Sunday, July 10, 2016

Moving Along

So I moved today. I'm now living in Shanghai, China.

I've enjoyed writing about my travels in the past, but haven't done as much of it lately for a variety of reasons. I'm hoping to do a bit more now that I'm living in a new place. So I'll have two topics to post one - Daption and Life in China.

A few months ago a headhunter, Charlie Thomas from The Talent Business, contacted me about a role in Shanghai, working for AKQA and managing their Nike business there.  Well, the headhunter knew me because I'd contacted him previously to express an interest in working in China, so that was already a positive. AKQA is a great digital agency and one of the firms that I respect the most. And working on Nike has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. So how could I say no.

I paid a visit to the city in May with Franziska. It was nicer than I had expected and the meetings with AKQA and Nike went well. It all came together and here I am.

A few photos:

Here's the customs line. When I came in May I had come under the 144 Transfer Without Visa program, which is little known, which makes it somewhat terrifying, but is really rather brilliant. Particularly as I had had to get a new passport at that time and so had visa problems. (I'll write a post on this to make peoples' lives easier.) This time there was no problem, and I just zipped through.

This is me arriving in Shanghai. (Bad photo, but I had to talk the driver into taking it, and my Mandarin is a little rusty.) These are pretty much my worldly possessions for the past couple of years, which is a little scary, but also liberating. And, of course, the golf clubs always top it all off.

Note the Nike golf travel bag. I've been looking forward to having this client for a long time.

The afternoon was spent settling into the apartment that the agency got for me for the first couple of months, having a wander around the neighborhood, practicing my German online, and trying to not succumb to jet lag. I hit the gym for a bit, and went to the pool. (It's a nice little apartment.) Apparently one must wear a swim cap at all times in the pool. The pool attendant looked disgusted by the fact that I was surprised by this and found one that I could borrow. 

How do you like my new look? (No comments about a Sasquatch wearing a cap allowed.)

After all that I went out for dinner. I'd seen a wonton place just down the street earlier in the day, and it looked friendly, so I thought I'd try it out. The wontons were delicious, but so insanely hot. 

Paying for dinner was kind of funny. They asked for 12 yuan. That's just €1.60. It was so low that I didn't think I'd heard them right. (Well, heard isn't exactly right. Just a lot of pointing and using fingers.) But that's all it was.

Shanghai can be a very expensive city. I'm horrified by what I'm seeing for rent prices. (It is the world's biggest city. 24 million in the municipality. 34 million in the Metro area.) But maybe those high rent prices can be offset by some lower costs elsewhere. I hope so at least.

I'm back in my apartment now. I picked up a Tsing-Tao beer and a bag of Lays Texas Grilled BBQ chips to watch a Canadian play in the the Wimbledon finals. I probably won't make it, due to jet lag. But I'll give it my best.

Stay tuned for more adventures in China.