Yes, the stereotype that we love so much appears to be false This is based atleast on my own work colleagues, most of whom are German. I really do feel quite some way away from the UK’s political correctness and we regularly tease each other about topics such as WW2 or common stereotypes. I didn’t think this would be acceptable before coming here. Indeed the other day they were laughing at this YouTube clip that i include below. It makes a mockery of such stereotypes. I only watched a small part, but there seemed no mention of David Hasselhoff??
I am now planning for some more weekend fun and am hoping to find a waterpark somewhere close to Shanghai. Something like CenterParcs, with rapids, big slides, etc… would be great. Unfortunately i have only found one such place so far, and it is now closed until next summer. It includes a man-made beach and specially treated water (pretty crucial around here!). I will have to try looking in the neighbouring provinces perhaps. The company is also organising a sailing day which should be great fun. That is a week sunday, and i can take Ruby as a guest. I hope to hire a boat for the day, and finish with a BBQ. Whilst the weather holds, i need to do these things. Unfortunately in this part of China it is not simply a case of taking a train to the nearest beach. Certain areas are simply too polluted to be worth considering, but other areas can be fine.
The company’s offices are on the river in north Shanghai. This gives me quite a lovely view whilst i work, but the Suzhou river is certainly not good enough to take a lunchtime dip Infact, i would rather throw myself into the River Cam.
My weekday evenings here are still pretty tame as i continue to save for holidays next year. My evening’s TV is dictated by what UK programmes are uploaded to my torrent websites. Currently i have Soccer Am, two weeks of EastEnders and the final series of 24 awaiting me. Perhaps that is reason enough to go out tonight! Unfortunately nights out with work colleagues are typically to western bars which eat into my savings very quickly. So as much fun as they are, i try to only go when there is some Football to watch, or the company is footing the bill.
Time is starting to go VERY quickly here now and it will very soon be christmas. I hope to do several things around then and maybe even visit Vietnam, but getting time off here is not so easy, as you have to earn it before you can take it :-(. I will continue to try to fit as much in as possible whilst i am over here, and will try to draw up a list of must do events soon. I can get most of these from various Shanghai books and will add in some other suggestions from my chinese friends. I still hope to visit Tibet one day, but perhaps it would be a long holiday in itself in a few years time, rather than short trip from Shanghai. The train from Shanghai would take around 24 hours, and i would also need a special visa for visiting here.
Some of the chinese guys at work continue to make me laugh too. They are always friendly and polite and i like to help some of them to broaden their English vocabulary. Many already speak fluently. I could never imagine being a teacher, as my English is not good enough, and grammar is oh so dull, but i very much enjoy helping my colleagues here on a more adhoc basis. One colleague is a middle aged man who’s English was imcomprehensible when i arrived around three months ago. But he has improved dramatically and now presents his work daily to the team. Many here have a slight American twang to their English which must come from all the copied DVDs and music that swamp the city’s streets. I have done my best to encourage people to lose this twang, and speak the Queen’s English (Yes, ENGLISH – the clue is in the name!!). I guess i can’t really blame people for this when there are seldom few brits in this city and International English, as it is sickeningly referred to, is of more use to foreigners. So i got off my high-horse some time ago
Some of the chinese colleagues were discussing music and wanted to know which bands i would listen to and where they were from. Chinese people generally know of cheesy pop artists and not so much of what i would call proper music. They knew Backstreet Boys, Westlife and Avril Lavigne. One of my friends also likes Mariah Carey, “for her music”. Not sure if i believe him! Once our Internet is up and running again i shall send him some info on the lovely Girls Aloud ladies, which might tempt him away from that rubbish.
The best known chinese acts also tend to be very pop based. With such widespread copyright fraud in China i do not know how artists make much money. Indeed sponsorship is a relatively new thing here and there is also not as much of a live music culture as we have in the UK. There are music events in the more modern cities of China and even occasional “festivals” but they are never the size or regularity as at home. The Chinese “powers that be” do not trust large gatherings of young people, so its impossible for a city here to hold a chinese equivalent of the likes of V Festival or Glastonbury. Still, i guess in a Communist country, that’s hardly surprising!