2” plastic tubes with a hole down the middle for a screw. This time I had to buy 5000! I talked them into splitting a bag and selling me 2500. I paid 60 RMB or $9.52. They run about $1.00 each in the US.

Relays. I needed 4 DTSP 12 VDC relays. Cost about $6 ea in the US. The relay sockets are another $4 in the US. Here I paid $1.80 for a relay and a socket!

This is an AMP crimper tool. Funny, AMP is made in the USA. It costs $80.00. Not this one! This copy costs me 80 RMB, which is $12.69. Everything, including the packaging, is 100% identical.

The list goes on and on. But for some fun stuff, I did buy some gadgets as well.

Beautiful leather iPhone case shown here. I got this pic from a website, but this is the exact case I bought. This site sells them for $44.29. I paid 45 RMB which is $7.14. How fun is that?

Then I got a battery power pack. This one looks like the iPhone and is a 5000ma charger thet can charge two devices at the same time. Weighs about 3 oz. I paid 100 RMB ($15.90). You can get on the net for $27.24.

I just bought the iPad 3 back in the US. They make a new cover for it that will turn on the iPad when you flip it open. Apple wanted $49 for it in the US. I found the same cover in Shenzhen, which also included a full plastic cover for the back of the iPad, which apple didn’t have. I paid $9.54 in Shenzhen for both pieces!

Finally I got this USB digital microscope for my PC. This thing goes from 20x to 200x magnification. I just found it at Amazon. You can get it for $65. Not me….. I got it for $39.76.

So there you go…..Happy shopping!

Xiamen living

I have been really busy the past few months, but now I’m back at it. Lot of changes going on with me right now. We opened a new business in Xiamen, so now I’m bedding down in this beautiful city.

If you read my last post on Xiamen, I was really impressed with visiting here a few years back. I mentioned that I would also consider this a pace to live outside Kunming.

So now I have been here for 2 months. So far it just keeps getting better and better everyday! Xiamen Island is quite the pace to see no doubt. To sum it up, Xiamen is like a mini Shanghai. All the “western” amenities are available in this small coastal city.

The first look at this place and you see a squeaky clean city. People take great care to dispose of rubbish. There are trash cans everywhere. Funny how that works! Xiamen has a huge tourist business which they go to great ends to accommodate. There is much to do and see all over this area. You can google further to see these details.

I want to talk about the “western comfort” factor living here. Many people speak English, like Shanghai. I think besides the tourism reason, Xiamen has a noticeably higher educated population. Probably due to it’s famous university located here. Also there is a large amount of affluent people here. I mean big money seems the norm. It is not uncommon to see BMW’s, Benz, Bently, Lamborghini, Ferrari’s, and all manner of exotic new cars all around. Many driven by 20-25 year olds. People dress in the latest fashions and with all the high end name brand shops around, it’s no wonder. There are excellent western restaurants, bars, cafes everywhere. It is very nice to have delicious western food available to choose from. This is a big contrast to Kunming.

Obviously the cost of living here is more than most places. I would compare it to Shanghai in that regard. Housing in the city runs around 20,000 RMB per sq meter. Twice that of Kunming. I got lucky and found a condo on the famous “Coffee Street” facing the beautiful inner city lake. In fact I walk 50 ft from my front door to the shoreline. In a 2 block walk, I pass over 10 specialty coffee cafes and restaurants. I’m in heaven! A ten minute walk brings me to the ocean waterfront lined with incredible outdoor bars featuring live music and great western fare. The even have fresh draft beer in Xiamen! Nothing like sitting, looking out over the ocean with a cold beer. They even know how to make real thin crust pizza here without the silly fruit and vegetable toppings of typical Chinese places. Basically in Xiamen, I no longer need to make my monthly run to Bangkok to eat some decent food. Don’t get me wrong, Kunming has some great food, but I can’t eat Chinese everyday for Gods sake.

So I bought myself another electric moto to get mobile here. I’ve started exploring and will soon learn this city well. However, unlike Kunming, this place is not set up for 2 wheeled devices. In fact they are outlawed here. Most streets have no bike lanes and you are at the mercy of the typical bad Chinese driver. I have to pay a lot more attention driving around this place. Still this moto I got here is amazing. It has four speeds and does 90 kph! Thats smoking for an electric bike. Since Xiamen is a hilly city, it has the power to navigate everywhere with ease.

Xiamen has a beautiful island just across from downtown. A 5 minute ferry ride puts you to Gulangyu Island. Also know as piano island since every residence there has a piano in it. No cars are allowed on the island, and it is a key tour spot visiting Xiamen. The climate here is tropical. Gets boiling hot in the summer and only cool in the winter. Much the same as Thailand. People told me it does get cold here in the winter, but I don’t believe it. I will have to report back on that one. I can’t imagine it gets cold seeing all the tropical vegetation all over. Looks like a jungle environment to me.


1 hour flight out of Shenzhen brings you to Wuyishan City, Fujian Province. Famous for its natural conservation of a large number of ancient plant species, wild animals and reptiles, many of which are peculiar to China.The Bohea and the Oolong teas are grown in this region as well. Unforunatly for us southern China has been hit by continuous heavy rain so that some attractions and scenic areas are not available to tour or access.

Wuyishan Scenic Area, once trapped thousands of tourists, is now closed temporarily. So we head off about 1 hours drive to the village of He Ping. He Ping itself is one of the oldest communities in northern Fujian. While other towns its age or older have been partially restored, this town has remained basically untouched. The town dates from the Tang Dynasty (AD618-907) when it was a simple rice farming town. The name Heping is made up of two Chinese characters which mean ‘Rice Plain’. The village itself dates well beyond that. One of Chinas oldest Classical Learning Academy’s was first opened in Heping in AD926 during the Tang Dynasty by government official named Huang Qiao. Walking around here is like a trip back in time.Because of the weather, it was empty except for a few villagers. I enjoyed being the sole visiter here in this quiet village. You can almost imagine living in another time.

After a few days we returned to Shenzhen for a look see. We booked into the Shangri-La Hotel. Truly a world class operation. One of the pics show a TV shot. In the room I saw my old friend General Li on the national TV channel. How cool!
The weather being so wet, our time was spent doing a little shopping. And what is Shenzhen famous for? Clothes and electronics. In fact it is the largest electronics shopping center in Asia. Hong Kong gets all it’s products from here! This is home to the Apple iPhone. In fact, most everything is made here. There is a street downtown lined with mega malls that are nothing but computer, phones, and anything electronic. I bought a few things that you can preview in the pictures and also on my gadgets page. Prices for clothes and electronics are extremely low. I was in heaven.

Shenzhen is a new modern city 30 minutes from Hong Kong. What was a tiny fishing village on the border of Hong Kong in 1970 is now a buzzing metropolis of over eight million people! Already containing 20 buildings at over 200 meters tall, including the Shun Hing Square (the 8th tallest building in the world). A 2010 study conducted by Forbes magazine ranks Shenzhen’s population density as the 5th highest in the world. In 2006, the Dapeng Peninsula, the location of Shenzhen’s best beaches, was nominated by the China National Geographic Magazine as one of the most beautiful coastlines in China. We plan to return in the near future for a closer look at this city and make a jump into Maccau as well.

Finally we spent a few nights in Guanzhou. I didn’t care for this city. It is huge, noisy, and dirty. Besides great food and the tallest TV tower in the world, I can’t say much about this place. I reconize it does hold an historical value, but frankly I didn’t see much reason to spend any time here. Still, the Chinchilla for sale there was cute…..

Unspoiled Weishan

Just 55km outside Dali, lies a quaint little town called Weishan. Its name, Weishan, comes fromweibao, treasure, and indeed it is precious as a remnant of classical Chinese life even more authentic than either Dali or Lijiang’s. In the 14th century, Weishan was an important center for tea trade on the ancient Tea Horse road. Built during the Ming Dynasty by emperor Hongwu, it was laid out like the chessboard game “weiqi” that he loved so well.

The first thing I noticed was how clean and quiet this town is. There are not many cars since the streets are so small. This is still mostly undiscovered and void of tourists. The walking streets are lined with little shops and restaurants.  Unlike the touristy Dali, food and accommodations are less then half the price. We stayed in a new hotel in the center of the old town directly on the walking streets. Built like a traditional home, this was a perfect find. Our nice room was 100 RMB a night. Same thing in Dali would run at least 300 RMB. The hotel name is Mong She. Another thing of note is the complete lack of mosquitoes here. It was amazing to sleep with all the windows open and not use any chemical. Although the bed was normal Chinese brick design, I slept well as it is so quiet in this town.

The next morning we headed up Wei Bao Shan mountain just outside of town. This is a famous religious location that was quite interesting. The mountain comprises over 20 temples that you walk to as you ascend to the peak. It takes about 3 hours to do the trek. Approaching one temple, I was struck by the sound of beautiful music. It was to perfect detail to this beautiful setting we were walking through. Going along the pathway through the pine trees with these temples nestled along the way was really a real China experience.

We arrived at the temple where the source of this music was coming from. Looking around, I realized it was a recording. I found this lady there and asked her about the music. She didn’t know anything. This was music played on a guozen. See pictures.

Suddenly I ran into the lady pictured here. Her name is Chong Hui. She tells me this is her music she has just recorded and will release on DVD. I asked her for a copy and she said she only has the master now. We sat down and had tea with her and I learned of her stoory. She is 34 and has been playing and painting since 17. Her artwork was hanging up in the temple. She is also a Tai Chi master. While we talked I found out she is having a website made now by the Chinese govt to feature her arts. She wanted to give me a copy of her master disc, but she can’t use a computer. So I stepped in and gave her a PC beginner’s lesson on her new PC. We had a good time visiting with her there, but I could not make a copy because she has no blank DVD’s. But she will send someone to Kunming to give me a copy soon. Once I get it, I will post it to play on my website. So check back and listen in. Once her website is up, I will also link it to mine. Her artwork is also very good.

After leaving Weishan, we headed for Dali for an overnight before returning to Kunming. This little town is definitely  worth a visit. Plan an overnight here at least.