This is Shanghai

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Saturday, November 21 2009

They know how to sell

Wednesday, June 3 2009

China Daily folies

I am so lucky, I can have the china daily news in my MMS box, twice a day.

Delivered in dual language, it also provide language tips. Very useful.

And they can stay in the same theme for quite some time

But, to make it worth the subscription, there are also some major news

Thursday, May 7 2009

Weather update

Since the previous post has been staying on the top of that blog for quite a while now, I think I owe this page an update.

Saturday, February 28 2009

Weather forecast

And last week was raining 7 days straight.

I think I should go out tomorrow (Sunday: 星期日).
Sun light might not show up again for a (long) while.

Tuesday, September 23 2008


Even Higher - Shanghai

Tuesday, September 9 2008

Ma fan !

Il y a comme ça des expressions que l'on trouve plus "naturelles" dans une langue plutôt que dans une autre.

Elles parlent probablement plus à nos endos (lire Noô de Stefan Wul). A une époque, on était prêt à parler des autobahn pour designer les (désormais tombées dans l'oubli) "autoroutes de l'information". Oui, quelle étrange référence ... mais elle m'est revenue là, comme ça.

On aime bien dire de quelqu'un ou de quelque chose qu'il est kawaii.

Et bien, "ma fan" est l'expression chinoise qui colle bien aux évènements tortueux, pénibles, pour ne pas dire plus.
Et bien, obtenir un visa chinois de type "Z" (plus ou moins résident), ça n'est un pas de tout repos.
Commençons par le commencement. Au début, étaient les dinosaures. Ah non, pas si loin.

Pour travailler officiellement sous contrat chinois, il "faut" un permis de travail. Jusqu'ici rien que de bien normal.
Cependant, nombre de joyeux "expats" vivent et travaillent en Chine avec un simple visa business, le plus souvent décroché à Hong-Kong (oui, oui, vous savez bien : un pays, deux systèmes ...). Les Jeux Olympiques ont mis un petit coup de balai dans toute cette faune de gais lurons (durcissement des procédures d'obtention des-dit visas).

Me sachant en sursis, je décide de transformer mon visa d'affaire en un visa de résident, et ce, un mois avant les JO.
La première étape de ce long périple fut l'inspection de santé (cf. un billet précédant, dans une autre langue, ah oui, vous aviez remarqué ? Décidément, un lectorat d’une perspicacité).

Seconde étape, je soumets mon dossier à une agence (plus ou moins licite). On m'annonce un traitement en une semaine, au plus : deux.
Les deux semaines écoulées, je m'enquiers de mon passeport. Cela risque bien de prendre encore 2 ou 3 j... ah non, SEMAINES. Les JO, vous comprenez.

Outre le désagrément de ne pas pouvoir voyager en avion dans l'intervalle, il était plutôt fâcheux de ne pouvoir planifier mon retour en France (obligatoire pour valider le visa) sereinement.

Une semaine avant mon départ programmé (à l'aveuglette), mon passeport revient. Alléluia !
Il est accompagné d'un certificat de travail pour petit alien (en anglais dans le texte) et d'un formulaire de requête de visa Z à remettre à l'ambassade de Chine en France.
Bon, le visa n'est donc pas pour tout de suite, soit, je prends mon mal en patience. Mais, ô drame, dans leur grande précipitation (plus d'un mois), ils ont fait une erreur en recopiant mon numéro de passeport (voila qui est ballot).

Retour à l'envoyeur. Mais l à, ce devient quelque peu tendu pour mon départ/retour (question de point de vu).

Ils y parviennent in extremis (rien de tel qu'un peu de pression) et me voila en France.

Mais (oui, oui, on s'ennuie ça devient long, je sais, ou sont les photos : pas de photo aujourd'hui), pour ne pas faire simple, ici, à Paris, ils ne savent pas délivrer autre chose qu'un visa entrée simple. Il faudra donc le convertir en un visa entrées multiples à Shanghai ...

Mama mia ! Ah non : ma fan !

Wednesday, July 9 2008

Be (more than) welcome

When my French colleague is not around (that happen quite often), I do enjoy a quick lunch.
What's amazing about this place is the way you are welcomed.

Hmm, in fact maybe not you. Just me.
When I pass the door, all (literally) the staff turn their attention to me. Could be annoying if it was not so cute.
Salute me by my name, questioning me about things they don't really care (or maybe they do ...) etc.

I kind of thought all this attention was the same for all customers. A good commercial approach.
But, I was observing closely how they behave with all "the others" (not like I had anything else to do, while eating alone). I am here including all the other foreigners that, it is true, got a much better treatment anywhere anyway. And there is quite a few in the surrounding.
Proper attitude, but nothing like my overwhelming (but kind) welcome.

So I am special here (there). Had any doubt about that ? :-)

One to another in Mandarin: "Does he speaks Chinese by the way ?"

Another starting reply: "No, he doesn'..."

Me: "Yes, 'he' does; a little"

I gained more points here. But, somehow, I knew what was coming next. I mean the kind of deep talk that will follow. Do I look disillusioned here ? No, no. But it is really always like that. No kidding.

In Chinese : "Oh! really ?" But you have to know (if not aware already) that there is a lot of foreign people here that speaks Chinese way better than me. So I still don't know why they always assume that foreigners don't speak it, when probably half of the foreign population got some strong basis (my bet).

"Ya, well, not so good, but I do my best"

"'You are so handsome' you know what it means ?"

"Yes, yes"

So she repeated it. Ya, ya, I guess it cannot hurt to hear things like that. Always good for your ego. Or ... maybe not ?
Then she described why she thinks so, backed up by the others. (Ah ya, I forgot to say they are girls; like every single worker in China; I don't know exactly what men do here ... I don't see many working. Maybe sitting in front of TV watching soccer game, who knows).

So because of that cute but overwhelming attitude (you don't always have to time to be more than just kind), I, sometimes, lazy me, pretend not speaking a word of Chinese.

But, just thinking about it, this can be a good opportunity to use some other Chinese than my everyday boring Cab Chinese ... (listening to all the taxi driver telling me how pretty are the French girls, the most pretty in the world, you shall never doubt about that).
I'll keep you informed.

Friday, June 27 2008

Look better

Let's go in some photo shop for a bunch of ID picts. (For my Visa, you remember ?)

In the back of the shop.

"- Sit here. Want a red background ?"

"- White will be fine, thanks" (red ? don't even want to consider that option)

"- look at me. Lower your shoulder"

"- ..."

"- more please"

"- that's all you gonna get, i have some physical limitation you know" (funnily my shoulders cannot go any lower than where they belong)


"- 'like it ?" (showing me the taken shot)

"- it will do it." (I just don't give a damn, I'll never seen this picture again anyway).

Back in front office.

Loading the picture in Photoshop (Adobe). The white background turns out to be gray. Who cares ? Let's photoshop it.
So you cannot lower you shoulder ? Is that it ? So she erased part of my shoulders to lower them !
Jez', this is for official purpose ! What's next ? Changing my eyes color to a more conventional color ?

I understand now the baseline I saw somewhere on a shop : "we make you look better".

Friday, June 6 2008

Movie World

DVD shops here in Shanghai are everywhere.
You can buy whatever you want for less than a taxi ride or a bottle of coke.
Including the old French movies,  the latest block buster, the brand new American TV Serie, etc.
OK, nothing new in there.
But look at this picture (just took it an hour ago, on my phone, sorry for the poor quality)

Movie World - Dagu Lu - Shanghai

Nothing spectacular or original in that shop.
Now, look at the one just in front of him (literally facing it).

Movie Star - Dagu Lu - Shanghai

"Even better than Movie World"
I had to take this picture. It is an "old" joke in the street I guess.

Wednesday, April 2 2008

Be nice

On TV, when they have nothing else to do, they put this video on.

It is scary. Really looks like this kind of anticipation books or movies. "How to be a good citizen in Delta City, officer Alex Murphy will show you the way".

But, something like that is needed. Good manners rule China everyday life in your business environment (protocol) or your friends (of course). Out of that, it is back to the wide wild world, ruled by the strongest brutal force.

But people says that things are changing.

Tuesday, April 1 2008

Morning Coffee

This morning I decided to stop by the "hype" area next to my office.
For a breakfast.
There is a few restaurants and cafe over there, since a hi-tech building full of communication and advertising foreign companies was recently built. So basically people with money.
Toke about 5 minutes to 3 people to make my take-away espresso that ends up to be a double-espresso (testing the machine ?).
But the good thing is that it is an espresso (double or not). It taste like espresso. For those who saw me showing up at work with my Starbucks coffee cup (my NCIS style), well, it is the same, powered by Lavazza. With a quite tasty croissant.
So, somehow, I can reproduce a Paris like way of life (yes, yes, Starbucks coffee is very very Paris) whenever I feel to.
What I cannot reproduce is the coffee break.
Even if my team does drink coffee (instant coffee, tea, or whatever "thing" with hot water inside and floating stuff all over), there is no dedicated place for such an "event". It seems we can invest into a coffee machine. Not a Nespresso, since I cannot go Beijing every weeks to buy the bullets. What else ? The basic coffee machine. Put coffee powder (bought from Carrefour around the corner), add water (not tap water, out of the fountain of course, do I really have to repeat myself ?) and you'll go something very tasty. Much better than the Nescafe instant one, at least.
I have to stop talking about coffee.
By the way have you drink your coffee yet ?

Tuesday, March 4 2008

Can guan (a look around)

The weather now in Shanghai is just perfect. Really.
Blue sky, no cloud, temperature about 15°C I guess.
That's how I love to be outside.

"The following takes place between 1pm and 2pm". After class.

So here are some pictures of Shanghai. Under daylight this time.
First, the less Shanghai style of Shanghai : Xin tian di.

Under that name is hidden a kind a refugee camp for all the westerners.
They are held there so they can feel happy, just like in an idyllic city of Europe.

Xin Tian Di - Shanghai - China

Anyway, this place is nice and clean. Good restaurant and expensive since so many foreigners around.
A lot of bars make this place also very animated by night (more pictures in the future).

That's also where you kind find some clue of civilization (?!). See by yourself (below).

Paul in Xin Tian Di - Shanghai - China

Ok, now, we can see some other sceneries of Shanghai.
Here is an express way. Like we don't do in Europe. It is nothing beautifull (at all) but make the traffic better (even if still bad).

An express way, crossing Hua hai lu - Shanghai - China

With the same background, a bit further. Urbanism ?

Somewhere in Shanghai - China

OK, next. In the same street (why moving when so much "fun" in the same place ?)
In China, people dry clothes everywhere they can. Most wanted place, the electric wires. If none around, the trees would do it too.
So you can have this kind of view, with clothes hanging everywhere.
(please pay attention to the funny, but so typical, tricyle that carry 5 times is own volume)

Somewhere in Shanghai - China

Yes. Today, I was in the mood for some B&W pictures.

Monday, February 25 2008

First Expat Party

We were invited to our (my) first expat party.

In fact we were invited by a friend, and I seriously didn't expected something like that.
What was "that" ? Well, first : the place. It was in a super restricted high class houses complex...
I guess that what's go with "expat". But still, impressive.

More : the food. It was a banquet. With great homemade amuse-bouche. Wine, champagne, high quality western food.
Even more : the people. Was invited quite a lot of people. Actually this is the kind of meeting I don't like.
It just like in the movies. Standing in the middle of people to don't know, keep introducing yourself. Repeating the same story (at the beginning, for your own sake your try to generate different version of your story, but after a while you get tired of that exercise), listening to everyone's story. Trying to entertain people's conversation ...

Anyway, It was nice, and it showed me another face of Shanghai : the expats' one.
And I collected a bunch of name cards. And some extra contacts for finding a job.

Wednesday, February 13 2008


After days of snow, rains, clouds, Shanghai is enjoying from two days now a nice and pure blue sky. Don’t misunderstand me; it is still freezing cold outside, but at least under a lot of sunlight.

I read somewhere that Beijing is looking for the maximum days of "blue sky". In 1998, there was about a hundred days of blue sky.
For the Olympics, they fought for it; objective for 2007 was 245 of those days (more about polution, so there can be a marathon) . And guess what ? 2007 knew 246 blue days !
There is something scary about this country, don't you think ?

Ok, to be honest, those figures were reached by all different kind of means. Some good ones, like green belt to stop the sand, moving industries far from the city; and some not that nice but how efficient like closing some air control stations in the most polluted areas so they won't report bad conditions ...

Ok enough about Beijing, back to Shanghai and his truly blue sky.

Monday, February 4 2008

Mickey the Rat !

Chinese New Year is on its way.
No way to ignore it.
You can hear the greeting songs in every single mall, restaurant etc.
The coming year will be the year of the Rat. In English (as in French and many other language I guess), there is a difference between Rat and Mouse.

But since Chinese is a simple language (that's what my wife keep repeating me), both are "shu" (鼠).
Convenient then to have Mickey the mouse/rat as the symbol of the Chinese New Year.

When I first saw Mickey on the walls and windows, I didn't really understand the reason of that. After a second thought, it makes sens.

Shanghai Snowmen

Just to illustrate what I was talking about on the previous post.
So there is snow. Or at least there was enough, enough to do snowmen.

Note for your safety : roof gutters have probably not been invented by Chinese. So a block of snow may fall down from the roof.
Be aware.