Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Things to Know for Your First Trip to China, Part I

Have I mentioned that I have a new job that requires a lot of travel?  One of the places that I have gone was to Shanghai, China.  Here are some practical things that I learned about traveling to this area of the world.

  1. You need a visa.  It takes a while to get one, so plan ahead.
  2. If you are a woman, do some research on Turkish toilets or squatty potties.  You do not want to be caught off guard.  I didn't have to use one, but I was not prepared if I would have needed to.
  3. Contrary to many people who assured me that young Chinese people know English, they do not.  Be prepared with a Chinese phrase book and the address of your hotel/destination written in Chinese for a cab driver or for help on the subway.
  4. You are not allowed to drive in China, even if you have an international drivers license.  There is a reason for this.  You will get killed.  They have a whole different system that works for them, but it also explains why they are not typically good drivers in America.
  5. If someone honks at you in China, it really means, "Hey, I am here, please notice me."  It is intended as a friendly announcement that there may be danger.  Do not take it personally as they honk A LOT!
  6. McDonald's fries taste the same no matter where you are.
  7. Crime is virtually non-existent.  Do not worry about walking around but still be aware.
  8. If you are not right in the city, take a napkin and fork with you as they do not have forks, and napkins are not routinely provided.  For those of us that do not use chop sticks, this can be a messy situation.
  9. Social media is banned.  There are ways around it, but I will leave you to find those for yourself.  Also, you will not find American television and Netflix has not come to that area of the world.  Please be prepared for evening entertainment if you like to fall asleep to the television.  You will get tired of the Chinese CNN station which was the only one in English. 
  10. Please be prepared to pay cash.  Most places do not take Visa or MasterCard, etc as China has its own credit card.  Most smaller places only take cash. If you do use your credit card, be prepared with your PIN number as it is required, even if you are using it as a credit card. 
There will be more to follow, as well as the story about me missing my shuttle bus in the rain. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My New Excercise Routine

I have started a new job.  I am not going to tell you anything about it except for the following things:

*I work in an office building instead of my house for the first time in about four years.
*I am starting this office from scratch and currently work alone in said office building.
*I am alone all day and only really talk to a woman named Pam who is the person who works in the main office for the building.

Can you tell I am kind of lonely in my new office? 

The first thing I found out about this building is that I have to park really far away.  I mean really far.  I will be walking in with several people, but nobody talks to anyone.  I started to count how many steps it is to the building from where I have to park my car.  Guess how many it takes. 

Go ahead and guess.  I can wait. 

Okay, twist my arm, I will tell you.  350.  350 steps one way to my new office that I affectionately call The Palace. 

There is one bathroom on the floor.  I am lucky because I work on the floor with the women's bathroom.  The men's room is on the next floor up.  Guess how many steps it is to the bathroom.  I won't keep you in suspense any longer.  It is 65 steps one way.  That is 130 steps round trip and that is a little less than 1/3 of the way to the car in the parking lot. 

The elevator takes forever because so many people are lazy or can't walk up and down the steps to get to the respective bathroom, so I tend to walk down the steps when I need to get downstairs.  I am on the 7th floor and there are 22 steps for each level plus three steps to get around the landings.  That is an additional 175 steps each time I need to descend to the bottom.  Sometimes I do this just to see what is going on with Pam. 

The weather has been really nice so I have gone out for lunch.  Since I am now working downtown I have gone to Subway quite a bit.  I know what it is, it  doesn't cause me undue intestinal distress, and  it  fits into my very meager budget.  It is roughly 3000 steps round trip. 

All told I am walking about 4500 steps just to get around at work. 

With this information I have come to the conclusion that the recommended 10,000 steps a day is a ton of steps.  I also think that we better hire our second person soon or I may just lose my ever loving mind.