Tuesday, September 09, 2008

We're in China!

2008-09-09, Tuesday

At 12:10pm, our flight arrived at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai. The process for getting into the country was smooth and very straightforward- much less hassle than this morning, when we went through the security screening at O'Hare. Basically, they looked at our passports, stamped them, and waved us on through. Our luggage was scanned by some sort of machine on our way out, which took all of 3 minutes in line and 30 seconds on a conveyor belt.

We were met at the airport by Jenny Hsu and Jenny Yeong, both members of the CTI China team. They took us (via taxi) to our hotel in Puxing (Western Shanghai), where we checked in and had a few (ten) minutes before leaving for the CTI China office. The hotel we're at is only a few blocks from the office, so we walked there[1]. A quick note about the hotel- it is a Chinese hotel and seems quite noce, but since I've not stayed at any Chinese hotels prior to today, I don't have much of a local standard to compare it too. The room is small, the bed is hard, and we need to lock the luggage if we leave it in the room while we're out, but it has internet access, so it kind of balances out. I guess by this metric, we should be quite content to camp out for a week on the floor behind the counter of a Starbuck's Coffee at the Phoenix International Airport. Anyway, it's really nice to be able to communicate, regardless of the confort level of the accomodations.

The office is located in the top floor of a three story building owned by a hotel[2]. The hotel uses the lower two floors for its laundry facility, and make a bit extra on the side from CTI China's rental of an otherwise vacant property. It works out well for both parties, since the hotel wasn't using that floor anyway, and since it is located in a rather nice part of town.

After a brief tour of the offices and a quick snack, the director here (Peter Hsu) gave a brief introduction of the office personnel and the mision and vision of CTI China. Following that was our first Chinese meal in China, at a local eating establishment by the name of OK PIE. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a sentence, a sentance, or an acronym, but the food was delicious and the atmosphere was pleasent.

Following dinner, we were taken to a shopping center, whose name eludes me at the moment. It was a capacious 4-story mall with an interior courtyard, containing restaurants of the like of Papa Johns, KFC, Dairy Queen, and several Chinese shops who shall for the time being, out of necessity, remain nameless[3]. The mall was very impressive. We're looking forward to tomorrow's shopping trip in downtown Shanghai.

Our day tomorrow is scheduled to begin at 9:10, when we meet Jenny H. downstairs in the hotel lobby. We're going to go over some logistics stuff relating to our time in China with CTI China, and go shopping in the afternoon. We're going to get cell phones! I don't know about international calling yet, but we will at least be able to keep in touch with each other. On a parallel track, we found out today that the apartments that have been reserved for us in Wenzhou have internet all ready to go. We're kind of excited by that.

All in all, things are getting off to a really great start.

[1] I think the itinerary prepared for our first day in China was intentionally packed in order to prevent us from sleeping before evening- apparently, if we're dog tired (American idiom), we'll get over jet-lag in a matter of a few days at most. This idea seems technically sound, but the implementation, so far, leaves a bit to be desired.

[2] the hotel is the one utilized by China's President and Premier when they are in Shanghai. It bears a lofty name, which escapes me at the moment.

[3] I woke up for the day 28.5 hours ago. I'm mostly, but not quite entirely, all here.

4 comments:

Jim Hodges said...

Jonathan:

This is amazing! I had no idea that you even had this blog, and now I look forward to reading it frequently. Thank you so much for the latest posts about your arrival, etc. It is wonderful to be alive in the 21st century - apparently, even in China!

Tell Shannon we love her and look forward to her posts too!

Dad Hodges

Marilyn said...

Jonathan -
I agree with Jim - this is amazing!!! This will have the top space on our "bookmarks" tab! We talked about you all at breakfast yesterday, that you were getting ready to sleep, and last night that it was Wednesday morning already. Can't wait to see pictures. (We already have a request to see you at the Great Wall!!)

Mom

jhjessup said...

:-)

We'll see what we can do about the Great Wall.

- Jonathan

Toni said...

Great to hear how you are doing! Glad you made it safely.