Saturday, September 11, 2010

Many patience in Shanghai | Sept 11 2010

Today I was working at a very upscale hotel. No, I'm not a prostitute if that's what you're wondering from these posts, although you're not too far off. When I was finished and walked toward the elevator to leave, I found the staff so overly helpful that it caught me a bit off guard. Then when I got down to the lobby, they almost attacked me with offers to assist my departure. I don't remember anybody offering to help me enter or find my way to my destination inside the hotel. The cynic in me found this overabundance of assistance upon my departure to be unwelcoming, although obviously it had the opposite intention. The collective power of the hotel will do whatever it takes to get me out of it.

This first Apple Store in China opened this month and I stopped by. It's strange, reminiscent of any US Apple Store circa 2008. No iPad. No iPhone 4. No new iPod touch. A local techie friend says it's because the Chinese government hasn't approved the WiFi module in these new devices yet. But while they perform thoroughly exemplary testing procedures, devices are flooding in from the US, Europe, and even Hong Kong, which doesn't have the same regulatory body. It seems the government would have much better control over the devices if they approved them for sale and controlled various settings, apps, etc. But the way it is now, they are coming through "grey market" channels completely unfiltered.

In the afternoon, I was riding around with my IT friend and we passed numerous "Uncles" directing the flow of traffic - they are out in full force for the World Expo 2010 Shanghai. I mentioned something about the Uncles - his mother's brothers - and my friend remarked that they are OUR mother's brothers. The collective people have a mother's brother who keeps an eye out for us. Very cute.

We had lunch at a fast-ish food joint with cuisine from Northwestern China. I had a beef soup with hand-pulled noodles, washed down with rice porridge; we shared lightly pan fried potato strips and boiled wontons on the side. When digging into the wontons, my friend wished me "many patience" as they are filled with boiling hot liquid - it's a sort of inside-out soup as the broth is inside of the noodle. Later we were chatting about the high price of food in the restaurants of the hotels where I have been working, and my friend remarked that their "knives are very sharp" -- sharp enough to cut your food and your wallet. I love these expressions, they paint the picture so vividly. Towards the end of the day, when we were discussing going to an antique market, he again warned me many patience, to which I replied that their knives are sharp!!

The day ended abruptly at this point because I decided to take a short nap before dinner, and woke up at 3am the next day. oops!


mizzkg said...

I love your pictures. Could you please put captions with them?

BTW, what's with this prostitute stuff? Your mother brought you up better than that!

Dave said...

Re: prostitution, stay tuned for the next installment!!

I'll put in captions from now on. The two photos here are:
1) View of PuXi (west side of Shanghai) and the Bund river from the Ritz Carlton lobby bar - taken immediately before I was "helped" onto the elevator
2) An old steam train with passenger cars - no noticeable signage explaining its history. The track is as long as the train, so it's not going anywhere soon. It's in a small park on the PuXi side of the Bund.

The other Olga:) said...

How wisely/ironic is said about "sharp knife",I like this!! Keep on posting and hugs from Helsinki:)

Dave said...

Having 3 Olgas reading my blog is great. Having two people named "The other Olga" who are both travelling through Helsinki and reading my blog is a record :)