Limitless bases with the Chinese Clash of Clans.

Hey, y’all! I am currently living in China and my CoC is originally downloaded from the play store. In the past month, there was a notification in my game to tell me to transfer to the Chinese CoC version. After some stability issues during war, I decided to do so. The process was easy to transfer my account over. But after doing so, I realized I could start a new base on my Google Play CoC! So I decided to write up a guide for those who want another alt base on the same device. I will detail it in the link below. Happy Clashing!

Guide-Chinese CoC Awaits!

A side note: there may be no limit to the number of accounts you can set up since it doesn’t require an email or phone number, so this may be your ticket to a 1 man 40 man clan war. Enjoy 🙂

If you bump into any issues along the way, toss me a message and hopefully I can help out.

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China’s Cheaper Alternative to the Fitbit – The Mi Band

I had known about the Fitbit and products like it for a while. But seeing its price always made me hesitant to get one. Recently, over the summer, my sister came to visit Shanghai and told me about the Mi Band, a cheaper alternative to the Fitbit. It was only a fraction of the price of a Fitbit so I thought, ‘Why Not?‘ My nonchalant attitude towards the product quickly changed as we started using it.

The first couple days were spent marching around the house testing the accuracy of the Mi Band. We looked like a couple union workers on strike, walking around and around in circles. Then we tried to see if we could trick it by sitting and just stomping our feet. Nope. It won’t have any of it. What started as a test soon became an addiction.

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Through the Mi Fit app, you can set a goal for yourself of how many steps you want to achieve. Though just a silly number, I found myself pushing to reach my 10000 steps a day regularly. However, what was more remarkable to me was just how much I actually did walk every day. In the past month, I take about on average 13000 steps a day, which translated to roughly 750 calories burned.

Besides tracking steps, it also has a sleep tracker, which is a bit amusing in itself. In this portion of the app you can see your cycles of deep sleep, which may tell you the reason why you feel groggy during the day. Both this section and the step tracker sections can be zoomed out to let you see average numbers based on the week or the month.

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The third portion of the app is a weight tracker, however, this section requires you to manually enter the number. Unfortunately, it is not as magical as the other two sections but still good to have this data in one place on the app. Here, you input your height and weight and it will calculate your BMI for you as well.

The battery life is definitely a huge asset of this product. The company claimed that its standby battery life is 30 days.  From my usage in the past month and a half, I had a battery life of 40 days. Of course, given the nature of batteries this battery life may diminish over time, but as it stands the claim of its 30 days holds more than true.

There are some differences in features on the app if you download the Chinese version versus the American. In the Chinese version of the app, you have a friends list. Here you can see the progress of your friends and also nudge them, which causes their band to vibrate. The nudge button is definitely a great way to annoy your friends!

The Mi Fit app also can be linked to your WeChat account, in which your stats can be ranked among your friends on WeChat. Just another way to make fitness, more of a social experience.

All in all, for 20 bucks from Amazon, this Mi Band is definitely worth the try. Though it may lack the prestige of the Fitbit, it covers the basic necessities. You can find a link to the product . . . . . . . . . . . . . .HERE!

Cheaper Flights on Chinese Sites

You may be used to booking your flights via websites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline or Kayak, etc. But when in China, you can save even more by using the native versions of these sites. The two major players in China for flight booking are Qunar (pronounced Chu-nar) and Ctrip (pronounced See-trip).

As an example, let’s choose a flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong for a 3 day sojourn from June 2 to June 5.

Kayak can offer us a decent price of $201 for a round trip ticket. Pretty good!1

When we take a peek at Ctrip, we see the exact same flight for 1160 RMB! (After conversion $186.87)2

But Ctrip actually has some flights that aren’t visible while searching Kayak. This trip can actually be found for even cheaper if you don’t mind flying late into the night at 688 RMB!!! (After conversion $110.83)3

Of course, you may be thinking that you must have a Chinese account and RMB to be able to use Ctrip but recently they have gone international. So, it is now possible to pay for tickets with a valid Visa credit card. In fact, if it is your first time booking with Ctrip through their mobile app they will give you 6% back in Ctrip money.

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Qunar, the other flight booking site, as mentioned before often has even cheaper ticket prices than Ctrip. However, their website is much less user friendly and currently has no English version. Nor does it allow you to pay with a foreign credit card. It is recommended that if you delve into Qunar, that a friend fluent in Chinese help you out.

When booking your flights, there is one airline to be wary of, Spring Airlines. This airline offers the cheapest airfares out of any airline in China. But of course, there is a catch. To maintain their low prices, they have established restrictions on baggage. You are only allowed a carry-on and this piece may not weigh more than 7 kilograms, roughly 15 lbs. This isn’t to say you can never check-in baggage. You can pre-purchase baggage allowance when booking your flight. Another way Spring Airlines tries to keep prices low is that their planes have been altered slightly. Each seat has about 2 inches less leg room than the average plane. This allows them to pack in more passengers per flight. While on this flight you will also benefit from a nice sales speech from one of their flight attendants, describing the latest chic scarf for your grandma or an overpriced Spring Airlines model airplane. If you are a light traveler, need a cheap flight, and/or under 6 feet tall, Spring Airlines may be a viable option for you.

You can find out more about Ctrip by clicking . . . . . . . . . . . . Here!

To find out more about Qunar, click  . . . . . . . . . . There!

I hope this information has been helpful and as always, Happy Travels!

Pizza Hut for Date Night!

When a brand reaches a new country, they have a chance to re-invent themselves. This is exactly what Pizza Hut has done. In the US, Pizza Hut falls under the category of “fast food.” In China, it falls under the category of “the date night restaurant.”
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Not only is the design of the Pizza Hut restaurant intended for upscale dining but the pizza is as well. There is no lack of creativity here when it comes to their pizza. Have a look below at some of the cheese-covered dough art they have created.

The Scone and Hors’dourves Infused Ninja Star Supreme Pizza
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The Corn Dog Armored Shrimp Star Pizza
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The Bite Size Easy-to-Share Stuffed Crust Pizza Supreme
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The Seven Cheese Crescent Donut Seafood Splattered Pizza
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Cheesy Cups Pepperoni Pizza
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These, of course, are not the actual names of the pizzas but I think they are fair descriptions.

Even though, they have gone the upscale route, the price isn’t too bad. Comparatively, these cool looking pizzas will set you back around $10.

They also have individual combo meals you can piece together that usually includes your choice of an appetizer, drink, pizza and/or pasta.

The gourmet makeover has been a huge success in China and you can find Pizza Huts fairly easily in Tier 1 to Tier 4 cities.

It is definitely recommended to try a Pizza Hut at least once while you are in China. Experience the difference for yourself.

Happy Travels!

You say Tomato, I say Tomato. You say Youtube, I say Youku.

While in China, if you want to improve your Chinese, watching videos, TV and movies online will surely help. Your first instinct may be to head to Youtube but, unfortunately, with its Google affiliation, no dice. However, there is a myriad of video watching options online.

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This is, as the name suggests, the Youtube twin. The front page alone can be a whole day lesson in Chinese. Here, there are millions of videos to choose from and they have a decent selection of movies and TV shows. They also have a good amount of American movies if you want to re-watch some favorites with Chinese subtitles. Don’t worry, they are not dubbed over. The Chinese hate when its dubbed too. You will also find that some movies which may have recently been released will within a couple weeks end up on Youku.

Youku understands that people like to have their videos on the go without using up their mobile data. So they have created software that let’s you directly download videos, TV shows and movies from their website. A nice convenience to bypass the hassle of clipconverter or keepvid.

Another thing to keep in mind, China is against displays of nudity so many American TV shows and movies will be altered slightly from the original. Instead of making the effort to censor it with pixels or a black box, they just directly cut the scene out. No coitus here, my friends.

Below are a list of some more video websites to choose from. Hope this helps and good luck learning Chinese!

iQIYI
iqiyi

tudou
tudou

QQ Video
qq video

Letv
letv

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Maglev – The Magic Leviathan

If you are flying into Shanghai Pudong International Airport, you may grimace finding out that it is a little over an hour by car, an hour and a half by subway, 8 hours by bicycle, 16 hours by skateboard or 24 hours by foot from the heart of the city. However, there is a very unique and time efficient option available. The Maglev.

Short for “Magnetic Levitation,” the Maglev is the first train of its kind in the world. For a fair 50 RMB (or 40 RMB if you use a subway card or show your day-of boarding pass), you can make your 1.5 hour journey shrink down to an impressive 7 minutes and 50 seconds. The Maglev reaches speeds of over 300 km/h and at certain times of the day it will even fly along at 430 km/h. Although this exciting speed is only maintained for about a minute because of the short distance traveled.

To get to the Maglev, just follow the signs at the airport and it will lead you to the platform. This track will take you from Pudong Airport directly to the Longyang Rd. Station of Line 2. Once at Longyang station just exit the Maglev platform and the subway entrance is a mere 20 meters away.  Line 2 is the main subway line in Shanghai that hits most of the biggest tourist destinations such as the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Tower, West Nanjing Rd and People’s Square to name a few.  If you happen to want to know more about the Maglev, there is also a mini Maglev museum underneath the platform at the Longyang stop as well.

Also, unlike the subway, the Maglev is never crowded. It can seat a good few hundred but generally there are only 25 to 50 passengers aboard. There is no arranged seating, just first come first serve. The Maglev has become a favored choice of many going in between the city and the airport that they have built a second line that may be open later this year or next year. And efforts are being made to extend the Maglev even farther into the city, very possibly connecting the two airports together in the future.

Below are the ticket fees and time-table for the Maglev. If you want to find out more you can check out their website . . . . . . . . . . . HERE!

Thanks for reading and Happy Travels!

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In-N-Out Burger of China

If you are from California like myself, you can honestly say that one of the best fast food burgers comes from In-N-Out Burger. If you find yourself in Shanghai for an extended period of time and you start getting them double-double sweats and animal style shivers, don’t worry they have a few here. Well, not exactly the same restaurant or company but pretty close to the same burger. Introducing Caliburger.

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Their menu extends beyond that of In-N-Out’s but their burger is almost the same, even down to the secret animal style spread. In fact, they are so similar that In-N-Out has been in a prolonged lawsuit battle against Caliburger. But, while the big boys are duking it out in court, the rest of us can enjoy a nostalgic double-double and animal style fries. Or according to their menu, the Cali Double and Wild Style Fries.

The pricing of Caliburger is about the same as In-N-Out, a meal will set you back roughly 40 RMB which is about $6.00 and some change. Beyond the nostalgic burger, the Caliburger at Jing’an Temple in Shanghai has massive TVs that are looping footage of California beaches and mountains. And the restaurant is constantly filled with foreigners so you do get a taste of home from the environment as well.

If you want to compare for yourself, they currently have four locations in China, 2 of which reside in Shanghai. Their addresses are below:

1818 West Nanjing Road
1788 Square B1-28
Jing’An District, Shanghai

1363 Sichuan Bei Lu
One Prime Shopping Mall, Level B2
A few steps to Line 10 Metro (exit 4)
Hongkou District, Shanghai

209 Tiley Fame City. Wen Xin Road.
Nanshan District, Shenzhen

68 Hennessy Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong

If you want to find out more about Caliburger, you can visit their website  . . . . . . . . . HERE!

Chinese Tourists Explained

Some of you may have seen the recent posts and videos about the rude and poor mannered Chinese tourists like this one below that is going viral through reddit and youtube as we speak.

Of course, I don’t condone any of their behavior, but I will play devil’s advocate on this issue. This behavior is a combination of several factors: the government, the education, the parenting, and the economy. Any time there is a huge population, companies will look to take advantage of a huge potential work force at low cost. So China started its industrial revolution. This is why we have seen so much “Made in China” in the past three decades.  The government had a duty to grow its economy by educating the workforce just enough to be able to work in factories. We’ve seen this occurrence happen all around the world, even in the US. But many years later, the education system remained virtually the same despite the changing world around China. The vast majority of Chinese people were still poor and constantly competing for limited resources. Parents and Grandparents understood that to get ahead their child must have a good education, because a good education will earn a lot of money. The intent was good but the result was not. The society has always placed heavy emphasis on materialism, having more material wealth gave one “face.”

Then came Deng Xiaoping, the father of China’s modern economy. Despite everyone’s view of China as communist, Deng brought in capitalist ideals that boosted the Chinese economy immensely. But therein lies the issue, the economy was growing faster than society was maturing. The money came to China, but the Chinese were definitely not ready for it. With a lack of education and the cultural values, the Chinese only knew how to spend, only a minor few knew how to invest and put their money to good use. It is like giving a teenager a million dollars. Even though money solved a lot of their problems, the cultural importance of material wealth became worse.

With the extra money they are now taking planes instead of trains. Many are able to leave the country for the first time. And because this is the first time for so many things for so many people, there is a lot of knowledge unknown to them.

For example, in the past year, there has been a lot of reported incidents of Chinese passengers opening emergency exits on planes. Most of us can probably repeat the in flight security message by heart, but for the Chinese it is still rather new to them. As for the case of cutting in line, Chinese people bum rush to the front of the line all the time and it is generally accepted. Most people don’t like it but the knowledge that cutting in line is wrong is foreign. The poor cut in line because of their fear of limited resources, the rich cut in line because they feel a sense of entitlement, and the middle class cut in line because everyone else is doing it.

I voice my opinions here not to persuade you that the Chinese are not wrong in what they do but rather hope that you will empathize and understand how this came to be.

Man vs. Car – Pedestrian Survival Guide

china-traffic-jam-cityWhat you see here isn’t a screenshot from the latest Sim City game, it’s the real deal. Traffic like this is very common in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. These cities are constantly marching to the beat of a death metal drum so the driving culture is quite a bit different from the US.

As a pedestrian in the US, we enjoy the luxury of “right of way”. As a pedestrian in China, you enjoy the luxury of “right away”. Get across right away or you will never be able to cross. Cars in general will not wait for you to cross and will constantly be weaving by you to continue on their path. This is not only true when you jay walk (which is perfectly legal) but also true when the walk light is green. There is a culturally accepted food chain that occurs where buses will overtake trucks, trucks will overtake cars, cars will overtake scooters and pedestrians.

So how does one survive this traffic food chain? Like a school of fish against a shark. Take advantage of the other people trying to cross and clump with them as they go. Divided we are weak, but united we are strong! I say clump with much modesty, though. With the massive populations of these cities, these clumps look more like rivers. When you experience this, you will understand why the cars are so intent on getting by, to avoid the flood of people.

Your heart will get plenty of exercise when you first walk the crosswalks, but after a few near misses and oh-my-gods, the fear of getting hit by a car will slowly dissipate as you adapt to the new traffic jungle. Anyhow, be careful out there and don’t return as a green onion pancake!

As always, enjoy your travels!