Shanghai isn't as different a place as I was maybe expecting. There again, I've seen little other than the Airport and Pudong – a business district that has emerged from the fields in the past 10 years.
The buildings are tall, and somewhat “space age” in a Buck Rodgers kind of way. There's a definite look to Chinese high-rise architecture that is different from anywhere else in the world. But the buildings are also very spread out – as a colleague noted, Shanghai is to the space of LA that Hong Kong is to the crampedness of New York.
Internet browsing is also a bit of a hit-and-miss affair as well. The “Great firewall” appears to be a series of blocks on DNS services – Facebook no, Google (search) yes, Picasa no, Flckr yes. All of that can be avoided if you can find some way of tunnelling out – whilst Facebook might not be a big deal for building out our business in Shanghai, we are looking seriously at using Picasa for some of our content management, and not having access would be an issue.
BlackBerry also can provide a route out which bypasses the local filtering, but it also has been a bit hit and miss in terms of actually getting a service in the first place.
This morning is the last day of my trip – this afternoon we will fly back to Hong Kong, and then I get a flight (BA strike permitting) back to London just before midnight.
The trip has be ably assisted by:
the HP NetBook (hasn't let me down),
Google Apps (ditto),
TripIt (mostly useful),
the BlackBerry Curve with LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and Google Maps (good once I was able to get data connections),
OpenOffice (hardly used at all),
my Android Hero (barely used – no way that I'm paying for roaming data)
and a half bag-full of various power adaptors (please, one day, let there be standardization…)