Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Keepin It Real

Well, you guys keep me on my toes.

It’s so easy to slip into boring and easy routine here in the compound. Take the kids to school, go to the gym, work, eat, read, work, pick the kids up. Play, eat, homework, out the kids to bed, work some more, read some more, go to bed. Repeat in the morning. It’s easy, it’s effective, it’s right there. And it leaves me a little bored and worse, with nothing to write about up here. Sometimes I think, “I must feed the blog. I better go over to the kite market or something.”

So it keeps me moving. And that’s a good thing.

I have actually been quite busy on the workfront. I am finishing up a few things for Slam and Guitar World and trying to figure out what to write for my next That’s BJ sports column while also get some work done on two stories I am working on for the Journal that are taking forever to get off the ground. In addition, I am trying to finish up some sample columns about life here. And, oh yeah, if I have a chance, I need a few good story ideas to send Sports Illustrated.

Despite all that, I would really prefer to just write these blog entries. I don’t know what that says about me and if you do, keep your mouth shut. If you have a good idea for a China-based SI story, however, please send it my way.

We had to renew our visas today, which is pretty funny considering we only got them a few months ago. But everything you get expires on 12/31 of that year. It is good for the year, not a year. So it is time to get the paperwork going to make us legal residents of P.R. china for 2006. We got all the paper work together and headed down to the police station/visa control office downtown. Same place we visited earlier this year.

Mr. Dou drove us down. We got in lane and waited our turn. The uniformed officee processed Becky’s paperwork then took mine, read it over, looked up and smiled. “Remember me?” he said. “I very like Slam.”

Of course, I remembered him. If you don’t, click .here
and scroll down.

“Now you’ve been here for a few months. Who do you think is the best Chinese basketball player?”

“I’m still not sure who is the best right now, but Yi Jianlin and Sun Yue have the most potential.”

“Oh yeah. Yi is very tall, like Yao. Sun can jump very high.”

Mr. Dou was listening to all this and he was flabbergasted. He had no idea what we were talking about or why this officer was being so friendly and solicitous to me. They conversed. The cop showed him my press pass and said, “I very like Slam” in Chinese I guess. Dou laughed and smiled at me. I think I gained a lot of prestige with him at that moment.

Then the officer asked the question of the moment, “What is wrong with the Rockets?” In case you don’t know they had lost 8 straight before winning last night and Yao is under increasing attack from Houston fans. This is a subject of grave concern here. I did an interview with a national sports newspaper about it the other day and several Chinese associates/friends who know what I do have called or emailed me about it. It’s hard not to just say, “Well, Yao’s not as good as you think.”

Jeff Van Gundy is probably my least favorite coach of recent memory. I despise watching his teams play, and he is so loaded with weird journeymen right now that with TMac out, poor Yao is just exposed. Hopefully TMac and Rafer will be ok and they’ll win some games and keep spirits up over here. I’m sure David Stern is hoping so. There is so much talk about china wanting to find the next Yao but I think the NB wants to just as badly. More soon…