Farewell! But before I hand over my keys to this blog, let me subtly point out that I am hilarious

by James Weir
Posted: November 12th, 2012 | Updated: November 13th, 2012 | Comments
China travel blogs In the time since I became Blog Overlord and Supreme Ruler of All here at travel guide or edited hotel overviews. Blogging is fun, and it's always been my favorite part of this job. But the dream is over, guys. I'm out of here. Gone. Moving on (up?). Who knows what is to come. So in one last narcissistic and self-indulgent bit of shameless back-patting before I vacate my seat on the China Travel Team, I'm going to give you a rundown of a few of the things I had the most fun writing over the last year or so. Why, you ask? Because I still have the admin password to this blog, and because I feel like it. So before I walk out of the doors of the Ctrip Deathstar for the final time, I'm going to exercise my Wordpress Admin Authority one last time, a super power second in scope only to the ability to live forever and repel bullets with a rippling and taut abdomen. Everybody gets one, and this is what God gave me. So. Here we go. Let's do this. In what was no doubt the finest moment of my headline-writing career, Breathing in China: Should I do it? was a look at some of the fears incoming expats and vacationers have as they prepare to make the China-jump. The takeaway of the piece? Yes, you should keep breathing—but!—no, probably not very deeply. [pullquote]Well, folks. That's it. I'm out. Donzo. Zapped. Zipped. Dried up, laughed off, ran out, over the hill, dead as a doornail, out of touch, roasted like a Thanksgiving turkey—take your pick. I'll miss each every one of you, but don't worry your pretty little googly-eyed head: The spyware this post automatically installed on your computer gives me access to your webcam, so I'll be checking in regularly. Sleep well![/pullquote]Sometimes, while editing copy for the website—and bumping music so loud it made my hair grow faster—I would zone out, forget to work and stare at the wall. It didn't happen very often (Hi there, various Ctrip bosses!), but I won't lie to you: it happened at least three times over the last year. During these rare moments of lapsed-concentration, I would think of very strange and tangential things. Some of these things would (regrettably) find their way into subsequent blog posts. This is a great example of a daydream gone horribly awry: A Modest Proposal: Can we get a Godzilla with Chinese characteristics up in here? Sorry about that one, boss. I'm not sure that had anything to do with anything, but I had a blast writing it. The last few months have seen a whole lot of bluster around the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, with longstanding Sino-Japanese tensions at the forefront of the controversy. While the very real protests raged across China, I imagined a significantly more light-hearted reason for the territorial dispute: the region is actually a highly sought after vacation destination. Did I trivialize a serious international fracas? Maybe (or, more accurately: definitely). But maybe when two of the world's largest powers—not to mention neighbors that, for better or worse, will have to continue to work together and put up with one another, prejudices and past injustices aside—are jousting over a string of uninhabited islands with increasingly hostile and irrational rhetoric, it's time to chuckle a titch. I'm a big fan of photograph captions, mostly because they're often opportunities to write something ridiculous that might sneak by your editors unscathed. This article about the Chinese Bigfoot, the Yeren, has a good example of such a caption. There are never enough opportunities to make sexy bao'an jokes, so I was naturally overjoyed to be able to make a few in my post on the Suzhou Creek Sex Toy Market. A "friend" of mine visited the market last weekend, and I can assure all of you out there that the market is indeed still in operation, and is as raunchy as ever (you'll never guess what a "power exaggerator" is). Last summer, as the last bits of sanity oozed from my overworked sweat glands, I composed this largely outrageous list of ways to stay cool in the Shanghai summer while imparting upon yourself a bit of local flair. Word for word, I probably laughed more while writing that sucker than any other. Whether or not anyone else laughed is anybody's guess, but I sure did. It's the little things. What began as an ode to one of my favorite China-centric time-wasting blogs on the Internet quickly devolved into a semi-coherent rant—on the Internet, mind you—about the implications of being on the Internet too much. And in case you're asking: No, I haven't the slightest clue what dramatic irony is. Have you ever wondered what Oblivion, in the existential sense, would be like? Well, if you've ever had a particularly bad day in an overly-florescent office, you might know the feeling. After an unexpected archeological find on the backend of our travel guide, I was able to spend some time considering such a question: Golmud: bleak and beautiful landscape, or soul-crushing oblivion? Last March, I was invited to tag along on an eating tour of Shanghai street food. The post that followed was a real pleasure to write, though I won't lie to you: if I had had the option to skip writing the post and eat more, I probably would have just kept eating. And, finally, I'll end with a post that was decidedly not funny, but one that I'd like to share with you nonetheless: my piece from last March on the collapse of a section of high-speed rail in Hubei. Though a bundle of chuckles it certainly is not, I maintain that it makes for an enjoyable read, insofar as reading about something like that can be enjoyable. Well, folks. That's it. I'm out. Donzo. Zapped. Zipped. Dried up, laughed off, ran out, over the hill, dead as a doornail, out of touch, roasted like a Thanksgiving turkey—take your pick. I'll miss each every one of you, but don't worry your pretty little googly-eyed head: The spyware this post automatically installed on your computer gives me access to your webcam, so I'll be checking in regularly. Sleep well!
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