May 24th: The Office

A few people have asked why I haven’t mentioned anything to do with work in the blog. So let’s give it a go: Working in the office here in Shanghai is just like Milton Keynes, apart from the fact that we have a total of 3 lifts for 24 floors (with each floor easily accommodating over 150 people); And that the coffee shop downstairs sells Hot Dog Danish Pastries (with Tim so far being the only one brave enough to try one); And that smoking at either end of the building is permitted; And that the ladies get a choice of toilet (sitting or squatting, depending one’s knee strength I suspect); And that the cleaning lady is ridiculously happy and gleefully chats to Tim and I in Chinese every day (that’s chats to us, not with us); And that at 12 o’clock the office pretty much empties (but the corridor by the lifts quickly fills); And that most people can’t understand what I say.
That last one is no different.

Walking to the office from the Metro station is to run the gauntlet of mopeds, motorbikes, bicycles and changing-direction-like-butterflies Chinese people.  And the shops with those outwards-opening doors made entirely of glass.

But they’re a friendly bunch in the office, and incredibly keen to help us out with our Mandarin.  Maybe I can post more about working here once we’re a bit more established as an organisation.

Away from work, a hectic week as ever. We went out to see Friendly Fires (a band from St. Albans) on Tuesday night at the Mao Livehouse with an audience made up of well over 90% ex-pats. The Mao Livehouse is somewhat akin to a student union bar – smallish, dingy but sadly without the cheap drinks. In this case, a great energetic atmosphere in a bloody hot venue. Further Mandarin lessons on Monday and Wednesday evening, and a Thai meal Wednesday post-lesson with Matt, a neighbour of older sister Karen’s, who delivered a much-appreciated food parcel of cereal, crisps, beer and shampoo.  I suppose, technically, shampoo is not food.

A bonus visit each to the local police station for me & Bron to extend our locally registered status.  This as part of the process to get enough paperwork together to release our sea shipment.  Hopefully less than three weeks’ away now… We’ll see…

And finally: Walking backwards clapping man – if you ever read this blog, many apologies for posting your picture without your explicit permission. However, you’re a cheery delight first thing in the morning. One day I hope to be able to either join you in this daily ritual or at least ask how you manage this very skillful act without being knocked over.

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