Back from Geek Diner in Bellevue

This is the last day of the three-day training in Seattle. The jat lag seemed to disappear from me. Tonight, Robert Scoble invited me to attend the Media Center team geek dinner in the crossroad mall. I was certainly happy to meet the most famous Microsoft blogger there.

When the training finished at around 5:45 pm, it was raining heavily outside. Althought to rent a car at Avis or Hertz nearby was an option, I just didn’t want to bet on my skills of driving in U.S. and the sense of locations. If I did rent a car, by the time I arrive there, everyone may had gone already. I used the King County Metro/Bus Trip Planner, and it gave a good suggestion:

Itinerary #1

Walk 0.2 mile NW from 1400 6TH AVE to

Depart WESTLAKE STA & BAY D At 05:56 PM On Route MT 229 Overlake Transit Center

Arrive 156 AV NE & NE 8 ST At 06:32 PM

Walk N to 15600 NE 8TH ST

It was a great result. Bingo. But finally, I chose taxi.

The taxi driver didn’t know the address. This was to my surprise. With the help to Robert over mobile, we finally found our way to hiway 520 via I-5 and turn to 405 and took 8th Street exit.

The Ethiopia Taxi Driver

The taxi driver was interesting. He came from Ethiopia. He was obvious excited when he learnt I am from China. He told me there are many Chinese in his country – the plants, the factories – are all opened by people in China. They buy Chinese shoes and clothes everyday. They are building their own road infrustructure like I-5 in his country, and all the technologies, the machinaries and the engineers come from China. It is amazing. I never heard about it before. I doubt there is any people from China go to Ethiopia before… He continued to tell his story in this country. It is quite an eye opener. In my memory, there are always wars there. I asked him about the wars (no offense here), and he acknowledged: Yes. There will always be wars but it is at the border, not the country. Well. How about pay a visit to this mysterious country? He promoted his country and said it is very cheap there. They even have Hilton there. I admit I am still very ignorance for world. I am looking into the details of a trip to Ethiopia.

Road Naming System of Washington State

The address of the destination is:

15600 NE 8th Street

Bellevue, WA

When we took the 8th Street exit and heading westward, the driver started to look for the 156 Ave. He talked about one hundred and fifty six, while I always look for fifteen thousand and six hundred. Later, I realized that I can find out the Ave name of by removing the two zeros at the end. So it is very sure that 15600 NE 8th Street is at the intersection off 8TH Street NE and 156th Ave. NE. This idea is cool!

Later, I found it works in the downtown seattle too. The address for Sheraton Hotel is

1400 6th Ave.

It can be translated to the corner of 14th Street and the 6th Ave, where the 14th Street is actually the Pike Street. They have this kind of translation on tour map and the number 1400 is on every plate of the street. Cool! I claimed the root of America’s/Greek’s/western culture is systematic thinking and reasoning, or the quatitive thinking, while the root of Chinese/eastern culture is literature or qualitive thinking. This is one good example of the difference.

The Dinner

The geek dinner was not in a restraunat, as I expected. People gathered at the lobby of the mall and sat in the public area. Everyone ordered some fast food and started to talk. I heard some very good idea there and saw a big OEM product there. I got a nice Channel 9 robot todady.

The small Channel 9 Image in coutesy of Channel 9

The talk was simply great. It seems people are so interested in news in China. The contrast of the poor and the rich, the newly built skyscrapers and the nearby farm land is the hot topic there. It is interesting.

P.S. Bank Account

I created my first bank account in U.S. with Bank of America today. I asked for Versatel checking account and just before I sign my name for this account, the grace service lady found my employer is Microsoft and she offered to upgrade my account too FirstChoice Gold Checking, which is the top level account in Bank of America and 3 level higher than Versatel account. It was great. I also ordered my first check book in my life. Since the financial institude took a big jump in the last twenty years, it seems people directly jumped from saving account to credit card. There is almost no personal checking in the history.

12 thoughts on “Back from Geek Diner in Bellevue

  1. Mr. Wang,

    I suggest you check carefully with BoA on terms apply to foreign resident unless you are using a local address.


  2. Wang xiansheng, I agree that people are very curious about China. I think that while most people in the West read about their own and related societies and culture in mandatory school, China remains somewhat mysterious even to adults.

    I am currently reading chinese history, from the (Xia?) Shang dynasty to the reign of Deng Xiaoping. Very interesting. I guess I better understand why Chinese people have sentiments against Westerners and particulary Japanese people.

    Visiting Ethiopia sounds like an idea, that should definitely offer a different perspective!

  3. Oh, adding to my previous post, I obviously meant SOME chinese people, not everyone. :-)

  4. Jianshuo, unless it’s what you want, make sure the account with BoA won’t charge you a monthly service fee or require two direct deposits per month or minimum balance or something like that. Dealing with those financial institutes in US can be quite tricky.

  5. Dear Mr Wang,

    Welcome to U.S. Welcom to Boston. I’m a exchange visitor from China.I do my research with prof.Arch Woodside at Boston College.Our research project is “Narrative Analysis of Stotytelling Reports in China Blogs” now.We often watch your blog.We found your blog is very interesting and valuable for us.If you have free time prof.Arch Woodside and I want to meet you in Boston.Please let me know if it is possible.Enjoy your traveal in U.S!

    Best regards,


  6. One more comments on the address naming system:

    Ave— Southh/North direction

    St —- East/West direction

    I suggest all new development of Chinese city address and street names use this style—self informed.

  7. Does Bank of America have big presence in China now? I didn’t see any BOA banch in Shanghai about three years ago.

  8. JH, Bank of America started to expand in China already. The largest branch office network in Shanghai I saw is CitiBank. They are opening branches very fast. I didn’t find a CITBank counter in Downtown Seattle but there are many Bank of America counter here. So I applied. In Shanghai, Bank of America has opened office in the Union Building long time ago and now it has opened some branch offices, I believe. I start to see the logos on the street now.

    Jing, thanks for the reminder and I have checked that there is no any fee, no minimum balance requirements. The good thing is, I can transfer money, for example, from PayPal to this account and transfer the money back to China using Bill Payer Service. It seems it is free if I use this trick.

  9. Jianshuo, what you said about money transfer was really cool :) Right, there’s no Citibank branch/ATM in Washington State whatsoever . I have a friend just joining MS. She was with Citibank before and had to change to BoA.

    As I remembered last winter I saw plenty of BoAs in Shanghai, which shall be very convenient for you.

  10. JS, do you think that the money in your BOA account here can be transfered to someone’s account of another bank in China through BOA’s bill payment service? I thought it works only in US.

  11. The clerk at the bank told me it is possible. They especially mentioned his clients are using this trick to transfer money to China. The wired transfer is the traditional way, which may charge about 30 USD per transaction.

  12. I actually also have an account at BOA which I haven’t used very often. I just went to their website and found out that I simply have no way to even add an individual payee who lives abroad to the payee list, let alone transferring money to his/her account in a foreign bank with the service. Unless your account at BOA has a different bill payment service, I am afraid they somehow misled you about this “trick”.

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