Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Eat Sleep Shit Week (day 1)

The Eat-Sleep-Shit Week is a movement by Jolene Lai to relive the hey-days of blogging, to recover the ability or inclination to spew endless sentences about anything and everything.

"The rules are that you must type everything that happened to you in the past 24 hours and you can add any tid bits from the previous days."- Jolene Lai

This is my attempt.


Friday evening was my first time driving in China, where they drive on the wrong side of the road. It was the company car, a brand new VW Passat with an remarkably powerful 1.8l turbocharged engine and a beautifully smooth manual gearbox.

The colleagues who were uncertain about letting me drive asked if I've driven, do I drive often etc. The best way to soothe these nerves was to tell them, “I used to like driving other people's cars to get a feel of them. So far I've driven about... 85 cars.”



The first kilometre was a bit hairy. The left hand went looking for a gear shift and found nothing. I nearly went into the wrong side of the road. The passengers gasped, pointed and warned.

After a bit of acclimatisation, I got used to shifting with the right hand and driving on the wrong side. After a few double-clutch gear shifts, someone said my driving is remarkably smooth; better than the driver's.

My head bubbled, although it should not – the driver's skill in smooth motions is really abominable.

We went for dinner, the project manager, 3 other engineers and myself. Dinner was some strange hot-pot like stuff. We ordered a fish, and they slaughtered one for us. A clay pot was put on the stove at our table. The inside was line with carrots, sweet potato slices, garlic, celery and spring onion. The fish, already cut in pieces, was then laid on top of the vegetables. A dark brown and extremely viscous gravy was then heavily drizzled over the thing. It was covered and cooked for approximately 15 minutes.

When the fish was ready, we... well damn it, when it was ready we ate it, obviously. It was merely ok; I wouldn't order it again. The flavouring was indeterminate- it was very light, and ambiguous. Neither here nor there, I would say. The colleagues liked it though.

We returned to our respective accommodations after a long dinner. By then, it was close to 9pm. After dilly-dallying about, a spell on the loo and a longish shower, it was already 10pm when I hauled the books out for my study session. I didn't get far- the brain was malfunctioning.

Then the girlfriend called on Skype and we talked for half an hour before I had to excuse myself. I really need to sleep, and the next day (Saturday) was going to be a long day too.


Saturday started early in. The construction dateline was looming, and there were investors and client bigshots to impress.

At 8 am, I drove over to the hotel to pick up the Shanghai-based senior engineers and headed off to the construction site. There was a fair bit of dilly dallying about before things really started moving.


No, I cannot do this. The eat-shit-sleep approach had never been my forte; I'm far too concerned with boring myself to death by the mundane stuff. I'm sure you don't want to know that the pneumatic butterfly valve actuators had to be tweaked to control their opening and closing speeds, and that the pneumatic lines hiss and puff like Darth Vader high on coffee.

Off I go now; I need to study. A bit behind schedule at the moment.