this morning was a repeat of yesterday. after a poo, after a shower, after some breakfast, i left the hotel by 8:15. that 0.6 miles stretch from the hotel to the pudong avenue metro station is quite the ordeal. there was a strong breeze today, which felt nice in the shade, but made no difference out in the sun. the trains were a bit more crowded today, and i didn't get a seat on the no.4 ring line until midway through 13 stations. i sat for a little bit before giving up my seat again to an older lady. i was still standing by the time she got off. the switch from no.4 to no.10 was uneventful, but it involved walking across an outdoor causeway that felt like a furnace after being in the air-conditioned train cabin. no.10 actually forks into 2 directions, and today i was unfortunately enough to take the train that doesn't go to the shanghai zoo. after a few stops i got off and waited for the right train to arrive.
the scooter guy i talked to yesterday was still there, but some lady hopped on his bike before i could get to him (i came out the wrong exit farther away). so i ended up taking a taxi again. i tried to make some chitchat with the driver, asked if how many foreigners he picked up today. he brusquely told me he couldn't understand what i was saying so i didn't speak after that.
it was the same rude girl working behind the counter when i arrived at the clinic to pick up my health exam certificate. i was determined to give her a good dose of her own medicine by being equally rude. what i didn't expect was she was kind of nice today. maybe she didn't recognize me from yesterday? she asked me if i was a graduate student while she rifled through the stack of folders looking for my documents. "i'm here to work," i said with an emotionless monotone. i was determined to grab the certificate and leave without saying anything, but i blurted out an unnecessarily polite "thank you" through force of habit.
back outside the clinic, i saw scooter man arrive with a passenger. i flagged him down and asked him if he was going back to the metro. "i remember you from yesterday!" he said happily. i patted him on the back and climbed onboard. scooter man only charged RMB$10 to travel the mile back to the station; a taxi ride costs RMB$14.
it was just 10:30 and i briefly though about wandering shanghai a little bit since i wasn't meeting mr.wu until 1:30, but decided to go back to the hotel (it'd take more than an hour simply to get back to pudong) and rest a little bit.
i used the bathroom and took a shower. i wiped off the sweat stains from the back of my black shirt. after half an hour, i was out the door again (12:00), first to the nearby ICBC bank (industrial and commercial bank of china) to deposit some RMB i converted back in shenyang. i had RMB$4100, which is US$672. i decided to keep RMB$1000 as my personal cash reserve and depositing the rest. the cashier told me that since my account was created in shenyang, only in shenyang will i not have to pay transaction fees. everywhere else - despite being the same ICBC bank - i'd have to pay a handling fee. i thought about it for a moment but decided to go through with it, figuring all that cash was safer in the bank. there was an RMB$15 handling fee.
with my banking needs taken care of, i walked back to the metro station to meet mr.wu. i figured he'd want to meet at the china foreign human resources building, but asked to meet me near my old hotel. it wasn't a big deal, but it was kind of a waste of time since i was heading in the wrong direction. there's nothing around the jinke road station, but i saw wu a few minutes after i arrived. we got back onto the train and headed back into the city.
the last time we were here almost 2 weeks ago, all the employees were on their lunch break and the place was empty. we were sort of expecting the same so was surprised to find the place packed. we got a wait ticket that was 55 numbers behind the most current number. we arrived at 2:00 and didn't called until 3:30. the girl who saw us was helpful but condescending. she looked over our documents and said there were a few mistakes. since this was wu's first time signing a foreigner contractor, he wasn't sure what the rules were. for one thing, the contract made mention of chongqing. since technically this is a shanghai work permit, i can only work in shanghai. the girl said as long as there's no mention of any foreign location, we were fine. but the contract had to be edited. second item, my resume had to be completely in chinese. we'd already translated my resume 2 weeks ago, but left a lot of english for some of the more technical details. but the girl said everything had to be translated.
we were in a bind. everything had to be done today because i was leaving tomorrow morning. i didn't technically need to be here, but i'd have to leave my taibao taiwan-china passport, and i needed that to get on the plane tomorrow. my resume was on my computer back at the hotel but there wasn't time to go there and make it back in time. so wu got somebody in his office to open up the contract file and make the edits. that was the easy part. the hard part was creating the all-chinese resume, and for that wu read everything to his secretary, who transcribed everything into a word document. all these files were then sent to a fax machine on the first floor (RMB$3/page). there were some typos, so wu was back on the phone, and minutes later new pages arrived via fax.
we raced upstairs with 25 minutes left before the office closed at 5:00. we had to wait until the girl was done with her customer, then we quickly gave her the revised documents. i had to run downstairs and make a photocopy (RMB$1) of my actual china entry visa. the clerk finally accepted our work permit application, which won't be ready until the 15th. so technically i'm not allowed to work until a week later, but i'm sure they'll make some exceptions. i've already wasted more time than necessary, but i'd made good use of the time.
famished, i thanked wu and said good bye, then ran across the street to a muslim beef noodle shop i had my eyes on since 2 weeks ago when we first came to the human resources building. i had a big bowl of beef noodle for just RMB$9.
instead of returning to pudong avenue station, i decided to get off at minsheng road, a little bit farther away, but one i've been meaning to walk to, just couldn't bear to do it in the heat. but since i was returning to the hotel and didn't care how sweaty i got, i went for it. there was definitely more stores in that area, but nothing really caught my eye. i wasn't particularly hungry anyway, but stopped by the family mart next to my hotel to pick up a simple sandwich and some drinks.
rest of the night i spent packing. maybe in a perfect world i go back outside to the bund and take some final shots of the shanghai skyline. but it's just too darn hot to go outside and sweat again. besides, my cousin's assistant is coming to pick me up tomorrow morning at 7:00, better to rest up.