Saturday, October 28, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Slacking in Shanghai

The Great Firewall is an interesting thing. It's very odd to see what is blocked in China and what isn't. Of course, Facebook and Google are blocked -- as are some Google properties like YouTube or Blogger but then Gmail doesn't seem to be.

If I turn on my VPN, I can get to that stuff no problem. But, then, many of the native Chinese apps and websites won't load. Thus, I'm either flipping the VPN on and off or have it on on my laptop and then off on my phone.

I've got VPN here in my apartment and also at work (where it's on our network, rather than on our individual computers -- though sometimes I have to turn it on my computer if things seem blocked.

I plowed through the North Avenue Irregulars piece last night and now I'm putting off writing the Linda Lovelace for President piece. I'm also reading about Duel (I'm guesting on a podcast about that tomorrow) and Who Killed Teddy Bear(which will be the last episode of The Projection Booth I record in Shanghai, I reckon. I also need to edit the October episode of The Kolchak Tapes which I think is going to turn into the "early November" episode.

Next week I can't see a lot of editing happening as Andrea gets into town on Thursday night. I'll probably leave work a little early that day and then take a taxi to the airport to pick her up. Her flight gets in at 7:30 and, hopefully, won't be too much later than that.

I've been working on our itinerary for her time in town. I want to do a lot of touristy stuff while not overwhelming her with activities. This isn't going to be a "vacation", per se, but a "trip". No lounging on the veranda by the pool. Not that I've seen a pool around here, yet.

I noticed the other day that back in Detroit, while I get along with my female coworkers, I tend to hang out with my male coworkers. While here, I've been getting along with my male coworkers, and hanging out with my female coworkers, specifically Emily. She's a bit of a foodie so she's been great to recommend some restaurants. Meanwhile, her husband is a film fan. We're hoping to get her family together with Andrea and I when she's in town.

Every co-worker I've talked to so far is married with one kid (though there's no "one child" policy around anymore -- yet, I hear that it's more of a "two child" policy. My co-worker, Jade, is about to have her second child and I can't imagine how she's going to handle it. Every Thursday or Friday I ask my typical "do you have big plans for the weekend?" question and the answers from my co-workers are almost identical to a fault. They all seem to spend weekends taking their kids to classes. Not things like ballet or swing classes but to actual classes like English, Chinese, Music, Math, etc. And these classes run three hours long and happen on Saturday and Sunday. I hate to make broad cultural remarks but everyone seems so driven. I actually feel guilty when I say, "Oh, I'm going to watch some movies, do some grocery shopping, write some articles, read, record some podcasts, and do some audio editing." SLACKER!

I think tomorrow I need to get out of the apartment a bit more and do some exploring, maybe in the morning or after the Duel recording.

A sticker set on WeChat of a cute little ganshi? Yes, please.

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