Guangzhou – January 15, 2007

18 01 2007

2007-01-15

First day at work.

My colleagues were to come and get me at 0850, so I had to make sure I was ready! After sleeping quite well (Who wouldn’t after travelling for the last 40 or so hours) I woke up pretty early at 0700.  After figuring out what bits and pieces I needed to bring with me to work I headed down for my “included” breakfast.  I got down to the restaurant and handed her my card. 

“Oh… sorry sir – Not Included”

“Uhm…. can I pay?”

“Yes, Yes!  right this way.”

I proceeded to have a good breakfast with a mix of western and asian cuisine on the buffet with the oddity of the fact that people here smoke EVERYWHERE, like at the buffet while choosing what to eat.  Derrick would die here.  I kept wondering what happened to my “included breakfast”.  As I finished breakfast a woman came up to me with the bill and I asked “Do I need to pay cash?” She said that I could either pay cash, or I could sign my name with the room.  (kind of like Including it …hmmm) Excellent.  No receipt game necessary – We’re good!

I ended up down in the lobby about 30 minutes early (better early than late I figured).  The only problem with that (otherwise great) plan was the fact that the only couches in the entire lobby were hidden behind the escalators, facing AWAY from any chance of seeing the front door, and as such I ended up craning my neck around most of the time to make sure I didn’t miss the van.  My colleague came into the lobby pretty sharply at 0850 and I was pretty happy that I managed to recognize him after 4 months 🙂  The deal is that we have a van driver drives the route of the 3 staff and my hotel picking up the crowd.  We arrive at work around 0900 and the fun begins! 

It was a VERY challenging morning and I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to overcome the problems when I first got there, but then I learned that many of the staff are quite handy, and we managed to get things almost looking normal.   My first day at the site, and I miss lunch because I’m talking with my boss back in Vancouver.  Sigh…  There’s always tomorrow.

After lunch things started to get better, and we made some changes that had a significant effect on our Internet link.  Thank God.  By the end of the afternoon it was time to leave my servers to work overnight and “settle”.  I was praying that they WOULD settle, and that I wouldn’t come back on Tuesday to a little disaster.  Oh well… Van’s leaving – gotta leave with the gang!

I had a pleasant surprise after work, as myself, and 3 of my colleagues (and the van driver) went out for dinner after work.  We were at some place that (like many Chinese businesses) seemed to have 1 staff/guest ratio.  If you even so much as looked at your teacup with a sideways glance they were there filling it up!  We had some very tasty food.  A classic Guangzhou dish which seemed to be very similar to “Beef Cheung Faan”  It was good, but one of the most interesting dishes was some sort of giant shrimp with pretty sharp shell.  The stripes were a light purple colour and they were tasty!  Also in the meal were the more usual shrimp on a stick – with a twist… They were smothered in a MOUND of Chilies!!!!  Very spicy! But very tasty too.  Tough on the mouth.

We finished dinner and then continued to my hotel.  I got dropped off, and basically just collapsed.  Slightly lagged and a long day, compiled with a big dinner meant time to sleep.  The problem was that there were 4 episodes of 24 calling my name, so I just HAD to watch 6am-8am.  Pretty interesting start to the season.  THEN I went to sleep 🙂  Sleep was different.  Asians like HARD beds.  Not firm – HARD.  I had that “celery on a cutting board” feeling”  It wasn’t too comfortable to sleep on my side.  On the back it was…Zzzzzz.

I woke up at 0300 to see that my Outlook still couldn’t sync with the Exchange server.  Damned earthquake is just KILLING asian connectivity 😦 and the hotel was the worst I had seen yet.  Sigh.  Hopefully my servers are settling despite that.  I suppose we’ll find out….








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