Time for a Proper Trip Update

Recommended Listening:  Dream Theater – “Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and The Sleeper”


Well, I’ve been here in Beijing for a few days now, so I feel that I’ve settled in enough and learned about my duties well enough that I can actually judge just how much I’m going to enjoy being here for the next 26 days.  Being my third trip to Beijing and the BWBC offices, I’ve learned to judge upcoming experiences based on how things start out within the first few days.  For those of you who have been following this blog since its inception, you may remember how I was shipped out on a tour of difference offices within days of arriving.  During that trip, I had broken out in hives all over my body, more than likely stress related.  Mentally, I was a mess.  Physically, I felt ill for much of the first two weeks.  Well, so far, this trip is proving to be quite a bit different…


After coasting through customs and baggage return MUCH easier than in November, I walked out into the lobby of the Beijing Terminal 3 to find my old friend Mr. Lu, who picked me up and dropped me off last year.  He saw me before I even acknowledged the sign he was holding and began to lead me to the car.  The walk from the lobby to the parking garage isn’t a short one and is conveniently laden with escalators and moving floors that have blockades to prevent baggage carts from using them… which are just narrow enough that my rolling bag never fits between them.  At this point, I’m used to it and have gotten pretty good at turning the bags at just the right time to squeeze through.  I’m starting to make this trip like a pro.  We make it to the parking deck to find that I get to ride in class.  A brand new Audi A6L is sitting there, waiting for me.  Nice.  So, I throw the bags in the trunk, plop into the back seat, and get ready for the hour plus drive from the airport to the office.  This drive always involves a lot of traffic, lots of creative passing and light running, and nearly clipping pedestrians on all sides.  After being here as long as I have, it’s all common behavior now.  The 5th Ring road leading to Shijingshan is rather scenic, with the mountains on the right side of the car, and the city skyline on the left side.  About 30 minutes into the drive, I decide to try to take pictures of the extremely clear mountain side:  a definite rarity most days.  As soon as I snap the picture, a bright white Lamborghini Gallardo LP550, driven by a young Chinese woman no more than 30 blasts past us on the right, blocking the mountain view in the photo.  I can’t say I’m complaining.  Who doesn’t enjoy a nice exotic view?  The remainder of the drive is quite uneventful, and seemed to go by much quicker than usual.  I must really be getting used to that trip.  We arrive at the offices where the driver kindly drops me off a good distance away from the apartments and drives away.  No key.  No instructions.  Nothing.  THANKFULLY, I know where the project manager and other people whom I deal with regularly sit so that I can get things situated.  A mild inconvenience, and one that is handled very easily.  After several phone calls and discussions, it turns out that there isn’t an apartment available for me.  Ok, now this is getting pretty shitty.  A few more phone calls, and it’s decided that I will be sharing an apartment with a new expat who arrived the day before, Paul Wu.  I’ve never met Paul before, but I’m told that he is only going to be in town for 2 weeks before he is shipped off to the Vung Ang jobsite in Vietnam.  No problems.  He’s a friendly, quiet guy who keeps to himself and stays in his little area that he’s setup in the apartment.  Almost sounds like a previous roommate that I had back home.  No complaints at all.


Much like the last trip here, I find out on my first day in the office that I’m going to be shipped off to another office for a meeting.  Once again, it’s in a location in Asia that I’ve never visited.  On Sunday, I’ll be shipping off to Seoul, South Korea.  Instantly, I grow concerned thanks to all of the fun that’s been happening in North Korea lately.  I began talking to several of the engineers and expats here regarding going to Korea, and they all claim there’s nothing to worry about.  The South Koreans are just as sick of the North Korean’s BS that they just go about their daily routines.  This instantly makes me feel better about the upcoming trip.  Wednesday through Friday here at the office has been spent preparing for this surprise meeting and coming up with plans for what seems like the most difficult undertaking I’ve ever had to do in my 7 years as an engineer.  I’m trying to be optimistic about it, but it’s definitely going to take up all of my work and free time in order to complete it.  Let’s hope it all goes ok, because I really really don’t feel like coming back again in the near future.  I only say this because of all the drama leading up to my trip.  I was absolutely not looking forward to coming.  The only thing I was looking forward to was getting this done and over with, and moving on with things more important than work.


Tonight, Fred is having a pulled pork dinner party for the expats and a few other guests.  I’m looking forward to finally being able to kick up my feet with a beverage and friendly faces and relaxing.  It’s very much needed and anticipated.  Tomorrow’s plans consist of a tee time at 9am and a group trip to the Sanlitun district for some shopping, foot massage, and other relaxing before dinner.  I think a beverage or two may find its way in my system while I’m out there.  It’s one of few places in this city where I can get a good Bombay Sapphire and tonic.  I’m hoping to not jinx myself, but even though the work is going to be extremely challenging, and schedules are going to be difficult to follow, it already seems like this trip is off to a better start than the last one.


Until next time…


1 Comment

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One response to “Time for a Proper Trip Update

  1. Dale

    Phen, my friend,

    You are starting to experience all the signs of an experienced traveler, your value to your employer just increased X 2.

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