There is definitely something to be said for living completely spontaneously. I woke up this morning and decided I wanted to go to Beijing or Shanghaiâ€¦ I looked online but couldnâ€™t book anything because it was too short of notice so I just decided to go to the airport. I got here, and walked up to the counter, within 30 seconds I had my ticket to Shanghai for a flight that was leaving right away (and I think I got it even cheaper than what I saw quoted on the internet)â€¦ I then walked up to the checkin counter and had my boarding pass in what had to be under 10 seconds (China can be highly efficient sometimesâ€¦ this is an excellent example).
I just got into Shanghai, walked up to some kiosk at the airport and asked about hotels, they referred me to a nice hotel right downtown with highspeed internet (actually all hotels I have been to in China have high speed it is awesome… much better than San Jose, which is supposedly Silicon Valley, where half the hotels don’t have it and if they do they charge ludicrous amounts for it). I checked on the internet a few days ago and found hotels from around $60-90 USD a night but this hotel is $40… Even when I got to the hotel their listed rate is $60 USD, so just by booking it spontaneously at the airport I saved another $20. I tell ya, never plan anything… going with the flow almost always seems to work.
There is so many little stories I can tell about Chinaâ€¦ it is such a neat, interesting place. Maybe Iâ€™ll just do some in point form
-We left a restaurant the other day without paying by accident (I promise… I am broke but not that broke)â€¦ the waitress ran to get us, saying she was sorry numerous times, basically saying, â€œI am very sorry, but you have forgotten to payâ€?â€¦ what a cool country where even when you skip out on the restaurant bill they apologize to youâ€¦ and I thought Canadians were overly apologetic!
-Numerous times now I have tried to tip at a restaurant or barâ€¦ in many cases they just wonâ€™t accept itâ€¦ and on the rare occasion that they do, they usually give me some back, saying that it is too much (usually tip about 10-15%… and in many cases this is like, $1)â€¦ and when they do accept it, they usually are so happy and sometimes even give me gifts?!?! Now that is the way tipping was intendedâ€¦ unlike in the United Evil States of America where I have been chastised in places like Vegas for ONLY tipping 15%… btwâ€¦ if you are a taxi driver or waiter in the US, and you give me completely mundane service and then get angry at me for only tipping 10 or 15%, you should be prepared to be knocked outâ€¦ I will not be walking away until you are significantly pushed around at the least. Pricks. On that note, I have been pushing people around a lot more than ever before this yearâ€¦ not sure what the deal isâ€¦ just tired of losers I think.
-If you think China is â€œcommunistâ€? and think that there is no free enterprise in this country and it is backward in its ways, think againâ€¦ this country is incredibly well run, making American style democracy look like a pathetic, unworkable system (which it basically is). It also is more free enterprise, in many ways, than Canada, US and most of Europe. If you are a capitalist, or entrepreneur, you need to get your ass-ets over here
-There are definitely a few areas that need some major improvement here, however. First and foremost is pollution, most major cities have a perpetual haze over them. When Danny first got here he was by himself for 5 days before I arrived. When I got here he said to me that it is really beautiful here, but he was wondering if this fog was normal. I had to be the one to inform him that it ainâ€™t fog. The other things that could use fixing are the way they drive… the only way to describe it is a constant game of chicken. You can go wherever you want, do anything you want, and basically you are challenging one car after another to see who will stop first.
-The service, food quality and overall design of most places I have been to have been impeccable and pretty much better than anywhere I have been, including NYC, HK, Tokyo, London etc.
-The level of intelligence, and overall schooling here is really amazing also. Many of the girls I have been meeting have their MBAâ€™s, Masters in Economics, speak numerous languages etc. Compared to China, North America looks like a bunch of lazy, fat, stupid people (which is kind of how they see us, rightfully so).
That’s it for now… it is Saturday night in Shanghai… btw… WHAT A SKYLINE… this may be the coolest skyline I have ever seen… there is so many interesting buildings, and one of them is a very large office tower… and the ENTIRE thing is a giant TV, I have never seen anything like that. Looking forward to seeing more this evening!