Nothing could be finer, than to be in, er… China.

Day 1

It has to be retrospective blogging at this time. Not for the usual reason that I keep forgetting to maintain or update my blog. But because Blogger is blocked in China.

I tried a proxy, but still couldn’t get signed in.

Of course, I should have read my buddy, Shak’s blog for the Ad:Tech tip sheet he posted. Too late for almost everything!

I had a wonderful flight courtesy of Royal Dutch KLM. They certainly know how to look after you on those long-haul flights to the east.

This was my first time in China. The process coming through the airport was rather similar to entering Russia. My visa was in order and I’d filled the correct forms. So pretty much a breeze.

However, there is an extra medical card which needs to be completed on arrival, where you have to declare your state of health. The guy behind me who was coughing so much I thought one of his lungs would land on the floor was escorted away at first sight.

I’m not a doctor, but I think I could detect that his problem was more to do with the 60 cigarettes a day he obviously smoked more than it could have been bird flu.

I was completing the health card in the immigration hall when a Chinese lady carrying a baby came to use the same desk. She laid the baby on its back and then realised that there was no pen.

She left the baby and went to the other side of the hall where she began to complete her card. The hall was the size of a football field. I couldn’t believe it: The baby was simply left gurgling at the ceiling. No harness – nothing!

Even though my own card was completed I couldn’t join the line for customs because I was so afraid the baby would fall off the table. I waited for “Mom” to return. She eventually returned and without even a nod, she picked the little thing up and headed for the line.

I have a feeling that, when baby grows up, he won’t approach a table and sit at a chair like us, he’ll probably just flip onto his back!

I really, really should have read Shak’s blog. I got my cash and headed for the taxi line and found the city cabs. Shak was right – my cab driver spoke not one word of English. Fortunately, I had printed the details of the hotel from the web site. So I had a picture of the hotel along with the name written in Chinese below the logo. So I get the thumbs up from the driver. And off he lurches… I’ve never felt G force in a car before!

I was pinned to the back seat of a car driven by a man seemingly on a death wish. Nothing can prepare you for the total and absolute impatience of a Shanghai cab driver. Any speed in any lane, with hand firmly keeping the car horn pressed down!

Although Shak’s tip sheet says “strictly no tipping” in China and even though my cab driver nearly brought on a coronary, it’s my habit to tip.

The delight on the cab drivers face was a picture and after he got my case from the trunk, he looked at me, smiled and actually shook my hand!

The conference centre and hotel look splendid. I took a shot from the Bund side of the river. It’s the building which features the two globes, one at either side.

Having travelled from New York to Shanghai, via the UK, in the same week, I am completely jet-lagged and disorientated. So I head straight to bed. It is 10.30 am.

I awake later in the afternoon and look at the wonderful view of the Bund that I have from my bedroom window.

I then remember that I have not completed my ClickZ article and that Erin, my editor, will fly to China and beat me severely with a hair brush, or something, if I fail to submit on time.

Of course, travelling through time does have its benefits. Erin is in New York and 15 hours behind me. So I relax, pour some tea, put my feet up and gaze out of the window while I decide what to annoy… er, delight, my readers with this time.

I decided to take a quick wander around outside to get my bearings as they say. No sooner had my European head passed the hotel doorpost when “they” arrived. They are the “Rolex men” and they are like flies.

You buy Rolex? You want DVD? You want massagee? Yes, massagee means exactly what you think it means!

I was polite to begin with, explaining to each and every “Rolex man” that, I already have one, or yes, I’ll let you know about the massagee another time.

Eventually, I decided on a phrase which transcends all borders and languages: “Fuck off!”

That seems to do the trick.

Oh, and I managed to get this night shot of the TV tower (which is just behind the hotel and conference centre).

And then, I went back to bed again. Lunch with Shak, tomorrow.

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