North America, Asia · 30 Days · 52 Moments · May 2017

Anne's tour through China


23 June 2017

CC Day 20. Today was a "me" day. I wandered around for hours after failing to meet up with a friend. I had planned on having lunch and dinner with him and thus have no need to decide on my own what or where I would eat. But you know what they say about the best laid plans etc. etc. etc. So as I explored I took note of Subway stores, a Pizza Hut, several coffee shops and even a Starbucks which served hot sandwiches and noodles. However nothing really appealed. Then as I was wandering the paths of the Shanghai Civilized Park, I discovered the Thai Gallery, artisanal Thai cuisine. I sat down at a small table with a view of the lake and looked around at what others had ordered. On one table there was a half pineapple filled with a yellow rice mixture. It looked delicious but I didn't feel very hungry. So I ordered a shrimp cake and a beer. The presentation was excellent and the taste even better. It definitely wasn't anything like the traditional Chinese food we have been enjoying.
DM Day 20. Beijing - The image of Beijing is both modern power and ancient history. Here is a city where the very old culture blends into today almost seamlessly. Its name conjures up pictures of the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. Its colors are vivid reds, yellows and oranges plus deep royal purple as vibrant as the city itself is. Xi'an- The first image which comes to mind is the Terracotta Warriors which are so famvous worldwide. But the next image I see in my mind is family. Riding bicycles on the City Wall, walking along the garden paths eating ice cream. Its colors are soft blues, greens, tans and ivory representing the blending of the past and the present. Hangzhou- Its colors are misty and soft like greys, greens, tans and browns. Just the name of the city conjures up images of the Dragon Boat ride and the awesome night show on the banks of West Lake. It is a city which soothes your mind and lets you drift back in time. (Cont
DM Day 20 (con't). Suzhou- Its colors are a veritable rainbow as varied as the beautiful silks and silk embroidery for which it is so famous. However one cannot forget the beautiful gardens- 7 of which have been noted by UNESCO. Although there is a very modern side of Suzhou, it is "old Suzhou" which brands it as a tourist destination. Shanghai- Although there are a number of beautiful things to see here (like Yu Garden), the most lasting image is that of a huge business center. Its colors are black, gray and chrome with occasional splashes of color. It is a true melting pot and can be marketed as such.

22 June 2017

DM Day 19. The western part of China is largely uninhabitable and parts of it are unreachable even by the Chinese. It is a very impoverished area due to the lack of industry. Many of the people live much the same as they did hundreds of years ago. The culture is rich and colorful and just waiting to be discovered but Destination Marketing is still a nebulous dream for this area. The eastern and a large part of the central areas of China are completely "tourist ready". Tourism is booming as we have seen for ourselves. Just a few of the results are an increase in Hospitality and Tourism education in several of the major Universities, higher per capita income and the ability to better maintain the ancient edifices which draw so many tourists. Transportation- the ability to travel from one destination to another easily and comfortably is a major marketing tool. Once this knotty problem is solved for the western areas, true destination marketing can begin.
CC Day 19. How is tourism responsible for preserving culture in the Chinese context? If you turn the words around to responsible tourism, part of the question is answered. It is not enough to just bring the dollars; it is also necessary to consider the impact each tourist brings to China. Until a little over thirty years ago, China was a mysterious place, its borders and culture closed to foreigners. Today it is very different. Thousands of tourists, both domestic and international, visit China everyday. They flock to the temples, gardens, historic sites and museums. They bring dollars which help to maintain these "destinations ", offer a higher standard of living, build roads, etc. But they also bring a large footprint which is not always positive. We as the future leaders in the tourism industry have a duty to not only market the wonders of China but to do everything within our power to preserve the culture and heritage which is being shared with us.

21 June 2017

DM Day 18. Managing another's behavior is difficult if not impossible if you have no actual control over that person or those people. In an ideal world there would be no need to even worry about it. But it is a sad fact that the problem exists and is difficult to deal with. Wouldn't it be wonderful if an eight hour training on how to be a good tourist could be required for every tourist visa issued? I may appear to be taking this question lightly but I really am not. I am just floundering for a viable answer. Education is the key. Since it is unlikely there can be forced education on the part of the tourist, it becomes necessary to teach the stakeholders (think caretakers) how to deal with the situation. For instance, today in the Shanghai Museum I saw a number of people continually using the flash on their cameras. This was within full view of security guards who ignored the situation. It may well have been because they had no training on how to deal with it. (Con't)
DM Day 18 con't. But those dealing with the "bad" behaviors should have education not only in what to do but also in why it is so important that they do so.
CC Day 18. On April 5, 1971, the world table tennis (ping pong) championships were held in Nagoya, Japan. This morning Jeff told us one of the American team members just happened to stumble onto the Chinese team bus. A little research gave me a slightly different story. The American was Glenn Cowan who says he was actually invited on board the Chinese team's bus by China's greatest table top tennis player and team captain, Zhuang Zedong, who gave him a Chinese silk screen as a gesture of friendship. It isn't really important which version is true. What is important is that as a result of the incident the American team was invited to tour China. The then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai also granted visas to foreign journalists to cover the tour. This was a first step towards China opening its doors. Some say this was not an accident but a carefully planned move by the Chinese government to offer an olive branch. Whether it was accidental or planned the results were the same.

20 June 2017

DM Day 17. I must confess my first impression of Shanghai was not very favorable. It seemed just another big noisy city like so many I have seen all over the world. I would not even have known I was in China had it not been for the hanzi characters all around us. I am not sure exactly what I expected but this didn't live up to the exotic pictures in my mind. One thing which struck me though was how clean the streets and sidewalks were. This is something which has remained consistent with each city we have visited. My next impression was total awe when we visited the Pearl. It was a thing of beauty in the center of all the bleak utilitarian skyscrapers and office buildings. I think perhaps this was my first inkling of the real Shanghai. I think Shanghai is a well wrapped gift which will delight the mind and senses as you peel away the wrappings. I look forward to seeing what Shanghai has to offer the casual (or serious) tourist. I am certain I will not be disappointed.
CC Day 17. From the information given to us by Jeff, it seems Suzhou is almost a bedroom community to Shanghai. I got the impression that Suzhou is the China of the past while Shanghai is the China of the future (at least in his eyes). He stated that about three percent of the farmers are leaving Suzhou each year and going to Shanghai to earn a better living. When I asked him who's doing the farming, he replied China is importing crops from places like the US. Young people are going to Shanghai for their education also. And again according to Jeff, they are not returning. They are staying in Shanghai where they can earn a better living. Or in some cases going abroad. This doesn't seem to track with what a number of the students who have spoken with us has said. Most of them have talked about returning home once they have their degree. Shanghai is a strong financial center but it does not have the history and culture which Suzhou does. Neither will replace the other.
CC Day 16. The trip to the silk museum and the demonstration of the double sided embroidery so famous worldwide was easily one of the top highlights of this trip. My only regret is they wouldn't allow us to make photos or videos of it. I first saw this art form a little over 30 years ago when I very briefly visited China on a day tour. I have done needlework in one form or another since I was a little girl. I have studied Schwalmwork in Germany, cross stitch in the UK, white work in Ireland and Japanese silk embroidery as well as Rozashi in Japan. But none of these has fired my passion as has this beautiful form of needlework. On that brief trip into a totally foreign culture those many years ago, I bought a small piece of Chinese culture even though I didn't realize that was what I was doing. I thought I was just buying a fascinating piece of needlework. I am still in awe of the talent, skill and patience it takes to create these treasures. We in the West have so much to learn.
DM Day 16. Once again Bing has outdone himself with this relaxing boat ride down the canal in old Suzhou. Some of the group were disappointed we didn't get to climb Tiger Hill due to the poor weather. I was not one of them. Suzhou is a wonderful mix of the old and the new but unlike other cities we have visited they don't blend- there is a clear line of demarcation. Tourists can enjoy the beautiful gardens for which Suzhou is so famous (there are 7 UNESCO sites- all of which are gardens) and then return to their modern hotel in "new Suzhou". And of course, there is shopping. Our group is especially good at that. The huge three story mall next to our Holiday Inn was quite a draw for our small group as I am sure it is for many tourists. But I think one of Suzhou's main attractions as a tourist destination is its silk production. Foreign tourists especially are drawn to the silk factory and museum to learn how the silk is made and purchase pieces to take home with them.

19 June 2017

DM Day 15. There is no question that tourism has been a boon to China's economic growth. Technology is booming and the benefits have not only been for the tourists from other countries. For example the high speed trains make it easier for everyone to move from place to place. They are not only fast but extremely economical. The increase in income from the amount of dollars spent on souvenirs has to be considerable. We only have to look at our own small group to get a feel for that. Increased numbers of entrance fees to the shrines, temples and gardens are a source of revenue which help to defray the costs of maintaining the wonderful historic sites. And it is not just the monetary gain for China. It is the cultural exchange which has made the world a little smaller and our "community" a great deal larger. However there is a negative to this which must be considered. When we went to the Pagoda of Six Harmonies, Bing told us that our entrance fee entitled us to climb up to the top (con'
DM Day 15 con't. if we wished but he also said this was discouraged because the wear and tear on this monument had become significant with the increased foot traffic from the hordes of tourists who come every day. So the effects of tourism aren't all good. This is sad but I think China recognizes this and will take the necessary steps to protect its Heritage Sites in a way which will still promote the tourism which has become such an integral part of their society.

18 June 2017

CC Day 15. I am definitely experiencing sensory overload and fatigue. Well, not so much sensory overload as fatigue. Bing's "just a little way " is killing me. By the time we get to the hotel in the evening all I can do is fall into bed and sleep. The thing which really bothers me about this is that I am too tired to connect with the rest of the group and I feel like I'm missing out on an important part of the experience. I feel like a watcher instead of a participant. But even more importantly I am so tired I am unable to thoroughly think through and answer the Journi questions. Sometimes I feel like my brain is in a fog and I am unable to express my thoughts adequately or coherently). Now what am I going to do to combat (interesting choice of words now that I reread this - sounds like I am in a war) this is accept my physical limitations and try to rest when I can. I am also going to keep my eye on the prize in our last days. The prize is to soak up as much as I can while I am here
DM Day 14. Wu Zhen was not at all what I expected. Watertown said to me a sleepy little town next to a river with small shops and wide streets where you could browse at your leisure. But this was definitely not the case. I have thought quite a bit about the intangible tourist products here. At first they were a little difficult to pinpoint. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of mostly Chinese tourists who claimed the streets as their own. But when I took a mental step back I realized that the intangibles were the things which would be carried with me forever. The boat ride down the canal gave me a glimpse into the people's lives. Parts of it were scenic and relaxing but I also saw people living their daily lives. I saw a woman wringing out her mop into the canal and another emptying what appeared to be a cooking pot. I saw an older gentleman sitting in his window in a basket chair watching us watching him. Yes, there were the demonstrations in the museums and the man carving (cont)
DM Day 14 con't. wooden toys and moon cake presses. There were also the indigo panels hung so they swayed in the breeze and from the many hands, both young and old, which touched them. But for me, it was the feeling that I had touched a little of the real China. More importantly, China had touched me.

17 June 2017

CC Day 14. I have a feeling that Hofstede and I are going to become intimate acquaintances by the time this Study Abroad is finished. This principle makes sense to me however. All three of the Universities we have visited so far are definitely into the long term orientation aspect. They want to build partnerships which will thrive for many years to come. Looking to this goal, they have provided us with opportunities to interact with their students freely. The unspoken intent was not only that we learn from them but that they learn from us. Several students with whom I spoke were eager to participate in an exchange program despite their apprehension about going to a strange country with such a different culture. But I think the strongest evidence of their dedication to long term orientation (which I have personally seen) was the time, effort, and consideration to translate the entire power point presentation into English. This was done strictly with our comfort zone in mind.
CC Day 13. I am still struggling with understanding Hofstede's cultural dimensions and had a great deal of difficulty relating power distance to our visit to the University. I confess I had to read others' Journi entries to get a grasp of the concept. And then it seemed so simple that I still think I must have missed something. The concept seems to hinge on a hierarchal approach. Basically it is a chain of command, much like the military. The enlisted ranks accept the fact that the officers are in charge and obey their orders. Today the individuals on the front row were definitely the "officers" of the group. They even had a uniform of sorts in that they wore suits and ties. But beyond that were the marks of additional respect accorded them. We all had bottles of water at our places. They had covered cups of tea (which were replenished unobtrusively at various times) and name placards at their places. When it came time for pictures, they arranged themselves immediately (con't)
CC Day 13 con't. according to their rank. When the Rosen students were asked to assemble for a group picture, we waited to be told where and how to stand. These are very simplistic examples of power distance as I understand it.

16 June 2017

DM Day 13. The idea of smart hotels is both exciting and somewhat intimidating. When I looked at the model I was reminded of an old cartoon show, The Jetsons. It was about a family of the distant future and their home looked much like this model. I was an adult when I watched this cartoon with my children and laughed at the silliness of it all. But now the reality of it is almost here and is no longer silly. The practical aspects of the "smart hotel " are obvious. Immediately knowing where there is a problem and correcting it before it inconveniences the guest is the epitome of customer service. But I admit I am a little uncomfortable with other aspects of it. I am not sure I want it monitored how many times I turn the lights on and off or how much water I run for a bath. I realize all this information is tied to the room and not the person but it still seems a very short step to an invasion of my privacy. Perhaps this is part of the reason their demographics targeted the 19-35 (con't)
DM Day 13 con't. age group. They are much more willing to embrace new technology than most of us in the 55+ group.
DM Day 12. The marketing techniques I have seen are as varied as the experiences themselves. I am sad to admit that I have reached an age where the more polished ones are what I respond to. The merchants in the street stalls of Muslim Street and yesterday in Hangzhou are practicing an age old method of marketing which is designed to excite the senses and loosen the purse strings. Add to the mix the thrill of bargaining and you have an unbeatable combination. Our tour guides have each been very effective marketers without us as the customers even realizing that they are actually "selling " us China. And I don't mean that in a bad way. They not only give us history and legend but they subtly direct us to the best places to leave our US dollars (converted to yuan, of course). Bing himself said it as we re boarded the bus yesterday- "Thank you for helping my country's economy". Many of the museums and historical sites we have visited have brochures in English which we can pick up. Con't
DM Day 12 con't. We take those pamphlets back home with us and show them to family and friends. Without realizing it we are a marketing tool for China. Word of mouth is one of; if not the most; effective marketing tools there is.

15 June 2017

CC Day 12. Our ride on the Dragon Boat yesterday is a perfect example (although certainly not the only one) of the ancient meeting the modern. We cruised along feeling the peace of the water surrounding us, seeing the ancient structures of the Imperial Library and the White Snake Lady Pagoda gliding past us on the shore. And suddenly as we reach the midway point in the lake the city skyline with its skyscrapers and modern buildings confronts us. It is jarring and one wants to turn away from it to the tranquility of the tea houses and ancient buildings along the shoreline. I experienced this same feeling at the Terracotta Soldiers site. Viewing these ancient figures was moving and brought the past to life for me in a way I had not expected. But once you walked out into the sunlight again, you were solidly back in the modern world with its gift shops and modern technology. The Chinese people seem to coexist with the ancient and the modern without difficulty. It seems to blend for them.
CC Day 12 con't. The young people recognize their heritage and use it to build on their future. The past is not just the past; it is today and tomorrow.
DM Day 11. Technology! It is everywhere in China. The sleek modern high speed trains which move people quickly from destination to destination are just one example. But it is a very important one for the tourism business. It is a reasonably priced mode of transportation which is very efficient. As we well know, a trip to China is expensive and tourists want the best value for the money they spend to be here. Also the length of their stay is usually no more than a week or two at the most. So having the ability to go from Beijing to Xi'an (as an example) without the hassle of an airplane ride is very appealing. But that is an example of practical technology. Let's not forget the artistic entertainment aspect of technology. In Beijing at the T'ang Dinner Theater show we watched as golden dragons came alive in 3D glory behind the performers. Then last night a single ballerina split into multiple images. The oh's and ah's audience both times told how important technology is.
CC Day 11. You have made a new friend in China. She has shown you such gracious hospitality that you want to present her with a small token of your appreciation. You wander into a small shop and admire the painted paper parasols. Then your eye is caught by a display of Chinese fans. You are astounded by the delicacy and beauty of the workmanship. This, you decide, is the perfect gift. You spend quite a bit of time choosing just the right one and eagerly anticipate her reaction when you present it to her. However much to your surprise, when she opens the gift, it is not delight you see but shock. What you did not know is that giving a fan to someone in China means you are "waving" them out of your life. Some other bits of Chinese culture knowledge are that you should not share a pear with a friend or loved one since it means the same as giving a fan. Never point with your chopsticks as it is very rude. Never ever leave your chopsticks upright in your rice. This is a sign of death.

14 June 2017

CC Day 10. I am not sure where to begin in comparing the tastes of Beijing and Xi'an. In all honesty I have eaten so much it's all running together. But one thing which does come to mind is the difference in the breakfast buffets in the two cities. The buffet in Beijing was heavier on Chinese dishes such as the noodles, dim sum buns, Chinese pancakes and several kinds of cooked vegetables (either stir fried or steamed). The breakfasts in Xi'an stressed more different varieties of fresh fruit and juices. In general although the food was still plentiful, it was lighter and not so many different choices. Now that I am thinking about it that theme ran through most of the cuisine in the two cities. Beijing cuisine seemed to use more meat in their dishes and the colors were darker. Xi'an used less meat and the vegetables seemed fresher and crisper. Meat was mostly separate from the vegetables, not mixed in like Beijing. Beijing seemed to stress the buns while Xi'an had dumplings.

13 June 2017

DM Day 10. To compare Beijing with Xi'an is difficult to put into words. My first thoughts are that Beijing is Washington DC and Xi'an is San Francisco. Beijing is a city of frenetic energy. It always seems to be rush hour there. It's not just the traffic (although my first impression when traveling on one of the Rings was of I4 on steroids); it is the feeling even in the historical sites that there is no time to savor. One must always hurry on to the next place or thing. I 'm sure part of that was our packed schedule but I honestly had that feeling standing at the window of my hotel room before the rest of the group arrived. Xi'an has a different flavor entirely. Outside the City Wall it is sleek, modern and sophisticated. Once you cross the moat and go through the Gate, there is a feeling which is hard to describe. The pace seems slower and you can feel the ancient heritage. There is a feeling of more space and Xi'aners don't seem to go at quite the same frenzied pace as do the (con'
DM Day 10 con't. citizens of Beijing. Now we have a third city thrown in the mix. My first impressions of Hangzhou is extremely high tech and modern. It almost seems to represent the China of the future. It is a city which gives off vibes of power. I am eager to experience the differences.

12 June 2017

DM Day 9 The Muslim Street offers a glimpse of the Middle East to Chinese and International travelers who would not otherwise ever have the opportunity to experience it. It's a lot like Epcot at Disney in that aspect. Walking down the streets and through the bazaar alleys, your senses are assaulted by smells, sounds and sights which are very un-Chinese. It is a certainty that part of the draw is the Mosque. I sat and talked with Sally for a while in the Mosque courtyard before venturing back out into the fray. She told me the Mosque was one of her favorite places to bring visitors. When I asked her why she said the historical element was important. It shows what a melting pot China has become and a tolerance for people of all heritages and nationalities. She herself likes to sit in the courtyard because she finds it peaceful. Once you leave that little oasis of peace you walk out into a cacophony of sights and sounds you won't find anywhere else in China. Muslim Street is unique.
CC Part 2. The idea that I might pursue a career at my age was completely foreign to her. I cannot begin to express how honored I was (I know that sounds pompous but I don't know any other word to use) to have her tell me how much she respected and admired me. As I said in the beginning of this post, it was an amazing day which ended with both Susan and Sherry asking if they could stay in touch via WeChat. I eagerly agreed.
CC Day 9. Today was an amazing day for me. For the first time I saw myself through the eyes of both a Chinese student and educator. I found myself both humbled and proud by the respect they expressed. Sherry, the young student with which I was paired had eyes which shone with excitement at the opportunity to talk with another foreign student, no matter what my age was. She questioned me eagerly about the places I had already visited and would visit in the coming days. I was surprised to learn she has never been outside the Xi'an area even though she is nineteen and a Sophomore at the University. That is so different from most of our students. She proudly confided to me that she is saving her money to go to Shanghai with some other students on summer break. At this point Susan, the facilitator who welcomed us, joined the conversation. She questioned me extensively about why I had returned to school so late in life. She also wanted to know what I would do once I had my degree. (Con't)

11 June 2017

CC Day 8. For me the most difficult cultural difference to adjust to is the lack of boundaries and personal space. I am reminded of the trains in Japan. Even after living there for four years I was constantly amazed that each person seemed to have an invisible envelope around him or her which was inviolable. And there was an orderliness despite the crowded conditions which does not seem to exist in China. Right alongside of that is the way people do not hesitate to push ahead of you in a line. Then many times they will block you physically to keep their group together not recognizing they're separating you from your own. Nor do they give precedence to anyone using a cane. The other cultural difference which is actually part and parcel of the same thing is crossing the streets. Sometimes it feels like playing Russian Roulette. Even if you have a walk signal there's not enough time. I look back at what I have written and laugh. Such small things in an adventure of a lifetime.
CC Day 8 Part 2. I just realized I didn't answer the second part of the question. How will I meet and deal with these and other challenges as our trip progresses? I will constantly keep reminding myself that I am a guest here and that just because it is not my way does not mean that it is wrong, only that it is different.

10 June 2017

DM Day7. This is one of the most enjoyable topics we have had. Just thinking about the Chinese hospitality we have enjoyed thus far in the trip makes me smile. Chinese hospitality is being greeted with a warm smile which reaches all the way to the eyes. I have visited some Asian countries where you are greeted with only a perfunctory polite smile (think giving face). That has not been the case here in China. I have felt truly welcomed by the warm smiles despite the language barrier. Chinese hospitality is FOOD! But more than just the meals themselves it is the feeling of family as you enjoy them together. Chinese hospitality is the effort made on their part to communicate with us despite the fact we are in their country and do not have even have a smattering of the Chinese language. Chinese hospitality is sharing their culture and heritage with us and showing us respect by understanding that we don't always understand their customs. And lastly it is wanting to take our picture.
CC Day 7. The photo I chose is an excellent example of "giving" face. Dr. Mejia showed her respect for his culinary expertise and his position as Executive Chef by having her picture taken with him. I think getting and receiving face are so intertwined that it is impossible to have one without the other. I find it to be an awkward expression for such an awesome concept. We gave Sally face by listening attentively to the knowledge she shared as well as by following her instructions promptly. We gave Dr. Wei's uncle face by showing him how honored we were by the awesome opportunity he gave us in inviting us to such an exclusive resort. We gave both him and the chef great face by listening attentively to the explanation of each dish and then enjoying the meal thoroughly by taking the time to taste each dish individually and thus paying tribute to the effort expended to combine flavor and texture. Lastly we showed face to Dr. Wei by behaving in a manner which reflected well on her.
CC Day 6. I struggled with this one and became extremely frustrated because I was unable to connect to the internet to either post or research. Part of the problem was that "collectivism" is a very foreign concept to Americans. We are taught early on to strive to be the best at everything and never to settle for number two. We have the expression "All for one and one for all" but we don't really mean it. The Chinese culture however is built on that premise. We believe that success comes only through our own efforts and talent. They believe that the interests of the group supercede those of the individual. My epiphany where this was concerned happened this morning when I told Sally I didn't think I would use a wheelchair today. She didn't argue but I could tell she was not happy. And suddenly I realized that Nikki having the wheelchair waiting at the Summer Palace wasn't just for my comfort. It was collectivism in its purest sense. My using the chair benefited the entire group.

9 June 2017

DM Day 6 con't. China has and is making huge strides in disability services but still has a long way to go.
DM Day 6. I am choosing both sides of the same coin for this reflection. Before coming on this journey I researched disability services in China and came away somewhat dismayed at the apparent dearth of them. I use wheelchair services in airports because while I don't consider myself disabled I am somewhat mobility challenged. I wondered what I would encounter when I landed. As it turns out this was an excellent example of what China is doing well and also what needs to be improved. There was not one but 3 people to greet me at the door of the aircraft. However the pusher had no English and wanted to just leave me at the luggage carousel with no further assistance. I am seeing this lack of follow through (for lack of a better word) everywhere we go. There are disabled accommodations in the toilets at every place we have visited but frequently they are difficult to reach. Ramps have been installed but getting to them requires that the chair be lifted over obstacles. In short (don't)
CC Day 5. The cultural behaviors I have been most impressed with and really did not expect are how caring and hospitable the Chinese people are. I could not choose only one example so I am going to use the the three more recent ones The first was at the Chinese Traditional Medicine hospital. I noticed on the nurse's desk a glass with an interesting looking mixture inside. I asked Dr. Wei what it was; she in turn asked the nurse who said it was tea with herbs. Dr. Wei joined the group and I sat down. After a few minutes the nurse approached me with a small cup of warm tea. It was a considerate action which would probably not have occurred in a similar situation in the US. My other two examples are Nikki and Jhang, my private chauffeur. Both of them showed pride in their jobs. Keeping "face" is very important to the Chinese. Nikki and Jhang both made certain to preserve mine. I didn't realize until I saw them in action how much the Chinese value that trait not only for themselves.
DM Day5. This is an emotional topic for me. I debated a long time before committing to this trip because of my age and physical limitations. But it was something I really wanted to do and I thought I had planned ahead sufficiently for those things not to be an issue. However from Day 1 it became obvious that I had definitely overestimated my capabilities. I was slow getting on and off the bus and unable to keep up. By the second day I was almost ready to throw in the towel and go home. I felt like I was holding everyone up and I definitely did not feel like part of the group. I was too proud to admit I needed help. I kept the others in the group at arm's length. But suddenly on Day 3, I became aware of a subtle change in dynamics. As I went up or down steps, a member of the group was there to offer me an arm and it was not always the same person. Nor was it obtrusive or condescending. It was as though they were letting me know I was an accepted and valued member of the team.

8 June 2017

DM Day4. This looked like such an easy topic at first but when I began writing it became more difficult. The hardest part is choosing just a few tourism products. We can start with the obvious touristy kitschy souvenirs. There are the umbrella hats, fans, chopsticks, "genuine silk" scarves and Chinese pajamas for the young and old. Next you step up to the more expensive but also more lasting things. They include the jade, real silk, silk embroidery, pearls, and custom made clothing. I could go on and on. But for me the most meaningful tourist product China is offering to us is a glimpse into their culture and heritage. It is as though we have been invited into their homes and lives, both past, present and future. I am a part of the generation who was taught that the Chinese nation was a threat to our safety and not to be trusted (much like the current generation is being taught about all Muslims). The Chinese people have shown just the opposite with the product of hospitality.

7 June 2017

CC Day 4. It is safe to say I took the easy way out by using the cable car rather than enduring the blood, sweat and blisters experienced by the rest of the group. Still when I stepped out onto the Great Wall, my throat tightened and tears pricked behind my eyelids much as when I hear the Star Spangled Banner on the Fourth of July. I had never expected to actually be there- I saw pictures and heard stories from people who had made the journey to the Wall but I never thought I would be one of them. Was I just a tiny bit disappointed when I looked around and saw the manicured look made for the tourists with the refreshment and souvenir stands actually on the Wall? Absolutely! But as I sat on the steps and closed my eyes I could almost feel the vibration of the thousands of feet who had trodden this place in its original form so many generations ago. I confess I am not a religious person but when you reflect in a place like this you know we are not alone. Standing on the Wall confirmsit
CC Day 3. I am sure I am not the only one who has chosen Traditional Chinese Medicine as the one thing they learned today and why it's so important. Prior to today's lecture I thought TCM was acupuncture and wizened little men in a back alley shop peddling dried powdered bear's liver. That is if I thought of it at all. I was totally surprised to learn that it is actually an established branch of medicine and practiced by licensed physicians. As I have gotten older, one of the most troubling thins for me has been the number of pills I have to take for various medical problems. Listening to Dr. Lei today opened a new realm of possibilities. No I don't see TCM as a magic bullet and I didn't rush back to my room last night and pitch all my prescriptions but I do want to research it and explore the possibilities. If using TCM can reduce my prescription intake by even a little.......
DM Day3. I am not sure I totally understand the question and for some reason WeChat has dropped that post but here is my reflection on it as I best remember it. China is such a unique destination that it will require special techniques to prepare students for the task of marketing it. Certainly a Study Abroad would be an effective tool. However I think extensive prior preparation is essential. I can envision an entire course on the subject. At least a "tourist " crash course in the language is necessary. If the marketer does not have at least a fundamental knowledge of the Chinese language how can he or she sell the "experience " to others. Another part of the package is a basic understanding of cultural and business cues. If the destination manager doesn't understand how to deal with the destination agents (no matter whether it is travel agents, tour guides or hotels) the person cannot be effective. Someone said communication is the key. I would extend that to knowledge.

5 June 2017

#1 Day 2. Today I met at least 4 stakeholders in the Chinese tourism boom. Two of the most memorable were of course Mr. Zhang and his wife. It would be extremely easy to fill 1000 words with just the two of them. The monetary benefits of opening their home and private lives to foreign strangers is obvious. But with every positive there is usually a negative. And in Mr. and Mrs. Zhang's case, one of those negatives is the noise and other forms of pollution associated with the bars and restaurants which have taken over the hutong to serve both Chinese and foreign tourists. Then we look at Victor and Niki. It is obvious what their stake is in the mushrooming tourism business. They have jobs and financial security. I am not certain of what if any negatives there are for Victor but for Niki it is having to live far from family and scraping by to make ends meet. I am not sure the Chinese govm't fully understands the impact or the meaning of being stakeholders. And maybe they don't care.
#2 Day 2 It's easy for me to contrast today's meals with ones in the United States. China is still about family and mealtime is a "family" time. Food is served family style with the dishes in the center of the table. Everyone helps themselves. In the restaurants today serving utensils were given to us in the many dishes on the lazy susan. The Chinese don't worry about such niceties. They each serve themselves with their own chopsticks and don't concern themselves about germs. Now do I for one minute believe that each and every household has a lazy susan from which to serve their food? Of course not! For me that lazy susan is symbolic of something which we in the United States seem to have lost except on major holidays. Today we all sat around tables and shared not only food but conversation and camaraderie. While we are on this journey we are family and doing it the Chinese way is going to strengthen our bond. In short, the United States would do well to invest in a lazy susan.

4 June 2017

(#2). Here we are in the lobby of the Marriott Beijing City Wall Hotel which will be our home for the next 4 days. When you first look at it, it looks very much like any upscale American hotels. Lots of glass and marble, nice floral arrangements and a very standard registration desk. But look a little closer at the first two pictures and see if you can figure out one major difference. There are no chairs to relax in. Now look at the picture of the lobby restroom door. A key is required to enter. This is different from our hotels where lobbies and lobby restrooms are open to everyone. It is the American custom to use hotel lobbies as meeting places. Here in China, registered guests are welcomed in a gracious manner but passersby are gently discouraged.
This is the view from my room. In the distance in the first one, you can see Dr. Mejia's park which is behind the hotel. When I look out my window this could be any one of many cities I have visited over the years. Sometimes I think we are too quick to take things at face value. This Study Abroad is an opportunity for me to look beyond the view from the window and really see this country and the people who live here. We usually ask for a "room with a view" and rarely consider that every room has a view. I intend to enjoy and learn from each and every view on this trip as well as enjoy every moment. (Class 1)

24 May 2017

I have finally figured out this app. Well, kind of. Hope this gets easier as I go along. 🙂