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Thread poster: Kevin Yang

Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
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Jun 26, 2005

Dear Friends,

I wonder any of you are world travelers. Lately, I noticed you have been discussing your experiences in different countries. Let's continue that discussion in this fresh folder if you like.

I always dreamed to give up everything, I mean everything, and to be a world traveler, but it seems I never can be ready to do that. Europe would definitely be my first place to go if I win a lottery. At the meanwhile, I am preparing myself with any information I can gather about those countries. Gather information? What sensitive words nowadays for the Chinese people to use! Relax, I meant the things like cultures, histories, and the peoples in Europe.

A dear lady friend of mine is studying French in Paris now. I can receive her emails on a regular basis. She was a police woman for 20 years in my city. One day, she made a decision, that was, to learn French in Paris. So, she left her well-paid job here and sold her museum-like house, and landed in Paris, and began to tell all her friends her fresh observations about France, through the eyes of an American lady.

I remember a Chinese writer once said, one can write a book after visited a place for a week; one can write an article after being that place for a month; and one can write nothing after being there for a year. Sounds very exaggerated, but you got the grip. My American friend's observation is always fascinating to me. With her permission, I would like to post one of her emails here to share with you, in case you have the same interest as I do. OK, here it goes:
________________________________________
France has a regulated way of having sales; twice a year throughout the country all the stores have a sale. It begins in Paris and the North of the country, spreads and ends in the Southeast. It began here yesterday and begins in the SE about July 1st. The stores are jammed. One can now purchase a pair of sandals for half-price; only 35 euros! It is amazing how these people survive given the low wages and the outrageous prices.

A few folks have asked me what I see that is different here.

People carry bouquets of flowers with the stems up and the flowers down.

Women use parasols to shield themselves from the hot sun. Store clerks have stools to sit on if they choose to.

Fresh food is purchased almost everyday to prepare meals. That does not mean boxed or frozen, but meat from the butcher, fruits and vegetables from the market stalls.

Children are walked to school; usually by a family member, though there are advertisements for University students to perform the duty.

Children often are in strollers until they are about five years old.

French women are rarely fat, and they dress sexy no matter the age.

Where ever you go there are lines. Everything seems to take so much longer to do here.

There seems to be collusion to make everything difficult! I attended a property auction on Wednesday. The clients were not allowed in the cool building until after the posted time, but waited outside in the rather hot afternoon. Once inside, we were funneled between two men who handed us forms to fill out while we waited on the stairs. The forms inquired not only about names, addresses, and the expected data, but also your legal marriage status, and your unofficial status; were you living in sin? The clerks at the top of the stairs informed me I was not allowed to bid because 1) I had no attorney 2) I had no French bank account. They handed me another form which clearly stated one did not require an attorney to bid. I am so easy to confuse!

The property all sold for far more than the minimum, yet far less than if it were advertised through a realtor. It was interesting that they have a tradition of lighting a candle like object which is timed to burn out at a certain rate (seemed about 20 seconds). They light it over and over again after the bidding slows. If two in a row burn out without another bid, the last bid gets the property. It was an interesting afternoon.

As to the question about the French bathing, I think it may have been somewhat true during World War II and folks just keep repeating the old information. But, if it were true even then it would have been for reasons much like you said of China. The apartments and homes did not have private facilities much of the time. There are still many flats which share toilettes and showers down the hall from their tiny rooms. The property auction I went to sold a flat which had no facilities. It was probably like so many ancient buildings here; there is a fountain in the stairwell for people to get water. They carry the human waste out, and/or use public facilities. Clearly people here are very stylish and take great pride in how clean they keep themselves and their homes. Ironically, the French think Americans are dirty people as a whole and seem to go out of their way to prove it.

Please advise if you have questions and I'll see what can be discovered.

Have a good week-end!
_________________________________
The End.


[Edited at 2005-06-26 18:13]


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Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 19:28
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
Paris, Paris Jun 26, 2005

I was in Paris for a one-week trip in March, so I guess I can write a book about that city. Nah, I'm just going to add a few interesting observations I've made.

** Tuna baguette, anyone?? **
A 30cm tuna (or ham, cheese, eggs...) baguette for Eur 2.20. Just one of those baguettes will stuff you up so bad you can skip the next two meals. If you just feel like a plain baguette for today, that's even cheaper! Stick one in your slingbag or haversack - it's part of Paris fashion. Way cool!

I love French bread. Every morning, I had caf crme and baguette with butter. In that little breakfast place, there were people drinking and eating while standing at the counter. It was weird because there were plenty of empty seats around. I wanted to ask why but my French was very much limited to "voulez-vouz coucher avec moi".






** Amour muah muah **
I've always heard that Paris is a city of love. Well, maybe "city of kissing" would be a more fitting name. It's just everywhere. When I'm at the metro station waiting for the train, I kill my time by watching couples smooch. I am not a pervert, but..... oh come on, wouldn't you?

** Hanging out at cafes **
I hit at least two cafes every day when I was in Paris. I do not care much for the coffee, but rather the pure joy of sitting under the sun, watching people and gossiping. Order an espresso. It always comes with a glass of water - free, of course.






** Paris Metro **
Very gooooooood metro system, I must say. The connections are good and you get a train every few minutes. However I might have to tell Bertrand Delanoe (Paris mayor) to clean up their metro stations. Sorry but umm...... they stink.

Okay, that's all for now. I'll be back soon with stuff about other countries...

A bientt!

[Edited at 2005-06-29 15:50]


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
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Keep all your writing pieces together and put them together into a book at the end. Jun 28, 2005

Dear Weiwei,

Thank you very much for your report! I enjoyed very much reading it. I felt like I was in France, too. Very cute photos! I noticed you also mastered the rocket science of posting photos in the Chinese Forum. Please keep bring us more of your observations in Europe! Sometimes, I wish to write something about America, but my eyes are no longer as "sharp" as they used to be.

"Watching couples smooching"? That's really funny. I heard that the French people like to display affections publicly. However, I noticed that the Americans, well, in my area, are bit shy about that. Sometimes, I saw the young people doing that, but I also could hear someone yelling at them "Go get a room." In my last trip to Shanghai in 2001, I noticed the young people there mastered the art of PDA quickly. When I was strolling along the Waitan, or walking on the zigzagged bridge in Chenghuang Temple, it seemed they were everywhere enjoying their times, but made me uncomfortable to walk by.

I admire your courage and determination to travel and work in the Europe. I hope you did not give up everything. You have such detailed eyes; you should commercialize your observations someday. Please excuse my business mind. Well, the least thing that you could do is to keep all your writing pieces together and put them together into a book at the end.

Kevin

[Edited at 2005-07-01 04:23]


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ysun  Identity Verified
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Local time: 06:28
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Interesting story and lovely pictures! Jun 28, 2005

weiwei,

I like your interesting story and lovely pictures! From your picture, I can imagine what you are enjoying!



[Edited at 2005-06-28 16:48]


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ysun  Identity Verified
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Subway systems in Germany Jun 29, 2005

weiwei wrote:

** Paris Metro **
Very gooooooood metro system, I must say. The connections are good and you get a train every few minutes. However I might have to tell Bertrand Delanoe (Paris mayor) to clean up their metro stations. Sorry but umm...... they stink.


Probably, you are evaluating the metro stations of Paris by the German standard. The subway stations in Frankfurt are very clean. I believe you would agree with me. I was really impressed by the subway system in Frankfurt the first time when I went there in 1987. It is unique in comparison with those in the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and China. There are no gates and no ticket offices at the stations. Passengers could only buy tickets from the machines, which are programmed to adjust prices automatically. The prices are significantly higher in rush hours than in the rest of the day. A passenger could enter or exit the stations freely without a ticket. Usually, nobody would check his ticket. However, if he was caught on a train or on a platform, the fine was 40 Deutsche Marks (in 1987). If he didn't get off the train where he was supposed to get off, he was also in a risk to be fined. How much is the fine now? I believe most of the people would buy tickets, but I still saw some youngsters were caught on a train. Of course, you know the current situations much better than I do.

[Edited at 2005-06-29 16:51]


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Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 19:28
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
Chooo Chooo Train Jun 30, 2005

Those who take the train without paying are called "Schwarzfahrer" ("black rider"). If you get caught, the fine is Eur 40!!! Whenever I took the train with my friend, she'd insist on playing "black rider". This always gave me a nervous breakdown for the entire journey; I had to keep popping my head out at each station to make sure there were no conducters coming aboard. I can understand why she would want to take this risk. Train tickets are just crazily expensive in Germany! Don't ask me about the exact prices - I don't know because I never paid for my trips. I just got a new car last week, so now I do not have to take such a risk again.

To be honest (though it might not sound humble), I think Singapore has the cleanest metro stations. Food, drinks, pets, durians, etc. are not allowed in the stations, so there is really nothing much to mess the place up. You don't see much of graffitis (except for "John loves Mary forever", "I love Andy Lau"...). Try drawing one, and you can get ready to pull down your pants and get caned on the butt!

The worst train stations I have seen are actually in New York (no offense to the New Yorkers). Dark and wet with water dripping from the ceiling... weird-looking people loitering around... rubbish everywhere... That was about five years ago. Maybe things have changed.

Hey, the above are just my observations. I don't mean to say that my country is good and others are bad. Please, don't shoot any arrows at me, okay?????


[Edited at 2005-06-30 23:31]


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ysun  Identity Verified
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闲谈地铁 Jul 1, 2005

weiwei,

是不是因为black riders太多了,地铁为了维持成本,只好涨票价?可是,越涨价black riders就会越多,岂非形成恶性循环?

小老板的新车是 Mercedes-Benz、BMW,还是limousine?(或者发email悄悄地告诉我。)德国车质量就是好,我和小儿子都开德国车。不过你千万要注意安全,德国人在高速公路上开车就好像是在美国的Montana 开车一样疯狂。87年我在西柏林时,有一次路过城里一个公园。司机告诉我该路段是发生车祸最频繁的地方,其原因是那是城里唯一比较大的开阔地,很多人(关键是许多比基尼女郎)在那里享受太阳浴和有限的一点自由(当时还有柏林墙),开车者一路过那公园就会情不自禁地把头扭转90度或以上,结果往往就会撞到前面的车上去。所以,你开车时若遇见帅哥,千万别扭头!;)

纽约地铁已经不是你5年前所看见的那样了。我前年去时已经看不大到graffitis,也比以前干净多了。911之后,纽约及其居民大概是有很大变化。

上海的地铁也不错,我觉得跟国外先进的地方差不多,就是拥挤些、热闹一些。这一点,侬是晓得的。东京地铁在高峰期间虽然也很拥挤,但比较安静。即使有人说话,声音也压得很低。若被别人踩了一脚,被踩者往往会先说一声对不起,就好像是在说“抱歉,我的脚放得不是地方”,而不是说“侬啥体啦”。

同是法国人密集的地方,为什么蒙特利尔的地铁那么干净?是不是因为“水土异也”。

我所见过最漂亮的地铁是莫斯科地铁。每个地铁站都好像是一个美术馆,到处是雕塑像和油画。莫斯科地铁由几个直径各异的同心圆和几条放射形路线组成。无论你去哪里,只需倒一次车,方便极了。86年时,无论你去哪里,票价只有5戈比 (0.05旧卢布)。现在大概就高得不知哪里去了。

新加坡的地铁最干净,这我相信。我还记得几年前一个美国小伙子在新加坡被 “caned on the butt”!

Drive safely!


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
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這個邏輯有趣! Jul 1, 2005

Yueyin Sun wrote:

是不是因为 black riders 太多了,地铁为了维持成本,只好涨票价?可是,越涨价 black riders 就会越多,岂非形成恶性循环?


這個邏輯有趣!不過,漲票價並非僅只 black riders 多的緣故,這需要一點解說。德語文化比較尊重人的自律,這和其它文化有點不同,因此在歐洲德語文化區的車站不設驗票,只以抽查方式在車上進行驗票,其它地區的車站則設有磁卡或 IC 卡驗票閘,但是人的劣根性還是會想出辦法逃票。我在巴黎不知見過多少次有人跳過驗票閘的。法國照樣漲票價,而且漲幅幾乎與歐洲各地同。由此判斷,black riders 不是漲票價的真正或單一的原因。

Black riding 是人貪的劣根性,再低的票價都有人那樣做。要解決這問題,唯一的辦法是:所有的人都免費乘車!但,這有可能嗎?樣樣事都有成本的,所以天下沒有白吃的午餐。無論成本結構因素或成本經費來源,都是可以預先設定模式計算的。那些財經專家們就利用某些既定模型計算成本,然後規定票價及其調漲周期和漲幅。這樣的程序逃不掉。Black riding 的因素當然也要計算在內,但同時計算稽察成本和稽察效率,這兩者在成本結構裡應該達到平衡,方可避免成為顯注的調漲成本因素。要達到這個平衡效果,當然不能在票價裡調漲,而是在罰金裡調漲。

歐洲的車上常貼有下類標語 (翻譯):乘車錢是小錢,逃票罰金是大錢;逃票 (對社會) 不公平還很可恥。凡此標語,都訴諸人的利益感和道德感。我的疑問是:人貪的劣根性那麼容易說服嗎?尤其在某些不注重道德榮譽感的社會裡,最好的辦法還是在車站入口設有驗票閘,而且要設得無縫隙可鑽,另設百倍於票價的罰金 --- Then, you will certainly and definitely have a fine city/nation/country, just like Singapore!

[Edited at 2005-07-01 14:11]


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
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行千里路胜读万卷书 Jul 1, 2005

Yueyin,Weiwei,Wenjer,

你们去过那么多的地方,真可称得上是“世界旅行家”了,一定对“行千里路胜读万卷书”有更深的理解。

我来美国后,才有机会将其与中国进行比较,使我对两个社会和体制的认识提升到了一个新的高度。去了日本,才对日本人和文化有了感性的认识。去了加拿大的温哥华,才发现那个城市整个是一个香港的翻版,到处都是华人,说广东话。坐在家里看电视或看书,与亲临其境的体验是不一样的。我建议大家,有机会一定要走动走动,跳出自己习以为常的地方,不能出国,就游走一下大江南北,看看别的地方的人是怎样生活的,对自己的世界观和心理建设的益处是无法估量的。

你们注意到Google的卫星地图检索了吗?出于好奇,我今天上去用了一下。在查找我在美国的住址时,居然让我看到我房子位置和鸟瞰图。我还看了中国部分,看到长江黄河.....清晰度很高。当我在卫星地图上游走的时候,有一种神游故里的感觉。

欢迎大家都来谈谈自己行千里路的观察和观感。

Kevin

[Edited at 2005-07-01 05:03]


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ysun  Identity Verified
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人的自律是很重要的 Jul 1, 2005

Wenjer Leuschel wrote:

這個邏輯有趣!不過,漲票價並非僅只 black riders 多的緣故,這需要一點解說。德語文化比較尊重人的自律,這和其它文化有點不同,因此在歐洲德語文化區的車站不設驗票,只以抽查方式在車上進行驗票,其它地區的車站則設有磁卡或 IC 卡驗票閘,但是人的劣根性還是會想出辦法逃票。我在巴黎不知見過多少次有人跳過驗票閘的。法國照樣漲票價,而且漲幅幾乎與歐洲各地同。由此判斷,black riders 不是漲票價的真正或單一的原因。


我的这个逻辑只是猜测而已。Wenjer 说得对,人的自律是很重要的。从总体上说,德国老百姓的道德水平是高的。black riders占乘客总数的比例应是很低的。否则地铁的这种管理体系是行不通的。对于那些被稽察人員查出的black riders而言,罚款40欧元固然是不小的一个数目,但更难受的是在众目睽睽之下出丑。


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
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行千里路、讀萬卷書 Jul 1, 2005

Kevin Yang wrote:

我来美国后,才有机会将其与中国进行比较,使我对两个社会和体制的认识提升到了一个新的高度。去了日本,才对日本人和文化有了感性的认识。去了加拿大的温哥华,才发现那个城市整个是一个香港的翻版,到处都是华人,说广东话。坐在家里看电视或看书,与亲临其境的体验是不一样的。我建议大家,有机会一定要走动走动,跳出自己习以为常的地方,不能出国,就游走一下大江南北,看看别的地方的人是怎样生活的,对自己的世界观和心理建设的益处是无法估量的。

你们注意到Google的卫星地图检索了吗?出于好奇,我今天上去用了一下。在查找我在美国的住址时,居然让我看到我房子位置和鸟瞰图。我还看了中国部分,看到长江黄河.....清晰度很高。当我在卫星地图上游走的时候,有一种神游故里的感觉。

欢迎大家都来谈谈自己行千里路的观察和观感。

Kevin


呵呵,大約在八年前我第一次到加拿大溫哥華與衛星電視業者客戶進行商務談判時,發現那裡簡直就是香港,我戲稱該城為 Hongcouver,客戶代表們都哈哈大笑。

古人說,行千里路、讀萬卷書;讀書行路所為為何?其實正是 Kevin 所說的,認識別地方的人怎樣生活,回過頭來檢驗一下自己文化所塑造出來的生活習性,以開放的心胸找出對自己和所處社會有益的觀念,進行自我改善。

最近翻譯一篇有關衛星圖像的文章,經兩次審修又回頭由我做了定稿。非常有趣。從幾百公里外看地球,別有風味。有空我會談談那篇文章說的是些什麼,如果最終客戶不反對我公開談論的話。

[Edited at 2005-07-02 01:55]


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Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 19:28
Member (2004)
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Driving Jul 1, 2005

Yueyin Sun wrote:

小老板的新车是 Mercedes-Benz、BMW,还是limousine?


嘿嘿,都不是!! 本来想买 VW Golf,但突然杀出一辆 Hyundai Atos。 这辆 Atos 算是二手也算是新车,是第一个车主在 lottery赢得的,驾不到 30km 就以原价低了Eur 2,000 卖给我。女人本性啊! 有便宜一定要检!!

Yueyin Sun wrote:

我和小儿子都开德国车。


让我猜! 一定是 Mercedes-Benz S-Class!

Yueyin Sun wrote:

若被别人踩了一脚,被踩者往往会先说一声对不起,就好像是在说“抱歉,我的脚放得不是地方”,而不是说“侬啥体啦”。


LOLOL!

Yueyin Sun wrote:

Drive safely!


I'm not driving! Thank God. I don't have a German driving license. My American driving license has expired donkey years ago. It was a horrible experience getting that d*mn license. I had to take the test five times (once I didn't even make it out of the car park...). I was only going for the automatic driving license, mind you. Forget it, I am hopeless when it comes to driving. Now my partner does all the driving, and I just sit back and fiddle with the car radio!

It is indeed insane how the Germans drive on the expressway. They hit it at 120km/hr - 160km/hr. Why do you think Schumacher wins all the racing games?



[Edited at 2005-07-01 20:34]


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Joyce Curran  Identity Verified
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一样一样 Jul 1, 2005

weiwei wrote:

Yueyin Sun wrote:

小老板的新车是 Mercedes-Benz、BMW,还是limousine?


嘿嘿,都不是!! 本来想买 VW Golf,但临时杀出一辆 Hyundai Atos。 这辆 Atos 算是二手也算是新车,是第一个车主在 lottery赢得的,然后以原价低了Eur 2,000 卖给我的。女人本性啊! 有便宜一定要检!!

Yueyin Sun wrote:

我和小儿子都开德国车。


让我猜! 一定是 Mercedes-Benz S-Class!

Yueyin Sun wrote:

若被别人踩了一脚,被踩者往往会先说一声对不起,就好像是在说“抱歉,我的脚放得不是地方”,而不是说“侬啥体啦”。


LOLOL!

Yueyin Sun wrote:

Drive safely!


I'm not driving! Thank God. I don't have a German driving license. My American driving license has expired donkey years ago. It was a horrible experience getting that d*mn license. I had to take the test five times (once I didn't even make it out of the car park...). I was only going for the automatic driving license, mind you. Forget it, I am hopeless when it comes to driving. Now my partner does all the driving, and I just sit back and enjoy the view!

It is indeed crazy how the Germans drive on the expressway. They hit it at 120km/hr - 160km/hr. Why do you think Schumacher win all the racing games?



刚开始时,Terry还耐心劝我学开车。后来呀,看到高速公路上各族人民勇敢冲刺,我坚决认为老婆就是老婆,可以给他找领带,绝对不应该作他的私人司机。(告诉你们一个秘密,我还不会骑自行车),我只有一个驾驶执照,推婴儿车,就连这也快过期了。绝对不再续签!


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ysun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:28
English to Chinese
+ ...
Mercedes-Benz? Jul 1, 2005

weiwei,

I will never have a chance to buy a Mercedes-Benz because the German SUV I am driving will certainly last longer than I do. I must leave now and will talk to you when I am back from Yellow Stone.

Have a great weekend!

Lao Sun


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:28
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I will go to Vancouver B.C. this weekend. Jul 1, 2005

Hello, Folks

Just noticed Lao Sun will go to Yellow Stone. I will also take a vacation. I will go to Vancouver BC, or Hongcouver as Wenjer calls it, for this long holiday weekend. I will have other staff to moderate the Chinese Forum at the meantime. If there is a delay in vetting, please be patient with us. For a quicker vetting process, please try to post your message in English if all possible. I will thank you in advance for your understanding.

Donglai, thank you for understanding my comment on profile picture.

I will be back by July 5th, 2005!

Kevin

[Edited at 2005-07-02 02:02]


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