I stepped outside today, saw a clear blue sky, and immediately thought "Jin Mao!" The pictures I took from my first visit up there, back in November, were kind of hazy. Today I went back and took some more pictures. You don't waste days like these in Shanghai. Unlike in Austin, where I was always like "Oh, I don't need to take advantage of the nice weather today - it's guaranteed to be this nice for at least the next eight months", in Shanghai (at least in the winter) when the weather is clear and blue like this, you get your happy ass outside!
I set the white-balance mode on my camera to its fluorescent-lighting setting, which resulted in this dark-blue overtone that I think looks kind of neat. The toughest part was capturing the shadows of the clouds while still keeping the picture itself light enough to make out.
First, some pictures to prove the sun was out in force today:
Then some from the Jin Mao:
Just beautiful. I wish the city itself had come out lighter. But still. I'm not complaining.
This one probably will be my new computer wallpaper.
Or this one ...
I could see all the way into People's Square. Notice the white balance is set to "Auto" on this one, so it's not all blue.
Afterwards I walked down the street to the Oriental Pearl Tower and took in the view from its top floor, which was slightly less impressive. Okay, much less impressive. The only thing worth seeing was the twin peaks of the Jin Mao and the WFC standing side-by-side, which is a view you obviously won't get from the Jin Mao itself.
These could probably use some lightening-up, but I'm lazy.
The full set is here.
Another pic, this time of the metro plaza near my apt:
And some more interesting (I think) architecture:
At the Oriental Pearl Tower, I met this guy Elias from Bavaria who also was doing some sightseeing. He's in a situation similar to mine: he is in Shanghai on a work visa for 6 - 7 months. He's a little bit newer than I am, so I took a certain delight in giving him tips for navigating the city, telling him how to pronounce the area he lived in, cluing him in to this party I'm going to on Saturday, correcting his pronunciation of "fa piao," and teaching him how to day "I'm German" in Chinese. Haha. I won't lie, it was a good feeling to be able to pass off some knowledge to someone who's newer here than me :-) I see this situation all the time at work - we have someone who's been there for three months teaching the person who has been there for two weeks. It works out well that way for all parties involved. Same thing here. After all, the best way to learn something is to teach it yourself!
I came home from the sightseeing excursion to find my aiyi finishing up her first day on the job. Holy shit does this place look so much nicer than yesterday. She not only cleaned like I asked her to, she did all my laundry, organized all the stuff I had laying around, unpacked my last suitcase, and folded everything that was already in drawers or the closet. Wow. I am very impressed. And, well, yeah. I could get used to this :-)
I think I misspoke in my post yesterday. I maybe should have said "hoity-toity" instead of "bouregoisie," because the latter term implies labor exploitation and class struggle. I didn't intend to convey those ideas, because I certainly don't feel they apply to this situation here. I don't think hiring a maid is exploitative in any sense. After all, I am putting money into the local economy and increasing her earning power without acting like a robber baron (I hope).
I mainly was talking about not wanting to spend money on tasks that I could do myself, because I would consider that a wasteful endeavor, e.g. something that a hoity-toity (HT) person might do. (If there are any HTs reading this blog, you are exempted from this overanalysis.) But considering what she's charging me and what she did for me today, hoo boy, I would not call that wasting money at all :-)
And in a larger sense, if you're paying for a good or service and you're happy with what you get for the price, it's not wasteful (in a monetary sense) at all. Like there is a certain price point at which having my laundry folded would become, to me, wasteful. Just to throw some numbers out there, I might pay someone fifty cents to fold my laundry, but I would not pay anyone fifty bucks to do it, because I would consider that amount wasteful. At fifty cents, I don't think I'd consider that wasteful. You see what I mean. Man, I've been reading the Freakanomics blog way too much.
Plus, "hoity-toity" is way more fun to think/say.