13.06.2010 77 °F
Well, after a long time gone, I have another reason for the blog again! Considering I created the blog specifically for relaying my experiences in China, I welcome the opportunity to do the same for my time in Hong Kong.
So, I flew into Hong Kong on the 21st of May, and immediately started work on the 24th. Needless to say, it has been a whirlwind so far. My first weekend in the city was consumed by walking, as my brain was in such shock and awe that I couldn't think of anything better to do except walk. I walked around the area I was living. I walked to places I thought looked cool. I walked from the east part of Hong Kong Island to the west. And I still got lost every time. My first week at work was extremely exciting, as I was tasked to put together a report on a European car company that one of the executive directors of the company had an interest in investing in. While having somewhat of an idea to do, I was still really nervous at the project, and after a couple of meetings with him, was able to produce something that he found useful (or so he said). Later in that day, I had to leave early though, as a co-worker and I had to leave for a trip to the mainland, where I've been ever since.
We started off in Hangzhou, which is where the headquarters of Geely Auto is located. We were there for only a night, as we had to travel to Ningbo the next afternoon. I spent about 4 days there touring the factories and getting a general feel for what a day in the life of a typical Chinese person was like while on the job, whether in an office or in a factory. During this time, I was able to get to know a recent graduate who was very helpful in explaining the going-on's of the company, all while enjoying delicious meal after delicious meal. She also told me that she didn't have an English name, but wanted one, so I took her Chinese name and Anglicized it (Englishized? Englishfied? Americanized?) to Jessie. She was beyond thrilled. I don't have much evidence during my time there, as I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the factories, but it was beyond amazing. That factory alone is able to produce upwards of 280 cars per day, cars that are ready to be sold, ready to be driven. This being the case, there are many parts of the factory that run 24 hours a day. Furthermore, due to the high speed of production, each factory worker, or team of factory workers, only has 2 minutes 15 seconds to complete their task. Ridiculous. Also on the premises, they have testing sites, driving tests, even body painting. When I mean they are ready to drive, I mean they even have a full tank of gas.
After I left Ningbo for Hangzhou by bus (thank God it had air conditioning), I stayed there for another 4 days, and got to be familiar with that part of the company and the people that work there. Every place I have gone, they have been more than happy to eat with me and talk with me, and in some cases, teach them English. It is always quite humorous, and is a constant source of entertainment. Towards the end of the week, I left for Shanghai to spend some time at their factory there. However, it did not turn out to be quite as fruitful, as this is a slow period for them as some of their machines are undergoing renovation. Using this quiet time, I decided to head into the city to see the World Expo. While not exactly a bad mistake (I'm very happy I went), it was absolutely jam-packed and bizarre. For many of the pavilions, you had to wait in line to enter, and in some stations, the lines were over 4 hours long. This apparently was a slow day. The most popular were the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and German pavilions, which on some days, the wait time has exceeded 8 hours. There was never more a perfect pictorial representation of a clusterf*** than the Shanghai World Expo. Good lord! It was exhausting just walking around. But the architecture was stunning, and it was really cool to see what each country came up with. Also, I got to go into the North Korean pavilion (which sucked) that was basically a store with cloud wallpaper that sold stamps with Kim Jong-Il on them, or books that he wrote. Lame. The Expo also had this great idea to sell Expo Passports, in which if you went to a pavilion, you could get that pavilion to stamp your passport, and you try and go around to every pavilion to do so. There were about 1 million Chinese people that tried to do so. They absolutely LOVED it. Sometimes, they wouldn't even try and learn something about the country they were headed to, they just wanted that stamp. They would literally run from pavilion to pavilion, with 3, 4, 10 passports in hand, and wait in line just to get the stamps. It was genius, but also completely defeated the purpose of the Expo. After about 5 hours, I couldn't take it any more, so I headed over to the Bund, got some street food, and spent the rest of my day there.
I head back to Hangzhou on Monday, and I'll be there until Sunday, with a break on Wednesday for the Duanwu Jie National Holiday. For those of you still reading this, Welcome Back! I will attach pictures as they come and hopefully stay updated during my time in Hong Kong. I already one thing for sure about this summer: It's not gonna be boring!
Forgetting how good it feels to be back on the Mainland,