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Monday, April 09, 2012

Day 2 - Work

Greetings. I am logged into a US server and using that server to connect to my blog in the normal way. Now I can upload some photos and such. :)

Yesterday I spent largely in the hotel; I did a lot of schoolwork because I had a paper due in the morning... no the evening ... no, wait, the early morning. :) Yeah. And then there was the mandatory nap in the afternoon. Wow, I had no choice. I went face first down into the bed after a day of really good energy. Stress-B vitamin in the morning for the win!

So really, it's quite amazing here. I feel very alien though. There's the usual "hey, I am in a foreign country" mixed with "I know 2 of the 22 million people here" and I am clearly a minority. Shanghai is modern as hell, but English is not the dominant language. It reminds one to be humble.

One of the first things I noticed is how much I use facial cues to determine what people are thinking. But many of the people here are inscrutible. They have these perfect masks, like a country full of introverted people. Add in the language barrier and it makes for a difficult time knowing what people are thinking.

Interestingly, though, the place reminds me almost instantly of several cities at once. First off - Houston and Galveston. The airport to the hotel from the East side of Shanghai was almost startlingly like driving to Houston from the East. Well, except for the Mandarin everywhere.

But the city itself, the downtown, is very modern and reminds you of New York, sprawled a little like Los Angeles.
View from my hotel when I first
arrived on Saturday
So another thing is that, unlike in the US, you sort of have to set aside your independence a little. Maybe this is just jet lag talking, but there is an emphasis on not talking about oneself over here too much. Probably not a good place to visit if you are all about yourself.

This morning, I rode the subway with my coworker and I saw the meaning of crowded. Although, I don't think it's THAT crowded, not like the guidebooks all said. I was in full on rush hour traffic and it was like being in Manhattan at rush hour but everyone speaks Manarin.

After the subway, we walked for about 10 minutes and there was largely no one there. We're in the fringe of the financial district, so I don't know what the guide books are all crazy about.

I've been writing this over the day, in breaks during work. We've had a hard day of work! The team is very focused on problem solving and improving things, which is great. Sometimes it is hard to see 5000 miles away but it's impressive to see them organize to tackle an issue.

So I will stop rambling for now and offer some of the photos I have taken.

The lounge of the hotel, where I do my homework and
communicate poorly with wait-staff. Fortunately tipping
is not allowed because I'd be out of money
View from my room - daylight; a hazy day
View from my room, a little to the right
A little further to the right. There's the Hilton!
All the way to the left now.
Cantonese dinner - pork
Those green beans were awesome. I am pretty sure
they were green beans. The white balls were like a
milk pastry. Really good too.
Seafoody goodness and amazing tea.
Walking at lunch. A huge sun dial. No sun though today.
Near the science and technology museum - a theater, I think.
A small park near the office. Sorry for the lopsidedness.
I may be tired
I love the garden / technology / industry balance
Century Avenue in the Springtime
A building near work
I was thirsty after lunch.
Orange juice - with pulp.

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