Well, 30 days have gone by since I set foot here. After 3 weeks work is finally getting pretty busy. I have not gotten so involved in the sales side, which is a good thing for me, but have been more focused on the project management side of things. I have taken on 3 projects in the last week, one for an international advertising firm, one for a very high end and exclusive golf estate club, and one for a egg producer trying to attract new customers (but with bird flu on people’s minds that will be a hard sell!). I might get a web based CBT contract signed this week, but not counting on it as the owner seems a little flaky to me, but then again she is Australian.
Working with Chinese people is not fun, they will never admit they can not do something and always agree on a timeline even if they can not make it! This makes project management a nightmare as I am finding I have to add 3 or 4 days to a project just to cover the difference. Of course this is learning experience as I try to understand how they work… or don’t. Working hours here are a killer. The city’s pace and lifestyle are in hyper drive and everyone seems in a constant rush. In 3 weeks I have only made it home before 7 PM 3 times! This is with a subway ride of only 10 min and walk to my apartment of an additional 5 min! People work here around the clock. Banks, Post Offices, stores, everything is open 7 days a week and most until 9PM or 11PM! Finding time to relax is a major choir.
On the leisure side I have been busy, two weekends of horse back riding and 2 weekends of sight seeing. Weekends in the city are crazy as there are tens of thousands of people anywhere you go. Last weekend we went to a park and bought a kite as it seems everyone else was doing it. It turns out I am better at it then most locals, and with only having a $2.50 kite! There are no places to find peace and quiet in the city, so that was one reason for horseback riding, there are only 10 places in Shanghai to do this and I have been to 2 so far. The country side is nice, but very poor and run down, reminds me of shanty towns in Africa and South America.
Banking is a frigging nightmare here! I have an account for my paycheck and a debit card, but only 20% of the places here take credit or debit cards, no checks at all, so it is cash or nothing. The pin numbers here are 6 digits long and if you forget your pin number you are better off not having the account! I have to get a local, with a current valid Shanghai ID card (my girl friend is from Guangzhou so that is where her ID is from) vouch for my identity and account status. Then they have to return with me 1 week later and then I have to re-file my account paperwork just to access my account! So long story short my money is tied up for 8 days because I forgot the pin number! Be glad you are banking in the States; at least you can still get your money if you forget your pin number!
Coco and I are still getting along fine, we are both putting in many hours of over time but not getting on each others nerves after 1 month, never had that happen before! Plans are still for the first week of May but that may get set back to October, turn out I need a whole battery of tests and photos and paperwork and such more then I brought with me! This place is a nightmare due to all the paperwork! Have already seen some oppression, accidents between bicycles and cars, rudeness that would make a French man jealous, and other things down right funny. It is an adventure here, and never boring. The food is still good, and cheap, but I am longing for a good quality burger, fries, and milk shake! Oh and clothes that fit right, my shirts are XXL and still too small in the sleeve but too big in the neck and chest.
Entertainment here is a joke at best. No TV in English unless we get a satellite dish from the black market and then a special card for activation, highly penalized if you are caught with it! So we have been getting many DVD’s (only $2 each for 1st run movies and most are in English and quality is not too bad… most of the time, it is a hit and miss process. Sports I am clueless on unless I visit the internet as they only thing I have seen here on TV is soccer and promotions for auto racing. Finding a movie theater here with English subtitles is an adventure all of its own. As is finding an English language book/magazine store. Of course their selections are limited to things that do not criticize the government in any shape or from. Walking down the street is the largest form of entertainment I have found so far. Beggars running from the police, bicycles being hit by cars or other bicycles, pedestrians of all sorts in the middle of the street and never obeying traffic laws at all… pure madness! I have put some more pictures on my blog, of horse riding and sights around where I live and have been in Shanghai. I am going to hopefully get into a routine that will allow better blog entries and more frequent emails.