After what seemed like two days of traveling and which actually was almost two days of traveling, we arrived to Shanghai for our Apartment Hunting trip on September 16th. Andy’s boss, John Bagley, had kindly written up some very detailed instructions about what to expect at the airport to ease the entry into the country. After we found our van/driver and the other folks from HP traveling with us, we drove to the <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jin_Mao_tower”>Jin Mao tower</a>, home of the spectacular Grand Hyatt hotel. (definitely check out the photos page and the video under “Shanghai Apartment.”
The stiffness of our legs from the 2+13 hour flights and the tiredness from our jet lag was much more enjoyable at the Grand Hyatt hotel. We stayed in suites and now know what luxury feels like (pretty dang good.)
The first night in Shanghai, we went to dinner across the street from the hotel with other people from HP. Luckily, there were two Mandarin-speakers there who ordered all of our food for us and asked for “less spicy than normal Shanghai style.” Thank goodness that the asked for less spicy because we were still sweating after taking bites out of a few of the dishes. The food was served in a “family style” fashion which is a great way to get to try a lot of dishes and only eat more of the ones that you like (or don’t burn your tongue off.)
The next morning, we awoke early (heck, I think I was up at 3am from the jetlag) and met Roman and Angie Wachter who were also on their Apartment Hunting trip and went to a Chinese medical facility to get our physicals, necessary for work visas. They were quite thorough ranging from blood tests to an ultrasound and EKG. After that, Zoie and Kate, our two escorts took us into Pu Xie and on the bund to see some of the city.
The next several days were spent walking through, what seemed like an endless number of apartments. Each one had something that we liked about it, but also things that we did not like. After we had seen all of the apartments and asked to see more, there was not one clear winner. Of the three we had narrowed it down to, one had an awesome view and downtown location but was smaller; one was huge but was in the boonies; and one had the downtown location, mediocre view and was medium sized. In typical engineer fashion, I created a spreadsheet with weighted categories/columns to try and help us make a decision. We went and saw our three finalists again and finally decided on the view/location versus the size. We figure that this is our chance to live in a big city and live like big city people do, so we will sacrifice some size. Now, hopefully all of the stuff we need fits.
I forgot to mention, the apartment we chose has an awesome club house as well. It is complete with exercise equipment, lap pool, wave pool, pool bar, restaurant (that provides room service), yoga studio, racquetball courts, pool hall, etc.
Besides looking for an apartment, we spent some time exploring the city including the wonderful shopping at the Yu Yuan Bazaar and the newly located (after being shut down) “Knock Off Market.” We had some wonderful meals and even experienced what it will be like living in Shanghai and ordering off of a menu that has nothing but Chinese symbols. Hmmmm. I guess I better learn the symbol for chicken and vegetables OR be content eating duck lips, blood or head.
All and all, it was a great trip that made me really excited to move to Shanghai (Andy was already really excited before the trip since he had been there before.)
Now, we just need to go home, pack all of our earthly belongings and say good bye to friends and loved ones before getting back on that plane.
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