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Shanghai: the return 2009

Fil des billets - Fil des commentaires

mardi 28 avril 2009

Shanghai Auto Expo 2009 & GongQing Forest Park

Hello everyone, again 2 weeks have gone by since my last post....boy is my time here going to be short...

So this last weekend I attended the Shanghai Auto Expo, it was absolutely packed, to such an extent that Nico, who likes his peace and quiet, lost it during a crowd push, leading him to yell out in the middle of this human wave, causing a brief moment of confusion from the Chinese pressed against him. But no photos I regret to say... In a more disturbing note the crowds made it easier for gropers to do their work, which Emma will be able to confirm, :-( Fortunately I myself did not lose my patience with the shoving and tugging, as that is what is to be expected in such an environment.

Anyway we saw some great stuff and you might, if you're lucky, see a picture of Nico or me or Emma in an Aston Martin and Porsche, or several now I think about it !!!!!!!!!! I'll let the pics speak for themselves:

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA As usual any world renouned event attracts Chinese who flock to get a look in at what they are not used to seeing, hence the push&pull that Nico Emma & I experienced first hand.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA ask Rob (Hamilton) what this car is, I just thought I'd like it because it was cool, my thoughts went into no further detail....

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SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA Won the prize for "ugliest car on show"

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                               I was really tempted by the V8 Vantages, but I eventually settled for Bond's DB9 Vanquish....what can I say, I'm humble that way.

                               Emma thinking she is actually going to get a DB9 S....she wishes!!

                               Yeap, you know it (or probably don't come to think of it) this is the new Skyline!! OMG! I'm getting one (hint for my B-day mummy & daddy) :-)

In other news, I also went to a new area in Shanghai, near the last stop on the Line 8 underground, to the N-E of Shanghai. The place in question is a public park, called GongQing Forest Park (in Chinglish), it is a huge park, slightly larger than the famous Century Park on the East bank of the HuangPu river. It has many activities and....wait for it....(pun for all HIMYM fans)....lawns, actual lawns for sitting and playing !!!! I say this because in China, public parks are very rarely places you go to sit and lay around on the grass kicking a football around or throwing a frizbee back and forth, or pic-nic-ing, but rather places you walk on a set imitation-slabbed path around a central (and man-made) lake under weeping-willow trees and amongst man-planted shrubs etc....you get the picture..

So finding a park where you can rome freely and relax in the knowledge that people aren't necessarily going to walk right past next to you, stepping over a limb to get through but can take a different route to avoid you is something of a luxury, so take a look, it is somewhere you might want to spend a lazy afternoon (not on a weekend !!!!!) if you are ever in the neighbourhood:

                               Motivation wasn't at its peak at 1 0'clock in the afternoon/morning prior to departure and honestly we wouldn't even have gone if it weren't for my managerial skills, no offence Nico, Cecile or Emma but I totally got you all off your buttocks (you know who that was for).

                               That was not me getting confused and that wasn;t Nico using his Iphone to navigate..........

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA Typical bloc of flats in a suburban area we crossed on the way to park.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA Just thought you might like to see a local tip we walked by on the way to the park. A shame we couldn't get a closer look, or smell (you can detect their putrid odour emanating from these places that often overflow onto the road!!)

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA This photo is here basically because field games aren't that common in China, most Chinese haven't much time to spend on leisure, so sports are often a unattainable dream of luxury life. Thus they take great pleasure in participating in group games and seem to break out of their usually and sociallly correct introverted selves and become totally histerical. Speaking of luxury life this reminds me of a great advertising campaign on boll boards which read "top brands build luxury life" which is a gross way but typically Chinese which can be understood as "a luxury life is one wherein you have to buy top brands" (so go out and buy buy BUUUYY!! (and then they say it is we Westerners whom are decadent !!

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA This is another game we had never seen before, it seemed to consist in a group of people trying to avoird getting caught by another, designated at the start and who has to mask his eyes, I know what you are thinking, this is utterly stupid, but amusingly very Chinese.

                               SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA Weekends are the perfect time for married couples or yet to be married couples to go out into public parks and get their pictures taken in their suits and dresses along with their clique of cameramen and technicians.

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SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA I was eventually persuaded, defniitely not convinced, to go on this ride, I regretted it as soon as the clamps came down, securely and tightly fastening us into our seats. But survived nevertheless, with the help of some girly sreaming and shrieking.........not from all the young Chinese girls also on the ride, but somehow coming out my own mouth !! Emma was the only one to have enough common sense to not go on the ride, so she had time to take the pics.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA I shouldn't have been surprised to discover quite to the contrary to the sign, that the "HuangPu river panoramic view" was indeed panoramic, true to the sign posting, but in no way was it scenic, oh no !! At best it was it was depressing, a dump, cross it off any sort of list you might have or are thinking of having. Even more surprising was the Chinese brides lining-up to have their wedding pics taken in front of it, why?? Chinese must really use Photoshop a lot !!

                               Cecile, flatmate and food provider.

jeudi 16 avril 2009

Coming soon in a blog near you....

Right, so this weekend was jam-packed full of activities, i didn't see it pass.

I signed-up for a local tennis tournament, not official, because China being a 3rd world country has yet to develop the appropriate infrastructures to cope with all the amateur players, whose numbers seem to be growing by the day. But the Chinese Tennis Association ( a surprisingly short annacronym for a Chinese institution that are in general 3 times longer than the western equivalent) is endeavouring to develop this sport, so in a few years we may see officially established tennsi clubs as you find everywhere in France, and when that day comes, tennis will most probably be dominated by CHinese players as they do in all the sports the government pumps millions into to impress the world's economies.

So coming back to the competition, it was pretty much what I expected, set aside the shear number of enrolled participants that far exceeded my estimates. In total there were around 120 competitors of which, again much to my surprise, 50% had at least my level of play. It was very competitive and all the usual high-flying wealthy expats and Chinese turned up for the venue. So shades and a few 100RMB notes were the basic dress code for an afternoon in the sun watching tennis and tossing-back a couple of beers with their Chinese GF's around one arm, sitting quiet and content.

I will show some pics and possibly some video sequence of the afternoon if i can get my hands on some official footage from an acquaintance.

Also I went skiing......at Shanghai's suburban indoor ski slope. To be honest it is the last thing I would advise anyone in Shanghai to do, which I suppose explains why so few expats were there on a day when they had a special offer on. By few I mean just Stephanie (colleague, though you should remember from one of my last posts!!!) and myself, for approximately several hundred locals over the afternoon. I did initially try snowboarding but failing to do anything amusing with it I quickly gave up and opted for a pair of skis I am familiar with. So no you won'y see any pics of me on a snowboard looking as awkard as a fat woman on a bike but you will see me pulling some moves on my skis!! See pics below:

Yes sorry if that sounded misleading, I slightly overstated what I meant in "pulling some moves". Actually the slope was so unrealistic and contrary to its name had nothing resembling a slope at all, and the snow was most unsnow-like, it didn't allow for any sort of sliding action, which kind of defeated the point....but at least I discovered another part of Shanghai.

As for the F1 race, it was exhilirating, my 1st time so i was truly impressed by the racket those machines make as well as the break-neck speed they go around the track at, it looks nothing like on TV !!!! The day was somewhat tainted by the poor weather, i spent 2hrs sitting in a pool of cold water that had formed on the stands, and was wet through to the bone with the rain that had started 30mins before the start. My hands gradually became numb as did Nico's, my flatmate, and could only look forward to sitting in the minivan i rented for the day in my wet clothes for the 1h drive home. Here are some pics:

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It doesn't end there, I will also be posting a few pics of one of the many French language contests the university student associations organise frequently at our campus, and also some pics of the badminton tournament i will be taking part in this weekend as a UTSEUS representative !!!!

mardi 7 avril 2009

Travail, Work, 工作。。。。。nothing else, 没其他

So I guess this is my 2nd post, my god I'm breaking a sweat !!

If the title wasn't clear, not clear like the Shanghai skyline, but clear like almost as clear as something really clear (Was that clear ?!) then this is going to be about work....ooooh yeah!

This is particularly pertinent this week, as since yesterday and until Friday, I will be carrying out all what we have been preparing since I got here, hence the little amount of news y'all have had from me.

Mainly I was taken on board of this project to develop industrial relations for the independent entity under the direction of the University Shanghai, called Sino-European School of Technology, aka UTSEUS (in French). However with preparations for this week's events - Monday's ex-UT students and industrial partner's cocktail, Tuesday's Sino-French workshop, University-Company forum, cocktail and finally a post-Forum dinner, Thursday's visit to Suzhou for our French delegation of UT Presidents during which we shall pay visits to companies and dine in style with representatives of these companies, and last but not least Friday's meeting to assess the results of the week's initiatives - my tasks have involved just about everything imaginable in event organisation.

On the workplace, it is interesting to be surrounded by Chinese, seeing them at work and observing how they interact in that specific context helps to better understand a people and culture. I will surely hold this experience dear for years to come. DSCF0058.JPG So this is my office, we are 4 in there on a daily basis, Stephanie, Mrs Shen, Mr Grenie (internship tutor) and myself

colleagues___office.jpg 2 colleagues from across the hall, the sitting one is Ms Shen i think.

DSCF0057.JPG the hall, it is as cool as it is dark...

DSCF0061.JPG this is the scene of my campus to the north of Shanghai, that IS a huge lake smack right in the middle of the city-size campus, with student housing far off in the distance.

(the continuation of this got erased because the f****** internet page was not accessible, thus I lost about 10 lines of it......I know you got lucky there).

So to reiterate in a shorter form: I have been in my averagely huge flat for about 3 weeks (cf photos hereafter)

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA my room

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SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA         Cecile, one of my flatmates and a friend of hers, Halid

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA         the least used room in the flat!!

and haven't really had time to visit much around it because I have been ill since I got here, first thanks to some old Brit geezer that spent 10 of 12 hours on the plane coughing and splurting saliva around the cabin just a few feet away from me, then thanks to my Chinese colleague that catches a cold every odd day and also because I can't seem to adapt to this damned Shanghai weather... But rest assured I shall indeed have more time starting next week when my colleague (French this time, an intern hired for the same purposes as myself) and I have been granted 4 days off to recuperate from this weeks hard labour and to ensure we are operational for what is to come......

So with any luck you should hear about my escapades a couple of months down the line !!!

In other news my b-day party went well though not many people turned up (possibly a good thing) and the night-club we went to afterwards was also partially deserted due to the discouraging rain that fell earlier in the evening, so not the best of parties but it was nice to be able to have people over.

Marc's GF, Marc, Nico, Me, Sandrine's & Nida's legs

                               Emma, Sandrine, Nida, 2 of Victor's friends, Victor & Nico (Victor being a friend Thierry (mentioned in previous posts) made in 2007 and with whom I am still in contact.

                               Me, Nico & Emma

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