Monday, January 14, 2008

Welcome to China

Flying to Shanghai
The flight to Shanghai went well. There was a little bit of turbulence on the way over but nothing crazy, just a few bumps here and there. Of course, I didn’t sleep on the plane until the last three hours before landing, which is an awful time to want to sleep because of everything happening around you. This is when the last meal is served and everyone is waking up and going to the bathroom, or organizing their stuff, or starting to get chatty with their neighbors. The passengers behind me were very chatty, and despite using the airline-supplied ear plugs and attempts to cover my ears with the tiny pillow, it was impossible for me to sleep.

The arrival process at the airport was a breeze – my boss Claudia and I went through immigration, collected baggage, changed cash, and passed through customs in about 30 minutes. The efficiency surprised me, considering there were so many passengers on my flight. We had a driver meet us at the airport and we got to our hotel about an hour. It was raining the night we arrived in Shanghai, which was Sunday, and there wasn’t a lot of traffic on the roads.


The Westin Bund Hotel was very nice, with a newly renovated tower and front entrance. Since I was going to be in town for the next three weeks, I was upgraded me to a junior suite, and now I have a living room-slash-office to call my own. The room also came with a master bath the size of my living room at home, which had two entrances like Carrie Bradshaw’s bathroom in Sex & the City: one right by the door as you enter the room, and one by the bedroom area. It’s a good idea, really, because after a long day at work the first place you want to visit is the bathroom before you crash into bed.

16 Hours Ahead
It’s been tough transitioning to the time difference, which is 16 hours ahead of my usual time. Right now it’s 5:38 am on Tuesday but I’m wide awake. I’ll probably crash a little bit around 4 pm, and recover in time for dinner. It’ll be like this for the first few days, and by next week I should be fully acclimated to the time here in China.

There will be more posts to come, hopefully more interesting than this one. My first day of work was tough, and the next few days will be no different. And the internet connection here at the hotel? It's really slow. It takes 10x as long to surf the net, never mind posting pictures at this blog. Click on the Flickr link above to see my first pictures of Shanghai.

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