Friday, November 03, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Andrea's Arrival

It's been a fairly quiet week. I've been heads down in a lot of testing of our upgrade to Adobe Experience Manager 6.3, making sure everything is working in a new stage environment before things get pushed live.

I was feeling a bit like Cassandra with this project when I saw the mismatched content from the live environment to the stage environment but, to be honest, I feel like Cassandra a lot. When I said that at a meeting at work, I got a good laugh because the guy I said it to had no idea what I meant and thought I was talking about an Apache database.

Last night I picked Andrea up from the airport. That was a little adventure.

I checked with the Delta Air website and found out that Andrea's flight was coming in an hour early! That beat mine as I was an hour late.

I called a Didi (one app that can call either a taxi or many forms of cars that act a lot like Uber or Lyft) and rode to the airport. On the way my driver started talking to me and I had no idea what he was saying. I hit upon the Baidu Translate app and we "conversed" a bit through that. He asked me what terminal I wanted to go to and I said that I wasn't sure, wherever Delta arrives. I don't know if "Delta" was being translated literally or not.

He asked me if I'd like him to wait for me and he'd take my wife and I back. I told him that I'd like that but that it would be a while as we had to wait for her to get her luggage. He assured me that wasn't a problem.

We left from my office at 5:30 and the airport is roughly a half hour away. Even with traffic I figured it'd take roughly 45 minutes. Yet, he drove slower than anyone else on the road. We had cars honking at us as they passed by on the left and right.

We got to the airport at 6:30 and he offered to come in with me because he was afraid I'd get lost. For whatever reason, I was actually better at navigating the airport than he was. We were in Terminal 1 and I found a sign that told me that Delta flights came in Terminal 2 so we walked over there. He tried to get off on the wrong floor, despite the big sign (in English and Chinese) that said we needed to get off on the first floor. "E Lo!" I assured him.

We found the arrival area which was intimately familiar to me. By this time it was 6:40. I figured that I still had another 40 minutes of waiting for Andrea but, surprisingly, it was only 20. She staggered out, jetlagged, around 7PM. Then, unfortunately, we had the ten minute walk back to the parking garage. And, again, more shenanigans when the driver forgot what floor we'd parked on. I thought it was B2 and that's where we went but he didn't see his car right away so we went up to B1. By this time, I was messaging him via WeChat. "You took picture of car," I told him (pidgin English translates better, I find, than nuanced language). He told me that we were on the right floor now but I didn't think so. After he consulted with one of the guys who worked at the garage we returned to B2 where he finally located his vehicle.

I honestly think this guy might have been drunk. He didn't swerve like a drunk driver but, again, the ride back to my apartment took forever. I think we were going roughly 60 KPH on the freeway. That's 37 MPH, folks.

Even though he had the address of my apartment building programmed into his phone he slowed down at the beginning of my block. I did the universal sign for "go farther" and he'd creep a bit and I'd wave more frantically. Finally he stopped at a hotel or apartment building four doors down from my place. I didn't want to argue with him. I just wanted to pay and get home.

We had agreed that the trip back from the airport would be "off the books" but getting a price from him was odd. I know how to say, "How much money is it?" and he answered with a text that translated as "look at the dots." I remembered how to say, "I don't understand." I even pulled up my WeChat pay and asked him to input the figure. Finally he texted me 200 (RMB). Between that and the trip to the airport it cost me about 330 RMB which is exactly what I paid my Gypsy cab driver from the Pudong airport to my apartment the first night. That's about $50 US.

Andrea wasn't happy to walk the last little bit and I can't blame her. Fortunately, we only had to go about 30 yards and were able to go up the service entrance to my place which is very close to my room.

We sat up for a bit and I showed her all the amenities of the place and told her a bit about the lay of the land before she crashed out.

When I left this morning, she was barely awake and I told her to go back to sleep.

Unfortunately, I think she came over to Shanghai with a cold which reminds me a lot of when we went to NYC for Cinekink a few years back and she was really sick. I hope she gets better soon. I don't her to come 7200 miles only to have a lousy time.

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