Saturday, March 31

Weekend without doing anything. RELAX!


Even places like Manzhouli have weekends! The morning breakfast here is great, thank you Luke for fixing me up with that :) I haven't really done anything else today than laid in bed watching 2 seasons of Archer. Really one of the best series I've seen for a long time. Thanks for the hint James! Been laughing out loud alone in my hotel room...
In the evening I went to the gym, like almost everything else here, it was also empty. The only time I went out of the hotel was when I needed to buy more clothes. I didn't plan to stay this long here so I ran out of underwear, socks and tshirts....10 pairs of socks was 2 euros. Wow. Oh jeah, I didn't take my shaver with me because I didn't wanna take any luggage into the plane. Might need to buy a shaver, it's getting quite messy already.
After the gym I just ordered a cheese salad to the room, was surprised it was so cheap, only 22 rmb in a hotel like this. And more Archer...

Friday, March 30

Snowstorm & Winter


One of the few days the weather has been bad here. When I woke up in the morning outside was all white. Great, the winter came back to Manzhouli. Was a lot colder too, got down to -8 now. But I guess this is the last I will see of winter signs this year, meiyou wenti!

5th avenue
So what have I been doing all the time I've been here this week? Sitting at our partners office preparing a shipment that will be done tomorrow. We will have a truck coming from Russia and we will load a big piece of machinery on the truck. The truck will then head back to Russia to it's final destination. This is the office I've been sitting at :)
The lunch is always great here, blinis and pancakes. Exactly the same way my mom used to make them. Pl├Ąttar! Och smaken var helt samma, mamma.
On the way home from the office the snow had stopped and the sky was clear again. Sunset was great and also found an amazing cake shop on the way! And they are so cheap! Everything around 5-15 euros! Even the big ones! Not to mention the toilets, check these out! Fine china in China.

Caaaaakes!!!
Hans & Gretel?
This ad cracked me up, dude, what??????? :D

Wednesday, March 28

Seals in a restaurant


One of our partners employee had a birthday so we went to a nice local restaurant. The restaurant had all sorts of living seafood you could choose from. "Gimme that giant crab and this lobster" sort of way to choose. There were also 2 seals that I hope are not on the menu to be served. They had a really small pool to live in, poor things...Didn't really get a good picture, they didn't want to come up to the surface. Using windows to make the blog so the format is sometimes soso, big text, small text different font but for some reason I can't change it. Mac is just so much better but I left it home...

Choosing the food
Seal pool for 2...
I also wonder if this one was on the menu or just for show.
Everyone from Finland should recognize this fish. It was imported from Russia...
The cake had a strange flower looking candle, then it was lit up it erupted like some volcano. Luckily no one had their face close to it, would have been a disaster...It also started playing "Happy Birthday" after the fire stopped. Need to get one of those for next bday!
They still use donkeys and horses to transport stuff around the city. I also saw from the airplane a huge horde of horses in the grasslands while the plane was flying low. It's like going to Lappland but there they have reindeer's.
Koli, if you are reading this I found a picture of you in the street!!
The gym here only has room temperature water so I asked the person who works there if it's possible to get ice cold water somehow. Now i always bottles that are frozen half way, it really IS ice cold now! Took my words very liturally. Thank you Shangri-la :)

Tuesday, March 27

The Beautiful North


Manzhouli is like a totally different city now when it's warmer! Today i was just wearing a T-Shirt under the jacket. I can't believe that it was -36 degrees here just 2 months ago!! Changed so fast!

Streetside gym machines, and actually a lot of people use them....
Looks like it's been used a lot...
Around around goes the wheel, this exercise looks useful!
Street art!
After work I went to eat with Luke to a Russian restaurant called Sasha. The had all kinds of BBQ and other meat dishes. We ate till we could not get another mouthful down. The chef here is from Urumuqi and has a reputation of making the best Saslik in Manzhouli. And good it was! I also got to know that in the building next to this they make the best dog BBQ, guess we have a winner place for tomorrows dinner.....not.
To let the food sink down we went to VIP room for some whiskey to let the food sink better down. They had an evening performance. There were Chinese acrobats, some bartender throwing around bottles on fire and a drag queen signing. TIM = This in Manzhouli.
Handwriting in sand on a screen, but this performance sucked compared to all the others I've seen
Sunset up here in the north is almost as beautiful in Finland. Under a blood red sky like U2 would have put it. October....

Monday, March 26

Travel!


Manzhouli is calling for the 8th time already! This project is almost finished now, and by Thursday I'll probably go back home to Shanghai and start packing my stuff. Next week it's already time to move to Beijing! Let's see if the schedule holds, I don't even have an apartment to move into. The prices of the Season Park apartments have gone up SO much in 1 year, around 30%...I can't understand how most of the local people can afford them....
Had to stop by in Beijing for a day before going to Manzhouli since there are no direct flight from Shanghai. Didn't do very much else than played some pool @ Nearby The Tree in the evening and chilled rest of the day. Air was soso, not as bad as it was around 2 months ago.

Traffic at Beijing airport, the planes are ALWAYS late
Manzhouli is a lot warmer now. In the daytime I was just wearing normal jacket and pants. Still almost sweating. Later in the evening is still around -10 but daytime and sunshine is really nice! The hotel room needs air conditioner to stay cool, it's otherwise too hot here!

This Silent Hill theme-park is kinda freaky...Can only hear the wind blowing and not a soul in sight...
Is there really a horse or human head?
Summary streets!
Local apple and orange woman, had the best oranges I ever eaten!
Park art?
If there is a short circuit and you have to look for the broken one, how do you start?

SPRINGTIME!


It's getting warm again in Shanghai! Can almost walk without a jacket now! And the houses are not ice cold inside either! We had lunch at the Fat Olive, walking distance from the office. It's so nice to be able to sit outside eating with sunshine! Our office is the blue Mordor looking tower, we are on the 15th floor.
Went shopping and found some funny things. Moshi Moshi phone for computer or anything where you can plug a microphone...In the hallway to this shop a witch was waiting...Random.
We had had our roof leaking the last few days so I called the management to come and have a look. They sent 2 guys to repair it. But the only thing they did was add some cement looking stuff on the planks. They didn't actually fix the water from where it was leaking they just put something in the roof so the water will not drip down, for the moment...Way to go! And next day it was leaking again, I called them, same guy comes again. He said that if it continues 2 more days he will have another look....Play the waiting game then.

Global enterprises and how they have changed


We are living in a more global world for each day that passes. Before manufacturing was simple, there was a factory making for example elevators in Finland. They had their own materials and maybe some suppliers next to the factory who supplied them with the rest of the stuff. The elevator was assembled in Finland and then sent to Germany or whatever country bought it. Today the parts would mainly come from China and the assembling will also be done here. The HQ in Finland will do the sales, after sales and provide software for the elevator. The way of making business has shifted a lot. A Finnish company called ETLA came and gave us a presentation about this last week.
So how will Finland be competetive in the future when most of the manufacturing is moving? There are 2 resons why the factories are moving.
1 - Cheaper labor cost and maintenance costs
2 - The market is in Asia now, Europe is not growing with a 8% annual GDP

I also went to listen to a presentation of how to FIND YOUR DREAM JOB. The speakers knew a lot about how to look for a job but only in the western countries. The presentations they made was clearly not focused on foreigners looking for jobs in Chinese companies here. Anyway, I pretty much found my dream job already, just came for the beer :)