China Diary:
Becoming Routine


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]


Sep. 14: Getting Connections – I head to my office and pay about $100 to set up my Internet and e-mail accounts, finally getting connected to the rest of the world. (I pick up a gift for the network administrator to show my gratitude.) Late Monday afternoon has become a regular pick-up basketball game. That evening, Maurice and I head to the local pub for a pitcher of Bud, then decide to eat real American food at the KFC and pay real American prices.

Sep. 15: MBAs – Had my first class meeting with the MBA class this afternoon; they decided to change it to meet evenings. So my schedule is now two hours Tuesday evening and three hours Wednesday morning. Jackie, my TA, will bring in his printer for me to use (he’ll use it in my office and have Internet access). But the office computer is still not hooked up to the LAN and the CD drive does not work so I haven’t installed any programs (p.s.: Windows 98 is about two bucks here). I lug around my laptop a lot.

Sep. 16: Welcoming Banquet – I put my laptop and International Business book in my day pack, which I throw in my bike side-basket. My laptop is heavy as a tank. On way to MA class, pack falls through bottom of basket and crashes (not the software kind). Luckily, it is also built like a tank. That evening, foreign experts and international exchange students attend the official welcoming banquet sponsored by the Waiban. I was asked to represent the foreign experts in offering thanks and making a toast. I am a bit new at the former, but getting pretty polished at the latter. Faculty are from many countries, and I meet students from my home institution and other universities.

Sep. 17: Computer Crash II – With my laptop humming along and all connected on the Internet (at 14.4 modem speed), I spend three hours downloading McAfee anti-virus software (at about a buck an hour connect fee), only to find all program applications are scanned for viruses but never run. Trying to uninstall just scans the application but never runs it.  So I spend another five hours manually deleting McAfee anti-virus software and re-installing Windows 95. After sending e-mail to McAfee (now Network Associates) I received an automatic acknowledgement with U.S. telephone numbers to call for help, and the FAQ’s site on their Web Pages (both of which I already knew). So I’m out some $50+ until they provide some product support help. By 5:00 p.m. I am ready for the basketball courts, and Maurice joins me. Afterward, we wash down some fish, duck, and several vegetable plates with a couple of large bottles of Tsingtao pigiu for abot $3.25 each. At home, I receive e-mail from fellow Fulbrighters Charles (last seen at Beijing Airport) and Bill, the only two economists in our China contingent. Charles had some difficulties (I am not alone!) upon arriving at Lingnan College in Guangzhou which is near Hong Kong. Bill taught at Fudan before and knows Tony at USIS, but is now in Lanzhou in the far Western reaches. He might visit Shanghai.

Sep. 18: Hoops Tutorial – By 5:00 I head off to the courts. After one easy game of 3 on 3 we are challenged. These new guys are as good as anywhere ... and one of them is playing in flip-flops! Speed, ball-handling, passing, and shooting but not much defense so we keep it close even as we are outmatched. Still, it was a workout and deserving of refreshment. After showering, Kathleen, Maurice, and I head for the "five corners" which is the center for our neighborhood. After dinner and drink, we head to KFC for some soft ice cream.

Sep. 19: Downtown – I head for the shower. Good news: hot water. Bad news: a trickle. So I lather up anyway. Water stops. I wait. I try all faucets. Same. I put on my robe and work fully lathered for about half an hour until the water is on again. Maurice and I head for the bus stop and are surprised by the fare (about a nickel instead of a quarter). Then we realize we jumped onto the one without airconditioning. Long trip. At the Bund, get view from the roof of the Peace Hotel, one of the city’s tallest buildings and where Noel Coward wrote Private Lives. Walk down Nan Jing Road (fashion district), through Old Shanghai, and finally into the French quarter (or concession). Grab dinner, hit some stores, and then a local pub. Later, we go to Judy Too’s, the disco frequented by many Westerners. Expectedly, Western prices. Unexpectedly, Maurice and I get split up in the crowd and I wind up taking taxi back alone and watch the meter pass the amount I have on hand. Also, the compound gate is locked at 11:00 p.m., even on weekends. So, after waking the watchman I get some money from my room for the cabbie.

Sep. 20: Movie Night – Maids are like clockwork at 9:00 a.m. and I am determined to make up a "Do not disturb" sign in Mandarin. For Sunday dinner I treat myself to a big Mac, fries, and chocolate shake. Part of my MA in International Business class is "Movie Nite." For the first week I decide to show "Men in Black" with the assignment to identify the U.S. cultural icons. They decide to view it Sunday night, and I bring the pop corn.


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]

Rainbow

Copyright 1998 Paul Miesing. All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission unless in the People’s Republic of China which does not enforce intellectual property rights. Revised on January 17, 2001.