Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Apartment Tour

Well this post doesn't have a lot to do with China, in a cultural sense, but I thought some of you might like to see where I am living now. I have also been sick with a bad cold the last few days and didn't go out much, so this is all I could think of to post this week. The apartment is about 126 sq m. (~1350 sq ft.) It has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths and came mostly furnished. I still had to buy a few pots and pans and had to wait for some stuff that we shipped from the U.S.

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View of the front door. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .View from the front door.
Yes, I do take off my shoes everytime I come in now. It's amazing how much cleaner the floors are when you do.

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The living room. The dining area is to the left and the hallway to the right.

Killer Ants on Animal Planet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The dining area

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From the hallway the first door on the right is the kitchen. To the left is the office.

Second door on the left is the bathroom.

Second door on the right is the second bedroom. On the balcony you can see the washer and dryer arangement. It has the capacity for about 3 pairs of jeans at a time so washing clothes is almost an every other day necessity.

The last room is the master bedroom. In the right photo you can see the dining area again. To the right is some more closet space and another door to the master bath.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy New Year! Chinese sytle

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important and celebrated Chinese holiday. As I mentioned before Spring Festival is the time of year for people to go home to visit family, reflect on the previous year and celebrate the New Year. And boy do they celebrate! The Chinese definitely know how to put on a fireworks show and they make sure you know who invented the things. Starting early last week you could hear the distinct sound of firecrakers around town. To me, it seemed normal. People buying fireworks before the actual holiday and they just can't wait, so they set off a few of the little ones just to get by. As Wed night approached, the sounds of firecrackers, quickly changed to fireworks. At first, the show seemed kind of sparse, just a few here and there.

I had to go to work the next day so I decided to go to bed around 11:00. Well that never happened. As the clock drew closer to midnight, the more the fireworks were being launched into the sky. The noise would echo and bounce off the buildings. I thought this must be what it would like in a war zone. Some of these are exploding right next to my window! It has been a week since that night and they are still going off. I wonder if I can buy stock in a fireworks company before the Olympics. What a show that is going to be.

These pictures really can't grasp how fast and how loud the fireworks were exploding all around, but I hope you get the idea.

Every apartment complex and business has some kind of fireworks show. This was the view from my apartment. Notice the bits of flashes in the distance also.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This one is from the Nissan dealer across the street. Notice how small the people are in the lot below.

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These were set off right next to my window about 30 meters away (100ft for you westerners).

Friday, February 8, 2008

Snow is fun for some - a real pain for travelers

We had about a week of snow in Shanghai and for the most part it has been a lot of fun, especially at work. But for those traveling for the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival is another name for it) the snow has caused all sorts of problems. Most people in China go home for Spring Festival and the most widely used method of transportation is by train. But with all of snow the government here has been overwhelmed and under prepared for such weather. Sure they have plenty of people to handle the work but not enough resources like snow plows, salt, vehicles that can drive in snow, etc. A lot of people are trying to find other ways to get home like taking the bus but most of the major roads between cities are at a crawl because of the congestion. Approximately 170 million people go home for Spring Festival. The U.S. has about 270 million people in it. So imagine more than half the U.S. population trying to travel a week before Christmas.

Around the apartment complex

On top of the roof at work. Our Director challenged the teams to make the best snowman during lunch hour.

Here is our snowman. Modeled after the Olympic bear.

The winner! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Drinking a cold one.

Bowling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Death to Intel.