May 20, 2008 - Written by Ryan Arthur
Good morning fellow train sleepers. Again much thanks to Dean Raines for the "soft sleeper". I personally didn't sleep that well, but I can't imagine having to sleep on the hard sleeper, or even the seats. Jennifer told us that Phoenix takes the trek on the seated cars when she goes back and forth between Beijing and Shanghai. Massive props to Phoenix for braving the seats.
We awoke this morning to the central train station in Shanghai. We were introduced to our new tour guide, Lily Sun. Unfortunately or fortunately for some, although Lily was the opposite sex as John, she apparently read the same joke book for Chinese tour guides.
Our day in Shanghai began with a morning walk along the BUND. The skyscrapers in Shanghai are almost surreal. Unlike the clump of tall buildings that are in New York, these buildings rise up several city blocks from each other and pierce the sky while surrounded by buildings of medium height. The completion of the "Bottle Opener" Building will result in a new tallest building in the world. It was interesting to me to discover that they originally wanted it to look like a sword, but the design made it look like a cross. They instead chose the new bottle opener look. It was an impressing site, although, it was quite hazy as we sadly discovered that Shanghai was just as polluted if not more than Beijing. Someone break out the inhalers and surgeon masks.
We retreated to our hotel for breakfast and showers. Some had to wait a little longer than others for the shower part, as our hotel rooms were not yet prepared. Some went wandering around the hotel for an adventure or two. I was lucky enough to get a room and make a few calls. But in my last 30 minutes I ventured down the street to Rice Boss for a quite bite with Jeff. I was expecting a rice only restaurant that had rice anyway you wanted it. Instead
it was pretty much another restaurant with great rice as a side. But it was good and I didn't get sick, so it wasn't all bad.
After our adventuring around Shanghai we gathered to head to our first Shanghai business visit, CEIBS Shanghai Campus. The China European International Business School was quite impressive. This new school totes an international roster of Executive MBA's and regular MBA's from both China and Europe. We got to see how another MBA program with an even larger international focus operates. However, both Massey and CEIBS are not massively different. Through our discussions with two CEIBS candidates, we discovered that they are being taught topics similar to what we are studying. We even got a little chuckle when Organizational Behavior was brought up.
We bid farewell to our International counterparts and headed back to the hotel to regroup. Some of us wanted to get tailored shirts and suits made at a fraction of the cost it takes to make them in the United States. Two things to remember, tell them you want it a little big, and they still don't speak a lot of English. I am currently dieting and was trying to explain that I wanted them to make my shirts lose but not Western lose, as they would probably be a little big on me once I get to my goal weight. I again tried my pantomiming skills and bulged out my gut and sucked it back in to signify I was losing weight. They laughed and continued to measure me. Make that two Chinese store owners that think I'm nuts. (Post return note: the shirts are awesome)
After getting measured we headed out for dinner on our own. I went with a group to the French Concession. If you wanted to be seen and mingle with the twenty and thirty-somethings of China, this was the place. Restaurants displaying various flavors around the world, and people decked out like they were going to a happening social event. We decided to stop at a German restaurant, stocked with Chinese waitresses dressed in blue and white, Dorothy from Wizard of Oz designed German dresses, equipped with puffy sleeves. It was funny to see these tiny little faces wearing something that was so distant from their own style.
After a cab ride with a maniacal laughing cab driver, we headed off to our rooms to prepare for yet another exciting journey into China.
Inside the sleeper cars by Kristen Comstock
In photo (from left to right): Ryan Arthur, Ruth Hall, Meghan Bates and Kimberly May
The BUND by Phillip Poyner
The Students from CEIBS by Kim May
Charlie Canon Getting Measured for a Suit By Ron Stinson