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Here There Be Bears

travel china \ 2011-05-31

So some of you (Hi mom!) might be wondering why I haven't updated in a week. I mean, I'm in a major city of a world power, there has to be Internet, right? This is where you would be sadly mistaken. The Internet, like nice hair, is something reserved for a select few in China, namely those who know the vocabulary for "that one thing you plug into your computer to get Internet." Also, you need to fight a bear - they've become quite a problem for the Chinese.

After fighting said bear and having Annie just go ahead and buy said Internet-thing, I am now up and running, without the actual running - sedentary is (one of) my middle name(s). However, that's not to say I don't get sufficient exercise. There's the 10 minute walk to the subway station, the 40 minutes of sweating along with all the other commuters and then another 10 minute walk to the office, where I sit and slow roast for 8 hours. If anyone has ever tells you that Shanghai is temperate (or any other word that indicates less than 100% humidity), slap them in the face. Even if you haven't been here to confirm that, do it anyways. For me.

Ok, ok, so it's not that bad, but it will be, I'm just trying to get you to commiserate with me early.

Now you're probably wondering "is he doing anything other than sweat, fight bears, and generally be an International Superstar(™)?" If you're a Chinese Visa Official, then no, I'm not. I am here for tourism. Or visiting family. I forget which I checked on the application. If you are anyone else, I am here for an internship that sells point of sale terminals. That's right, we sell the ability to sell things. Meta as hell. How do we sell things then? Don't even go there. I don't even think the CEO has worked out that bit.

Essentially, I and fellow sales associates go to potential clients and convince them that if you sell using our technology you will sell more than you can possible sell. You will sell so much that you will actually be forced to sell stuff you don't own. BAM. Financial crisis up in here. In addition to successfully selling things, I am also (ostensibly) doing some programming too. At the moment this entire paragraph is speculation, seeing as I've been working for less than a week.

What else have I been doing?

I went down to Quzhou to go to my friend Millie's wedding. In China, depending on the distribution of the couple's friends and family, there might be two wedding parties (as there was in this case). In his hometown, the groom, Jack, had a party for his 300 closest friends and family...and coworkers, and friends of his parents, and friends of his coworkers, and that guy who smells like tofu who always sits by you on the subway. Since Millie's family wasn't able to all be present for that, they had another 300 person bash in Quzhou, her hometown. Four other wedding parties decided this past Saturday would be a good day to have a wedding as well. As you can imagine, it was pretty packed.

My friend Millie

One thing that was quite unexpected was that I was asked to be a "best man" in the wedding. Jack didn't know anyone so it was my and Mille's cousin's job to fill in for the best man. It really only consisted of setting off some confetti poppers and following around Mille and Jack refilling their mini-shot glasses as they toasted each table.

Afterwards we went back to Millie's house and played card games with a bunch of people where I found out that I can understand Chinese right up until something really critical comes up, i.e. all the time.

The road home
Fried sesame meat things!