China · 21 Days · 48 Moments · June 2017

My China Journey 2017

24 June 2017

DM #20 What was the brand image of all 5 cities we visited? of history, power and culture. Named China's capital, this city is full of art and history preservation and culture. Although this city is modernized, the history is embedded deep in its roots. In my head the brand image is "Emperor's City" Xi' of old and new. Although people claim this as a developing city, I wouldn't change a thing. This perfect mesh of past and present seems to stand still in middle eastern China, holding one of the worlds greatest treasures, the underground Terra-cotta warriors. of peace and romance. This water city of China houses the West Lake and the Grand Canal waterway. With pagodas, pavilions, gardens, tea fields and beautiful bridges creating havens throughout the city, it is definitely a place you just want to stay awhile. of silk and gardens. Contd...
DM #20 contd Suzhou is most well known for production of silk but has been recognized for education over time as well. Beautiful ancient garden homes tell the successful stories of how well-educated men were able to retire to their families peacefully in Suzhou. Shanghai...China's melting pot of information wealth and international influence. This city, although rivaled with Beijing is completely unique from the rest of China. It seems to have forged ahead in a different manner, not preserving much of the past architecturally, but exceptionally well kept in an informative and commemorative way in museums and libraries. Skyscrapers, banks, and businesspeople let you know that this city is intent on being ahead in the worlds rat race and seems to offer promise for innovative technology, especially in cleaner energy, sustainability, communication and housing challenges for the future.

23 June 2017

CC #20 In America, we have the convenience and luxury of having every type of food imaginable across every culture. Being a foodie, I like to have variety and different flavors constantly. This morning at breakfast, I was drawn to these savory rolled Chinese pancakes, which is basically a fried crepe rolled with Siriacha and fresh greens. Simple idea with a lot of flavor and texture. It was really yummy with my eggs over medium. I was pampered today with a manicure pedicure and massage and had lots of tea and fruit at the spas, so that was lunch. After the relaxing day, a group of us met up and decided it was high time that we satisfy our cheese cravings (my weakness). I was also really craving a fresh salad, so we chose Pizza Hut for an early dinner. We enjoyed sharing our American/Chinese family style meal and had some laughs before heading back for our very last night here in China. Can't wait to sit around my table at home and share these unforgettable memories with my family.
CC #19 contd Respect goes much further than mannerisms, understanding and acceptance. We also must show and offer mindfulness of being sustainable as well as representatives of that hospitable culture.
DM #19. Contd We also learned that western China has 12 bordering neighbors as well as 50 different minority groups, making this area prime location to bring nations together to offer and open the treasures it holds.

22 June 2017

CC #19 How is tourism responsible for preserving culture? In any tourism destination, it is not only necessary, but VITAL for any traveler, citizen or stakeholder be invested and aware in the cultural existence around them. Disney has a logic that if tourists see that the employees are invested in the preservation and cleanliness of the park as well as the friendliness to the guests, then it will wear off on the guests, thus, creating the "magic". This logic has worked for decades and when guests see the image of Disney, they also feel that magical culture. It is the one of the single most important factors for the future of the world to learn and experience culture in order to preserve it and evolve from our true roots and backgrounds. Respecting other cultures and honoring community practices is also a clear way to show others the value and meaning it holds. Contd
DM #18 What can destinations do to improve and manage tourist behavior. When behavioral situations among tourists arises, it can effect other travelers in the area. When behaviors are more noticeable than the destination it can take away from the experience. With the same token, positive tourist behaviors have impacts as well. Tourism destinations have the opportunity to persuade or discourage these behaviors by hiring employees with hospitality interests and that are passionate and diligent about managing these challenges. Enforcing proper behavior and rewarding and encouraging positivity does not occur single handedly. It takes a well managed team that is trained to communicate to the guests and each other in order to provide the ultimate experience. This "tourism sustainability" helps us learn and grow to provide more quality for the future.
DM #19 Based on lecture. What was learned about eastern and western destination travel Although underdeveloped, western China holds some of its most unique culture and beautiful landscapes. This region makes up 71.4% of China's mainland but only 2.8% of its population. The challenges of development lies in its mountainous landscape and high altitudes (about 16,000 ft) making this area the highest region on Earth. These challenges are being met by governmental funding and planning and being advanced more quickly than ever. The west offers more of an experiential and ecological tourism draw and will be front and center of adventurous traveler plans. The east is much more population as well as cultural mesh, so the west is a much more "different" China. The east is also a far more English-speaking region and the west does not speak mandarin. The west offers convention and urban tourism, whereas the west will offer an even deeper cultural tourism experience. Contd
CC #18 Significance of ping pong diplomacy Ping pong diplomacy is a term coined from nations creating or progressing diplomacy over a friendly sports event. It all began when one American ping pong player was haphazardly invited after a tournament in Japan to getting on a bus with the Chinese ping pong team. Photographers and an Interpreter were there to capture the momentous event. The American was invited to come to China and the US and China both decided to use the opportunity to form and strengthen their relations. Not only does this moment mark that bond that has been strong ever since, but it also is a reminder how easily communication barriers and commonality challenges can be overcome. In the hospitality industry, we are able to be ambassadors of the world and have that same opportunity to build bridges across nations and show respect and honor to other cultures. When we take advantage of these opportunities we can change history.

20 June 2017

CC #17 Shanghai has been named China's financial center. This type of business lifestyle sticks out in China's historical and spiritual ways of living. In the 1840's China lost its war on opium to Great Britain and was forced to sign an agreement to open its waterways to international and western trade. This agreement changed everything for China making Shanghai the international capital. High scoring intelligence test candidates flocked to this information city to receive recognition internationally. They then were able to retire to their home towns and create havens for their families (especially in Suzhou, who has had most of the top scorers). Farmers were also drawn to Shanghai for the conveniences of city life, leaving farming behind and changing the agricultural industry of China as well. Wether this influence is welcomed or not, Shanghai is a flourishing city and supports its neighboring suburbs, communities, cities and beyond, promising urgent clean energy innovations.
DM #17 Upon arrival to Shanghai, the western influence is definitely noticeable but what is more notable is the city's skyline. You can get a sense of the wealth and sophistication by the building designs as well as the business suits that line the streets. With Shanghai's 24 million people, over 10 million are migrant workers and farmers who have flocked here to enjoy city life and conveniences and possibly make a better living for their families. Compared to Shanghai, the other city's we've visited seem to have been shielded from western influence. But the type of hustle and bustle here reminds me of cultural New York City and I actually had to stop to remind myself where I was. Shanghai holds some of the tallest buildings and the largest cargo port in the world. While 263 meters in the air in the TV tower, we were truly able to grasp the extent of that. Looking over Shanghai's skyline, it felt as though the sea and depths of skyscrapers was never ending. Breathtaking!

19 June 2017

Cc #16 Art experience I think if I were going to talk about any new art experience I've had while in China, I couldn't talk without mentioning the production of silk products. It starts with a tiny ant-sized worm and goes through several stages including special gardening for the worms diet and then sorting, cleaning, unraveling and re-raveling. This fine organic fabric is used to produce many products from hand bags, scarves, silk ties, duvets and endless more. The most interesting use of silk that we saw was the art of silk stitch embroidery. It takes decades for artists to become masters of silk stitching and can take years for one piece of art to be completed. The top masters are skilled enough to use one single thread of silk, which is sometimes difficult to be seen with a naked eye. It is also so delicate that often times will break, making the task even more difficult. These artists are able to make a single embroidery with two sides and alternate colors. Simply amazing.
DM #16 Characteristics of Suzhou as a tourism destination Yesterday when we arrived to Suzhou we jumped right back into our adventure and toured the famous Humble Administrators Garden which was beautiful and serene and unlike the other places we have been. Suzhou is a garden city so I'm glad we were able to see one. There we had tea and rejuvenated from our travels. Later we were able to tour Suzhou's #1 silk factory and learn the process and production of silk products, something Suzhou is also famous for. Today we were scheduled to visit Tiger Hill and the infamous leaning pagoda and the tomb of king He Lu. Sadly, we were unable to go but had a chance to tour the Great canal by boat as well as the silk embroidery museum, which was a heritage all its own. We also had free shopping time on Ping Jiang road which is located by the city's canal. Although the rain slowed us down a bit today, we were still able to enjoy Suzhou's unique heritage while enjoying free time to roam.

18 June 2017

DM #15 Contd and sustainability. Opportunities for bridging cultures arises through tourism, which is an invaluable learning tool for progression. While tourism holds challenges and is becoming more of a norm, it is an ideal stepping stone into the past as well as the future.
DM #15 Over hundreds of years traditional techniques, stories, important people or irreplaceable art can get lost, misinterpreted or forgotten. People sometimes get comfortable and take for granted the uniqueness of their culture and forget how it may impact the world. Not only can tourism give cultures a reason to share that uniqueness but can also improve the way of life and includes many stakeholders. We have seen first hand how tourism can impact communities both big and small and in good ways as well as bad. Smaller communities may face more challenges of catering to tourists because the environment may be more delicate and not quite as sustainable due to infrastructure challenges. These challenges, however, do not outweigh the prosperity and jobs that tourism brings. Underdeveloped destinations are able to keep the traditional way of life while being able to support their families. The government is able to invest into destinations and improve infrastructure...contd
CC #15 For many years I have thought about opening my own cafe/restaurant. I've developed and cultivated a style in my head over time and one definite factor is the relaxing and rejuvenating environment I want to create. I knew that coming to China would give me many new ideas and the trip has confirmed my decision to offer much more than cuisine. In this ever accelerating world, it is necessary to enjoy the simplicities and moments that fill your cup back up when stresses take so much away. In Chinese culture, this may mean morning exercises with coworkers before you start the day, stretching with yoga meditation or tai chi, or staying in tune with your body's needs and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with herbals and tea. Beautiful gardens and intricate techniques such as producing silk or pruning a bonsai tree are also ways that show how Chinese people honor the things that add value to life and that no matter how fast life may get, these traditions are worth remembering.

17 June 2017

DM #14 Visiting the 1300 year old Watertown of Wuzhen, we were able to get a very rare and unique historical and cultural experience. This eco-tourism destination offers a look into the past as the town has not changed much for hundreds of years. Tourists are able to look into the way of life that people lived long ago because the residents there and the companies that protect the area have maintained that way of life. Although souvenirs and food are plentiful here, the main attraction of this destination and reason it is made accessible for tourists is the people and experiential learning. With museums, traditional production techniques of dying fabrics, making rice wine and other goods, and local residents, the town gives a sense of you being thrown into the past. The only thing I might change is limiting the amount of people to enter at one time so to allow the town to keep up with the demand of the crowds. I definetely took a lot away from this unforgettable experience.

16 June 2017

CC #14 When having our student exchange with BISO in Beijing, it was obvious that a relationship had already been blossoming. We were warmly welcomed and greeted and had a valuable meeting from start to finish. We all had a chance to speak and learn from one another in a very comfortable environment and bonded in a meaningful way instantaneously. In Xi'an the department at Xi'an International Studies University seemed a little more reserved and the confidence with students didn't blossom until we were having to wrap it up and leave. We did end up making some friendships and weren't quite ready to leave. In Hangzhou, not only had the relationship been established but seemed to have matured as we were invited to a signing ceremony and anniversary celebration for the University. Whether long or short term, building these relationships means building bridges between cultures. What an amazing opportunity to be part of!
DM #13 Although smart hotels is not a new notion, the fact that the world and institutions are starting to notice means that we are on the cutting edge of what is to come in the future. These new ideas have only been in the forming stages for less than a decade so the possibilities of transforming our experience and data age into something more meaningful is very exciting. For me the ability to control settings in my room is ok but being able to have an experience when I travel based on what I like and things I prefer is priceless. I may not be wealthy but when someone caters to my likes it makes me feel as though I am receiving value.This bridge between cultures is priceless because when a guest is abroad there is nothing more suitable of making them feel welcome than giving them an experience that feels customized to them. I couldn't help but think how this data processing could work with travel agencies and concierge to create the ultimate packages with little effort from the guest.
CC #13 Social norms and expectations can be expected among cross cultures, but certain categories of expectations can be much more meaningful for some cultures than others. This has been highly noticeable in public and professional settings here in China. The power distance in China is scored very highly because it is deeply ingrained that those with higher social status are automatically regarded as more important than lower ranking citizens. It is evident that good practice is to use caution and submissiveness when greeting those of higher "ranking". Customs of formalities are very important to this culture and if not carefully executed can come off offensive. When greeted by other faculty members at the university, our professors were presented with business cards. The giver would "gift" the receiver with 2 hands and the receiver would accept it with 2 hands as well. This is a custom practice that shows respect for each other's ranking.

15 June 2017

DM #12 China probably has one of the biggest, if not the biggest tourism industries. Since China has just more recently opened up to tourism in the past few decades, they have had to overcome challenges to accommodate and practice ways to enhance travel for tourists. I believe that majority of people who tour China go there to get a since of the history and culture that is so unique in the world. China (as far as the cities we have visited so far) has done an amazing job in preserving that history and culture and making it accessible to the rest of the world. Not only does this partnership rely on each other for advancement and preservation, but also for enrichment and prosperity. Small businesses (such as tea plantations and historical sites) are able to grow their efforts when partnered with destination management companies and in return the consumer is able to experience a real example of culture that could otherwise not be available to them. I felt as if this whole journey could n
CC #12 The ability to present ancient history and culture in a modern world and atmosphere has been mastered by the Chinese people. I think that most of this could not be made possible without the mindfulness and honor China has for its culture. The ability to not only walk into historical sites, but also interact with them is something I've never experienced before. I have been blown away with the talent and beauty here, but not quite as much so as the presentation of the culture and history here. Today we were able to walk through an original TCM hospital and pharmacy built hundreds of years ago and upstairs was a museum to remember the history and practices that began TCM while downstairs the pharmacy held patients waiting to pick up their prescriptions. What a way to honor tradition and make use of this beautiful structure. Almost everything in Chinese culture has been reintroduced into a modern perception and this is what makes it so unique.

14 June 2017

DM #11 Technology enhancements and influences? Where do I start?! In the US we are using technology in tourism and entertainment but not quite as well as what I have seen here. Light shows and special effects are quite common here and you would pay a lot in the US to see shows like we have seen here in china. The director, Zhang Yimon did an outstanding job on the Impression West Lake show tonight. Im beginning to think that the Chinese must have invented hydraulics because there is no shortage of lifted stages and special effects using hydraulics. It makes for a very interesting show. In a previous journey I discussed how Beijing could improve tourism experience and stated how a show or skit would help put you in the time and place of the destination. Hangzhou is doing a great job with adding in 3D virtual realities into segments of history museums that show what it might have looked like. This is great for when you are experiencing ancient history for the first time.
CC #11 In China, sentiments go much further than expressions of gratitude and honor. Superstitions and folklores are also often taken seriously and especially by those that adhere to traditional beliefs and values. Today, our tour guide Bing taught us about some taboos in Chinese culture that still linger today. Such as, if you stand your chopsticks upright in your rice or dinner, it represents someone will die because it mimics incense burning in front of a tomb. Or it's improper to give a fan as a gift because in Chinese the word means separation and means you are fanning them away. You also don't want to give a watch or a clock as a gift because someone could mistake that as meaning "your time is up". Chinese culture dates back so long ago and yet some of the oldest traditions still somewhat linger. Every place and culture has its own taboos and beliefs and it's definitely important to know some of them so you are not to offend someone while abroad

13 June 2017

CC #10 continued They seem to really know their sauces here and I'm really looking forward to sampling the teas!
Contd DM #10 the city's center. The river and pacific are also nearby, so I see this must be a very desirable place to live. The area where we are staying is all new and I'm eager to see more of why this city is growing so quickly.
CC #10 In Beijing, I feel like we were eating a lot of rice, steamed buns and vegetables....all kinds of vegetables! They really seemed to focus more on the bread and vegetables more so than the meats that were served....unless, of course you're talking about roasted duck. Outside of the traditional restaurants we were able to try, I feel like Beijing was a melting pot for cuisine and you could really find a mixture of Chinese food to try there. In Xi'an it's all about the noodle and the dumpling. It seems that these locals have mastered the art of snacking and there is no shortage of chili oil, which makes me very happy!! The dumplings, I have to say have been my favorite treat so far no matter if they are steamed or fried. Other than the dumplings, I think I could live off of the saucy noodle soup for the rest of my life! Our meal in Hangzhou tonight promises good things in the days to come...the rice is plentiful and the cooking style of vegetables is fresh. Continued
DM #10 When first arriving to Hangzhou, you immediately see the differences in the city center than in Xi'an and Beijing. In Beijing, the city had lots of energy and bustling and something interesting and unexpected was waiting around every corner. The people were city workers and the streets were filled with bikes, cars and scooters. In Xi'an, you immediately get an impression of community and history. You can tell by the city's energy and architecture that there is a preservation of tradition. There seemed to be more traffic but I think only because the city's center is smaller and divided by the city wall. While the wall separates the old city from the new, it's clear that this structure brings people together and gives the sense of community. Leaving the airport of Hangzhou we saw traditional Chinese family houses where generations of family's live together and farm the lands here. I think that the agriculture must be a big focus for locals here for farms to be so close to...contd

12 June 2017

CC #9 Today we had a cross cultural exchange with Xi'an International Studies University. We were able to meet students studying in the same field and also studying human geography. After crossing the language barrier we learned that the students stay in class for over 35 hours a week and some even more. I was in shock at first until I understood that they normally don't work due to tuitions being much less expensive. One student told me that during their 50 day summer break she drives 2 hours home to take care of her 7 year old sister while her mom works. After sharing photos of my boys and relating with her, she said sometimes that is more work than school...I agreed. I asked what they like to do for fun on their summer breaks and one student says she likes climbing Lishan mountain, which is a 6 km climb. She said she's climbed it 6 times. Most of the students say they are very happy to continue their work in Xi'an as it is more traditional than other larger cities.
DM #9 Today we visited famous Muslim street in Xi'an. It's easy to see why this becomes one of Xi'an's biggest tourist attractions. Down the street you find many traditional prepared Muslim snacks and entertainment along with bargain shopping. Not only does this area offer so much fun and excitement but just down the alley you are able to experience the ancient Chinese Muslim mosque. This is an extremely unique experience as you can feel the cross culture and people who come here, both locally and internationally get to experience something new and feel in another place and time. I imagine it might be like going to China town in the US and getting a chance to get a taste of that culture you might not find in your own neighborhood. For me, the gem is getting to experience the peacefulness tucked away inside the mosque and getting transported into the past by the unique charm found inside there. I only wish I could have stayed longer ❤️

11 June 2017

CC #8 Food and culture challenges Surprisingly the biggest challenge I've faced so far is experiencing the new foods. I'm generally a very adventurous foodie but also have texture "issues". Because of the large array of textures at each meal I've had to push myself to try each dish to get the full experience. Most dishes have had unexpected flavors and have really surprised me. The things I wouldn't have expected to like, I end up loving and some things that look familiar end up tasting completely different. I've also had to adjust to the amounts of food we get. I've always heard that Americans offer the biggest portions but so far I couldn't imagine getting so much food at one meal in the US. They say here they start talking about lunch while they are having breakfast and eating seems to be the center of everything, even more so than back kind of people! Other than the food challenges I had I feel that I've pretty much adjusted to the cultural gaps.
DM #8 Just as the food, I have also been surprised by what activities have interested me the most. I didn't think much into taking a bike ride on the city wall at first. I thought it would be a nice experience but didn't expect to get so much joy from it. Biking around and experiencing the old city and the new city simultaneously was quite an experience. While being on the historical 600 year old structure, you truly FEEL the history. While at the west gate it's possible to see the original martial arts yard site of the Qing dynasty. This was an awesome haven tucked away in the corner and I wanted to stay longer but needed to hurry back to meet with the group. Before heading back I stopped at the gift shop on top to purchase some cards to send home to family to share the moment I had there. I pedaled quickly back and found myself not being able to wipe my smile away. Everyone that shared the adventure seemed to have the same exhilarating experience.

10 June 2017

CC #7 As we have learned and seen many times since staying in China, it is not the gift that is given but in the way it is given, and even more important the way it is received. This is the same for hospitality here as well. I don't think that I've ever received so many kind gestures in such a short amount of time. The small gifts and warm welcomes have brought me to tears at times and I have gained so much from this alone. It's almost as if I've needed a reminder to slow down and appreciate people and moments in a more memorable and meaningful way. As hospitality students and people it is our obligation to our careers and journeys to create these moments both as hosts and as guests in a host environment. Learning to develop warm relationships internationally and enhance cross cultural knowledge of customs promotes growth and earns loyalty for all parties involved. Thank you Mr Qi for the wonderful banquet and also to the staff of Sofitel Hotel for the tour of your amazing property!
DM #7 Chinese hospitality culture is the most unique and mindful example I have ever seen. Working in the hospitality industry for so long I know what it means to make gestures large and small and also what it means to have those gestures received in a positive way. In China, the smallest gesture can make such a vast impression and the memory created is lasting because of the effort put into it. If I could use one word to describe the people here, as well as hospitality, it would be "mindful". There is mindfulness in the initial thought generated, in the mannerisms used to present a gift or gesture and also in the formalities of gift giving and receiving and farewells. I can definitely see a lot of room for improvement of Hospitality goals for the future in the world and hope that some of these adaptions are taken from the Chinese culture to be more mindful and respectful of both your hosts and you your guests.

9 June 2017

#6 DM con'd.... could understand what it really may have been like in ancient China. All in all, Beijing is the most interesting city I've ever been to (so far) and recommend experiencing it, especially for the adventurers.
#6 DM Bye bye Beijing! Leaving Beijing, I was able to reflect some on the experience and decided that my last four days have been the best experience of my far. It wasn't because of the amazing hotel, or abundance of food that brought me to this conclusion, and not even the amazing historical sites we were able to visit. I have never been so educated about culture until my time here. The times I look back on that carried the most meaning (and seemed to as well for my peers) were the times we were able to have intimate moments with the locals. I think creating these moments not only helps the tourist clientele grasp understanding of the culture but also helps keep traditions alive. The Kung fu show we saw carried a lot of value for the group and we were able to envision the story. I think if Beijing were able to recreate other historical moments, such as small authentic shows or skits at the parks, then people who are new to the culture and deep history....cont'd
#6 CC People are naturally habitual in their behaviors, adapted over generations that reflect the history and culture in an area. Our collectiveness is an illusion of what we believe is good or right for our well being and our future. This can be seen in Chinese mannerisms as a reflection of balance and harmony, such as beliefs of yin and yang, tai chi, Kung fu, and meditation. There is a stern dedication to protecting the way of life here as well as a dependency on relational interactions. For example, when I first observed the driving patterns here I was terrified and in complete amazement. Now I am able to watch the traffic as if it is a symphony. At first look people in China may seem to lack joy because of their solemn nature but deep down I see love, harmony and happiness in a different way that's expressed back home. There, we may have more challenge individually but there is also expectations for prestige. True balance lies within accepting all ways of living.

8 June 2017

#5 DM Traveling in large groups can sometimes pose challenges. Situations may arise that are unexpected, or schedules and plans get changed at the last minute and more people means needing to be able to make accommodations. But experiencing life with others can also be inspiring and you find yourself seeing things in even a deeper point of view. Someone may have a suggestion and, just as you would in a job setting, you must be able to be open to suggestion. Some people may not agree with each other and then suddenly you find yourself making a toast with fruit water in a Chinese Pizza Hut, laughing and sharing communion with each other. Although your experience has the possibility to be subject to negative influence, it's more likely that you take much more from the experience than you would not having the added input and special moments together. Passing time with peers (or even getting to know a stranger) is a very intimate part of a journey and makes for the best memories.
#5 CC If there is one thing I've learned about Chinese people, it is that they are active and sentimental! These were obvious perceptions that I had prior to the trip but not to the extent that I have witnessed while here. I honestly have enjoyed watching the people more than anything in Beijing. Everyone walking has a purposeful stride and although drivers are moving as if they are trying to get to the hospital, everyone seems to rely on some sort of system that is invisible to the foreign eye. Everywhere you look people are walking, riding bikes, playing games in the park, and always on the move. The energy is exotic and makes me appreciate the beauty of life when experienced this way. It seems people here appreciate life that accepts challenge and enjoy the moments that have opportunity to present meaning. I'm a sentimental person myself, so being in a place that believes everything has meaning makes me a little hyper sensitive, in a good way that allows me to feel connected.

7 June 2017

#4 C&C Each journey you take in life has characteristics that surprise you when you are in the moment. In my mind I wasn't sure what the experience of the Great Wall would bring although the thought of coming here had built up in my mind for quite some time. The vastness is completely overwhelming and to think of the time and work it would have taken people to build it, and much less in the way they did so long ago is inspiring and exhilarating to experience firsthand. But the structure itself is not what pleasantly surprised me, because I knew how magnificent it would be. It was the strangers of different nationalities helping one another and the mother carrying her baby up. It was the father encouraging his son another step and people from around the world enjoying the experience together. My take away moment today was definitely smiling with those around me and knowing what a special moment we all were sharing.
#3 DM While visiting with the faculty and staff today at Beijing International University we were able to speak candidly and go deep into the heart of hospitality and the personalities of individuals pursuing the industry. We were able to discuss the cross cultural differences as well as challenges of moving forward in improving travel and hospitality education. I have noticed that a lot of focus of detail is missed when dealing with mass markets and sometimes the best parts are hidden. I was really surprised to hear that the students at BISU don't get the art of cuisine in the curriculum and it also made me think about art appreciation being swept aside in the US culture as well. This type of education is important in order to keep interests and Is sometimes the reason people are visiting a destination in the first place. Learning and growing with what interests people the most and then finding a way to motivate the surrounding communities is the key to success in developing a system
#4 DM When I look around I am in awe of the details I see around me. Preservation of history, enrichment of culture and traditional beliefs are so important to convey when sharing a destination. Products of tourism exist not only with what is experienced in the destination but also what is received in the mind. A picture or souvenir is nice to go along with a story but a moment shared with a local or an awesome tour guide can stay in the heart and leave a lasting impression for the rest of your life. Sometimes, you aren't even aware of what is taken from an experience until after the moments have passed and you are back home. Products give locals a way to express what is important to the culture and wether it be a souvenir, an apple, or a smile, it is the warmth and mindfulness of human nature that is the true gift.

6 June 2017

#3 CC Today I was overwhelmed multiple times with the amount of insight of hospitality and the effects it has on the past present and future of the world. It was so wonderful to be in a cross-cultural room of like-mindedness people that share the same passions. What really resonated with me most was the importance to combine the old with the new. It was the first few sentences of Dr Ming's Traditional Chinese Medicine presentation that made me realize this and the potential for its benefits as well as its profitability. We are living in a society that is moving very quickly and it is not the same speed that our elderly saw in their time. Tradition is becoming more difficult to convey to upcoming generations because they are being replaced by what's faster or deemed better. It's sometimes better to take a look into the past to determine what could enrich and improve the future.
#2 CC In the art district "We want to be modern" is displayed largely across one of the side street walls. This is definitely evident by the endless street of trendy coffee and smoothie shops laced throughout the art shops (all of which were tempting to sample). It is obvious that this area is catering to a modernized generation but traditional dining is still seen throughout most of Beijing. Family style dining definitely gives the intimate feeling when sharing a meal with family and friends and is a wonderful way to experience cuisine. Although this style brings people together in communion it is not very conducive to conservation as a lot of food goes to waste because it cannot be finished. It would be nice to see ways this type of dining could be improved upon and adapted into other cultures as I see it enhances our communication and experiences with each other.

5 June 2017

#2 DM One of the most interesting experiences that I have had in my life was today as we were able to explore historical Beijing and the Hutong district and how the courtyard houses came to be and how the owners have been effected by tourism and modernization of the area. Mr & Mrs Zhang, whose home we were able to visit, explained some of the advantages and disadvantages of change over the years. They said there is much more noise and people but the area and infrastructures have improved. The tour guides of the pedicabs are also able to work with local citizens to bring tourism to support the area and also offer invaluable history that this unique community has to offer.

4 June 2017

#1 DM Amongst all of the initial visual differences you experience immediately of architecture, transportation and culture, it's hard to ignore the amount of hospitality you experience upon arrival. In most major cities I have traveled people do not make eye contact and do not make much attempt to smile and make conversation. Many people were smiling and attempted small talk even though it was clear that I don't speak the language. This was interesting to me because of the volume of people in Beijing and still people have not forgotten...people. For lack of a better word, virtue is seen through behaviors and actions as well as through architecture and mindfulness. I'm really looking forward to see what surprises Beijing will bring over the next few days.

3 June 2017

#1 C&C I think the first smell I encountered when stepping off the airplane was noodles! I'm not sure if it's from the unrelenting craving for them that I've had or if there is a noodle stand around every corner? I intend to answer that question as well as satisfy this craving! My Chinese seat mate on the airplane couldn't have enough to say about Peking duck and talked about it as if it were comfort food for him. He assured us there is no shortage of roast duck in Beijing and I so look forward to experiencing that as well. I'm also very excited to see more of the intricacies and attention to detail that I have seen so far in the displays and architecture. Hospitality is well shown by the people and their behaviors and actions here so far and there is much anticipation to learn and experience more. To say the experience so far is surreal, is an understatement. Can't wait to see more!
Up! Up! And away!! Adventure is awaiting...