Monday, February 2 2009

Lunar New Year Vacation

Thursday, January 15 2009

Firecrackers

They are back. I heard them. This morning at dawn.
Déjà vu.

One year. Soon.

Monday, November 3 2008

Money Money
















Mafia style

Monday, October 6 2008

Temple

yop

Magic chicken, again

The Magic Chicken House



THE Thing

Xi Hu

West Lake - Hangzhou



Garbage collector - Hangzhou

Crab

Driving 3 hours traffic jam to eat crab. Great crab though.

Thursday, October 2 2008

End of an era

Once upon a time, life of a free iPhone meant going the hard path

Dust ?

Quelqu'un a dit "poussiereux" ? - JinMao Tower - Shanghai

National Hollidays

Le design est en Vacances.

Tuesday, September 23 2008

Higher

Even Higher - Shanghai

Made in China

Georges (Clooney) était en moi ce matin.

Hier soir, en tentant d’accéder au proxy de mon bureau pour pouvoir visiter des sites web normalement gentiment reconduit à la frontières par le Great Fire Wall (oh que c’est mal), j’obtiens une inquiétante fin de non-recevoir.

J’ai dis inquiétante ? Cela le devient d’autant plus quand mes tentatives d’accès à distance au réseau de l’entreprise se soldent par un mutisme des plus total.

Je n’en dors pas moins des plus profondément, d’un sommeil sans rêve, dont j’ai le secret.

Au matin (que dis-je : à l’aube), au bureau, le constat est sans appel : le serveur Linux qui nous sert de routeur a rendu l’âme.

Toutes mes tentatives de réanimation sont sans effets. Le bougre semble sans vie (seuls quelques tressautements sur l’électro, faisant probablement échos à mes massages).

L’autopsie me parait inévitable (aucun signe apparent de maltraitance). Le malheureux semble certes mal entretenu (ce n’est pas le trop plein d’hygiène qui l’a étouffé), mais tous semble être à sa place.

Ah, à y regarder de plus prêt … mais … oui, voilà ! Ici, là-même où l’air devrait circuler pour refroidir le bonhomme brassant sans relâche à longueur de journée des paquets de données qui, sans lui, seraient bien incapables de retrouver leur chemin dans les limbes du réseau (oui, oui quand même, c’est la Chine ici), là-même donc, un tendon avait lâché.   Le poumon n’alimentant plus le cerveau, un mécanisme de survie lui commande de s’évanouir. La nature est bien faite. Mais la nature, en Chine, est fragile. Si, si.

Ah bah, y-a qu’a regarder mon bon monsieur, le même ostrogoth de la famille Intel s’en sort mieux que feu notre ami made in China.
(Nous omettrons ici de parler de la localisation des usines de fabrication d’Intel, qui mettrait à mal toute ma théorie)

Oui, enfin, n’allons pas si vite en besogne, ne l’enterrons pas sans une dernière tentative de retour à la vie.

La main tremblante (trop plein de café, et pas d’émotion, n’exagérons rien tout de même), je me lance dans une opération de transplantation/greffe des plus délicates (venant de deux lignées différentes, la compatibilité n’est pas garantie).

Au moment de relancer le cœur (oui, oui, il n’en a qu’un, ce n’est qu’un routeur bon sang !), le doute m’assaille : à jouer les Dr. Frankenstein ne risquerais-je pas de créer un monstre ?

Mais il est déjà trop tard, la bête reprend vie.

IPCop Login : _

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 !

Tuesday, August 19 2008

Tong li (bis repetita placent)

Not called gondola, but they can sing too

Through the "window"

Monday, August 18 2008

Tong li

1000 year old city.
So it's in black and white

SONY DSC
The Streets



Safety first !



"Insisde"



Old Tea House



Do not disturb



Street ...



Fire Extinguisher



Fire Extinguisher 2.0



Lake



Peacefull



I've no word for that.


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.

Monday, June 30 2008

Hangzhou

Everybody told me that Hangzhou is the place where all Shanghainese go when they need some air.
It is indeed a very green place. I was there 3 years ago. Spent a week alone, by my own. My personal experience of "take care of yourself in China".


It was there that I ate the most incredibly good chicken ever. But I was totally unable to tell the name to anyone so I can enjoy it again ...
But this time, we went altogether (my wife and friends) back to the same place (a little youth hotel, that is actually SUPER famous for this particular cuisine).

Jiao Ma Chicken. This was great again. Same taste. Exactly like I remembered !
I was told that it is impossible to find the same taste anywhere else ...

So bad Hangzhou is 2hrs train from Shanghai. Cannot go there just for dinner !

The photo is "just" tea. Famous place for its tea as well (something like the Bordeaux of China, I guess).

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)

Shot.

"- '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".

Thursday, June 26 2008

Shanghai entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau

Lovely name.
To switch from my business visa (F) to a more official working visa (Z), I needed a prior check-up.

It is amazingly well organized. And it works pretty good.

First you have to book. Good thing that avoids huge queue.
When I reached the place there was a mini-crowd of people clustered around the receptionist. I guess that's the register point. A wild guess.

It was just half messy. Half because there were just half Shanghainese. The other half were Japanese, Korean and some westerners as well. So I just queued up behind a Japanese girl expecting her to nicely make her hole in the semi-mess. I was right (always follow the Japanese !).

And there it begun !

"You can go in room 116, and fill up this form please"
The form ... all the pertinent questions and this one : "Have had been involved in a marriage relation ?" Sorry ? Oh, am I married ?
Then wait for your number (about 10min, fine).

Then you go in a little room. They fill up the same form on a computer. And warn you "we are now going to take a picture of you", but it is already done. So this obviously funny picture is now going to follow you during the whole ... experiment.

You can now go to room "1,0,0" (100)
Changing clothes for a super trendy hospital dress.
Measuring height and weight in the role.

You can now go to room "1,1,0" (110)
Taking blood samples. They are doing hundreds of people a day there ... I feel like a cow, or a sheep.

You can now go to room "1,1,6" (116)
Ultrasonic stuff. The lady confirmed that all was in the place it was suppose to be.

You can now go to room "1,0,6" (106)
Kind of feel in 1984 (the book, not the year). All wearing the same clothes, facing the doctors in super neat rooms.

So anyway, it kept going like that for 6 more rooms.
One was funny. You lie down and the clip some device on your arm and your ankle. Then some suction pad on the chest.
Felt like in a E.R. episode !!

After a while : "good to go"
Let's get out of that crazy place !

Friday, June 6 2008

Relativity


Same. But different

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.

Thursday, April 24 2008

Love China ?

You probably already heard of the "Love China" leitmotif tsunami (believe me).
You probably heard of some "riots" against the terrible French man (not in Shanghai) .

So, let's read some more interesting news :

"More than 80,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in China last year, making the country's roads the deadliest in the world."
I am surprised...

"A 1993 nude photo of Carla Bruni, French President Sarkozy's wife, has been sold at Christie's in NYC for $91,000 to an unnamed Chinese art collector"
Apparently, the call for a the boycott of French products in China hasn't reached the French First Lady's body.

"Coca-Cola Zero makes Shanghai debut"
Ah ... you cannot understand ... here everything is just so NOT light. This was a must.

"China, already the world leader in cellphone use, has surpassed the USA as the No. 1 nation in Internet users."
But to be fair, the percentage of American users — 71% — still exceeds China's 17%.
China has 1.3 billion people, compared with nearly 304 million in the US.

Sunday, April 6 2008

Back in Paris

I am back.
Back in the city of all ([...] and one to rule them all [...]).
The view from my hotel is so unique that I cannot resist to share it with you.

Just enjoy as much as I did.


Etoile - Paris, France

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 ?

Sunday, March 30 2008

Settlement

Our stuff arrived last week end. Earlier than announced.
But it was better this way. Spend the week end unpacking.
What a mess !!
It is now back to normal.
We went to some furniture shop to buy our new sofa.
Will be delivered in 15 days. So when I'll come back from France, it should be already here.
When the living room starts to look nice, I promise you I will publish a picture of it.

Question. What will we do with that big stuff the day we move again ? We will see. There is a time for everything.

Time

We are still 8 hours ahead of the little village of Greenwich.
But France, due to the super useful time saving policy, is now in GMT+02:00 which is bringing it 6 hours behind China (the entire country is under the same timezone, including Taiwan).

1st week at work

Yes, this was my first week.

Not really over busy, but I can see the amount of work coming. Huge.
People are nice, even if my Chinese team is not super talkative (I'd like to add "yet").

It is clear that Paris and Shanghai do not understand each other.
We will see if my communication skill worth something is that particular scenario.

By the end of next week, I will be back in Paris. After exactly two months away.
Not much, that is true. But I know that I will enjoy few things back there. Like ... probably wine every single day (yes, yes, I can do that).

But let's go back to my working environment. About my first day :

The last interview I had, we talked about the working hours. I just mention that I am not familiar with the traffic during rush hours so I might be a bit late the first day. Or not. He told me that people arrive by 9 something, but are definitely there at 9:30. OK. But considering it is my first day, I can arrive at 10, no one will blame me. OK good.

Those of you that know me a bit, know that even I say I might be a bit late, I am on time. So I was there at 9:20, a bit stress by the idea of being the last one.
The office was empty. Like ... really empty. First I thought they went to a Café or something (ya, cannot be a Café I know) for a Monday global meeting. So I called my boss. No answer. Then I thought about a joke. Something like a welcome joke. But ... 9:40 still no one.
They arrived by 9:45 or so, and my boss by 10. Hey, you know, it is Eastern Monday, "they" know there won't be anyone in France anyway ...
OK, OK. But next day was the same ... maybe a little bit earlier. So in fact, no one before 9:30.

But since my boss went back to France, where he belongs, I'm the boss there. So, I guess I have to be there before them, and left after them.
I'll talk about them later, but somehow, they are "funny".

Friday, I finally get into my new office. My own little office. So I will be able to set my own little temperature. Believe me, this is going to be important. Oh, and maybe this can save me from the noodles smell after noon.
The good thing is also that it seems to be forbidden to smoke in the office space. Which is good. Considering we are in China and that people smoke everywhere.

Enjoy your non smoking restaurant my dear fellow in France.

Thursday, March 20 2008

They are Coming.

Alleluia !
After two (2) months our stuffs are finally coming (if no delay) beginning of next week.
They are in the Shanghai harbor for two (2) weeks now, handled by the custom office.

The "funny" thing is that, by then, I would start to work. Why things always have to be in such a bad timing ?
I guess most of the things will stay in their boxes since both me and my wife are going to be away for a while. Different countries.

I can imagine that the coffee machine (Nespresso™, what else ?) will go out of the box first (probably jump out by herself, or maybe, maybe, George will come and install it for us).
This will put an end to the time of what I called the Canada Dry Coffee (do I really need to explain ? Looks like a Canada Dry, got the color of a Canada Dry, but ... it is not a Canada Dry).
I don't expect much coffee at work, so home will be this little oasis of coffee "bean" (ya, well not really beans, but nothing compare to what you can get here).

Monday, March 17 2008

A new job

It was under negotiation process for few weeks now, but it is official now : I'm gonna start my new job on Monday.
A week of introduction in Shanghai, then a short time in Paris for the same purpose, but to know the people on the other side.
Well, as you've probably guessed by now, it is a French company. I'll be managing quite a big team, of Chinese ! It will be something.
Fun will start now.

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