Saturday, January 15

Day One

I woke to a gray polluted Shenzhen.

After breakfast served by Hanna, named after the Montana character, I grabbed my laptop and headed for the convention center.

My first daytime view of China. There appears to be state officials dotted everywhere, but they are all very welcoming.

Arriving at the huge convention center where I'll be spending the next 8 working days, I'm greeted by a scene of hundreds of Christmas artifacts.

I don't usually include work specifics, but I'm here to collect information for a Christmas 2011 design project. We'd asked the client to provide some space for us, and lo and behold in this cavernous space they had walled off a 30x30 feet space replete with curtain. Our space is filled with 2 small desks, 4 chairs, and 2 of the most dangerous looking electric sockets you ever saw. Speaking of Saw (nice segue Richard!), the concrete floor looks like it was lifted from the torture movie of the same name.

And then we sat. Truth be told we expected the first day to be slow. During the day I met an American photographer who lives out here, and his Chinese assistant Mr Li. Nice guys. Told him I might need a photocopier. He said, "I'll go buy one for $100, back in 15 minutes."

At lunch I walked back to the hotel to check on my luggage. Still no news, so I walked over to the mall to scope out possible Chinese fashions!

Inside, much to my equal delight and sadness were a Zara, Boss and Gap. There was also a beauty pageant going on.

Back to work, and the afternoon picked up. Finally I feel like my work has begun. The next 7 days will be busy. Here's a scene of the floor filling up with all that stuff people of questionable taste fill their yards with.

After work I walked back, through the Middle Eastern street-food vendors (a surprise), and the busy Chinese professionals going home to the multitude of high rise buildings.

Yay. My bags arrived. Big tip for Nu Lo the concierge. A shower and shave, and finally some fresh clean clothes.

Also on this trip, are my business partner Maria and her husband and son - who are helping us with the admin (and muscle) required of this project. During work, they refer to each other by their names. No mom, or darling. But tonight we gave Maria's son Nick the choice of where we go for dinner. After 3 days of Hong Kong delicacies he chose ... The Spaghetti House.

Wasn't the worst Italian food I ever ate.

Also randomly started talking to a Chinese kid on the next table who works for Mophie the iPhone/pod accessory manufacturer.

And that was my first full day in China, which was followed by 9 hours of deep soothing sleep, despite the presence of this Girl with the Pearl Earring print casting her beady eye over me in the corner of the room.

She reminds me of the time Anne and I went to the Liguria Coast in Italy. We booked through the left-leaning Guardian newspaper, but the tour was full of Telegraph reading right-wing posh English people who painstakingly shoehorned Vermeer into every conversation.


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