Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chengdu Trip #5: HKG to CTU

The flight to Chengdu was only half-full. Typically this flight is pretty full with business people and tourists. This time, there were two teams of rescue volunteers and a handful of other passengers on the flight. Likewise, clearing customs took all of 15 seconds though they started scanning people's luggage on the way out. I was a bit worried since I was carrying a couple of diamond tipped bandsaw blades for PMI but the customs people didn't stop me.

Countryside near Chengdu airport. Not much earthquake damage in this area.

I think this is a municipal courthouse. All the flags were at half-mast.

The brand new IKEA building is still standing.

From the airport, we went to check out the new factory to see if there was any earthquake damage. There were a few cracks in the exterior wall but no structural damage. The building is pretty much complete and most of the interior as well. Amazingly, when I first came to Chengdu exactly one year ago, it was still a patch of dirt.

PMI fab 1. Worker already patched most of the exterior cracks but we may need to repaint the entire building.

Main customer entrance. I'm pretty unhappy about the "no space" after the period.

Some of the new furnaces delivered to the new factory waiting to be installed.

We also drove around the high-tech development zone and saw minor damage on some other buildings. The west high-tech area is about 10km closer to the epicenter than downtown Chengdu so you would expect more building damage. Finally, I went to the bank to exchange some money. I have an account at the local Bank of China branch and I wired some money to myself from my WaMu account. The exchange rate is only 6.96 RMB/USD; it was about 7.45 a year ago.

Intel packaging plant. There was no visible damage outside but we received several interior photos of wall damage. I think they’re shut down for at least two weeks.

Superficial structural damage on SMIC's fab in Chengdu. No idea if there is any damage inside.

All along the way, I saw many tents along the street and in any open area. A lot of people are still afraid of returning to their apartments due to the fear of large aftershocks or even another major earthquake. Most of these "tents" are not real tents we use during camping trips but plastic tarp covering makeshift wooden frames. Entire families are hanging out next to major streets, sleeping or playing cards.

I was really tired after being up for ~48 hours so I crashed as soon as got to the apartment.

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