Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thoughts and Anecdotes from the Shanghai visitation

Nearby the Canadian Visa Application Centre are similar operations for Belgium, Italy, and India.  Jenny noticing the Belgium centre remarked that no one seemed there and asked me what this why so.  Telling her where Belgium was, I added that no one wants to go to Belgium.
Near the Visa application centres is a artsy quarter with a few galleries and souvenir shops.  One of the galleries contained Warhol-like iconic paintings of Chairman Mao and President Obama.  I wish I could have taken a photo of this but alas, I couldn't.  The paintings side-by-side as they were said a lot to me.  Obama is not Mao or a Communist but that is only because he is in the USA.
Getting to the VAC
We took a bus, then a train, then the subway, and finally a taxi to get there.
If you love men in uniform then Shanghai is the place for you.  I noticed increased security arrangements because of the Expo.  Every subway station has an X-ray machine.  Every subway station also has a nice collection of men in green uniforms -- the PLA,  I presume.
The author of the Black Swan has done his third Econ Talk podcast recently. (Link is in the headline)  I downloaded the latest episode as well as the previous three he had done and gave them a listen as I was wandering about the Shang.

An anecdote Taleb told reminded me of a conversation I had on a similar theme.  Talking to a bunch of government bureaucrat economists, he told them that their activity was futile -- they couldn't predict diddley squat given the complexity of the economy.  The government economists asked what they should do then -- if they had any honesty, they should have quit their jobs.

I had a conversation with someone who thought government building passenger trains was a good idea.  Telling him that most of these projects were a load of bullocks because they lessen people's transportation options instead of increasing them and were consistent money losers, this someone said do you want the government to do nothing?  Well, I would say that they should do a lot less than they do.
Encounter with Expo visitor on train
My wife was talking to a gentleman who went to the Expo on Wednesday.  He wasn't too impressed.  He said the long waits in the humidity were torturous

I plan on going to Expo in September when the weather is nicer and the problems are worked out.
Ripping button earns wife's wrath
The wife wasn't too impressed with me after I had ripped a button off one of Tony's top.  The buttons were metal so I thought they were snap-ons.  A great yank and I had Tony's top undone.


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