Friday, July 8, 2011

Work travel diary : Shanghai

It just occured to me that I never documented any of my work travels here. I was too busy and too stressed out to blog then. So let me start off with Shanghai, which was one of my last destinations before leaving the corporate world.

Do I miss travelling on business? (I'll answer this later)
And I don't mean on BUSINESS CLASS
For work, I used to fly coach all the time. I hadn't earned the title required to travel a class higher.

Pudong International Airport
I love seeing big, progressive airports
But I feel a slight tug in my heart when I look around and realize how pathetic our airports are

In a cab, on the way to my hotel
Shanghai is beautiful but my first taste of the language barrier happened here.
I was prepared though. The airport staff are more adept at speaking English so I asked one of them to write down my hotel's name in Chinese so that the cab driver would know where to take me.

I stayed here for the next 4 days (or was it 3?)

There's a story to be told here, an unfortunate one. I got to the hotel at dinnertime. I was famished because I chose to catch up on some sleep during the 3.5 hour flight from Manila and ignored the flight attendant's offer to eat. But when I got to the Front Desk, I was told they had let go of my reservation because I moved the date of my arrival --- and no one bothered to send them a notice. So I was marked as a "no show". I waited for about 2 hours in the hotel lobby, not wanting to leave to grab a bite, because I was afraid they wouldn't attend to my request for a room.

Two hours and a room upgrade later (hey, I worked in a hotel for 5 years so I knew my rights!), I walked into this

A huge room with TWO BEDS all to myself
Depressing when you have two beds and you know the other one's gonna be empty the entire time you're there.

More depressing was the fact that I was too tired to go out and have dinner so I had to make do with room service and the TV to keep me company

I was exhausted and sleepy so I didn't want to stuff myself
Had a big bowl of Wanton Soup

The next few days were filled with both work and play
(I'm not going to post any work-related photos. I have my reasons.)
It was my first time in Shanghai and I wanted to take in as much as I could after work

One afternoon, I took a cab to Nanjing Road, where most of the popular shops are but it was raining and I couldn't enjoy it much

The Louis Vuitton store on Nanjing Road
Amazing how the sights in Shanghai tend to negate the fact that you're in a communist territory

I met up with Shanghai-based friends who were generous with their time and took me around

Here I am at the famous Bund with my highschool batchmate who works for an offshore banking unit there, and her also Filipina colleague

There was so much food to be had! I'm just glad these friends knew where to take me for really really good bites!

I did do some shopping, yes. But not as much as I would in HK or Singapore. My hotel was not situated anywhere near the shopping districts so it was kind of troublesome for me. But good for my wallet :)

So going back to my question...

Do I miss travelling on business?

Yes for the following reasons : it's free, I get to see places for the first time, I get to touch base with friends I haven't seen in ages and of course, I get to shop on the side.

No for the following reasons : I hate leaving my family behind, I'm doubly tired when I return to homebase, it's LONELY period.

I'm just so blessed to have been given the opportunity :)

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