Saturday, February 28, 2009


This post will be short, because there isn't much to write today. I experienced jet lag. Even though I slept well during the night, I couldn't get my internal clock to change. I pretty much slept all morning and afternoon. It's weird. Hopefully it clears up.

I spoke with a Rockwell person today. Her name is Jennifer. She is coming to the hotel tomorrow (Sunday) to introduce herself and establish an agenda for my visit. It'll be nice to meet someone local and get a little bit of a show around town.

The TV gets five channels in English. There is an HBO, Starz, ESPN (although strange content from time to time), Nat Geo and some other sports channel. There's a Rugby Tourney coming on the sports channel sometime tomorrow. I hope to catch a little of it!

I've started reading a book on FDR that my brother Wade gave me. So far so good! I've got several books to read over the course of my stay. I've also started a second one called Quicksilver that my friend Tozzi gave me. (When I say I've started, maybe a chapter each) I'm also going to try to read War and Peace over this trip. We'll see how it goes!

I had room service today. I had a hamburger. This is the funny part. Everyone that's been to China has said they miss being able to have a hamburger or sandwich. I understand now. The sandwich looks like a burger, but the taste is off. It's hard to describe, but it definitely doesn't taste like a hamburger. I don't mean to imply that it tasted bad, it just didn't taste like it should...and yes it was beef. Even the fries tasted a little weird, and this is at a 5-Star hotel! I think I'm going to stay with the local stuff from here on out. Stick with what they know how to cook.

That's all that happened today. I know it isn't much, but that jet lag was a sleeping machine! Hopefully it's better tomorrow!

OH! One last thing. The smog here is very noticable. It kind of hangs in the sky. It should have been a partly cloudy day, but all you could see were some clouds hanging behind a haze. It's not terrible, but you can see it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Have Arrived!


The main flight from Detroit to Tokyo was 13-1/2 hours long. I got to fly business class which ROCKED! It's a long flight, but business class definitely helps! The food is great and it keeps coming. You can have as much to drink as you want, but I didn't really partake on that flight. The chairs basically turn into beds. They also have movies. Everyone has a viewing screen. You can choose amongst a bunch of movies. I was a little disappointed in the selection. I'd seen most of them. I ended up watching The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, an Indy, so. I then watched Flash of Brilliance....or something like that. It was about the guy that invented the intermittent wiper. It was so, so. I started to watch Max Payne, but it was to painful. I couldn't take it. Funniest part about the movie machine was the "Critics Choice" section. It had the movie Speed in it. Ah, yes! That timeless classic! I looked for Roadhouse, I figured if Speed is a classic, then Roadhouse had to be in there, no dice!

We landed in Tokyo around 3:00 Friday local time. I had two hours to kill in the airport. There was a bar for the business class travellers. That was nice! Free drinks and food while you waited. They had a machine that poured your draft beers for you. It tilted the glass and everything. Pretty sweet! Who doesn't love self service beer dispensing machines!

I didn't see anymore of Tokyo than the airport, but it seemed local fashion was either: A mega 80's party, Fast and The Furious Tokyo Drifts (Which I haven't seen), or business/business casual. There was no in between.

The flight from Tokyo to Shanghai was a little over 3 hours. I ended up sitting next to a guy from Grand Rapids, Michigan. What are the odds? On top of that he worked for a Kendall customer, Autocam. I think his name was Dave...maybe Dan. He was a fun to chat with.

Once we arrived in Shanghai it was 8:20 Friday night. Once off the plane you walk down a corridor that leads to an escalator. Once on the escalator you immediately see a GIANT Chinese flag! It was awesome! It took maybe 3 minutes tops to get my passport validated, no wait in customs. I found my driver and headed to the hotel in Shanghai. Pu Dong International is a huge, clean, beautiful airport.

It was about a 1/2 hour drive from the airport to the hotel. The highway was a smooth drive, but I think my driver took a bit of a back route. Because we got off the highway for about ten minutes. Once off the highway the real driving starts! I don't know how to describe it, but it's dangerous and not for the faint of heart! I guess I would describe the movement as a herd. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are everywhere. Once cars start moving you kind of just go with it. Once they stop, you honk and fight for another three car links before waiting for the next go. We also entered two mini-round abouts....or as I now call them, "Circles of Death". The driver went from the 3rd inside lane to a hard right out of the circle. We cut off three cars and narrowly missing the last! We got to do that twice! Big fun!

Also, we passed a line of Taxi cabs outside a building. There were a bunch of cars lined up and mixed in between them were bicycles that were converted into cabs. They had a bike attached directly to a covered seat in the back. They were in line with the cars like they were cars! I was cracking up! It was hilarious! A modern day rickshaw!

Once I arrived at the hotel. I was greeted by the manager on duty. He walked me directly to my room and got me settled. He then took my passport and CC to settle my bill downstairs. He reminded me of the manager in Pretty Woman. If that gives you any frame of reference. The hotel is a Marriott Renaissance! It is awesome! It's huge and beautiful!

After getting checked in I went down to the hotel bar. Upon walking in I saw there was live music. The act was two girls and a guy. The girls were singing American songs and the guy was playing a guitar and managing a sound board for the music. It was hilarious watching him go. The song they were playing when I walked in? Ebony and Ivory! Hilarious!

There were a bunch of Ex-Pats in the bar. I met a guy named Mark from Detroit. I talked to him over a few beers. He's been to Shanghai many times. After a while I called it a night.

We'll see what tomorrow brings!!!!! I also start taking some pics!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Welcome to the Pudgy Panda blog. This will be my day by day experience in China. I hope you all enjoy. (This is all assuming that it's allowed in China). Look for more starting next weekend!