My first assignment this morning was to go to the Quarantine Bureau to get a physical exam. I was a bit perturbed, because I had already gone through this process in the U.S. but they didn’t get my paperwork in time. It turned out to be surprisingly easy. Back home it took almost 2 hours for them to do my exam. Here they had it down to a factory line and had me in and out in 20 minutes. Most of the time was just waiting for my number to be called. Again another case where they’ve been forced to figure out a better way, having 1 billion people—I was impressed.
After an expensive, but unremarkable lunch at the hotel it was time to do some walking.
Not surprisingly there are lots of bicyclists on the roads (they have special lanes on the side, but they go where they want pretty much). And there are a slew of motorbikes, possibly more than cars themselves in fact. At several of the cross walks there is actually a special 3rd state to the light where bikes and cycles are allowed to go from any direction—it’s a fun sight to watch as they all criss-cross. The other thing, which I really liked, is that several of the street signs are actually digitally lit and show current traffic conditions. We have signs in Seattle that show estimated commute times to certain areas, but these signs actually showed you exactly where the slow areas are and let you judge for yourself how to go—love it!
People had told me there is a bit of admiration for lighter skinned people, and sure enough many of the ads I saw on billboards and posters showed Caucasian people. After nearly 2 hours of walking on the streets though, I did not see a single non-Asian person. This surprised me for Shanghai, but it might also have been the neighborhood I was in. My hotel is in the bar district, and outside the city-center.
Along the same vein, most of the younger women here have fancy brand name handbags and boots. The men, not surprisingly, are a bit more generic and don’t wear so many of the western brands.
After the long walk, I chatted with Danielle a bit and went to grab an overpriced dinner in the hotel. It’s plenty of motivation to learn more Chinese so I can get out and about more.
The team sent out Meng Tang from our Beijing office to go on customer visits with me. This is great because we need someone with at least a little SharePoint experience who can help translate. I met him n the hotel lobby to plan out our engagement with customers tomorrow. He was very easy to get to know, and the team had apparently filled him in on my penchant for Starcraft
My clock is mostly on Chinese time, but I am still a bit tired. Off to bed so I can get up energetic tomorrow.