Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shanghai impressions:30ing

Today's Alarming Statistic:
703 Million - the number of mobile phone users in China as of July 2009.

Also even MORE worthy of alarm:
I only have 5 followers of my blog! What is up with that?

First of all, I woke up at 5:45 this morning to catch a flight to Shanghai. So I'm tired. And a little hot and grumpy. I was met by an actual guy with a card with my name on it! I am definitely SOMEBODY now. It would have been just too embarrassing to take a picture of my driver holding my sign but you'll just have to trust me. Actually, here is part of it reflected in the van windshield.

Really. It did have my name below - I guess it was scotch taped on.

The Radisson New World Hotel is beautiful and fancy. I'm on
the 28th floor. Here are some views out my window.

Did I mention I am ALL ALONE? No one telling me they are hungry or pleading for a smoothie? No one to take care of but me. It's nice to do this once in a while. I recommend it.

I got here around 11:30 and was starving but I had to hurry to the Callison office to meet Echo and find out what she had in store for me today to get me one step closer to my residency visa... so I raced over there on foot (maybe a mile) down that busy busy street in the picture on the right (Nanjing Road).

All the way I was accosted by random people trying to get me to go down some alley for fake purses and rolexes. Little do they know I have already purchased both of those in Beijing! Well, I guess they would know if they took the time to look at me. But it was fine and I learned to just yell at them to LEAVE ME ALONE! That may sound unpleasant and okay, yes it is. Still, it is NOTHING compared to the Silk Street Market in Beijing (as far as being accosted). There they actually grab your arm and pull you in. More on that some other time. Here's the entrance to the street. I don't know any of these people or what the Chinese symbols mean but I figured I'd better take a photo since everyone else was.

Once there I went to Wama deli/restaurant and ordered a quick sandwich to go, thinking I would take it up to the offices. Well it wasn't quick, but as I sat waiting I eavesdropped on these English speaking Chinese people sitting by me. They were complaining about how inefficient everything is here and how the client is indecisive etc. etc. and how they are being asked to do things that are not REALLY their highest and best purpose. After a bit I realized - these sound like architects! So I asked them - do you work for Callison? Yes! They all knew Eric and so we proceeded to await our takeaway lunches and chat.

I finally made it to the 21st floor and the Callison office, which employs 35 people, to find that Echo had gone to lunch. So I read my book and waited and when she returned I simply gave her my passport and she said I could go! So I tromped up and down that busy street in the photo on the right above until I was tired and then came back to the hotel. Now I've had a rest I will head out to tromp around some more.

General Impression of Shanghai based on this one mile trek? I am glad we live in BJ. When we first started thinking about this I was hoping we would live in Shanghai - the NYC of China. I have been told that Shanghai has about 20 million people, where BJ is around 13 million, but I jut looked it up and it sounds like BJ is fast approaching. I guess it depends on what they call the "city". Shanghai also seems pretty smoggy like BJ PLUS it has more scammers and really just doesn't feel as authentic as BJ. Im sure once you get out of this madhouse area there are wonderful authentic places. But I choose BJ!

Like Beijing, this city is full of building projects. Here is some scaffolding I came across.

No... look closely at the material it's made of:

I guess bamboo is stronger than I imagined. As I walked under this, someone must have been using a tool which creates sparks because burning sparks landed on my arm which freaked me out. What is that tool called? A blow torch? A soldering gun? Whatever. I bet in the USA there would be caution tape 20 feet in diameter around any work going on like this. I just love living on the edge!

Later - I'm back and my feet are aching. Here is the hotel view at night :

As I walked down the big pedestrian street I heard this amazing Chinese saxophone music. Here is the source of it and another night street shot.


The guy looks very un-Chinese in his hat, huh? It felt like it was getting cooler for awhile, but I saw this and learned the truth:

This is probably 5 stories high on the side of a building. Cool!! (or warm actually.)

When I got to my room I was mad because they had not given me turn down chocolates and they had given Eric tons earlier in the week. Discrimination! So I got all in my pjs and all of a sudden a knock came at the door. It was the turn down lady with chocolates!

Tomorrow I get to meet Mr. Qing at 2:00pm at the Entry Exit Authority building. I need to walk back to Eric's office before noon, but that means I have some exploring time in the morning and also afterward to look around. My flight is not until 8:00pm. But I won't be updating this tomorrow and maybe not until next week. Wish me luck with the stern authorities!
All the best,

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