Monday, November 05, 2007

China - My first impressions

I have been in China for a little more than 24 hours and the obvious differences with India are everywhere. Shanghai feels like a US city. In fact it looks and feels like Chicago (just without Lake Michigan or the EL). There are some absolutely stunning skyscrapers all over the city. No old dilapidated Victorian era buildings like India, no obvious poverty on the streets, no animals, no paan spitting and no auto rickshaws. Also no honking of horns – that was also really surprising. I just assumed a city of 13 million people would have a lot of irate drivers but the traffic flows in an orderly way similar to any modern western city.

There are still a number of bicycles even on the highways (believe it or not) but surprisingly those are the only two wheelers on the road. I have seen no motorbikes or scooters yet. The roads are excellent and the Chinese drive them like they are on a speedway. My cabbie that drove me to my hotel had the speedometer at 120 – 130 Km/h the entire drive. The cabbies also give receipts and go by the meter. There are non meter cabs but that’s only if u don’t want to stand in line for the city cab (they are 2 to 3x city cab fare)

The GM China people I met are also pretty no nonsense and focused on the job. The GM India people had more of a “babu” approach to the job with lengthy chai and lunch breaks etc.


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