China trip – 20. The computer repair hall

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China is the manufacturing capital of the world by a very big margin I think.   By this dual carriageway which heads through a busy Shanghai metropolis is 3 floors of technological workshops.

People in the west might grumble how difficult it is to repair or get parts for something broken.

Not in Shanghai.  The Chinese do know how to repair things as well.

This was one of the three floors of a building with dozens of computer stores selling new, used equipment and doing repairs, with amazed westerners being able to witness workshops right in front of you.

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For those who know me, I’ve done repairs on laptops and one Mac, and know how difficult how some are to get apart, and you really need to study diagrams or a Youtube video from someone else who has done it.   To take apart a Mac requires a suction cup to remove the glass before getting the TORX screws the hold the LCD out.   Getting apart phones and tablets normally involve a hairdryer on hot mode to melt the glue in the glass and prise out the glass with guitar plectrums in all four sides which requires a lot of patience.

Some of these people are in the middle of soldering, removing screws, taking complex circuit boards from the lower half of laptops.   This is a lot different from your average UK high street shop that unlocks phones and does normal PC repair.   These people seem to have a lot more dexterity and skill to do some really good workmanship.

One man is chatting with a soldering iron and the bottom half of a laptop, there are piles of chassis and circuit boards of gadgets to be repaired in untidy piles in small and cramped areas where each vendor is doing his own repairs.

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19. Shanghai’s big open food market

21. Shanghai’s Science museum

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China trip – 19. Shanghai’s big open food market

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This market looks quite similar to the ones I have seen in the middle east, particularly in Jerusalem.   Maybe a little bit cleaner without a leaky roof, and has all the produce you can think of, and is all fresh of course.   There are a few Chinese specialties like those pale coloured pears you can buy in the UK.

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There’s a lot of vendors here, with all kinds of cuts of meat.

 

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Going towards the back of the market, things get a bit weird and exotic.

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….until you see a bag of live frogs and toads.   My phone gives you an idea how big they were.  No dogs or cats thankfully, a local told me this happens in more rural towns but not in Shanghai, I did see a bucket of live turtles, but it is too sad to say what happened to them….. 😦

18. Shanghai motor show 2017

20. The computer repair hall

China trip – 18. Shanghai motor show 2017

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What makes you think is the best place to showcase cars?   normally car shows are in Geneva, Milan, Paris or even Monaco?  These are almost certainly dwarfed by this event.   The Shanghai automotive show is THE biggest car show in the world.

You will see European, Jap & Korean and American brands, but also Chinese makers that are unfamiliar to the rest of the world.   Every brand I could of think of is represented here.   Actually, the most popular brand of car in China I noticed was VW.

Imagine, a large sports stadium, multiply that by 6, there are so many vehicles to see, it was actually closed by the time I got round to see everything.

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Qoros is little known in the west, they are Chinese car maker which worked with Israeli hi-tech partners to do some of the R&D.

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The Chinese saved the MG brand from Rover’s demise in 2006, they are still going strong in Asia, but I’m sure how well they convinced British and Europeans to buy MG again.

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World famous brands like Ford and Toyota will have family cars and sports cars alike, as well as a small museum with some vintage models as well.

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Marketing cars in China, is from before when car shows in the UK were nervous of political correctness, as armies of beautiful girls in identical outfits are paraded around and supply visitors with marketing literature.   I took home a Chinese language Jaguar F type brochure.

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Not just conventional, exotic cars and SUVs, but commercials, trucks, buses and military vehicles too.    Above: makers of car components are there to sell to makers also.

Much of the western motor manufacturers, including BMW and Mercedes, build their cars in China to sell to the Asian market.    This event showed a staggering scale of the demand for nice cars amongst middle to high earning Chinese families.

17. Chinese street food breakfast

19. Shanghai’s big open food market

Israel’s emerging new friends

Israel is condemned by the Islamic and Arab world, its condemned by the United Nations, its condemned by the mainstream media, and it is condemned by some weak forms of religion with make it up as you go along morals rather than the framework of the bible.

Jewish people around the world and Evangelical Christians have an affinity with Israel and often prepared to put finances and prayer and support and hard work into defending this land, when hostility or apathy abounds.

This may seem depressing, but in order for those who have faith in the Jewish Messiah I think its necessary for us to be less to put less trust in governments and rulers and more in how our Father in heaven would weaken all rational forms of governance and strengthen our faith in the plans for Christ’s return.

But it is on social media I’ve made a few friends with some people groups who want to offer a hand to the Jewish state.

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Maybe its because they get Israel is a democratical nation?  maybe its the history or the never give up attitude of the Jewish people?  or, even memories of Jewish people who once numbered thousands in North Africa and other parts of the Middle East?

These folks I spoke to on Facebook are Kurds from Iraq, Turkey or Syria who feel they are a separate ethnic group to Arab people.    The others are Amazighs, or we might commonly call Berbers, native people of North Africa in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.  These people tend to be non-practising Muslims or secular.   They have grown up in the stranglehold of Islam and long for something different.  They feel that their culture predates invasion by Arab Islam, just like Israel.

I visited Morocco in 2005, and noticed straight away there are two different ethnic groups in North Africa.    I like the food, clothing and textiles, artwork and other aspects of Morocco which is similar to the middle east but different.

Every politician in the UK wants to have a selfie by a mosque on their Twitter profile so they can show they are multicultural and ‘progressive’ they are.  Sigh…

I’ve chatted quite a bit online to a couple of Amazigh young men.   They are smart, but live in poor isolated villages.  They have a love of animals (animal cruelty is a big problem in the Islamic world) They have questions of faith, how Christianity and Judaism and Islam differ, some of them want to know the Bible and the Messiah of Israel.   Some already know a different path in faith could cost them.   One has already found Christ.

I’m now needing to find other Christians who can help disciple some of these people who ask me questions.   One is female and would be best done by another female.

This kind of thing excites me a lot.

Matthew 9 : 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

China trip – 17. Chinese street food breakfast

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This was a pancake I got at about 730AM, once the mixture is spread on the hot pan, the girl who looks about 14/15 put some spring onions chopped up, then some kind of medium strength chilli paste, then a rice cake and used the knife to fold up the pancake and put it in a bag.

This was so good I got another one the day after.   Just 3.5 yuan so probably UK 40p or US 60c.

I was introduced to this stand via two Chinese women who were at my hostel which a group of us went to the Shanghai motor show.

16. Fast train in Beijing to Shanghai

18. Shanghai motor show 2017

Today’s Israel is example of one of the promises of God today

Two nights ago, the Lord gave me (7/2/2018) a dream of a picture of Israel, with a drone-like aerial view of this land.    I think the view was from a more rural part of the country as opposed to Jerusalem, the coast of the desert parts of the country.

Breaking; as I finished writing this today (10/2/2018)   Israel is under attack again, with a drone the came into the north of Israel from Iran.   This in turn meant several Iranian/Hezbollah targets have been hit by Israel in Syria, then an Israeli F16 jet was shot down but just before the pilot ejected who is alive but with some injuries.

For everything God tells us not to do, humans will find a way to try and justify it with some kind of clever words.   The war in the middle east is only half fought with conventional weapons, but the other half is manifested through the media and a distorted picture of what is actually going on.    Israel is constantly lambasted by the media, the Islamic world, the United Nations and the European Union.    But I see Israel as not a perfect country but a distinctly different place of democracy in a dark part of the world, I also the modern nation of Israel as an example of God’s faithfulness.

 

Big moon makes appearance on Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat

This week is a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, Tu Bishvat (New Year of Trees) and again there is talk on the internet about the Blood Red Moons and End Times.

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Here is the moon in Jerusalem, I’ve taken this from a reliable source of someone I know out there at the moment.

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Here is the moon from the camera of my phone (1/2/2018) Thursday of this week, its the thing in the middle, it looked not red at the time, but very big and clear.

Note I’m an average Christian, saved by grace and not law, of non-Jewish descent, and not a Hebrew Roots guy but worked with Jewish people for a number of years and prefer to have a non-ambiguous approach to my faith.)    I like to use Jewish holidays to meet up with Jewish friends, but I don’t fully observe them and definitely don’t force them on Christian or secular friend.

In the past, the whole Blood Red Moons thing got a bit ridiculous amongst hysteria online but I think God could be trying to get our attention, by coinciding events in the Jewish holiday with the movement of planets in the sky. 

I see it as this, to get right with God, seek Christ alone, and pray for our nation and communities.

China trip – 16. Fast train in Beijing to Shanghai

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Railway station in Beijing.   This and Shanghai’s station is bigger than most airports!

Its just as formal and requires all the security prerequisites as well, scanning your luggage, showing passport and documents of where you are intending to go.   This is a departure louge which the gate takes you to the railway platform.

Nothing too intense but China pretty much expects you to have detailed list of where you going, this isn’t a place where you can make it up as you go.

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Finally to the platform!

I bought two tickets online to go each way from Beijing to Shanghai before I left the UK, this was US$85 each.

This journey takes 5 hours, there are only a handful of stops.  There was a screen on the wall of the train that were travelling at 306kph (190mph) most of the way.   What better way to go between two mega cities on the Chinese own showcase high speed rail system?    This doesn’t feel fast, as the train track is raised up and you just glide gloriously smoothly.  This isn’t even the fastest train, the Chinese have another railways elsewhere which uses Japanese technology at 400kph.

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I took my laptop and watched some films, this might of got me into trouble, I watched a video about Brother Yun with headphones.   Before I left I copied this off to Youtube to MP4 and saved to a hidden folder of my Chinese made Lenovo laptop.  Brother Yun is best known as the father of the modern Chinese church, having escaped from prison after being locked up for the crime of being Christian.

15. Beijing train museum

17. Chinese street food breakfast

 

 

China trip – 15. Beijing train museum

I like travelling by train.  I went the entire length of Switzerland by train after seeing my friend Matthew who I met in Israel who lives in Basel, and I travelled across Morocco to get from Tangier to Casablanca to Fez.   It’s fascinating when railways can be built over impossibly complicated terrain with tunnels and bridges.

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This was interesting but had very little English details of how China’s transportation has evolved over the years.

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Visiting in the driver’s seat of this train was roped off as it was at extra cost.

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The inner working of modern trains as well the vintage ones.

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Models of China’s lines.

In advance, I bought two tickets at US$85 each to get from Beijing to Shanghai, more on that next.

14. Beijing’s metro, close copy of London Underground

16. Fast train in Beijing to Shanghai

 

China trip – 14. Beijing’s metro, close copy of London Underground

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The Chinese are the master of counterfeiters.  But not always in a bad way.

My journey to go from where I live in Harrow in outer London (zone 5, Metropolitan line) to the middle of the city is something like £3.70 I think one way.   Going on the metro in China is something like 20-50p.

Beijing’s metro has been going since 1969 and has 345 stations.   London Underground has 270 but has been going since 1863.  Some of it quite clearly is influenced by London

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I think this was Beijing’s main central railway station.  The individual stations are named with their English transliteration, but each line has just a number as well as a colour.

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Stations can be very grand in their appearance with this large hanging pictures.

What’s a bit different, is the tougher security, X-ray machines which you are required to put your luggage through at every station, and they still have ticket offices, whereas the London Underground requires payment only by a machine meaning ticket offices are almost a thing of the past.    The Chinese tube has a loud bell ringing when the doors are about to shut.

13. Tiananmen Square

15. Beijing train museum