Saturday, 27 August 2011

85° pork mooncake

Was talking with a friend about mooncakes (yuèbĭng / 月饼), since mid-autumn festival is next month and they are on sale. We both preferred savoury flavours and they suggested that their coworkers had bought some pork-flavoured ones from a place called 85 degrees. With a bit of searching using Google Maps, I managed to locate the closest shop on Beijing Xi Lu.

Turned off Chang De Lu, down Beijing Xi Lu. This guy is on the wrong side of the road and must have swerved over into my shot, didn't notice him when taking the photo.

2011-08-21 - 85 Degrees - 01 - Beijing Xi Lu

The 85 degrees store was on the corner a couple of blocks down. It has a "blend into the background" industrial look.

2011-08-21 - 85 Degrees - 02 - Shop

I'm not sure if these are actually called mooncakes. The sign in the shop didn't have the correct characters, that I could see. They were 4 RMB each, quite expensive and probably could be gotten cheaper if you can find a street vendor who makes them.

2011-08-21 - 85 Degrees - 03 - Pork mooncake

The texture was nice and although it was tasty, the pork filling was a little on the sweet side.

2011-08-21 - 85 Degrees - 04 - Pork mooncake innards

I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Airport reading

Travelling back from England I had a few extra hours to waste due to flight delays, so decided to read a few computer magazines to see if they had anything to offer these days in the age of the internet and sites like Reddit.

Linux User was not worth buying. Nothing in it really worth reading, you'd only buy it if you didn't read any web sites or didn't know how to google for information.

2011-08-20 - Magazines - 02 - Linux User

One of the things I liked about some of the Amiga magazines I read when I was younger, were the serialised tutorials that told you how to write computer programs one lesson at a time. The Amiga Format magazine didn't have these tutorials, but Linux Format does. As articles in a magazine they have to have a level of detail, and be written in a way that online equivalents seem to lack. Python, C and an Android game programming article. This is the sort of content that I'd consider subscribing to a magazine for.

2011-08-20 - Magazines - 01 - Linux Format

Both magazines had the same cover topic and some of the same software on the coverdiscs as can be seen in the photos. Linux Format has the obvious and catchy phrase, where the Linux User magazine equivalent just lacks. Given the similarities and the more interesting content in Linux Format, it is almost like Linux User phones it in and copies its competitor.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Shanghai, China - Metro Line 7 - Gucun Park

I have no idea what is at half the stops on the Shanghai metro system, so riding home I decided to travel further up Line 7. I was going to go all the way to the lake stop at the end, but got lazy and hopped off at Gucun Park as it sounded like something was near the metro exit. Here's a short video of what is around the #1 exit for this subway stop. As you can see, there's mostly buildings under construction. The video ends pointing towards the entrance to Gucun Park which is easily within walking distance. In the other direction in the distance are what look like apartment buildings.

In short, what is Gucun Park? A man-made park with man-made lakes and specially planted trees. There's a basketball court, an outdoor theatre, children's carnival rides, boats you can hire to go on the mirky lakes, various themed gardens (like a British garden) and more. A large barbeque area where you can cook food you brought or buy there, and pedal carts you can hire to drive around the park. As a place to hop off the metro, it is not worth going to unless you have kids.

Travelling with a pacemaker

I recently got a pacemaker installed in China. I won't go into the Chinese hospital experience which people tend to view as being something to avoid at all costs, but I will detail what happens when you go through customs when you travel and have one in case it helps others. I travelled to England for a vacation, and passing through customs into the departure lounges had to avoid the x-ray machines. As I understand it, the x-ray machines are not harmful but are pointless as they will always go off. The hand detectors cannot be used as they affect the pacemaker, so you need to get a manual pat-down.

Leaving China, at the Pudong airport in Shanghai. Reaching the x-ray machine you step through, I informed the employee standing there that I had a pacemaker and showed him the pacemaker card (which is in Chinese in my case) that you get when you have one installled. He then told the people on the other side, who switched the x-ray machine off and motioned me through. Then a Chinese lady gave me a light pat-down which was very non-intrusive and they let me go on to my flight.

Leaving England, at the Heathrow in London. Reaching the x-ray machine, I told the employee I had a pacemaker. He motioned me to the side of the x-ray machine and then undid the rope and had me step through to the other side. Then he proceeded to give me a thorough pat-down which mostly seemed professional. He also seemed to believe he had to really have a go at my pacemaker to verify it was there in my right shoulder, and this left me in pain. It seemed more like a case of naively attempting to do something vigorously he hadn't actually been trained to do, than the correct procedure.

All in all, it seems like a well organized situation to find yourself in. However, next time I travel I will instruct the employee that I can open my shirt and let him better see the pacemaker bulge and that if he wants to touch it he can tell me what he would like to do first. I'd advise anyone else in the same situation to do the same thing.