End of the year

30 12 2012

2012 almost finished but when I have a look at the weather, or when I walk out and look at the sky, and it is so difficult for me to think that it is actually 29th December, winter..

I hear from friends in China that in Hefei it is heavily snowing and the north and East (Shanghai) are extremely cold right now..

Yesterday the weather was like this:

sky from my office
sunny day in the center

..with a temperature in the afternoon over 22C, with peaks at 24C!

I am impressed and terrified at the same time: how will the summer be the summer???

In the meantime, as 潘蕾 showed me, the situation has been like this for a few days.. let’s hope she will be able to catch an event less flight down here tomorrow!

Snow in Hefei

First night, first day!

3 11 2012

I had an almost sleepless first night in Longgang, not because of any special bad noise or because I was too excited or nervous for the new job. Of course, I had some thoughts about today, but it was not really the main reason.

In Hefei I have lived 2 years and 7 months in an apartment at the 13th floor of a building inside a compound in.. the countryside, as we called it! Nan Yan lake area was never a very busy area, even if in the last 2+ years they finished building 2 compounds on the northern side of mine and more people moved in. But the “life” there remained mainly as a countryside city border kind, with no special night open place (actually there was a “cafe'” open 24 hours meant for Mahjong players and there were now building a typical Chinese bath)

from my window

Here in Longgang I live in a nice sort of double room apartment inside the factory area, a typical Chinese dorm concept, and the factory itself is in the back street of one quite large city road, ie. I am surrounded by building and closer to normal people life. Also I am at the 3rd floor, therefore closer to street sounds. Not noisy at all (the factory as said is not straight on a main road) but for me it was an interesting change of auditory scenery.

So a few times during the night I got up and went at the window just to have a look outside: truth to be said, down here the place seems to be extremely alive at night, with several people eating in the small restaurants I could see from the window or people just walking around, probably going home after the night out.. A nice view!

Then it came the first day at work, where things, especially at the beginning, as usual  are still a little messy. Especially now I got much to understand and learn about the new business and challenges. And the new work I am supposed to do. I think I got to learn again some design electronics and hands-on electronics, at least until we will have a larger team of engineers. Interesting, intriguing and.. scaring at the same time! 🙂


As posted somewhere else and told by several friends, these south cities are nightlife places.. but not always it means good for business, like shown in the following set of pics of some abandoned KTV palce here in Longgang:

Abandoned KTV and Nightclub Longgang Shenzhen China

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – (First day, things!) Walking around, for the first time, after work, I noticed first the huge amount of typical small restaurants in the street. In 50 meters from the factory to the first large crossing I passed maybe 10 of them! This is a lot even for China I would say!
The restaurants is not the only thing that catch my attention during the “first steps” outside the company, as uncommon as well (at least in Hefei): the high number of extremely well dressed pretty girls, with short skirts and beautiful long legs (apparently KTV, night clubs, bars, etc workers). It was a struggle for my head to keep up turning from side to side.
Then I noticed (heard first) several bikes with a comfortable seat on the rear carrying around these pretty girls. At first I thought lucky boyfriends, but then noticed the amount of similar bikes and the difference in clothing (beauty) between the “passenger” and the driver: these must be bicycle taxi. They also got a special bike bell, the kind of the typical child (or dog) plastic toy that makes the squeaking sound when pressed (I always think about the movie Snatch and the dog eating the plastic toy, so making the same squeak every time trying to barf!).
Last funny thing for today, less funny though, is that even with my good tunnel (used efficiently for blog and FB) I cannot open youtube at all! Yeah, I know, not funny for me!

Farewell Hangzhou! Farewell Hefei!

1 11 2012

Is it possible to bid farewell to a place where I have never lived?

I tried very hard to move to Hangzhou now, after resigning from the job in Hefei. I tried to find a job in this city where, besides so many friends, I could have a place to practice Aikido very often, maybe even every day. I have applied to almost anything closely relevant (and not), even sent email to company announcing job not relevant but working in a field where I got some or little expertise.

None of this had been useful: maybe my mistake is actually that I did focus too much at the beginning on Hangzhou, and then I did not even find relevant job advertisements in Shanghai. This is maybe the strange thing.

But what it is done is done. At this time I could not find a job in Hangzhou and now the decision to move has been taken, and quite a move, in terms of km, but not only.

My next step will take me to LongGang, 龙岗, a “district” of Shenzhen, at least according to Wikipedia, but in reality it is a city in the surrounding of Shenzhen (a good 35 km from the center, about 70 km from the airport). True, there is a metro connection, LongGang line, made for the Universiade event in 2011.

I received two offers in this last month of active job searching. None of the two jobs were anything like: “Wow! I want to do this!!”.. but on the other hand last time I had this feeling was for the job I had in Stavanger, for my last 4 years in Norway.

For both offers I had to evaluate pro’s and con’s, and accept some sorts of compromises with respect to the job I had here in Hefei (or would have in Tianjin with Hefei company), with respect ot my hopes and expectations . with respect to reality, since I do not speak Chinese..

The offer that I got form the other company was the sort of compromises that make you feel like the rednecks in Police Academy when they realize why the Blue Oyster bar is special.. and probably how their evening is going to end..

..that was more or less the feeling I had if I was going to accept the other offer, even if the kind of products were closer in modernity than the ones in the south. At least at the beginning!!

At the end anyway it is farewell from Hefei where I spent the last 2 years and 7 months, and I have enjoyed the place and the people here. Learnt from the past job and environment.

A new chapter, a new place where I know no one, again moving with a jump more or less in the dark.. so much to discover! Exciting!

Good luck to me! 😉

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – I noticed this watching the medal table of the Universiade: USA in the last 10 years have been not doing so well!!! After 1999 they never managed anymore to win the medal rank, and often they got even lower than the 5th position. It is true that in the Asian events usually Asian teams are more favorite, and the growth of China in the sport scene in the past 10 years have been impressive (sometimes, of course, the impression had been a chemical one!). Anyway, in many fields USA have lost the top positions, and probably the Universiade are a good picture of sport real values.

Zone limited SIM card

31 10 2012

The funny thing I have just discovered is that a normal Chinese SIM card is limited ot the province where you buy it: my number, bought and belonging to Hefei, I cannot keep it once I move to Shenzhen, without paying roaming fees!

Provinces are like countries over here.

In fact the only way to keep the number when moving to another province would be to have a special contract for which the telephone can also be used abroad.. not only in another province. In this case, abroad there would be the usual roaming fee, but the rates in different provinces are probably the same.

In a way it does make sense: locals consider China a continent and the provinces are states for them, since most of them spend a full life without moving form their own place. Going form one province to another or to places like Shanghai or Beijing is, for the old generation, a once in a life time trip.

Funny when it happens by plane. Then you can really experience something funny (and a little irritating).. as children going for the first time to a school trip, but usually they are middle age and older people, all wearing the same red hat and taking picture of anything possible in the airport.. 🙂

Anyway I got a new number, not as nice and easy as the one I have here, and I will maybe try to keep a little longer.. 🙂

Violent China

28 10 2012

Last night I assisted at an inline hockey match between China and Taipei for the 15th Asia Roller Skating Championship.

The Chinese team played with muscle, extremely little technique (except maybe 1-2 players), trying all the time to move the match to a fight to get the opponent team nervous. Chinese players got several 2 minutes punishment, Taiwanese none.

The match was very balanced, 5-5 for a long time until the equilibrium was broken by the several 2-minutes man-less situation Chinese put themselves in letting then the Taipei team to get quite easily to 9-5 with 2 minutes to go.

Go Taiwan!!!!

Then in a common side contrast one of the worst players for China, 7-77-99-96, numers of player that just fought, hit, kick and used the stick illegally, one of those idiots attacked a Taiwanese and then it started a typical hockey fight, that probably becuase of several not-sport reasons, degenerate in a bad fight. I assisted to 2 Chinese crazy “players” kicking a Taiwnese on the floor, hitting him on the face and trying to strangle him with the stick until several other people noticed (even Chiense police) and then intervened to stop them, while of course the violent fight was going on in other places..

Not the first time I see fights in hockey, but as usual when I see Chinese fights I am shocked by how violent these people (the Chinese, not the Taiwanese) are! They have so much anger in themselves, and I think I know why, but this is not a political blog ( 😉 ).

Then being in a hall full only of Chinese young students there for cheering any Chinese team and support the Chinese flag no matter what, since I was the only one buuu-ing the Chinese team, I got a few remarks, many bad eye, but I don’t think I was ever in danger (even if if I was sitting close to the field I would have probably tried to kick some Chinese asses). I also do not think the majority of Chinese student really realized anythiong about the sport (I’d say the same as the Chinese “players”, there only for fight apparently!), with the exception of one guy that then shared his thougths with me and they were surprisingly the same!

After that match, gloriously won by Taiwan, with the Chinese that lost face in many ways, we assisted to a completely different match between Iran and India. Iran scored 8-0 in the first 10 minutes, playing very softly and not pushing for humiliate the opponent. India, clearly inferior, tried to play, never putting the match on a fight level, even being so much inferior. Maybe because of the previous violent fight, but these two teams showed a very nice page of sport, with also a group picture at the end. Maybe given the huge level difference there was no reason to fight, but I am pretty sure that of ot was China under 8-0, some of the previous mentioned idiots would have found a way to turn the match into a fight. This time though, I would have loved to see the Chinese trying to fight Iranian or Indian big strong guys… Yeah, it would have been lovely!!!

Iran destroyed India

The sad thing is this is no exception: on the Chinese youtube pages (one is called Youku) it is possible to see several sport events turning in extremely violent fights.

At least in Aikido, the Chinese I met come with a more peaceful mind.. There is a hope!!! 😉

Every time good for celebrations..

20 10 2012

..like 5:20 in the morning..

morning fireworks

And in China celebrations involve always firecrackers (that actually started a little earlier) followed by serious fireworks that shone just above the building in front of my window..

And as usual the fireworks are followed by the bike’s alarm concert..

Another normal night/day in China!!

A last time and a first time

19 10 2012

Yesterday I went to the company to pick up a few things left there: the time was perfect for taking a last reflection snapshot:

last day

Chinese sky can be stunning from time to time, especially in the places where you can easily see it.

Then in the night I went to eat in the center with 潘蕾: walking to the shopping center with the restaurant we wanted, just behind us there was a small group of university students. All boys. Seeing I was foreigner first they said something in Chinese that sounded just funny to me. I did not react of course, but later 潘蕾 told it was actually a vulgar sentence. Right after that, instead of the common “hello” I heard so many times, but with the same soft voice they said, loud enough that I could hear, a good old “f**k you“, direct to me.

I did not react as well, kept on walking and softly talking with 潘蕾 but in reality I laughed: first time I have been straight out insulted since I arrived in China!! Not so uncommon especially when a laowai walks around hands in hands with a Chinese girl, as we were doing..

Still, I thought it was funny. Probably if I was alone or with another laowai friend I would have turned and ask if they could repeat since I had not understood.. maybe just to see how far they felt like going..

..and it would have been a good chance to do some Aikido.. missing practice, yeah!! 😉