Well since getting back from vacation it has been crazy busy. Eric just got back from Australia and although it was a really busy week did get to stay over an extra night to enjoy Sydney. He spend the day on Saturday walking around an area called The Rocks. He got to hang out in a very fun Irish Pub with lots of good music and enjoy weather that was a little cooler than Shanghai. Someone asked me if I was sad that he stayed and I looked at them and said -- Sydney or Shanghai -- not a hard choice.....ha ha....However the other reason for the extended stay was because I was leaving to go to India for the first time.
I left for Mumbai (Bombay) on last Saturday and was there until very late Wednesday night. The trip was an incredible experience. I got to spend about 3.5 hours driving around central Mumbai to see some of the key sights. I took some pictures and added text so you could know what they are, but I also tried to take a lot of video. It was kind of over the top - but you have to see it to believe it. Probably the thing that was so hard to see was the level of poverty. It seemed like no matter where we went there were people living in tents, or under cardboard, there were beggars everywhere we went. The driver actually would not let me out of the car by myself because I would have so many people it was a little over whelming. I also did not go to any bazaars - mostly because I couldn't handle how many people were there and the lack of space to barter over items that were not necessary. As you drive around the cities it seems like there is construction everywhere -- but the crazy part is that it doesn't look like any of it is completed and it has been under construction for years. It is dirty or moldy or has garbage everywhere around it. I only saw about 10 cows in Mumbai -- but when I went to Pune I saw a lot of cows and we did have to avoid them in the streets.
After touring Mumbai - I ended up going to a spa in the hotel for an Indian Ayurveda Massage - it was pretty cool. They started the massage off with doing a hindu chant and then they end the massage by continuously pouring this warm oil over my forehead. It was awesome but I literally had to wash my hair 5 times to get it all out.....I then went to dinner in the hotel - it was fabulous! I had good food while I was in India but I only ate in higher end restaurants (not a surprise for any one who knows me) and ate no uncooked food of any type. I also brushed my teeth with bottled water even though they said we didn't have to....after driving around I couldn't believe it.
On Monday morning I left for Pune which was about a 4 hour drive. We left at 6:30 a.m. to try and get ahead of the traffic. We had to drive through a large part of Mumbai and I just want you to know that it was so depressing that I almost started crying. It was the morning and everyone was getting ready to go about their day but the things that I saw while driving (like a field full of people all with their pants around their ankles doing their morning business right next to each other -- absolutely no privacy) -- were really overwhelming. It really teaches you about different cultures because they really view this as acceptable in this part of the world. People explained it to me while I was here, but from my history and experience it was hard to accept and even harder to understand. The drive over to Pune was across a mountain range and it was breathtaking -- the views were really beautiful. The driving was a little crazy but after living in China I decided it wasn't that bad.
Pune was actually nicer than Mumbai. They have a significant number of IT Parks with lots of corporations having their IT functions based out of there. The people of India are very nice and very helpful. It was great to be in a country that understood english. The sari's that the women wore here were incredibly beautiful. So colorful and amazing -- one of the secretaries told me next time I come they will help me buy one and then show me how to wear it....I think that could be pretty cool -- but honestly I don't know how they get them to stay up -- because it is just a long, long piece of fabric....
Hope you enjoy the post.....we leave for Europe on Friday and are going to be spending time in London, Geneva and Budapest (which we are going for a long weekend to celebrate our upcoming anniversary). We will add another post after all of that, but hope you are all doing well -- we think of home often and really miss the US on most days, but know this will be a great experience once it is over :).....
Well we have been back in Shanghai for 1 week now - and the weather is so hot and humid it is incredible. We don't even feel you can breathe very easy. Our vacation at the lake was amazing and we had fantastic weather. Eric got to boat and bike -- Molly skied and paddleboarded all over the lake. Eric has even decided that it would be a good sport and did it several times with Molly. As a side note there is now a picture of Eric in our photo gallery - it was taken on our way home from a paddle board between the little lake and Priest.
Our trip back was uneventful and we came on the Air Canada flight from Vancouver BC -- we have decided that is an awesome way to get here -- we landed early enough for us to be at our apartment by 3:45 p.m. That meant that our Aiyi (Lucy) was still here -- she helped unpack everything (including our 4 duffel bags of food) -- by 5:30 p.m. all 6 of our bags were unloaded and laundry was started. It really is amazing to have that help. I thought it might take me awhile to get used to it, but apparently it only took me 2 weeks. She is amazing and really helpful. Eric and my closets have never been so organized and the laundry is way better than when I do it....
The first morning here is always a challenge because we wake up early -- so we went to do a work out (5:30 a.m.) -- the gym was not open yet so we went to the park across from our apartment for a walk -- seriously that was a really scary thing. Eric thought it was like being in a park of zombies -- next time we are there that early we will take a flip video - because you have to see it to believe it....
On Saturday we decided to go for a walk. Not sure why, it was 97 degrees and the humidity was at least that level. We were sweating before we hit the end of the first block. But, we walked around for 6 hours -- and I think we must have gone at least 8 miles -- we did stop and get a massage at the end of that walk -- which made it a little better. Ironically when it is that hot -- there are fewer people out, because it is so miserable -- we walked so much both Eric and I got blisters -- so no walking on Sunday....we stayed in the air conditioned apartment all day.
Eric is leaving for a trip tomorrow into the middle of China to meet with our Co-Chairman and local government officials - it is the first meeting like this he will have been to.....we should have some good blog material from that. Molly is getting ready for her first trip to India -- a whole week in at least 2 different cities.
Overall we are doing well and hope all of you are enjoying your summer!
Well it is June 29th and we are just getting back from a crazy couple of weeks. The first part is that our computer lost its "motherboard" so we were without for about 2 weeks -- but it seems like they fixed it and all is working now...we shall see in about 6 months. If you would have seen us trying to talk to apple from here - then go to a best buy to get help and then be sent to a service center -- its just crazy. If something usually takes 2 hours -- it will take 20 in China. We are getting a lot more settled in our apartment -- I uploaded some video's so you can all see what it looks like. Even better news is that today we officially hired our AiYi -- Lucy. So far we have had trouble finding someone who spoke enough english, and was o.k. with not having children. Apparently -- that is a very important thing over here - and if you have kids its easier to get really good help.
Eric has probably taken the most interesting trip -- he spent a week in New Delhi, India. We are posting some video's from his trip. He liked India overall and enjoyed getting to see the country. He had no problems with the food and actually got some very cool artwork that we now will have in our apartment. He got to go see a couple of our partners that are working with us -- and if you see the video's you can have a sense for how dirty it was...and how poor the infrastructure is in that country. While he was there he actually was in Delhi when a honor killing happened. The parents of the daughter invited the boyfriend over to their home to try and get them to not be together. Eventually the parents tortured and electrocuted both of them over the course of 2 hours. That issue aside one of the pieces he thought was the most amazing was that the people were so poor -- but they were really happy. And although they are a democratic state -- they have 20 years backlog worth of court cases because they only have 10 judges per 1 million people -- apparently the US has 110 per 1 million. There 22 million people who live in this city, but it is spread out over a really big area because no building is over 4 stories tall typically....very different than china where everything is over 16
While Eric was in India - Molly was in Europe -- and from my perspective definitely got a better deal! I was in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Bonn (Germany), and Amsterdam. It was a really crazy week and I did not have the camera so the couple of pictures I took are not nearly as good as Eric's. But I had a great time watching "football" in the world cup -- both the netherlands and denmark were playing when I was in those countries and people go crazy -- its like a month of superbowl games! I did get to go to Tivoli in Copenhagen at night -- which was very fun -- I won Murphy a stuffed animal playing the games and I got to have some sort of pastry that was so good I could have eaten them for a month.
In 14 days we leave for Singapore and from there get to come home for a 2 week vacation at the lake. We are anxious to take some time off -- we have not had any vacation yet -- and both of us are feeling a little burned out. We are doing well and out jobs are keeping us both really busy. Eric has been working on strategic plans, rebuilding his organization and learning about the markets. Molly is doing current state maps of all the sales support, project management and computer technical tools for the sales organization. We both are drinking out of a firehose!
Hope you are doing well! We miss the US....
Well here is our first post on our "blog" from Asia Pacific.....I am not to sure what to say except thank goodness we are in our apartment and have unpacked. Molly's temper tantrums paid off and they delivered all of our stuff within record time once she became person non-grata. (For those of you who know her -- I am sure you are surprised that she could be mean and appear that snotty :). The apartment is coming along nicely except for fact one of the TV's is broken so they had to take it away for a "repair." After we get it back we will take a video of the apartment for people to see where we are living. Apparently in China -- quality for their own "living stuff" is not that important -- there really is such as a thing as "its good enough." We have had multiple items not working correctly -- and it seems like every day there is a different repair man making sure that we are fixed. The good news is that they come really quickly and solve the problem -- it just is painful to get through. The other interesting thing is having people work with you and you don't speak the language -- trying to demonstrate what you want them to do and then communicate if it is right or wrong -- takes a lot of energy and still only works about 70% of the time.
Another key point about living here -- all the appliances have directions but they are in chinese....it has taken Molly 4 loads of laundry to figure out how to work it properly (trial and error) and we had a big problem that we could not get the dryer to work - it was taking 4 hours to dry things. It turns out that there is this "water catcher thing" (that is the best description we have for it) and since we were not emptying it -- the dryer basically was not working. It appears that we are back on track now that we are emptying this thing. It seems minor but these little things have caused us to go a little crazy at different times. However -- our american stuff we bought before coming over does work (thank goodness!).....
Overall we are doing pretty well. Molly has been to Singapore and Australia in the last 2 weeks. The weather in Singapore was amazing (it seems like a good place to go for hot weather)....Sydney was really cold and rainy since it is their fall...Molly will be heading to Europe in June on Business and then probably to India in early July.
Eric has been traveling within China to the plants and seeing customers. He is getting ready for a trip to India in early June.
The humidity is crazy. We have never experienced anything like it....It is hard to believe that next weekend is Memorial Day and we won't be at the lake....We are thinking of everyone and missing the US. Take care and we will keep you updated.
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