Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A day out in Shanghai

I had a day off last Sunday, so, along with some work colleagues, I visited Shanghai, the largest city in the world and home to 25 million people – most of whom seemed to be walking towards me as I made my way along the riverside towards the Yu gardens and Temple of the gods. 

The Bund

It really is the most amazing city, the ultra-modern skyscape of offices and hotels contrasting with the narrow streets of the old town. My colleagues and I dined out Saturday night in the French quarter, which wasn’t very French but full of expensive western designer shops and up-market restaurants.

Allegedly - the tallest building in the world

 While I explored on Sunday they all got drunk in one of the expensive hotels along the Bund; I have to say my preconceived notions of what communist-run China would be like have taken a big knock – this place rivals any big western city, everyone appears to be well-off, new western cars clog the streets (Audis and BMW’s the most popular), fighting with millions of electric scooters and cycles, all of which disregard any apparent rules of the road including traffic lights or any kind of common sense. It made a nice change though from the little town where the shipyard is – I managed to eat in a couple of vegan restaurants, even managed to get some fresh fruit!
They still do bustling alleyways

Temple entrance


?chinese writing

Spotted on a scooter handlebars



Monday, 1 December 2014

A brief update from China

So it's not possible to connect to the Internet via Google from China as the government evidently isn't happy for reasons I don't understand, so I've been incommunicado until today when a colleague told me about an app called 'hide my ass' which gives a false VPN address (whatever that means). So far I've only got it on my iPad so no chance of downloading pictures yet - I'm hoping another colleague may help with that, although to be honest the place I'm in is such a dump there's not many interesting photo opportunities apart from the daily fatal accidents on the road to work - I've stopped looking out of the bus window now as its too upsetting.

For reasons I don't really understand I'm now working in a shipyard on the Yangtse river opposite Shanghai in southern China. It all started when the news came through about dear bobskoot passing away; I was attending a funeral for a close relative when I read the sad news, and made an instant decision to pack up work and go home to England. Unbelievably, the day I got home my 93-year old Mother had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital; I spent the next few weeks looking after her. She's a tough old bird though, and soon recovered. I spent a lot of time thinking about my retirement and what to do with myself; it seemed like time to stop and smell the roses before it gets too late, if you know what I mean? However, reality soon set in; within a month I had to sell the Tiger to pay some bills; I also had a clear-out and sold some unwanted stuff on e-bay, but realised the only way I could make it work was to sell the flat that me and LF share, and go on the road with the proceeds. Which obviously she didn't think was a particularly great idea. Plan B was to go back to work for a while to try and save some cash, but with global oil prices dropping like a stone all new projects have been cancelled and most of my friends are sitting at home out of work. Then an old friend phoned and said he was running a job in China and was in desperate need of someone to talk to, did I fancy it? So here I am.

I may have made some worse decisions in my life, although I can't recall them; time will tell.