Jet lag is real. Luckily my exhausted state has given me plenty of time to reflect on my trip, and what a trip it was. I came into this interim as a person who has never left the comfort of my own country. I was much happier sticking with the food, language, and culture that I had grown up with. That being said, having gone through with it I am ecstatic that was able to visit and learn. Not everything was the way I had expected. For one, I had no idea that China had a problem with their tap water. Chinese food, to my surprise, is nothing like the “chinese food” we order for take-out here in America. Some of it was very good, and some of it was very interesting. The sheer scale of China was another thing that had been lost on me until this trip. The fact that in all of our travels we didn’t visit a city smaller than 5 million people is pretty crazy to think about. I look forward to the rest that these next few days will bring, but I am extremely grateful for the incredible experiences and memories this trip has provided. I’m also thankful for everyone on the trip that banded together to navigate this whole other world and culture with me!
Today started out with our second to last business meeting of the trip, or so we thought (I’ll elaborate at the end). We started the day at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. As an engineer this was not the most interesting meeting for me, but there were some interesting differences between American and Chinese banking such as government regulation of loans. Following this, we went to the other side of Hangzhou to a company called Wiseye. Wiseye is an eye care company that uses a process I had never heard of. Their general concept is “eye training”. Matt got to try that out today near the end of the meeting.
After using the device, Matt’s vision was not miraculously cured. However, he could see in significantly greater detail than he had been able to just minutes before. Along with this training device, there was also an eye relaxation tool that was demonstrated. Peter got the chance to try it out.
Through some amount of persuading Matt actually got to bring home the eye relaxation device. Now to elaborate on how plans have changed. The original plan for tomorrow was that we would visit several furniture manufactures in Anji. Unfortunately, all of these will be closed for the Chinese New Year. In it’s place, the professors were able to set up a tour and visit with Alibaba, the worlds largest retailer. So we look forward to our last and possibly most high profile business meeting tomorrow!
Today started out a little later than the previous ones. There was no bus to catch, or any meetings to be had. After breakfast my roommate Brendon, Carly Stahnke, and I sat down with a map of Shanghai and planned our day. With only general locations in mind, we headed for the subway. Though on our own, we luckily found Shanghai’s subway to be much like Beijing’s. As we stepped out of the platform at our destination, we realized very quickly that we were at the right place.
The Oriental Pearl Tower was positioned just across the street from the subway station. For the rest of the afternoon, our trio explored all of the surrounding area, even finding our way to the 87th floor of the newly opened Shanghai World Financial Center aka the “Bottle Opener” building (pictured below in the middle). We made a visit to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, a high-end mall with tenants including Gucci and Tiffany’s, and finally took a walk along the Bund. One day was only enough to make us realize how much more we wanted to explore in Shanghai.