Salomae heard some commotion downstairs behind our condo block, so she looked out the window and saw a whole movie crew setting up to film for a movie. The ayi came back from picking the kids up from school and she had asked who’s movie it was, and it turned out that it was none other than Chinese superstar ??? Liu De Hua, or Andy Lau as he is known in the English-speaking world. Why they would choose our backyard is beyond me, but I suspect it has something to do with the restaurant next door, as the first scene where he gets “hit by a car” was shot there. To get an idea of how big this guy is, imagine looking out your window and seeing Tom Cruise in your backyard.
I’m not sure what movie it is, but the scene shot in our backyard had him hobbling with a crutch, most likely because he’d just been hit by a car. So, if you should ever happen to see that scene…
Salomae took a few pictures and was just starting to film when some guy pointed at her and started barking at her to stop it, whereupon she yelled back twice as loud that she didn’t care who he thought he was or who he worked for, he needed to learn some manners! After that, he actually did start treating the people around more politely, so, the message appeared to get through.
OK, another train related story so soon after my last one and my trainspotter tendencies are plainly on display. However, I can’t help but appreciate that China has made some great strides in improving rail transport. Since April, high speed bullet train service has been available between many major cities, and reports are generally favorable in regards to service and comfort. With top speeds of 250 kph, travel times between major cities have been greatly reduced, on average by two hours.
Alas, all is not as rosy, as there have been complaints about the pricing. Fares are about 50 percent higher than the current express trains because of “greater costs, faster speeds and better service”, according to Wang Yongping, spokesman with the Ministry of Railways. As a result, they are considering reducing the fares to boost sluggish sales.
Personally, I can’t wait to try one. I once endured a 26 hour train ride from Beijing to Shiyan in Hubei Province to give a presentation for Dongfeng, China’s number two automobile manufacturer, and although it was a soft sleeper, it was far from comfortable. The same ride now would take less than a third of the time and be comparatively far more luxurious. Perhaps my vow to fly from now on, despite the eco impact, can be retracted.