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Posts from the ‘China’ Category

Exotic Food

Many of you have asked “Mike, what was the strangest thing you ate in China?” The answer – jellyfish. It was cooked, but served chilled and shredded to look sort of like spaghetti noodles (only, the color of jellyfish that had been cooked in some sauce). The taste – like calamari. So, the next time you’re in a nice Italian restaurant with some friends enjoying a calamari appetizer, you can say “Gee, this tastes just like jellyfish!”.
As for the strangest food I saw, check out this clip. Sorry the video is so sucky, I took it on my digital camera, which takes great pictures, but crappy movies. Keep your eye on the 2nd row of food, to the right of the two square bowls of water. I have no idea what that is, but it is definitely moving. This was a pretty nice looking restaurant on Temple Street in Hong Kong. You pick out what you want to eat and they take it back and prepare it while you sit down and have a beverage. Unfortunately, I had just dined on jellyfish about a half hour before we wandered down here, so I was too full to try out the moving food.
As for pictures from the trip, I’m still working on getting the captions to print out in their entirety from Photoshop (running version 6, maybe an upgrade is in order). It seems there is a 256 character limit on the output of a caption. That’s a real bummer. I sure don’t want to have to go through and caption these suckers again. I guess the bright side to that is there are only a handful of imags where I used more than 256 characters to describe the scene or my adventures. Hopefully, this process will be complete over the Labor Day weekend.

The Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square

Our trip to China was wonderfully balanced between business and culture. Here is our group in Tiananmen Square with our backs to the Forbidden City. (Note: Still working on photoshopping the files to cut the file size down and get rid of the pesky distorition…)
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The size of the square is gigantic. It is said that 1 million Chinese could easily fit in the square. Other estimates say that you could have every event of the olympics going on in the square at the same time. I’m not so sure about that (I guess the marathon could run laps around it), but it is certainly enormous. Here is a picture from roughly the half-way point in front of Mao Tse-Dong’s memorial.
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Speaking of Mao – he’s embalmed and lying in state inside of this building. Word is that if you want to go in for a viewing, expect to stand in line for half of a day. Wow. Maybe on my 5th or 6th trip to Beijing, but there is just so many other things to see and do that 1/2 day ain’t happening! The queue line wraps all the way around the building and then wraps back and forth several times at the entrance. This picture of the line and building was taken around 9:30am and you see how many people are already there!
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Back From China – Not a Moment Too Soon!

I arrived home from my 2 week stint in China last night. Our group traveled on Northwest Airlines and was aware when we departed on August 6th that there may be a strike by the mechanics union on August 20th. We were scheduled to return on August 19th and fortunately, everything worked out so we were home 5 hours before the mechanics walked out.
Over the next several weeks, I will be posting entries and pictures about my trip to China. It was part of a study abroad program at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business focusing on transition economies. This year was China, next year is Russia, and the year after South Africa. Then the program loops back around.
I have always been fascinated with the history and culture of Asia and China in particular. When this opportunity arose to study China as an emerging economy as part of my MBA curriculum, I jumped at it. There are many good stories in China and many emerging business opportunities as well. We made a total of 9 company visits in Beijing, Chongqing, Shaghai and Hong Kong. I have many pages of notes from these visits that I will assimilate and post. In between, we visited culturally significant places – the Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace, cruised the Yangtze, visited the Temple of the Jade Buddha and ascended Victoria’s Peak, among many other jaunts.
Back to today’s thought about being home. It’s interesting that the mechanics went on strike. In several of our meetings, I inquired about the presence and role of labor unions in China. In the cases where they existed, they were not active in the respect that unions in the United States are. They are there generally for two purposes – 1) To ensure that the regulations imposed by the state are being enacted, and 2) To maintain harmony between employees and management. Collective bargaining to the extent we see in the US does not yet take the same form in China. From talking to a few representatives, I got the same general response – employees realize that should they walk off the job, more people will suffer than just the company. Very true – and amazing. They don’t want their fellow employees in other positions to suffer, nor do they want the customers to suffer.
A few of us awaiting our flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta reflected on the Eastern Airlines pilot strike in the 80’s that put the company out of business. I don’t think Northwest will suffer a similar fate, but I wonder how much different things would be if they had a more Chinese attitude.

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