Tuesday, Shanghai

23 Jul, 2013

Good morning,

I slept again for a little while. And this already happens every 2 weeks. At the beginning it was the fault of jetlegging, however it has never happened to me not to recover within 2 – 3 days regardless of where I have travelled. The only explanation I can find right now is that I do not go to sleep early, I go to bed after 12 a.m. – 1.a.m., and I have only 5 – 6 hours of sleep left. From Monday to Friday the same schedule on and on. I wake up at 7, play snooze for 1 hour. Silly thing, anyhow during this hour I cannot sleep anymore, but frankly, every single minute I think of a good excuse for not going to work. A bunch of ideas go through my mind, that I feel sick, I lost the key, or that a friend of mine has gone through something really bad. I keep on thinking about this stuff for an hour, after which I get up and out of bed and tell myself that I shall find a better excuse for tomorrow. But it’s in vain, I still haven’t found anything that could make even myself believe that it is true, let alone the others. After taking a shower I feel fresh and I realize that I had made a good choice in choosing to go. After that, I realize that once again I did not get my clothes ready from the evening and I sit on my bed and stare at the drawer. I believe it takes me around 10-15 minutes, because I just cannot decide, no matter how much I’d try. I have a pile of clothes scattered on an armchair, I try my luck there as well, however no, they are too rampled. Eventually I realize that it is already too late and I start regretting that I had better slept for 10 more minutes, than staring at some clothes. Anyhow, I believe we all go through the same stages, regadless of whether you get up to go to sell in a store at the corner of the street or if outside there is a driver waiting for you who shall drive you on the streets of the most crowded city in the world. We are all alike, in a certain way.

I finally leave my apartment and go slowly with the telephone in my hand and the sunglasses at my eyes, to find a cab. To my surprise, today I have been really lucky. The moment I reached the highway someone had just gone out of a cab. Uff, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. Yesterday I waited 45 minutes, so that in the end I took a private cab, and as a consequence I paid 3 times more the price. But instead of getting late to your job, you have to make sacrifices. I work in a 28 storeyed building. On every floor there are 10 offices at the least, and in every single such office there work 20 – 25 people.  I cannot even calculate how many human souls are in this huge building. And all these people begin their work at 9. There are only 4 elevators. The picture I have added is clearly showing the differences, how European people stand in line (the left side / blue), and how Chinese people stand in line (the right side / red). Therefore, you can only imagine what happens in front of an elevator at 9 a.m. The elevators have a specific mention regarding the fact that there cannot enter more than 15 people, but because they are small, they enter like 20 people in one such elevator. And they do not give up, they get in until the red light appears showing the heading “lift overloaded”, and then they begin to get out, but even so, I’m very nervous until I reach the 14th floor.

China and Shanghai in particular have something of a unique type. Something that is specific, however I just cannot find the proper word to describe it. I can only say that everything I have read before coming here is irrelevant. Something of the kind you are pregnant and you buy a book so that you learn how to be a good mom. There you get a clear and explicit description of every single step, how you have to react, what you have to do. You go on reading and you are so sure of yourself that everything will be exactly as the experts tell you.  Then the baby comes out and all the lines read before vanish into thin air, because nothing has any connection with what you thought would be “by the book”. The same is also valid when speaking of China. In this life, for at least one week you should live here. Otherwise you have lived in vain.

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