Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pictures from Zach's life in Changchun

Below are pictures from Changchun China. It is in the Northeast "Rustbelt" of China. I am working with the oldest and largest Chinese automotive company.

"Moving on up, to the East side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky."

I was eating breakfast in a restaurant on the 7th floor of the hotel where I was staying. I glanced out the window to the neighboring apartment complex. Jettisoned out of the window of the apartment was this make shift "addition." The appendage was created from loose steel pipes used as joists, and layers of scrap wood that made up the floor and walls. The scary part of this 70 foot tall cantilever even Frank Loyd Wright would admire, it is open air. I could see the laundry drying in the breeze.

I think he is yawning, not screaming
I pass this sign to and from the airport and my supplier's facility. Changchun reminds me of the Midwest. You drive through 45 minutes of corn fields, and arrive at an industrial city. Only difference is there is a HUGE downtown area, and the city consists of 4 million people. Medium-small in terms of Chinese cities.
I think I can I think I can
This pic is an insight to the (lack of) laws and restrictions surrounding traffic, cars, trucks, and pedestrians. The lines on the road are considered suggestions, not rules (see white van driving on shoulder). Many vehicles do not look fit for the road (three wheeled "cars"). People cross where ever, when ever. Cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trikes, bikes, bulldozers, tractors, electric bikes, and mule carts all share the same lanes. HOWEVER, if you get in an accident, and the police determine it is your fault, and you permanently injure the other driver/pedestrian, preventing them from working, you are required to support that person and their family financially for the rest of his life. However, if you kill someone in an accident, you make one lump payment(presumably less cost present net value). I think the rules send the wrong incentive! The scary part is it does not deter reckless driving. It has taken a LONG time to get used to it (either riding in a cab, or crossing the street). The best way I can describe it is "Mario Carting."
WWII Vintage
Above is the factory where I spend my weekdays. The pic is from a conference room window where I live when not on the factory floor. The buildings are old, I was told they predate WWII. It is a State Owned company, which makes it a challenge to work with. It is working for with/for the government. However, one thing I have realized with Asian suppliers in general, is they posses a lot of the latest and greatest technology in my commodity (metal fabrication, specifically, castings and machining of iron and aluminum components). Most of the worlds industrial equipment is developed and manufactured in Asia/Pacific. Also, let's face it, this is also where most of these "commodities" are produced. Therefore, you don't see the same amount of technology at some suppliers in the US, mostly due to the US Corporations and Wall Street's focus on decapitalization. Cash is still king!


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