Monday, December 10, 2007

Shanghai & Hangzhou

Well, there is a reason they call it a 'kickoff' meeting ... we waited six months to start this project, and now I am spending more time abroad than I am at home. I can't relax as much as I might like, but if you know me well you'll know that I maxed out on the fun, frolicking and food - and most importantly had the chance to meet up with Anke, Lars and Bump (a huge part of the Singapore story that I was not allowed to divulge is that Anke is preggers with a baby - Made in China of course - and she announced it on the beach... hang on, this is too important for brackets...)

So - congratulations guys! You have your own paragraph now... look how spacious it is!

Anyway - I spent the days visiting clients and factories, and the nights heading out with the crew and meeting some new and old friends, and some like Simon that I know through multiple contacts, but never actually saw face to face. Anyway - not too good with words right now, so here are some pics. Ahh.

Shanghai World Financial Centre - not without its fair share of controversy... its original (elegant) shape had a large circle in the top ... but the locals are still rather sensetive about the whole Japan thing, and so dropped that for some kind of melted square hole. And in the process of the delay lost top spot as the world's tallest building.

Not quite the world's tallest building ... on the streets of Shanghai

View from one of the client offices - quite funny to be up above one of the recognisable locations in Shanghai - The Pacific Mall (same name as the one in Taipei!)


Sunset in Shanghai

View from the Galaxy Hotel (translation 'Star River')

Road block

Hangzhou sunset - really rather wonderful

Loch Ness

Shattered mirror (just look at the texture on that one, Michael and Markus!)

Totally ridiculous - the only thing missing was the whiny Chinese music

It's really amazing to be around Taiwanese guys when they come to China... there is all this tension, but at the end of the day their culture is rooted here, and they know all of these stories... quite touching. Here is Alfie contemplating things.

Bikes - Shanghai Style

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Off my feet

Kicked off the project, and I am now going to Hangzhou tomorrow morning to visit a factory, and at this rate will be in Seoul and Tianjin (near Beijing) next weekend.
Great trip so far - busy but successful, and great food courtesy of Da Marco's Italian restaurant.
Onwards and upwards!

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Shanghai Hoon

Part business trip, and part extended excuse to see some more of Shanghai, visit Anke & Lars, and serve as a jumping-off point to Beijing. It was really just super to see them, and lovely to see them setting up here. Their pad, although lacking some of the very special 'character' of the Taipei offices, was really a delight to see.

After two nice homes in two weekends it makes me think I want to move somewhere and, well, care about it more - I am still pretty much camping in Taipei. It is really amazing to live a 'lightweight' lifestyle, without any of the heavy loads of many of my friends back home, but I know at some point this is certainly I will grow to want - and especially after seeing my Sister's frankly ridiculous place in Cambridge!

I was here last year. It was a fantastic that time around, but my timing meant that I left one day before German designer Gerhard arrived, and three days before Anke & Lars. This time, on top of the sausage-eating crew, Rich was in town, helping a club with their promotion work to open up.

It was really very interesting to check out the city for a second time - and really get a stronger feeling about moving here to set up shop. It certainly makes me excited - but I think I also need a bit of holiday first - it is pretty intense.

As a break from it all, Lars, Anke and two of their Germanisch architect friends joined us for a day trip to Hangzhou. This, I have to say, is what I thought China would be like in my tourist head. Temples and lakes surrounded by nice little eateries and day tripping young romantics from the big city. Although it is stretching it to claim it really is 'heaven on earth', it is definitely a nice place. I often think about China developing its own New Yorks and Los Angeleses (if that is a plural), but I am unsure if these hot little creative towns will also crop up - where will the San Franciscos and Seattles and Bostons be in twenty years time? Could it be here, I wonder?

The charming view out of the back of the building

Their amazing balcony, pointing towards downtown - although they live on a big 'orrid housing estate, they also manage to escape it as soon as the front door is shut.

Enjoying a light breakfast / snack after a night out

Love birds - Anke & Lars caught!

People leave messages on the bamboo - though it would be great to know what they are and what the traditions are!


Waiting in the impressive Shanghai South train station

Lars enjoys one of my jokes

Anke checks some photos of me

One of the many shadowy monks lurking in the shadows in Hangzhou - I was itching to battle!

Wearing its hat at a jaunty angle

I am a big fan of the Ladybird phone booths in China

A gap betweeb buildings - that just so happened to make FANTASTIC echoes

Loch Ness monster

Cheesy grin - he enjoyed it too!

And a load more images here:

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