Monday, September 22, 2008

Simply Red

Carolina and I made a trek to Shanghai and Beijing with my Wharton MBA class to learn some of the ins and outs of doings business in China (well, that's what I was there to do - Carolina was there to have fun and relax - she got a 1 hr. full body massage and a 1 hr. foot massage for a whopping $10 while I was touring a sweltering GM factory, and she spent hours haggling over pearls and handbags while I visited with government officials). My Mandarin was pretty rusty at first, but I was feeling good about my ability to communicate by the end of the trip (even though people in Beijing tend to speak with a really thick, pirate-like accent).

Biggest surprises:

Shanghai is an incredibly modern, world-class city. It makes New York feel small.

I was amazed to discover that China is about to surpass the US to become the #1 luxury goods market in the world. It seemed like every time we turned around in Shanghai there was a Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or some other fancy store I can't afford to shop in.

The business world is a little different in China... Buick is the top-selling car line and KFC is more popular than McDonalds!

The Chinese leaders we met with were extremely sharp and echoed the type of market approaches you'd hear on Wall Street. I was very impressed with their approach to economic issues.

There will soon be over 200 cities in China with over 1M people in them. The economic base is growing incredibly rapidly--it's amazing that they can keep up with the infrastructure needs. Truly remarkable.

Check out a few of our pics:

A view from the summer palace, where the emperor used to
hang out in... you guessed it... the summer.

The guys that hung out together on the trip: Cameron, me, Casey, and Wade
The ladies: Carolina, Amy, and Marsha (now Cameron's fiance... congrats guys!)

A gate on Tiananmen square

Zhujiajiao - a canal town... a Chinese version of Venice, I guess,
sans the Rialto Bridge

This little Travelocity gnome guy is everywhere!
We found him here in a museum (created ~400 AD)... he looked
a little more spry in his younger days.

The Great Wall... way steeper than I imagined... way more formidable.

Here we are at the Great Wall.

I'm haggling for ties at the Yashow Clothing Market.
I ended up paying about 3% of her original asking price!
Oh, and we got some great cashmere wool blend suits custom tailored
here for an amazing deal.

Cool pic Carolina took that captures the juxtaposition
of ancient and modern China.

Here we are at the Forbidden City, where the Emperor lived in Beijing.

This gives you a rough idea of the scope / size of Shanghai.
It really does make NYC seem small.

I was thrilled to discover that China (not just Taiwan) has green pea ice cream!
Casey was brave enough to give it a try after my glowing reviews. Delicious.

Love the communist flavor of this sculpture in Tiananmen Square.

There's a place in Beijing affectionately called "Snack Street" that sells, among other culinary delights, Fried Silk Worms on a Stick, Scorpions on a Stick, Seahorses, and more...


  1. All I've got to say is - WOW! I'm so jealous!

  2. Darling, you forgot to post pictures of the Gumby clones living in Shanghai. I suppose I will have to post them myself.

  3. That is amazing! How would it be to be able to travel the world?

    Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  4. How fun! I'm totally jealous. My backyard doesn't nearly so fun now. Glad you had fun!

  5. Oh, you give me itchy feet. Guess I'll spend some hours searching tech writing listservs for positions in India. Gotta convince Tom he'd like to go, though.