Monday, April 23, 2007

Shanghai International Trip

I've been in Shanghai China for about 30 hours now - almost as long as it took to get here.

The flight was as good as sitting in a tiny chair for 14 hours could be. I was delayed in San Francisco for an extra three hours since our first officer got sick and I guess no one in San Francisco knows how to fly a 747 so they had to fly someone in from San Diego. Luckily I ran into three fellow McCoombs MBA students at the airport and we were able to hang out together.

We arrived in Shanghai too late to ride on the famed Magnetic Levitation train (220 mph). Instead we stood in line for a Taxi for over an hour. The line was amazingly long. Part of the problem is that one of my fellow students was smoking and a Chinese guy asked him if we wanted him to get us a Limo right now for 500 RMB (about 8 RMB = 1 USD). Since the line was so long and we are gullible Americans we said sure and he hauled us all over the airport for the next 15 minutes until we finally got fed up and we back to stand in the taxi line. Luckily we didn't pay him any money. I supposed you could say that we had only been in Shanghai for 30 minutes and we had already been "shanghaied".

We ended up getting to our hotel, the fabulous Portman Ritz Carleton around 12:00 am. I unpacked and wandered around the hotel a bit. Luckily I am able to talk to Carrie over the internet.

Here's a picture of the view out the window of my hotel and some pictures of the room:
The next morning we began our program for school. We met at 7:00 for breakfast at a Chinese restaurant at the hotel and I was very happy that the first item in the buffet was dim sum shrimp dumplings. Unfortunately the rest was your typical white man fare.

Next we all assembled for a few instructions and to get directions to the bus. There are about 130 of us here from the University of Texas so we are a pretty imposing bunch in our business suits.

We traveled from the Hotel to the Shanghai urban planning museum. It's basically a showcase of the history and growth of the city. They have a 1:500 scale model of the entire city that was amazing. However, when I looked at it I couldn't help but think of going all Godzilla on the whole thing.

We then went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch and some speakers about the city and real estate. The Shanghai real estate market is insane. A lot of money is flowing in here from HK and Taiwan. The number of skyscrapers is unreal. Shanghai makes Houston feel like Blackfoot. The food was good. I'm loving it since most of our food so far has been Chinese. Others in the group are less excited by that fact.

After lunch we went to a Coke manufacturing facility to learn about marketing a product in China and tour the facility. It was interesting but by now Jet Lag was really setting in.

In the evening some of us went out for a quick bite to eat at a Chinese restaurant near the hotel. Luckily I have a few Chinese speakers that are my friends on the trip with me and they helped with the language barrier. One served a mission here and one was born here. I had some tasty chow fun.

After dinner we went to a show by the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe. It was amazing. They did all kinds of balancing and juggling and tumbling. It was ridiculous because they would launch someone off a teeter-totter onto a guy who was sitting on the shoulders of a guy who was sitting on the shoulders of another guy who was sitting on the shoulders of another guy. Let me tell you, the guy on the bottom looked like he was working the hardest.

Here's a random picture I took from the bus. I thought the number of cables looped on the power line was a good example of the way things work in Shanghai.

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