Posts Tagged ‘shanghai’

The Long Goodbye

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

hilton drunk

Where am I? I am in a hotel and I can see the Bund and the Pearl Tower and the glistening lights of Shanghai. The last few days have been bad emotionally but I am now tired of the lingering and wishing to get stuck into my job in the Middle East. Sunday, like Saturday was a wash out. I awoke and took a cab to the hospital for the last of my jabs. From there I went to my office to type and print out the reference letter for my Ayi. My Ayi. Such a wonderful person and very symbolic of my experiences of the average Chinese citizen. Firstly we didn’t employ her to work weekends but she offered to do so and she worked every day until I moved out. She made me tea and toast every morning and cleaned the flat every day. She helped pay my bills and she helped with anything I needed with nothing less than the wish to do so as if it was her duty in life. She never once rolled her eyes and never once gave it anything less than everything. This is what those fuckers that manoeuvred to get me fired fail to realise – attached to me are people that depend on my employment; our Ayi, our driver, the pizza delivery guy, the City Super Supermarket that sells crap imported food for high, high prices. All these people depend on me and now I have gone. I couldn’t give a jot either way obviously apart form the Ayi. To me it was, and still is, the very worst part of leaving here. Knowing that someone, so kind and so warm and happy in our family and adored by my son has to be fired and work with another family. Its very very sad.


Liberty City

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Life in Bahrain is interesting. I have been here a week and it has slightly changed my perceptions of the Middle East and of Muslims. Bahrain is basically a rock with buildings on. The landscape is flat, arid and barren with the north part, Manama, being the only city. Manama is Bahrain and as you go south the buildings fizzle out with just sea and sand at the south. Bahrain is more developed than China and far more civilised which does place it on the sterile side slightly but then sterile is good when you have a young child. It is also very small and the population is 700,000 so its like a village more than a country. In fact, I think of it more like Liberty City with each area having its own character and lots and lots of cars driving aimlessly around. Oh yes, cars, you need a car. I have tried to walk around but its not practical as everything here has been designed with the car in mind so its either sand or road. The landscape is very flat and there are only two ‘sky scrapers’ with most building here being either 10 stories or less and placed arbitrarily around town and its not uncommon for buildings to be next to empty, sandy, voids and these areas allow Liberty City style antics as you can go off road and cut through these places to your destination. Of the 700,000 people that live here one third are expats and most of these are Indian. Then Pakistanis then Filipinos and Thais and then, much further down the list, are the Brits and Aussies with a few American service people dotted around but it works well with the Indians doing the cleaning and the Filipinos ad Thais working in all the shops and the highly paid westerners working in the top jobs. That’s how it was and that’s how it is.