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Sleepless in Shenzhen.

I’m now back from Beijing, after another delayed flight – this time only about two hours. On the way to Shenzhen we flew past a lot of huge thunderstorms. Some of them were so massive they spanned the entire horizon and there were continuous lightning in them. Observing lightning from a semi-safe distance at night can be quite fascinating, seeing it connect from one cloud to another. Unfortunately, the Kodak moment conditions on an aircraft is not ideal because of the double windows and the aircraft was also shaking somewhat violently at times.

I’ve made some interesting observations regarding the Chinese work day. It starts at nine in the morning and lasts until six in the evening. That’s nine hours, which is one hour more than the average Norwegian work day and confirms the image we have of Chinese as hard working. But hang on a second. They sleep for an hour during the day, from one to two in the afternoon. Then you can find them scattered around at the office, on the couch, on the floor and at their desks – resting their heads on the keyboard.

The guys I’m visiting are working half day on Saturday (or – “for you we work whole Saturday”), so they are kind of making up for it that way, but I don’t think the half-Saturday thing goes for the whole of China. In Beijing, for instance, I met someone who told me – in rather good Chingelish – that they had both Saturday and Sunday off.

It’s interesting to see what happens if they don’t get their afternoon nap. My Chinese sidekick is a good example. After lunch, at around one in the afternoon, he’ll completely lose focus and start to mumble uncontrollably in both Chinese and English. Then he’ll snap out of it for a few seconds before he slips back into the void. This usually lasts for about half an hour before he’s back to normal.

But all this said, he’s a hard very working fella – so are all of the guys in his team – they should get all the sleep they can.

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