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6 April

It felt like the warmest day of my visit. I found an ideal location for eating my main meal of the day - the Lotus Supercenter. This meal cost 7¥ and was more than I could eat.

I found some of the most friendly occidental tourists yet encountered on the sidewalk looking up at the Oriental Pearl Tower. There have been a number of friendly ones including a few from Great Britain, Norway, Holland and a few other countries but the majority I encounter still seem to avoid any form of verbal or non verbal communication in public. I spoke about this to a particularly friendly man from the Netherlands. He suggested that many are employed here by foreign companies and are very unhappy to be here but stay as a means of improving their career opportunities.

After eating I headed across the river by Metro and emerged on Nanjing Road, the pedestrian street. This time I was more prepared for the encounter of the young woman's approach. It is a subtle approach. I'm not sure as to what moment I was noticed but she came on like a shadow. In order to ascertain whether I was the object of her attention, I decided to cause an advertising pillar to intervene between us and paused for a moment of reflection as she continued around the other side. When I continued on around the pillar she was gone from sight so I thought I had read her wrong; but no, at the next corner she was once again very close beside me and she spoke softly asking me if I live in Shanghai. She did not have the striking beauty of my former encounter but did have a commonly nice appearance. I stated that I was just visiting for a short period of time in order to study the opportunities for business and to promote social relations. She suggested having a cup of coffee at the nearby KFC. I recommended McDonalds as they server coffee with real half and half and she agreed. As we were about to enter I wanted to ensure that she was aware of my intentions so I politely told her that this would only be coffee that I would be buying. As I headed down the stairs I looked back and she had vanished so I decided to have the coffee later.

While I remember to remark upon it, my compliments to the Shanghai government for clearing the public places of the aggressive vendors over the past days. I saw them at work and the vendors scattered like quail running into the underbrush of a nearby park. It makes the the experience of public places very enjoyable indeed to be able to walk without being accosted every other moment by the relentless throng of pushy sellers and allows one to move about at a more leisurely pace.

Now it would ne nice to see uniquely uniformed public assistants who speak english and were available to give directions and information for foreigners at busy subway stations and other high traffic pedestrian locations.

I decided this would be the day to begin the process of discovering what legal requirements would be for doing business in Shanghai. I started by going to the Shanghai Municipal Government building. It was not easy to find the means for entry so I went to a gatehouse where there were Security personnel on duty. Apparently they have experience dealing with foreigners. One of the guards made a phone call and handed me the phone. There was a fluently english speaking person on the line to answer my questions and she told me where I could go for the information I was looking for. She told me to give the phone back to the security man who would write the address for me. As I was completing the process a young woman spoke to me and asked what I was looking for. When I explained some of my needs she invited me into a nearby room where we talked for nearly 30 minutes. She spoke english very well and worked for the government. She said she was only there by chance but was able to give me a lot of information on setting up training facilities for advanced english services and some of the institutions that would need to approve the activities and facilities. She said it was not a simple process but it could be done and was very complimentary of the idea that I wanted more to do it with the approval of the government people that with the mere attempt to meet legal requirements. She gave me the address and phone number of the bureau to call and visit next.

I then went to the Pizza Hut across from the Peoples Park for a coffee. I was shown to a table and ignored for almost 20 minutes. I finally requested service from a waitress passing by and eventually got a coffee. Two young girls were seated at the table next to me and served immediately so I asked to talk with the manager. When she came I clearly described how I had been treated and told her that is was a very unpleasant experience. She understood and said it was due to the employee bing new and asked it there was anything she could get for me. I told her I only wanted the coffee and she insisted that the coffee was free. It was delicious and the best I've tasted yet in Shanghai. I gave my card to the cashier on the way out and said to give it to the manager with my thanks.

I had an appointment with Jonathan at 5 PM to talk about his move with his family to Canada. We had a nice supper together and talked for almost 6 hours. When we finished it was 11 PM and the Metro was closed. This was the first time I took a taxi since I arrived in Shanghai except for the trip from the airport.

7 April

With yesterday so warm this one seems like the coldest and most rainy. I even succumbed and bought an umbrella (9.90¥). One of those little ones that fold up onto a small short bundle. My main meal was another version of curried beef with rice served in a sizzling hot metal bowl with salad, soup and tea. 10¥. It is such a miserable day I decide to go back to the hotel and use the Internet, write and watch TV.

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