24 August, 2006

One week in...

Well, I'm a week into my year in Beijing. My blogging has suffered due to the "network issues" here in China. But, I'm on to blogger now, this will be where my blogging will happen for the time being.

It's been an interesting week, a lot accomplished, but a hell of a lot to go. I still have the "am I really doing this?" feeling going on. I hope to get over that feeling soon, I think I will.

The good:
  • The Lenovo driver picked me up from the airport, helped me with my 5 pieces of luggage and successfully got me to my apartment in the Chaoyang District. He even helped me bring the stuff into the apartment, very nice.
  • I managed to get a new cell phone and setup a local bank account (more on this in "the bad") in the same day.
  • In Chinese, I know what to say to the taxi drivers to get me to work, back home, to HSBC and to a couple of stores near by.
  • Work stuff is progressing, but a long way to go still
  • I met with my mandarin tutor for the first time last night, Linda. She's very nice, young, cute girl. She has her act together too. I found her on That's Beijing. Great website to find things here in Beijing. Lessons begin tomorrow evening, I'm really looking forward to it. I'm starting with Tues/Fri lessons, 2 hours each lesson.
  • Slingbox works like a charm over here, though I haven't really had a chance to use it much

The bad:
  • BANKING: So, when I was in Buffalo in early August, I setup an account with HSBC. HSBC is an international bank, my dad works for HSBC & they have branches in Beijing. I figured this was going to be the easiest solution to "international banking." Basically, I need to transfer $ from my US bank acocunts over to China, convert to RMB and pay my rent. That's the main need for the account here. Well, it's not easy, it's a big pain in the ass. For the last week I've been trying to xfer money from my US HSBC account to my Beijing HSBC account. Finally, I am resorting to a wire transfer, because HSBC truly is not an international bank, branches in other countries act like completely separate companies, which sucks when dealing with a bank. A collegue told my Citibank is the way to go...you open one account and you can access it/convert funds anywhere.
  • FOOD: I need to go food shopping, for food I'll actually eat. I've been living off of gatorade, water, cashews, banana chips & Subway. I eat some lunch at work, mostly rice. And, I've gone out to dinner a couple times, once for the ever popular Peking Duck (it's good).
  • TRAFFIC: Way too much traffic here, it's the worst I've seen. This is causing me to leave for work by around 6:30am, if I do that, it only takes 30-40 minutes. It is also causing me to leave for home from work around 7:00-8:00pm. Otherwise, I could plan to send at least 1-1.5 hours each way.
  • I brought over a wireless router and my vonage router. Well, stupid me plugs in my wireless router without a power converter...it fried within 20 seconds. Need to go find a new one. Last night, I bought a power converter...tried vonage router, no power and it started to make some weird noises like it was also going to fry, so I quickly unplugged it. I need to fix this problem

The weird:
  • I've been sleeping on the couch in my apartment for the last week. This is defintely weird. The only explanation I have is, it's where I feel comfortable. I guess I'm just not ready for the "new room" yet. I'm weird. But, last Saturday I went out with some guys I met over my last couple trips to Beijing. One of them, Will, told me he did the same thing when he first arrived. Does anyone else do weird things like this when you're "out of your comfort zone?"
  • I still get stared at on a daily basis. Whether I'm walking down the street, sitting in a cab or eating in the cafeteria at work...
  • I had my entry "physical" on Tuesday, this is for my Z Visa/work permit. I was really worried about this, but it was nothing. The biggest thing was getting stuck with a needle. Other than that, they don't really check a whole lot.
More from me tomorrow, I need to go take it easy & do a little reading


Mark @ Lenovo said...

Mike - sounds really exciting. We will live vicariously through your experiences. You'll be our inside Mann. (heh heh)

Thanks for adding me to your blog role.

Dave said...


Sorry to here about your router problems and I hope that you have a really big couch.

Keep your head up, things will work themselves out... and if they don't your blog will be even more entertaining.

manninchina said...

Mark, you got it! I hope people enjoy reading what I'm up to here, give me some time, it will get good!

Dave... thanks & yes, it is a big couch! I hope the blog gets entertaining too, I'm sure it will