Sunday, August 20, 2006

past couple of days in SH

I've had a good couple of days here... I'll post a couple pictures soon. We've been working a lot, but we've also taken the time do a couple of social/tourist things.

On Saturday we met up with a group called the "Sea Turtles" at an American Bar and Grill-type restaurant. The Sea Turtles are a group of Chinese who left China to study overseas and have returned to "lay eggs". (Sea turtles always return to the beach where they were born to lay eggs). It was an interesting time. There were many engineers, finance people, and entrepreneurs who were trying to network with each other. I get invited to these kinds of alumni events in Boston all the time (now that I have attended 4 different schools of higher ed.)... I've never go, but maybe I should. It's probably a good chance to make some contacts.

On Sunday we went met up with a friend of the Koo's for lunch. We went to a Shanghainese restaurant with a great view. It was in the "Super Brand Mall". The food was really tasty. Definitely the best that I've had on this trip. The Super Brand mall is an amazing place in itself. It's an 8 story mall filled with mostly fancy Western shops. It's so big inside that it reminds me of the huge canyons in the west of the US. It's so big that when you look up from the ground floor you can't really conceptualize the imense size. There are two things that make it even more amazing: This is not the biggest mall in China (yikes!) and there are two more floors in the basement that house an gargantuan department store/supermarket. We went down there to buy some water. It was bigger than any store in the US that I've ever seen. Quite amazing. I guess with the cheap cost of labor here, you can build anything.

Later on, we went to a fabric gallery across the river. There, I ordered two pairs of pants custom made for me. I probably paid too much ($40 for two), but I picked out the most expensive fabric they have and ordered all the finishing options possible. I hope it comes out well. I've had trouble fitting in commercially sold pants, so maybe custom cut pants will suit me well. (SO LUXURIOUS!) If this goes well, maybe I'll order a suit next time I'm in China.

Next, we walked along the Bund. The Bund is series of English-built buildings along the river. They are all in a classic late-colonial style. The buildings housed various banks, customs houses, and hotels. The Brits used this as a trading port. One building in particular was really amazing. The ceiling was painted with a fabulous mural depicting the reach and influence of British empire. This ceiling was covered by fleeing British to prevent it from being destroyed by Mao's army. It has been recently restored. Unfortunately, due to the Chinese national firewall, I can't find any links to photos.. There might be some here at Wikipedia. Strangly there is a message on ceiling that says, "ALL MEN ARE EQUALS ON THE HIGH SEAS". Really, "all men"? I have a hard time believing that was true in 1930.

I'll post more photos soon... back to work...


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