Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Last week here - only a few days left

Well we are down to the final days at the Shanghai Ranch.
Suddenly time has sped up dramatically, dont feel I have even managed any tourist time and checked things out.

Warning pics not be loaded am unable to edit properly this week or last because of blocking

from the pics you know Shanghai is quite the place.
So a few Sundays ago managed to grab some tour guides for the day.

Joyce (Chinese Joyce) works at Foster Needles another company within our office. Her boyfriend Peter and his brother Diego (well really more like Di Go so I named).
Took me into old Shanghai street.
Lots of shops crowded into small streets, like other towns, but still considering we are in Shanghai still quite busy.

Me and Chinese Diego

then to Pudong (across the river from The Bund from an older posting)
This is where The Pearl Tower is located , quite the building, you can go up inside but as usual the que was backed up for hours.

and at night

Needless to say there were a few people out as usual checking out the sites.
This is Joyce and Peter  with gaggle of tourists behind

this area is also home to one of the tallest office buildings in the world, again you can go up if your willing to wait.

Gotta love the Sigma 10-20mm

then to Century Park.
But we got there just before last subway train so had to leave, without really seeing the park.
Still for what i saw was quite the place.

New model this week !
Chinese Joyce , all summery with her glasses and umbrellas.
girls use umbrellas here, to protect there skin and to stay white, tans are not the vogue here.

Then last week was a trip to Fujian and Guongdong provinces.
About 1.5hrs airplane ride south of Shanghai. Lots more trees, plam tress, more jungle looking.
people look different to.

Very different to say the least.
At diner i was star attraction for the hostess girls, they wanted to talk with me but of course they don’t speak english and I don’t speak Chinese.
So was still fun.

Another update will come before I leave.
Am feeling sad now , at the same time cant wait to drive the vehicle, wil be first time in 8 weeks that I drive a car lol

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another fast week passing me by

OK another weekend has passed me by here in China ! seems time is speeding up now as the countdown is for the trip home.

Last weekend went to Hangzhou, about 1.5hrs train ride from Shanghai, kind of south west. Train booted along at about 140km/hr and i think we peaked out at about 17okm/hr at one point - the ride was smooth !!
The big attraction is West Lake - as usual lots of Chinese tourists - sorry no big shots of the crowds. Did take a cable car up the mountain to local Budhist Temple - no pics allowed inside, though did a walk through and got my fortune told. In the pics you can see West Lake in the distance with the city peaking out in the haze - yes the dang haze killing pics of anything far away.

Its big attraction is a spot for wedding pics - from I have found out most couples will get at least two sets of pics taken.  One being traditional Chinese clothing and style and a second set done Western Style - white dress etc.

Ok I think there is money to be made as a Westerner being a wedding photographer !!

While in Hangzhou , stayed at the Orange Hotel , is a chain in China , an American designed the rooms and style of the place and it shows. this room was 566rmb or $80ca for two nights with continental breakfast.  Would recommend it to anyone, except of course for the typical plywood covered matress, that seems to be the norm here.

Rooms come with a Rubiks cube and a fish - this one was named Peter. The card suggested trying the Rubiks Cube first and if not successful that Peter would gladly listen to your troubles.

heres a view out the hotel window - nothing like seeing your Grandparents underwear drying when you open the curtains first thing in the morning LOL. Hanging laundry to dry is a very Chinese thing, most people do not have a dryer in their apt.

OK so big fun for the staff here (they are all young 30ish and under) is Karaoke.  There is a chain in China called KTV , and its full of private rooms , that you book in advance. From small rooms for 2-4 people to larger party rooms. There is a 'store' in the place where you can buy food, snacks and drinks, that they deliver to the room. The place is  a sea of mirror, lights, large screens, speakers and microphones.

The control panel where you can select all the songs to play and control the lighting, sound etc very high tech
there are small lasers in the ceiling projecting onto the floor, plus your usual disco light stuff hanging from the ceiling. Not to many western songs on the list, so alot of traditional well known stuff gets played with the occasional chinese pop stuff for good measure.

last night headed into the city for diner, had to go to my favourite store Ikea. Like waking up in Toronto, Ikea filled with Asian people lol even had an Indian Family so was just like home lol.

long time exposure with the Canon G11 - for a country that has energy issues trying to keep the lights on Shanghai is lit up like Vegas at night.

My new model Linas,origionally from Tanzania, she calls Shanghai home now. Has been in China for 5 yrs now. Fabulous girl , funny and life of the party.  We share a small office. and she is a poser all i gotta do is swing the lens her way and she is striking a pose.

Will tell everyone that I have not been that homesick - strange as it may sound. Till I got some email saying how I missed at some event or two. Made me realize i have missed alot of summer in London.
Still am ready to come back to Shanghai and China, still lots to see, still lots of work for me here.  I need to learn Chinese now. Going to be a sad day when I leave,  the folks (kids) have been great. Am going to have to figure out how to eat at home, since i have bene on Chinese food only, and not that slop we have in Canada, real Chinese food. Stlil get comments about my choptsick skills lol, I have graduated to be ing able to pick up tofu with them, ok its slow but I'm able to.

Next week am on the road to Fujian and Goangdong provinces to visit customers. Fujian will be with Shelly the sales chick - funny girl who talks to me in Chinese like i know what she is saying lol. Cracks me up, talks non stop , I figure her customers buy from her just to keep her quiet !  She is now challenging me to learn Chinese while she learns English.  Everyone conversation starts with "Douger" (rough spelling) and then minutes of fast Chinese. if you have ever watched "Lost in Translation" with Bill Murray and the scene while he is filming the commercial. If not watch it you will get it lol.
Goangdong is farthest south that I will be going, different look and feel should be interesting.
So am figuring at least one more update before I hit the happy highway home. The Shanghai Ranch will be shutdown soon. Much sadness

Monday, July 5, 2010

4 weeks Left !!!

Well the count down is on - 4 weeks left here in Shanghai - feels like I got here yesterday.

So last Friday I had to leave China as part of my Visa requirements, so the easiest trip was Hong Kong - lots of english there and only about 1.5hrs away.

Hong Kong is nuts !!!
You couls easily spend a week here seeing the country - its small and any space not for green has a building it. I was in Kowloon and when your in the heart of it , it goes on forever.

The view from the expressway coming in from the Airport - those are container ships in the harbour - click for better size image.
as you drive in you pass Hong Kongs shipping Harbour  - remember thats how this place got started , it was all abotu shipping and trading. I barely captured any of it with the Sigma 10-20

Then you get in the city the buildings are amazing and the side streets crowded with many old shops still in pace up against KFC, 7-11 and Starbucks.

This pic was taken from across the harbour - the Airport transport info people gave me wrong bus number so I got to the other side of the bay. Thats total 6 pics to cover what you see. save this one to your computer then open it up with an image viewer , then increase the viewing size - remember this is only one side of the harbour.

OK so made it back in one piece, crashed and then headed out in the morning to do some shopping at the knockoff shops - well more like me tagging along to check it out and hold bags.
Sorry no pics worth showing , didnt even pull out the camera while there. But it was nuts, people hounding you to visit their shops. I picked up two Timberland Shirts for 150rmb or $22ca - bet these got for 50 -65 back home. 
Saturday was Family Night at Karoake place - they had private booths with all the gear, big screen tv, disco lights etc quite the place. This location did not have much for western music , and was told that downtown would be the place to go for new music. Suffered trhough some Elvis etc with my coworkers, while the Shanghai gang sang chinese of course. Then out to a night club - aside from the freakishly tall Germans in the crowd could have been downtown London somewhere.

Sunday morning after getting home around 2am , headed out at 7:30 to goto a small town - sorry left the name at the office - one of the many "water towns" small towns that started built along water ways as it was quick access to larger rivers and of course fishing.  This particular town is a tourist haven - Chinese tourists that is - as one of the richest men in China at the time built his living space and offices here. Most of the town was built by this one trader.

My tour guide for the day (Michelle) at the exit to the facility. Her parents are renovating a place close by (apartment) so I got to tag along and play tourist. Stopped a girl with a big Nikon and got her to take this quick pic. It was about 95 outside and so we headed back to the bus stop for the ride back to Shanghai.
The people here have been great, inviting me out, taking me places. Michelle has taken me out a few times since she is single and has little more free time than others. Most of the staff in the office are married so at 5 the head home.  Gotta do a little more planning now for visiting places, so that i dont miss out on anything before leaving.

bye for now

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day !!!

It's already July 1st here in Shanghai.
Been on the road this week, and in the office today.

our boardroom was declared Canadian Territory for the day - flag was hung and declaration made !!

Got my coworkers from Canada to steal in a tin of the good stuff, so started my day with a Timmies brewed at The Shanghai Ranch. i got enough to last a few months here, so will have to donate it to someone before i leave, Problem is finding a coffee drinker !!!!

This is me at the ITMA show last week - was a record breaker for show sales of new rubber belts. Our booth was the loudest as we celebrated customers bot VIP and new orders by signing our wall and then giving them applause and pictures. Was all good fun though very tiring, takes an hour to get there via Metro (subway) and the subway system here is fantastic compared to home. For about 5rmb 75 cents i covered about half the city to get there.
after the show was all said and done we had a company get together for great food (as usual) and entertainment. some impromptu fun driven by my boss Josh - he knows how to get everyone motivated and have a good time. Picture wise it was brutal with lots of yellowish lighting ,not bright enough etc - from a shoot perspective was a challenge !!
Also had "Hot Pot" or Chinese fondue for the first time !! big bowl in the middle of the table, divided into two , one side a beef broth the other a vegie spicy mix. was another great meal, food is a big deal here.
Of course no meal is complete without red wine, which Miss Ella the restaurant hostest made sure our glasses were full. Who were we to argue !!!!  Managed a name card (business card) and a discount card for the next visit. Thinking the boys in the office need to get out for some hot pot  !!!

Visited one of our top customers this week also, that building is the main building of the complex, they employee 5000 at this factory alone. Had diner in there, within the excutive entertainment area, there were 3 private dining rooms. Another greta freakin meal, it just never stops !!  This place claimed that most of their product was used for products at Walmart ?? who knows

This is the statue you see in the picture above, just to give an idea of its size, Shelton (walking behind is about 5ft6) thay had two of these to the main gate into the factory space.
Momday night got taken out to The Bund !! wow is hardly even a way to describe it. The place was packed, buildings all lit up, honeslty didnot know what to expect and was blown away. PLace was jammed with Chinese tourists.
Across the river was the Pearl Tower. Sorry hand held shots cause just didnt know - so return trip planned to capture something worth taking home !!

well not the greatest update but sitll an update !! is the end of Canada Day here and hitting the hay. Friday morning I blast off to Hong Kong for the day to meet my visa requirements. flying out at 9am and flying back at 21:00 unless I can manage a trip back in the afternoon via standby. Have figured out where the camera shops are and will make a trip into Hong Kong city centre for that. I got time so why not. Hope everyone is enjoying a day off and relaxing. Have fun skeep smiling !