July 8th: Sweating Your Assets

Company away day at Taihu Lake

The Brits had little idea of what was going on…

Warning kids: kneeling on concrete is a bad idea.  Kneeling with one knee on concrete and a person standing on your other knee is an even worse idea.   Kneeling on concrete with somebody upon the shoulders of the person standing on your other knee is just plain daft (and hurts).  An interesting way to demonstrate our group’s ingenuity (thanks Ryan!) at the company away day at an activity centre  near Wuxi.

Company away day at Taihu Lake

Bron fully immersed in the activity…

Imagine about 100 people, clad in red t-shirts – emblazoned with the Argos logo – and blue baseball caps, walking through one of the busiest thoroughfares in Shanghai (connecting, as it does, 3 metro lines and several roads) right at the start of peak hour.  As marketing exercises go, no doubt more people in Shanghai are now aware of “Argos.cn” than previously.  A few perplexed looks from those milling around the Southern entrance to People’s Square  as the red and blue attired gang made their way onto a few buses, but no doubt there are stranger sights in Shanghai.
Not ostensibly a marketing exercise, the outfits were designed to bring harmony and social cohesion* to the staff for the day out.  By the end of the day, several group activities in the heat** of the blazing sun had turned most of the team into a sweaty mass of tired, aching bodies; the outfits markedly less marketable.  Despite the heat, a good day out with everyone determined to get as much out the experience as possible before melting.

Sunny Beach, South Bund

The girls on the lounging bed at Sunny Beach, post curry delivery.

As unique experiences go, I’m going to assume getting a curry delivered to a large bed on an artificial beach in Shanghai has to be up there with the best of them (great idea Rachel!).   Despite the sign stating “No outside food or drink allowed”, nobody seemed in the least bit concerned when the delivery man arrived with several tandoori dishes and a bagful of cutlery.

Sunny Beach

A big bed on an artificial beach – perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon

The artificial beach on the banks of the Huangpu River, South of the Bund, was only opened a couple of years ago, and seemed strangely quiet for a Sunday afternoon.  A tiny bit of rain early on was perhaps sufficient to deter most tentative visitors, but the slight cover above the huge beach bed did the job for us.   A fantastic way to while away Sunday afternoon…

Sailors Fish and Chips

Aussie, not British, but great fish and chips nevertheless.

A taste of home on Thursday night in the Aussie owned “Sailors Fish and Chip Bar” (well, kind of a taste of home – battered cod on the menu, ignoring the Aussie owners).  Classic Shanghai organisation resulted in the family Bradford eating their meal whilst sat in the road, but the food more than made up for the bizarre seating arrangements.

The Spot

Elouise and Bron entertain the jellyfish

With nearly 30,000 restaurants in Shanghai you’d think it nigh on impossible to randomly bump into people we know (not that many).  Text malfunction (mine or maybe Elouise’s) had meant we spent Saturday night with JB at the Bali Laguna without Elousie and Ryan, only to bump into them at the end of our meal.  This naturally progressed into a night at a bar sat in front of jellyfish.

A few days of travelling next week beckons with the arrival of Anne and Ian in Shanghai.  Good to get the basics out of the way first – a night in the Big Bamboo watching the British Grand Prix.  Now we can hopefully explore a bit more of China outside of Shanghai…

*Not one of my terms.

**I am, no doubt, not the first person to ever say this, but once it gets beyond 35 degrees, it doesn’t really matter what the actual temperature is.  It’s just stupidly hot.

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