Our First Night
After a smooth 12 hour flight and harrowing taxi ride from the airport (our driver immediately popped up a small TV screen, installed a DVD and began practicing his English while rocketing us into the city) we hauled our bags up to our new apartment. Everyone was excited to unpack, in spite of the fact that it was 4a.m. California time. Here are Sophie and Griffin in the new apartment with an evening view of downtown Beijing behind them. School is due to start in less than two weeks.
We set about the next morning exploring our neighborhood and stocking up on basic supplies. A pint of Haagen-Dazs is $9 and a Tsingtao beer is $0.50...reflecting the government's policy of maintaining a cheery and slim population.
Getting Hooked Up
In this day and age, the first priority was to get the computer, and related devices, hooked up. It almost cost us a mother and wife (see right). Since this picture was taken, we've added a few more devices and succeeded in getting everything working...but not without the help of some high powered support (below).
Yahoo! Customer Support To The Rescue
Once word of our IT struggles reached the U.S., Yahoo! COO, Dan Rosensweig hopped on the next plane to China in an extraordinary example of executive commitment to customer satisfaction. Dan breezed through the myriad of configuration details...then helped resuscitate Andy...and we were up and running. Having accomplished his primary objective for his trip to China, he was off to put the final touches on a $1B deal with local company Alibaba.
Dan's Other Reason For Visiting China...
No sooner had Dan left our apartment than Yahoo!'s deal with Alibaba was announced on the front page of the local English language paper. Notice that Dan is having much more fun playing with confetti than he was while fixing our computer problems ...and...that he hasn't bothered to change his clothes.
Mandatory Doctor Visit
Everyone who arrives from abroad with more than a tourist visa is required to pass a government physical. Our U.S. results were deemed invalid because, although notarized, they weren't accompanied by a photograph stamped with an official seal...something they're particularly fond of here. As a result, we walked into this lovely examination room and chose not to ask what was being displayed in that jar sitting on the window sill. (For a close-up, roll your cursor over the picture...any ideas??? Something they apparently needed handy.) In spite of the environment, no additional diseases were contracted while we were there. Having passed that gauntlet, we prepared (with the extraordinary help of the people at Peking University, where I'll be teaching) many documents, all with their photos and red stamps, to be submitted for our residence permit. We're due to pick up the permit on September 9 and, if successful, will have completed the process of settling in.