05 December 2012

This post was written December 4th, but am only now getting a chance to post it as I've got a few minutes stuck on the tarmac in Shanghai waiting to take off.

I arrived in Shanghai on Sunday, December 2 at around 18:30, and was received by a hotel chauffeur who took me to a hotel where I could sleep. The hotel, kindly booked by the rock stars at the VMWare Shanghai team who realized I wouldn't enjoy looking for a place to live on arrival, sleepy and during particularly cold weather, was a great way to go. This morning, I woke up early, checked my email, went to the office and - with the help of people at the office - found a service apartment. A service apartment, of course, is sort of like a long-term hotel, but short term relative to the typical duration of a real apartment or home.

The service apartment one of my VMware Shanghai colleagues recommended is ridiculously cheap (I think for a month I'll end up paying something like 4000 CNY, which is roughly 650 USD, which - I would argue - is well within the reach for a lot of people) and quite effective. Kind of like an idealized hostel in most European cities: private rooms with a bathroom, adequate internet, TV, air conditioning and heat, an electric kettle and more. The only thing I'm not sure of just yet is whether they have a place to do laundry. I'm sure they must. And, they don't particularly care if your stays are relatively ephemeral. I'm setting off on the 5th for SpringOne China and SpringOne India and will be gone for 8 days, so, I simply checked out. I won't need to pay for that portion. The bathroom's nothing fancy, but the shower is quite nice and has refreshingly warm water and - once you find that the toilet paper is on the same platter as the complimentary tea and mugs in the bedroom - the toilet works well enough.

I'm quite enjoying the subway or metro here. Very convenient! 20 minutes to get to the office and I'm only a single metro stop away from Xin Tian Di which, as I understand it, means "new world." A friendly place for (temporary) expats where lots of Chinese dwell as well. One thing that's taken some time to get used to is the quiet on the metro. Everyone's heads down - headsets on and all - on their mobile phones or tablets. iOS and Android both seem pervasive. Apparently singers here make more from ringtones than they might from actual record sales. Awesome.

Curiously, Shanghai is completely dolled up for Christmas. This is most evident in the marketplaces. For a country that has a statistically insignificant population of Christians, this place sure does Christmas decorations well!

Anyway, will continue tracking my progress as time permits on this blog. For now onward to SpringOne!