Tuesday, February 27, 2007

About Archway

Let's talk about a little about my work!

I work in CTTC Archway, an enterprise that provides MAM system (mobile asset management) services, a kind of GPS service!

I am liking a lot working there and it's been a really good experience where i can acknowledge and learn a lot of new things and it's a good way to understand the Chinese culture.

I'll leave you with a video of our the Launching Commercial Ceremony of Archway where was present a lot of VIP guests as the Portuguese Premier Minister, as others Portuguese Ministers, and some Chinese governments people as well as several important Economic figures in China.

This is a video of a news that passed in the national Portuguese channel RTP. You can see my portuguese boss in CTTC Archway (www.cttcarchway.com.cn/english/index.asp) giving an interview- Tiago Guerra, CFO.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Latest news....I'll post again in march

hello my friends and family members!

i just to tell you that i will have now a week of vacations and Andreia is coming tomorrow from Portugal to spent the vacations with me! So i will be with her all the time visiting a lot of things...having some turism!!!

also tomorrow will arrive my dear friend rapazote for 4 days in beijing and them we will live all to shanghai from february 20th to 24th!!!

so....for sure until 24th i won't post anything.....and probably until march!!!.....but after i will re-start posting.....and the first subject will be about my work in Archway!!!!

uno abbraccio a tutti!!!!! Besos!!!!

É um pouco estranho o que vos vou contar a seguir mas asseguro-vos que é verdade, ora vejam só!

ORA AQUI ESTÁ UM POST EM PORTUGUÊS TAL COMO PROMETIDO!!!!

Até porque isto são coisas que convém que os chineses não saibam, não vão eles levar-me a mal...no fundo, eu só quero partilhar com vocês a minha aventura por terras orientais

Desde que comecei a trabalhar e ja vou a meio da terceira semana tenho reparado numa serie de coisas em que são diferente dos europeus. Mas houve algo que despertou a minha atencao, há colegas meus de trabalho que, simplesmente, vestem a mesma roupa todos os dias da semana!...e não, não tou a brincar! As únicas pessoas que vejo trocar de roupa todos os dias além de mim são as pessoas que ocupam posições de chefia, porque, tirando essas, 95% deles usam a mesma indumentária pelo menos 2 dias seguidos (e são poucos os que só usam 2 dias seguidos)...impensável para nós, portugueses, e europeus, né? (quer dizer, digo eu porque deve haver maluquinhos por aí a fazer o mesmo!)

Outra coisa interessante é os chineses que deixam os blazers no trabalho durante a semana e ás vezes até ao fim de semana e usam-nos durante o dia de trabalho....tal e qual como as mulheres q chegam ao trabalho de tennis e para andar pelo trabalho tem uns sapatitos todos catitas!

Opening a bank account: minimum requirements


Recently I open an account in the bank of china (with the precious help of an office’s friend Cher) and I was stunned with the minimum requirements to open it.

Keep one thing in mind….right now the exchange rate is 1 EURO for 10 Yuan.

So it goes like this: to open the account they charged me 5 Yuan; for maintenance and management fee they will charge 10 Yuan annually; and the minimum deposit to them let us open an account is 50 Yuan.

Now exchange this to EURO and see how cheap are the banking services in China…European Banks should learn with their Chinese partners, don’t you agree?

Cya friends!

Where are the birds?!?!

Since I arrive in Beijing, more than 3 weeks ago, I don’t recall to see any bird!...what is happening here, is the pollution so powerful that keeps all birds away the city?!?!

It so strange this kind of things around here. Another example: is quite difficult to see a dog around here and I never saw a cat…maybe because they, probably, eat them all! ;P…still searching for an answer to provide it to you!

The grass is a mix between yellow, light green and light brown, I never seen anything like it, not even in autumn, and the trees striped down…but they told is normal on the winter…let’s wait and see how they come on spring!

Some interesting things I get to know about the Chinese

Almost all the Chinese that I know (I recognized that aren’t that many, just a couple of dozens), adapt English names. The reason is only because they are people that have a lot of concerns about receiving guests…and I can assure you that they are perfect in it! So because of the difficulty of foreigners to pronounce their Chinese names, an English name was chose and adopt by almost all of them. Thus, I have a john, leo, jay, alice, joy, cher, susan, wendy, mike, among others in the office.

Another interesting thing: how the Chinese look at someone that drinks a lot! Or the Chinese way to do businesses!

So, in China, a guy that’s able to drink a lot is considered a very good business man because nearly all the businesses are celebrated in a restaurant with lots of toasts of powerful Chinese drinks (drink with 50% of alcohol or even more). So business man in China usually met, have a meal where they exchange gifts and to get to know themselves in order to do businesses and/or develop a future cooperation! Therefore you can conclude that the main concern each business man is launching the bases for a friendship and a future cooperation!...nice way to do businesses, what do you think?

Kisses and hugs to all!!!

BEIJING...the city

the silk market!!!(where there's everything, all negotiable, all unbelievably cheap!!!)...come and see!!!


Beijing is a giant city…just try to imagine 18 million persons in a city (Chinese authorities official number…but people says that there should be more than 20 million!)!!!...it has to be giant, right?!?....I mean, the city is so big that it’s divided in 5 different districts. And just for you to have an idea, since I arrived I just been outside Chaoyang district (where I live and work) once, during a morning of the official commercial launching of CTTC Archway (www.cttcarchway.com.cn/english/index.asp ) which is the enterprise where I’m working. I will tell more about it in a future post.
a spot on the 3rd ring road on sunday (13 o'clock)

From my point of view, and looking at the map I haven’t seem more than 10% of the city…and I’ve been here for more than 3 weeks….ok, I’m just settling down now and I will started to do some tourism on weekends.

The city is often crowded and there’s traffic during all the day…only at night the streets and roads are empty an you have a small sensation of simplicity!...cause the rest of the time almost everything is amazingly confusing!

bicycles can carry any stuff around here, wanna check?


agree with me now?!?!? :)

During the day I can say that Beijing is not a beautiful city for sure (only beautiful regarding temples and stuff like that). At day time, the city seems like a big gray scenario, the sky isn’t clear and you easily spot the pollution in the air…just look at the sky and see its color (light grey mix with light yellow and light brown….unbelievable…as much as I can explain you still won’t have a clear picture of how is it…the only way is to come here and see for yourselves). The atmosphere is really bad, is really dry, almost no humidity in the air and you have the sensation of inhaling the pollution. At the end of the day and when you wake up, it seems like there’s some kind of dust in your throat. And of course the city is too noisy, I go to work by bike with my MP3 player playing as loud as it can and I still can ear everything around me!

But at night, everything changes, there’s no traffic, the night sky disguised the big pollution cloud but still the air is dry.

even in a black & white photo you can perceive the color's life of the night

(a little note: the air is so dry that we had to buy humidifiers for our house or else it was impossible to our throats to deal with it consecutive days.)

see what i mean ?!

In the night you can see everywhere and all sort of colors…it’s amazing, I can’t describe it to you…there’s always a certain energy in the air that invites you to bars, discos, sidewalks, bike rides, social life…just relax and enjoy Beijing’s night….I love it!....the city has such a big number of offers to you!...you can do anything you want!

a picture worths more than a thousand words!!!
a shopping mall called The Place


Don’t perceived the wrong impression, despite the written things I’m loving the country and the city…I could only asked more for non-pollution, sun and beach…all the rest is here!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

FOR MY FRIENDS WHO DON’T KNOW HOW I END UP IN CHINA!!!

hello my dear friends!

So here’s my explanation of how did I arrived to china!

After arriving in Portugal on June 2005 from my Erasmus year in Finland I ended my degree and graduated on February 2006. And has, for those you were in with me in Tampere, I immediately started to see some way to work abroad Portugal.

So some people mentioned me a program called “INOV CONTACTO”. What is it? And what is it about? ... So is a Portuguese, with European’s Funds exchange program for recent graduated people. So they send people all over the world!

Therefore in July, I applied for this program as did some thousands of Portuguese people! Thus, after 6 months of tests and evaluations I was a one of 186 chosen people by the Portuguese Government organism!

So I went on a 10-day formation in Lisbon where they, theoretically, study each one of us psychologically and find out where each of the 186 chosen should better adapt, work and live of more than 36 different countries.

And so, I was a fortune one cause they sent me to the country I was dreaming to go!...

So, here am I for a 9 month internship in a Chinese company!!!

AND I’M LOVING IT!!!....

Thank you for receiving me…dear Beijing!

Is it clear now my friends?!?!?...hope so!

The amazing, confusing and strangely unstressed traffic in Beijing!!!

S

ince I first came here that I fell like the traffic is unbelievably confusing.

There are a lot of cars i.e. is not Lisbon or Porto, just to get to the point, Beijing has more than 2 million vehicles!!!

Try to imagine the food chain where, we, humans, are the top of the chain, right? In Beijing traffic that is the least of the truths!!! As a walking person your main tasks is to get away from buses, cars, trucks, taxis and bicycles’ tracks. Basically you have to get away of anything that moves. You’re the meanest specie on the Beijing avenues, streets and sidewalks!


Another curious thing is to understand who has the priority upon who! For example, let’s say you are driving in a big avenue and in the next interception you see a car coming from some small lateral street. In Europe, we should step on and continue in our track calmly. Well, my friends, not here! Here the job of the vehicles on the main roads is to deviate from whoever is entering the master road (cause they just almost don’t care to watch if they can enter the master road, they just do!). So no one should stop the traffic, everyone has to stay away of other’s path.
But a even better curiosity is that, despite the big traffic mess, everybody is whistling whenever they feel like (on daytime or not), they Chinese drivers seem extremely calm, no one shouts or yells, and just a few say some Chinese words with a smoothly tone of voice!

I already bought my bicycle and cause I leave 4,5Km away of the office I use it every day to get to the office. And as you can see in the video I already had some good adventures in Beijing streets riding my bike!!!
Enjoy the video!...and sorry for those who aren’t Portuguese…cause the video is quite funny!

my best friend in beijing (my bicycle)







Still waiting for your comments…Portuguese and English!...see you all around!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

After 4 hard-working days searching for an apartment…we found it !!!

F

rom January 17th to the 20th I experienced some kind of a house-checking-marathon. We probably saw around 12 apartments and we decided for an apartment at the same condo and building of the other 3 Portuguese (António, Alexandra and Claúdia) already settled down.

My humble apartment has 160 square meters with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and laundry, and a small storage room! And the rent?...well it’s too expensive, it’s 950 € for all and so I paid 316€ per month!!!... stupidly cheap!

We should thank you our lovely real estate agent - Miss Yang - for all her efforts to find us a perfect house! In one of the days she showed us more than 8 houses in a 10-straight-hours of house checking. She’s been amazing dealing with all the crappy stuff as getting internet, hot water and helping us in all sorts of situations! Each time we found ourselves in situations where we absolutely need to speak Chinese we just call her, explain the situation, and she’s communicate our intentions to the Chinese next to us!

SO…THANK YOU VERY MUCH YANG


me, david, Yang and nuno (my housemates and my real estate agent)


Ah, and I forget to mentioned that is a close condo in one of the stylish zones of Beijing with 24/7 security! And it is on 12th floor!

So afterwards, and cause we know there were 2 more Portuguese girls (Marta and Susana) coming on Sunday, we reserved an apartment for them on the 17th floor!

Conclusion: we are 9 Portuguese here and 8 of us live at the same building! Me with Nuno and David on the 12th, Susana and Marta on the 17th and António, Alexandra and Claúdia on the 22th. I can assure you that we live IN STYLE!


You can see the localization of my apartment (red spot on the right-upper corner)


the entry door of my apartment's building

the entrance to my of apartment's building

our 24/7 security at 19:00 of a Saturday

my living room

my room


the bathtub in the master bathroom (watch the big window!!! our sight!!!)


再见 (goodbye)


wrote at 28th January

And the first Chinese breakfast was at...Mc Donalds!!!


W

hen we arrived from the airport (January 23th), I went to a hostel to check in with my housemates’ Nuno and David. In the afternoon, Portuguese embassy was our destination where we picked up contacts of real estate agents to start scheduling meetings with them and get a house of ourselves…but practically speaking we didn’t done anything useful.

Later we meet the other 3 Portuguese that came one week before and we have a nice welcome dinner in a Korean restaurant.

In the next morning when we dressed and went outside, me, David and Nuno, stared at each other asking “where will we have breakfast?”. And a couples of walks later there appeared our answer – McDonalds! And now try to imagine what we ate there?...no it wasn’t hamburgers, French fries and coke but pancakes and hot chocolate. So it wasn’t that bad!

We ate really fast cause we scheduled a meeting with a real estate agent at 10 hours (I think)!

wrote at 26th January

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The First Cultural Shock!...

...missing luggage and the “Chinese way of sheeting”...unbelievable!

Well, well, well, what else could I possibly ask for my arrival at Beijing….my only 23kg bag was missing “in action”, i.e. never left Lisboa!... so, perfect start for me!

The trip was fine and it didn’t seem it took 13 hours! The hardest thing was trying to talk (or not) to the Chinese people employed to work in an international airport, of one of the steaming economic power in the world, that are incapable of speaking understandable English. But after 40 minutes I managed to explain them (using body language and mimics) that I lost my baggage! But, they say it will take 2 days to receive it!

After taking a taxi and enjoy my first impression of Beijing, I can say it’s a dawn enormous city with large roads, lots of publicity, heavily polluted and where the traffic is extremely confused but it seems everyone understands perfectly this mess!

The Chinese way of sheeting…just try to imagine my first bathroom experience. I arrived to the hostel and immediately went to the bathroom! I couldn’t be more impressive with the situation! A Chinese man sheeting with the door open, farping, barckling, reading a book and smoking! As obviously I stood for a while and he even notice my present! Can you believe it!?!... but the question remains: is this the Chinese way of sheeting?!? It seemed a scene took for my beloved series “Seinfeld”! And keep in mind one marvelous and minor detail…two of the three toilets of the hostel is a big hole in the ground (like in Portuguese military facilities)…which they tell is normal in China…so expect big adventures in public Chinese WC‘s and you need to be accurate.


Let’s talk now a little of Beijing. To be honest I didn’t see much until now. Given the problems with the luggage I had to go back to the airport to try to solve the problem but I could no nothing more after reporting it. I think I only saw 5% of the town, but I can say that isn’t like anything I’ve known. I feel is confusing, there aren’t almost any indications in English and nearly a person is capable of speaking the world’s language.
The city is too grey during the day, i.e. the pollution “paints” the sky in tones of grey and light brown and even from tall building your sight is limited to 200 meters tops. There is taxis everywhere and is extremely cheap, for 1€ you can ride for 2kms and for each additional Km you pay plus 0,20€, so it’s really cheap!

But at night, the city seems to gain a new life, you cannot visually notice the pollution and the colors of the publicity panels, the lights and restaurants bright panel-names makes it beautiful and pleasant! Yesterday I’ve been in a Korean restaurant and had my first experience with chopsticks! It was quite hard but at the end I managed to eat, with the help of my hands, and it was a really long dinner since I took a lot of time to pick up the small pieces of vegetables, sea food, meat and fish!


I say goodbye to all of you for now. We’ll keep in touch, don’t forget that your comments are welcome (in English or in Portuguese).

Fair well, Ni Hao!

wrote at 24th January

Live from flight BA 039, London – Beijing…

…I write to you, all my dear friends and family my very own first post!

Last week has been anxious but at the same time peaceful and quite emotional. I felt a comforting inner harmony experiencing all the goodbyes and excitement of the coming new oriental adventure that kept me awake several hours... well, it’s been thrilling!! It’s time like these you feel the harmful hug of your friends and recognized the real ones. Thanks for the love!
There’s no doubt I will be facing another cultural shock, but what the hell…it’s everything I want, desire and dreamed off. Fortunately, I fell like another big challenge is coming towards me and for sure the biggest one will be the language – mandarin! I can’t to wait to see myself going back to school… and hopefully around October I might be capable of chit-chatting with some of our fellow Chinese brothers!

Right now I’m flying to Beijing an it’s my 8th of my 14 flying hours to arrive. I can’t hide even to myself the excitement of watching the time going by and feel those little cold itches. Turning the page of my life and begging a bright new chapter and what better destination could I asked for to start my international career, the economy’s booster – The People’s Republic China!

Portuguese friends and family, I apologize for writing my 1st post in English but we all agree it’s the world language… anyway I promise to remember my origins and my mother tongue, ok?
You’re all very welcome to comment and participate in this blog! …make it enjoyable, fun and appreciated!

wrote at January 22nd