Surviving China: Some Tips from an American in Shanghai. Episode 1: The Passport

Are you a foreigner coming to China? Here already? Here are some tips for survival that might make your experience better. Today we start with basic issue #1, the passport.

Passport basics:

  1. Your passport is life. Protect it. Keep it in a safe place unless you need it. Never leave it with someone you don’t trust. If a hotel wants to hold it, give them a copy but check out before you leave it with them. A friend of mine had their passport stolen while it was in the safe keeping of a hotel. Street value of a US passport is around $5,000-$15,000, I’ve heard. It may be the most tempting and valuable thing you possess. Chinese people are typically very honest, but it just takes that 1 in 10,000 to change your life quickly. 
  2. Know when you will need to bring your passport.  You will need to have it with you for hotels, trains (rarely checked, but it does happen, and will be needed to buy a ticket or make changes), and planes. You will need to do anything with people at a bank, or even registering for, say, a customer loyalty card at a grocery store). Also may need it for checking into a hospital, but check to see if a photocopy will do. In any case, always have a photocopy or two of your passport with you. Carry one in your wallet or purse, and perhaps somewhere else also. 
  3. If your passport is lost, don’t waste time waiting for it to be returned to a lost and found area. Chances are it was stolen or quickly will be. Start on the path of getting a replacement for your passport and Chinese visa. The replacement passport can be done fairly quickly, but the visa takes extra time. This will take about 3 business days typically, if things go well, so change your travel arrangements as needed. Immediately contact the US Consulate in your area. They can get you started on this process. It’s also going to involve several hundred dollars and you will need to leave the country (Hong Kong is a good choice) and come back in to get your new temporary passport stamped and validated. I’ll explain more later.
By |2013-04-09T16:46:56-07:00April 9th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Surviving China: Some Tips from an American in Shanghai. Episode 1: The Passport

Delicious Mexican Food in Shanghai

One of the most common American complaints about food in Shanghai is the lack of good Mexican food. It is not very popular here and only a few places offer it, sometimes with disappointing results. But you can find good Mexican food. One surprising choice is Judy’s on Tongren near the intersection with West Nanjing. After we went there, we learned that this quiet, calm place becomes a lively bar with sometimes questionable content late at night, so I’m not sure I want to recommend this place, but if you go before 8:30 pm, you’ll find a tame, quiet place with very good, basic Mexican food like flavorful fajitas, burritos, and quesadillas. They also have a Chinese menu and I was impressed with the coconut chicken curry. Very tender. You can just walk in and eat without fighting the normal Friday night crowds. Again, go there before 8:30. I don’t know what happens later, but based on a review I read, I don’t think I want to be around there late at night.

For avant-garde high-end Mexican, try Mi Tierra in the French Concession. Some of their dishes are surprising and unlike the typical Mexican fare Americans might know. Delicious, creative, a bit expensive, but worth it. The ceviche, for example, was startlingly good. The staff is warm and friendly. The boss and main assistant were extremely kind and gave us a tour of the beautiful 3-storied building. An excellent place for a corporate event, also.

By |2012-11-09T19:49:13-07:00November 9th, 2012|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Delicious Mexican Food in Shanghai

A New Life in China

The Bund in Shanghai

The Bund in Shanghai

The Bund Center, on the Right: Where I Work

The Bund Center, on the Right: Where I Work


I’m no longer the Appleton, Wisconsin Guy, but have become fully entrenched in the most amazing city I’ve ever experienced, Shanghai, China. Life here is the polar opposite of Wisconsin life in many ways, and I can’t believe how much I enjoy it here. All those years of thinking I was a small-town guy!

This blog is being revised to deal with life in China and lessons from the Chinese experience. The West has so much to learn from the rich history and majestic achievements of China, as well as from the disasters it has faced, both natural and man-made. So much of what is said about China in the West is completely backwards, and I hope I can contribute to progress in understanding.

Come join me as I share the China experience here.


By |2016-10-24T05:58:01-07:00June 2nd, 2012|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on A New Life in China

Coming Soon: Conquering Innovation Fatigue

A book I’ve been working on since late 2006 has come to fruition. With co-authors Cheryl Perkins (the CEO of Innovationedge where I work) and Mukund Karanjikar, I’m happy to announce that John Wiley & Sons will soon publish Conquering Innovation Fatigue, a book that explores the personal side of innovation and the “innovation fatigue factors” from multiple levels that would-be innovators face. It can be ordered now at and will be in press by early July. Easy URL: The blog to support the book is

By |2016-10-24T05:58:02-07:00May 3rd, 2009|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Coming Soon: Conquering Innovation Fatigue

1975 Lorem Ipsum For Sale – Excellent Condition

This is your chance to buy an original limited edition 1975 Lorem Ipsum. Excellent condition, rarely used! Complete with dolor sit amet and consectetuer adipiscing elit, and fully loaded with with sed diam nonummy. Nibh euismod tincidunt can be installed upon request. Ask about our discount for laoreet dolore magna aliquam – and yes, it’s 100% erat volutpat. If your credit is good, qualifying customers can take advantage of ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation. Ullamcorper suscipit lobortis not included.

By |2008-01-12T21:49:58-07:00January 12th, 2008|Categories: Consumers, Crazy, Humor, Products, Uncategorized|Comments Off on 1975 Lorem Ipsum For Sale – Excellent Condition

Alum in Potato Salad? Check the Ingredients!

My wife recently has purchased potato salads from Wal-Mart, Aldis, and Woodmans in Appleton, Wisconsin. The potato salad from Woodmans made by Garden Fresh Foods of Milwaukee had a peculiar flavor, my family noted. There was an unpleasant feeling in the throat similar to the irritation that sodium benzoate, a preservative, causes in some fruit punch drinks like Sunny Delight. Sure enough, sodium benzoate was an ingredient in the potato salad. But even more disturbing was the inclusion of alum. Hey, there is no need to dump alum into food. Alum contains aluminum ions, and higher aluminum levels have been found in the brains of Alzheimers patients. No, we don’t know if they are part of the problem or just a symptom, but while that remains unknown, I think we should be deliberately avoiding aluminum in our diet.

For information on the issue of aluminum and human health, see the objective page from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

By |2017-12-05T06:14:52-07:00July 14th, 2007|Categories: Consumers, Health, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Alum in Potato Salad? Check the Ingredients!

International Flavors and Fragrances: Impressive Breakthrough in Orange Flavor

I’m thinking of investing in International Flavors and Fragrances, a $5 billion market cap company with a strong suite of flavors and fragrances, including a new breakthrough in orange flavor. Many scientists collaborated to identify the key flavor components in orange juice and then sought to mimic them with relatively low-cost materials, relying less on citrus oils that can add a bitter aftertaste and vary wildly in price. I marvel at how inadequate artificial orange flavor is in drinks and foods. I look forward to a long overdue improvement, and if it’s as good as they say, expect a strong increase in sales for IFF.

By |2007-06-17T14:33:10-07:00June 17th, 2007|Categories: Consumers, Investing, Uncategorized|Comments Off on International Flavors and Fragrances: Impressive Breakthrough in Orange Flavor

Thinking of a Career? Consider Geology

Surprising fact: there is a shortage of geologists for companies that do exploration and mining of natural resources like gold, silver, and oil. According to precious metals expert Jim Willie CB:

Don Lindsay, CEO of Teck Cominco, paints a bleak labor picture… Lindsay traced the origins of the labor shortage back to 1997. According to him, the feeder systems were disrupted by the Bre-X scandal, the Asian Meltdown, and the commodity bear market. He expects demand to remain robust from China. Keep in mind that over two thirds of geologists in the world hail from Canadian schools. So if professional shortages exist in Canada, we have a very large problem indeed. Mirroring the crude oil roughneck labor shortage is the mining labor shortage. Another parallel exists. Lindsay points out that within a decade, 60% of all Canadian scientists working the geosciences will be at least 65 years of age. The overall impact is surely that new mine deposits will take longer to find, longer to produce, and cost more.

This is great news if you’re willing to pursue a career in geology. Many of the leaders of mining and exploration companies had their start as a geologist. If you love the outdoors and believe in work that really creates wealth, consider geology.

For investing, the shortage in skilled labor for mining means lower production in the future, and that means that prices of commodities are going to face even more pressure to go up. This is a great time to be heavily invested in gold and silver bullion, energy stocks, precious metals stocks, and uranium stocks like Dennison Mines (DNN) or my favorite, Abaddon Consolidated Resources ( or ABN on the Vancouver exchange).

By |2007-05-04T17:19:34-07:00May 4th, 2007|Categories: Education, Investing, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Thinking of a Career? Consider Geology

Don’t Get Ripped Off When Buying Silver Coins!

Rip off by First Federal Coin! Overpriced silver coins.

Want to pay way too much for some silver? Looking for a quick fleecing? Then look no further than First Federal Coin, a.k.a. [site down as of 2017; URL was] where I took the above screenshot. I ran into them in this month’s Scientific American, with a full-page color add similar to the Web ad. Folks, the coins they are selling are bulk silver coins, which you can purchase at many places for close to the spot price of silver. OK, there’s a slight premium for half dollars, but the prices they charge are ridiculous. One pound of silver coins has about 14.5 ounces of silver, worth about $170. You can buy a pound of silver coins, including nice half dollars, for under $200 on Ebay. At Northwest Territorial Mint, you can buy a 72 ounce bag of 90% silver coins – that’s 4.5 pounds – for $746 ($756 if you cant it all in half dollars), which is what you would pay to get 2 pounds of coins at First Federal. In other words, they are charging twice as much as they should. It’s like paying over $20 an ounce for silver when it’s current price is $11. Don’t fall for that.

I think you can get silver coins in bulk even cheaper at

Buy low, sell high. Don’t give away your money.

By |2018-01-17T05:53:13-07:00July 8th, 2006|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Don’t Get Ripped Off When Buying Silver Coins!

Shake Well Before Serving

Shake well before serving – that’s a message the world needs, I figure. Shaking well means preparing before you rush out and do something stupid. It means stirring things up and creating a healthy mix in life. This little blog is meant to be an attempt to shake things up in the quest for knowledge that can help you be more effective in life and better able to serve.

And perhaps I’ll try to have a little fun as well.

By |2016-10-24T05:58:03-07:00July 3rd, 2006|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Shake Well Before Serving