China · 20 Days · 40 Moments · June 2017

Ruby's adventures in China!

23 June 2017

DM While exploring Disney, I ate two meals. The first was a Hawaiian pizza that was somewhat close to a Hawaiian pizza, but not quite. It left me a bit disappointed although it tasted good and I still ate it. For dinner, Andria and I ate hot dogs in Disney Town. We were a bit hesitant after our pizza experience, however, we were running out of time and needed something quick. This picture is the "traditional hot dog" that was described to have ketchup and mustard. When I got it, it had relish on it. I'm not a fan of relish but I did not care in that moment. It was one of the best hot dogs I've ever had! The bread was very high quality and it was filling. I was very pleased with my experience. I felt so happy after and it was a great way to end the day. We also got a small ice cream sundae that had strawberry jam in it. Our meal was so satisfying and not very overpriced. Although I consider myself a fan of Chinese food, it was a nice change of pace.

22 June 2017

CC Local culture is always effected in many ways by tourism. In China, this has proveen to be especially true. Tourism owes a responsibly to help preserve Chinese culture. There are so many beautiful places in China and so many cultural traditions to explore. When turning it into a destination, companies must improve infrastructure and add ample lodging accommodations. Doing this improves the Chinese buildings that are already put into place. However, companies must be cautious not to destroy traditional Chinese landmarks in the process. Tourism officials must also be sure to be in constant communication with representatives of Chinese culture. When we visited the Hutong area of Beijing, Mr. Zhou mentioned that he was not a fan of the new bars and restaurants for tourists. By contacting the local community, tourism officials can avoid this. Chinese culture is unique, and by adding Western elements it can lose its touch. We must be careful not to overdevelop or exploit.
DM - each destination's brand image Beijing is a city with so many iconic landmarks. Overall, I think this destination is characterized by mixing historic landmarks with modern buildings. It is a bustling capital city that is well known throughout the world. Xi'an's brand image can be described as the birthplace of China. It's local cuisine and snack foods also set it apart from the rest of the country. Hangzhou, in my opinion, is characterized by its natural beauty. It is a place where people live life to the fullest and enjoy boutique settings rather than busy, plain locations. Suzhou's brand revolves around its gardens and silk industry. It's best qualities are tranquility and preservation of art. Personally, I believe this city could improve on creating a more cohesive and well known image. Shanghai has an image that is known globally. Its brand image is widely accepted as being multicultural, modern, and ever-changing. Even without Disney, it does not disappoint.
DM During our lecture at Fudan University, we had the privilege of attending a very interesting lecture. The topic was on improving western China as a destination. In eastern China, there is already infrastructure put into place and ample marketing for the destination. Just from my personal experience, I can say that eastern China is a very developed tourism destination. However, western China has a long way to go. According the presentation, there is so much natural beauty present in this region of China. Western China needs several new additions in order to become a world class destination. First, there is no direct transportation to this area. An international traveler will have to fly into Beijing or Shanghai first and then transfer to that area. Another tourism product that could be improved is marketing. Right now, most people outside of Asia are not familiar with anything in western China. With a few improvements, it could be on par with eastern China.

21 June 2017

CC The ping pong diplomacy was an interesting event in American-Chinese history. It all began in 1971 during Nixon's presidency. There was an international ping-pong meet to be held in Shanghai one afternoon. As the American team boarded their bus, one guy was left behind. He ended up hitching a ride with the Chinese team. The Chinese team had positive interactions with the American ping pong player and decided that relations between the two nations should improve. The team somehow contacted officials in Beijing to see if this was possible. Beijing is the capital of China and is where all legal actions would be taking place. After this, tensions between America and China began to subside.
CC According to Jeffrey, Suzhou and Shanghai have had a long, complicated relationship. In the past, Suzhou was a metropolitan and Shanghai was a small village. Now, Shanghai is a bustling city and one of the most expensive city in the worlds to live in. Suzhou remains about the same size and is definitely not small, however, it is not a world class destination or one of the largest cities in China. The cities did a major switch. The difference in cost of living is so extreme that Jeffrey commutes from Suzhou to Shanghai although the drive can be an hour and a half at times. Shanghai has developed into a modern city that embraces other cultures and is globalize. Suzhou, on the other hand, still cherishes things that make China unique. For example, double silk embroidery and picturesque gardens are still very popular in Suzhou.

20 June 2017

DM Shanghai made an interesting impression on me so far. First, I love the skyscrapers. My favorite part about the Shanghai skyline is the shape of all of the buildings. Some of them have such interesting, futuristic designs - such as the Shanghai tower that twists up. During both meals, I really enjoyed the food! I like the sweet flavors and the Shanghai spring rolls. Based on our two meals, the food seems more familiar and less exotic than what we've previously had. I think Shanghai is slightly higher class than all of the cities we've visited so far. Yesterday I did not encounter a single squatty potty and all of the restrooms had toilet paper. I've also noticed more McDonalds and a Starbucks on every corner. Personally, I think it feels less authentic than some of the other cities. It doesn't feel like a place one visits for history, it's more of a modern metropolitan for night life.
DM When visiting a destination, other tourists can shape one's experience positively or negatively. Personally, I feel that at the Pearl museum there were actions by some visitors that hindered the experience for other guests. For example, there were children going behind the ropes and touching the exhibits that were clearly off limits. Each stakeholder plays an important role in the experience of a destination. I believe that the museum staff is the stakeholder that holds the most responsibility in this scenario. The staff should have more guards present in order to ensure that people obey the rules. Additionally, more signs should be present that clearly state what guests can and cannot touch. The poorly behaved guests should also modify their behavior in order to accommodate the other guests who are trying to enjoy their experience and absorb the history. Using a combination of these efforts, the museum should be able to provide better experiences for their guests.

19 June 2017

DM Suzhou is an interesting little city. During our short stay here, I have learned enough about it to understand why it appeals to tourists. Personally, I think it is best for those who are looking to escape large city life. Although our hotel is in an area with high rise buildings, the older part of the city is somewhat slow paced. It is most well known for gardens. The Humble Administrator's garden that we visited was very relaxing and even offered a beautiful outdoor tea area for people to reminisce with friends or just appreciate the outdoors. During our alone time through Pingjiang road, I thought the road was very picturesque and full of greenery and ancient architecture. I also enjoyed the smaller boutique style shops that didn't have as many tacky souvenirs. Overall, I think Suzhou is a wonderful place for people to relax and appreciate life.

18 June 2017

CC In China, I've noticed that most people relax by drinking tea, visiting gardens, and strolling. Personally, I prefer this so much more to the American ideal of relaxation. In the US, I think most people perceive relaxation by laying in bed and watching Netflix. Or possibly going to the spa, or getting nails done when possible. My personal idea of relaxing is by being in nature. I love to put my hammock under the Cocoa pier and just lay and listen to the water. Although relaxation is about resting, it still feels nice to be productive. I believe that's the way the Chinese feel as well. Getting out of one's house and enjoying time with loved ones can be relaxing too, and does the soul good. Here, relaxation consists of trying to become more in tune with yourself. Despite all that I have observed,I am curious as to how people my age relax in China. I have not seen many 20 year olds, do they go to the bar as we do in the US? I'd like to observe more of the cityscape to find out.
DM Tourism leaves a remarkable footprint in the world. One of the cultural aspects that it impacts the most is the local community. In China, there are many examples of this. As a result of tourism and globalization in general, more people in China have learned in English. While I barely know any Chinese, nearly everywhere I go in China someone knows at least a few basic words to help me out. People in the local community of China have begun to make a living in small souvenir shops. These locals now have a broader market as they have more foreigners to sell to. I have seen some instances where tourism has possibly hindered the local community as well. For example, in Beijing, the local hutong area is now full of shops and loud bars. The local community there has stated that the noisy area is not what they prefer. However, tourism does improve infrastructure as well. And drives the need for preservation. Personally, I think tourism has a positive impact on the local community.
CC Although this is a picture of just silk worms, a craft that has astounded me was the double silk embroidery. Watching all of the older women work on their crafts left me in awe. It's such a tedious process, yet they have so much patience for it. I loved the cat pieces that had different colors on each side. The fact that not many people can do this craft is part of what makes it so special. Only 12 people at a time can be considered silk embroidery "masters." A competition determines who is selected to be a master. It's amazing how large some of the pieces can be. One piece was the size of an entire wall and had an intricate design that took four people two years to make. I also appreciate that the majority, if not all, of the designs I saw were traditional Chinese concepts. This makes the craft unique to China and a national treasure for them.
CC Long term vs short term orientation is an interesting concept. In the US, we tend to lean towards short term orientation. In China, it is evident that they have more long term orientation based on the university experiences. At BISU, the students were very interested in talking to us and engaging in conversation. At this university, I noticed there was a former Disney programmer who was more vocal than some of the others. I think this is because he learned to be accustomed to the US's short term orientation. At XISU, the students were very shy. I think this is because they are more traditional and more in tune with long term orientation. They were timid to speak and had to build trust with us. Despite this, some of us exchanged WeChats. I was surprised to see that two girls had messaged me right after we left. At Zhejiang, the experience was mixed. The students there were ready to talk to us and exchange social medias. The ceremony was a prime long term orientation example!

17 June 2017

DM WuZhen was a very interesting place. While it's easier to think about the tangible products, one must also consider the intangible elements as well. One intangible product that stood out to me was how crowded the destination was. This is such an important element in destination marketing as it can effect how comfortable guests are. Another tourism product I noticed were all the small museums. The indigo museum, bed museum, and silk museum enhance the experience as they are tourism products that one cannot take home. It's something unique to that destination that has to be seen in the moment. An important intangible tourism product is service. At WuZhen, it was hard to determine how good or bad the service was because of the language barrier. At the shops and museums, there wasn't much communication between the staff and guests. One of the best intangible products was the show with the man hanging over a stick over the water. It was interesting to see.

16 June 2017

CC While at the University exchange, there were a few examples of power distance. First, all of the staff and professors sat in the front rows of the classroom. Second, the picture taking process was very complicated. While we were preparing the pose for the picture, it was important that those in a higher position got to sit in a chair in front of the students. Additionally, the Chinese students didn't get to join the picture until they were invited by their professors. While we were speaking to the students in an informal setting, I noticed that they were all very timid and wanted to hear us speak first. Because we are guests, they allowed us to speak first. High power distance is definitely something I am not used to. While we were self serving our snacks, I felt bad because I noticed I grabbed a snack before the professor who was in line behind me. It has been an interesting learning experience!
DM I thought the smart hotel presentation was very interesting! I was very impressed that Zhejiang University was able to translate the lecture completely into English for us. The professors presenting the information seemed very excited and eager to share this information with us which made the atmosphere more exciting. Personally, what I find interesting about the material was the fact that the smart technology can remember AC temperatures. If I had a hotel that used this technology, I would be sure my specific brand used this technology. This will drive repeat visitors. Every time someone stays at the same brand of hotel, they can expect their data to be remembered for them. For example, when they check in to a repeat brand, their AC will be pre set to their temperature for them. I was also very impressed by the intricate model that was in the hallway.

15 June 2017

CC The juxtaposition of ancient China and modern China is something that has continued to fascinate me throughout this trip. Hangzhou alone has several examples of this. First, Enduring Memories of Hangzhou did this very well. Most of the concepts had to do with traditional Chinese ideas, for example, the use of patterned umbrellas. However, the sets and effects used in the show were very modern. Another example of this is the entire city of Hangzhou itself. Our hotel seems to be in an area full of new high rise buildings and modern stores, such as Starbucks. The Westlake area of Hangzhou has so much history and older architecture. As well as the Six Harmonies Pagoda that was so old there was mold growing between the small cracks of the cement. The small museums in Hangzhou are good at this too. They are based on ancient Chinese topics but use advanced technology to create enticing displays.

14 June 2017

#1 Technology is a major component in destination marketing. Without it, a destination can start to feel outdated. We have experienced many forms of technology in tourism while in China. The one that currently stands out the most to me was last night's show, Enduring Memories of Hangzhou. I was so blown away by the way they used water, props, and lasers in last night's performance. Second, the museums in Hangzhou had many virtual reality experiences. There was one where you could "walk" in an old street and several other instances where you could see 3D objects moving in miniature form. In all cities we have been to, I've noticed that QR codes are placed on everything as a way for tourists to gather more information on a particular topic. Additionally, I think the high speed train is an excellent way to promote tourism. It makes it easier for tourists to move around the country of China and explore more cities.
DM One of the best practices of destination marketing I have seen on this trip was at the tea plantation. The site itself was beautiful and difficult not to fall in love with. While at the presentation, the woman working gave us all tea to sample. This was an excellent tactic as it gave us all the chance to experience the quality of their product. Then she even let us sample dry tea leaves. After listening to her lecture about all of the health benefits and physically demonstrating how green tea can effectively cleanse the stomach, I could tell most of use were already sold on the product. Personally, I think it is very smart that she promoted both tea supplements and actual tea as this gave everyone options. Then, she proceeded to give everyone different options to buy that included free mini cans. Although we have visited other locations that has great examples of destination marketing, I think this particular location had many examples within itself.
#2 I've noticed that Chinese people tend to have a meaning or explanation for everything, even small occurrences. This morning, Bing discussed many of these social beliefs, or "superstitions." First, he explained why it is improper to stab chopsticks into rice. In Chinese culture, they believe it looks like incense in a burial ground representing death. Second, Bing told us that fans are symbolic of separation. In China, people do not give fans as gifts because this notion means that you never want to see the other person again. The third superstition I remember was the stigma around watches. It is well known that watches are a form of telling time. However, in Chinese culture, some people believe that giving someone a watch means that you are running out of time and could be the end of the relationship. This one struck me as especially odd because in the United States, a nice watch is considered a very nice gift to give someone.

13 June 2017

#1 Hangzhou gave me a very different first impression than Beijing or Xi'an. First, it seems much less crowded and touristy than the first two cities. While driving from the airport we did not experience much traffic. It was a smooth drive and there were less pedestrians trying to cross the street. I did not see as many little tacky touristy shops in Hangzhou either. Second, as we drove from the airport to the hotel, the architecture has felt very different. The large homes for farming families do not look anything like the architecture in Xi'an or Beijing. The area where our hotel is also feels more modern, but calmer, than Beijing or Xi'an. Additionally, the weather here reminds me of home. Although we experienced some rain when we arrived in Xi'an, it was not as heavy of a rain as the rain in Hangzhou. It also rained for a long period of time. I feel most people would see this rain as a hinderance, however, I've loved being able to listen to the sound of it from my hotel room.

12 June 2017

#1 Muslim Street was a much more interesting attraction than I had anticipated. I think it is important that both domestic and international tourists visit this "must see" destination at least once in their lives. The mosque at the end was absolutely gorgeous! Anyone, Chinese or not, can appreciate the ornate architecture and tranquility of this location. It is the only mosque decorated in a Chinese style, making it a one of a kind destination for international and domestic travelers. Additionally, there is so much food to see and try on Muslim Street. It may not be very gentle on Americans' stomachs, however, for people from other countries who have stronger stomachs it's great to try. Even for domestic travelers, most of the snacks are specific to Xi'an and cannot be found in other cities in China. I would highly recommend anyone visit this destination for both the local cuisine and lovely mosque!
#2 Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures while visiting XISU. I was too busy meeting and talking to new friends! During this exchange, I learned more than I did at the Beijing exchange. While I was talking to the group of girls from the university, I asked, "are you all from Xi'an" and they said yes. Later in the conversation, I asked where their ideal location to work would be and they unanimously told me "we want to stay in Xi'an." This was odd to me. I am from Florida, and am very proud of my home state, but I have dreams of working abroad and in other locations in the US. This immediately made me think of people from the city I went to high school in. Auburndale, in Polk County, is full of people who have lived there their whole lives and do not plan on leaving. This mentality is something I have never been able to understand. But now, I understand that some people are just content with what is familiar and comfortable to them.

11 June 2017

#1 My most memorable experience in Xi'an has been biking along the old City Wall. This experience has been memorable for me because it was my first time riding a bike in a few years! I loved every minute of it. One of the tourism products in this experience was the actual bicycle itself. It was a bit uncomfortable, however, for the price I did not think there was anything wrong with the quality. The city wall was definitely the most impressive tourism product involved. It's antiquity made it so special. I love that it was lined with lanterns and even playing music at times. It's massive size left me in awe, I didn't realize how large it was until we began riding the bikes. Additional tourism products could The the happy room (bathrooms) which were relatively nice, and the small cafes lined along the wall. The cafes were a smart tourism product to implement because everyone could use something the drink after riding a bike for so long!
#2 One challenge I've had to overcome is my sensitive stomach. For a majority of this trip, I've felt kind of sick. I love to eat and it has been a challenge for me to eat less and be less adventurous in order to accommodate my sensitive stomach. It's difficult to remember to stay hydrated as well. I've had to remind myself to bring extra waters and eat bread in order to accommodate the way I feel. Additionally, Im someone who is typically pretty active. I love to explore and be outdoors, however, I have to remind myself to take it easy and walk a little slower and sit down when needed. It's challenging to feel as if I'm limiting myself. I also hate to ask for help or complain. Vocalizing my needs and admitting that I don't feel well has been a part of my personal journey while on this trip. I hope to feel 100% soon and return to my normal self. Until then, my challenge will be reminding myself to take it easy.
#2 Beijing and Xi'an had very different methods of cooking. First, Beijing had rice accompany almost every meal. In Xi'an, most of the meals had dumplings or noodles instead. Also, Xi'an ate more snack foods that were very unique. These snack foods include Chinese hamburgers, different dumplings, meats on a stick at Muslim Street, and cold noodles. Another thing I noticed in Xi'an was that food often had a more sour flavor to it. The food was not overly spicy, however, it had a different vinegar taste that I am not used to in my usual cuisine. In Beijing, I think the only dish we had that was special to the city was Peking duck. Personally, I was definitely a fan of this meal. I also ate more steamed buns in Beijing than in Xi'an, although I'm not sure if they are something that is specific to that city. Overall, I enjoyed the meals in both cities. In Xi'an, I preferred the special foods and snack foods, although the sour flavor is not something I am accustomed to yet.

10 June 2017

#1 This photo is from the balcony of the Chang'an suite at the Sofitel Legend. For me, this is an example of premier hospitality in China and even exceeds most accommodations I've seen in the US. The Chinese are always willing to go above and beyond for their guests. For instance, a free tai chi class was arranged for us tomorrow morning. It blows my mind that they were willing to do this even though there is not a scheduled class at this time. Another example of going above and beyond is the way food is served at restaurants. It's rare that a plate goes empty at a table. The Chinese always ensure that there is plenty of food for everyone and that everyone has options. Another characteristic about Chinese hospitality is respect. The staff in restaurants and hotels treat all guests like they are VIPs. There is always eye contact made when speaking. Additionally, they never speak to guests condescendingly and always have a smile.
#2 Today, as a group, we tried to get better at "giving face." With every host person we met, we greeted them with a handshake, eye contact, and a smile. When we got off of the bus at the recreation resort, we greeted the family friends of Dr. Wei. Every time a server brought me a water bottle or more pomegranate juice, I tried to make eye contact and say thank you. It's simple gestures that make "giving face" so powerful. We also honored our guests by expressing our gratitude for their hospitality. On another note, the food today was exceptional! It has been by far my favorite family style meal. I loved the combination of snack food with hearty courses. My personal favorites were the breakfast bread, potato rolls, and the noodles. I was thrilled to finally have the famous Xi'an noodles and dumplings. They lived up to my expectations and I could not be happier. I'd also like to note that the plating was exquisite. Our meal today was truly art.
#2 Collectivism culture is so different from individualism culture. In China, people tend to do things in groups. The family style, lazy Susan dinners/lunches are so different than at home. Meals are eaten in large groups rather than just grabbing food on the go for one. Although my parents definitely taught me to share, it's been a little strange to share many dishes with people rather than ordering my own dish exactly how I like it. Another example I've noticed is personal style. At home, I feel it is much more normal to see all kinds of hair styles, clothing, and personalities. In China of course everyone is a little different, however, most people tend to wear the same bland colors. I don't see as many crazy hair styles as I do back home. To a certain extent, most people have the same look here and have an imagine of "one people." While this is not a bad thing, it's interesting to observe the difference.

9 June 2017

#2 One cultural difference that I have observed in gift giving. In the US, gifts are typically only given on major holidays or anniversaries. However, in China, gifts are customary even for minor events. They are also given with the execrations of receiving nothing in return - it is for the internal joy of giving. This is an apple that Dr. Mejia received as a gift for the class. The apples came in large, ornate boxes. The boxes even had corresponding bags. The apples even came with special certificates because they were purchased at a store specializing in apples. Another cultural difference I have noticed is that everything in China has meaning. When we were eating a few nights ago, Dr. Wei mentioned that holding your chopsticks further away meant you will go further in life. Also, at the Temple of Heaven, Nikki mentioned everything was done in multiples of 9 for a specific reason. I find this so interesting and can't wait to learn more!

7 June 2017

#2 This photo was taken while I was trying to catch my breath while climbing the Great Wall! I decided to walk instead of taking the cable car. While I do not regret my decision, the trek was definitely a little more difficult than anticipated. The steep ramp at the beginning was very challenging. I personally do not exercise regularly, although I'm not in horrible shape. However, the trip was such an adrenaline rush. I wanted to keep pushing myself to go further. It was an awesome bonding experience with my group being able to motivate each other and even holding hands at some point to support one another. The views were incredible and the photos we took I will cherish forever. It still feels surreal to me that I walked on something that was built so very long ago. I totally felt that "wow. I'm really in China" moment. Even though I left with sore calves, the journey was so much fun and something I will never forget. The people and landscapes made it memorable for me.
#1 DM This photo was taken at the Summer Palace - one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen in my life. There are many tourism products here. The first one we encountered was the small gift shop where some of us enjoyed ice cream. The next product was the restrooms that could use serious upgrading. Next was the destination itself, which was stunning. Another type of tourism product is the people - for us, the locals are the product. For them, we were the product as they could not stop taking photos of us. Although this is not a tangible item, Nikki's story was the most interesting tourism product in my opinion. Her story was so compelling and full of history. For me, it brought the destination full circle and gave it a new meaning. After hearing it, I looked at the destination differently. It's crazy how something verbal can be a tourism product.
#1 Having group members rather than doing a solo trip has definitely made this trip interesting. Prior to leaving, I didn't really know anyone. Now I feel like I have several close friends. Adventuring with a group has made the experience different because I know everyone with me appreciates culture and history the way I do. We all have thought provoking conversations about our journey, our relationships with one another, and the sites we're visiting. We have all been each other's home away from home. It's fascinating to me how a group of strangers can find so much in common. As far as co-creating the experience, it's very helpful to have fellow group members point out small details that I may not have noticed initially. I love being with like-minded people who can enhance my experience. Additionally, my roommate has been a major influence on this trip. She is my "exit buddy" (Nemo reference) and we always have each other's backs, even when we're sick 😊
#1 DM Beijing was a beautiful city full of destinations that draw in Western tourists. One thing that Beijing does well is they keep their tourism destinations very clean. For example, I did not notice any trash on the floor anywhere or dusty areas. Even areas that are 500+ years old have been well kept. Alternatively, one thing that Beijing destinations could improve is signage. Without a tour guide, Beijing's destinations, and the city as a whole, are confusing to navigate. Many of our destinations had multiple gates/entrances. If someone was not aware of this, they could very easily get lost. More description in general would help Western tourists who are not familiar with the area. Also, having less pushy locals selling souvenirs outside of destinations would help. Although this is not a direct tourism product, it greatly effects the experience. It can be intimidating for westerners when someone is in their personal space yelling in Mandarin. Perhaps new regulations could help.

6 June 2017

#1 This photo is from the Temple of Heaven today. Personally, I loved this destination. However, I think the layout could be a little confusing. I think that the destination management could be improved by more clear labels and signs. I think that the marketing of this location could be improved by adding more interactive features. Without a tour guide, it is difficult to understand it all. In general, I think most places in china could benefit by somehow limiting the amount of people who visit the attractions. At the temple of heaven, it was extremely difficult to get a photo without anyone in it. It is also hard to enjoy things with so many people. Maybe destination marketing and management should work together to make China more accessible and enjoyable for tourists.
#2 This photo was taken on our tour of Beijing International Studies University. Of all things from that experience, learning about traditional Chinese medicine was the most fascinating to me. More specifically, the emphasis on the yin and yang. I loved the intricate explanation of the two and how they complement each other. It was very interesting to me how certain medicines and foods can be either yin or yang. Yin represents the female and yang represents the male. I think this lesson stuck with me the most because my mom loved yin yangs as I was growing up. She always taught me that there is bad and good and good in bad. We have always wanted to get yin yang tattoos. Now, I feel like I have more meaning behind the concept of yin and yang. I loved this lecture so much. I also enjoyed the rest of the traditional Chinese medicine lecture. I am a huge advocate for holistic medicine and hope that I can implement this into my own life.

5 June 2017

#1 DM The image above was taken at the Zhang's home. Dr. Wei's comment about the stakeholders really got me thinking about everyone who is at play in that village. As mentioned during the activity, the local community is a very important stakeholder when planning for a destination. In this case, the local community was not consulted when building all of the restaurants and cafes in the area. They are noisy and bother the locals. Consequently, another stakeholder is the tourist companies planning. Additionally, we were stakeholders today too. Tourists are very important stakeholders. We are the ones who visit and are paying money. It seems that the closest relationship on this trip was the relationship between the tourists and the local community. Our meeting today was such a genuine human connection. We talked to each other openly and honestly. However, the tourist companies and locals clearly did not communicate. The tourist companies and tourists are able to communicate more.
#2 CC This image is of a steamed bun we enjoyed at lunch today. Today's lunch was dim sum style, I think. We had many dishes that were split amongst many people. Dinner was the same way. I notice there is so much more interaction when you have to ask people to rotate the lazy Susan or pass a dish, rather than staring at your own plate and not talking. The meals in China felt like a social gathering. Eating Chinese food in the US is very different. It is famous for being low quality, cheap, and large portions. Everyone orders their own dish and maybe shares a little bit. Although there is some interaction, it's more about our primitive need to eat - not our desire to socialize and savor our food. On another note, today's food was delicious! Lunch was full of carbs, which is a bit different in the US where meat is the primary component of the meal. It was very interesting to be able to sample so many foods. In my opinion, eating in China is more enjoyable than in the US.

4 June 2017

Class #2 This is a picture of the food I ordered at my hotel today - ginger ale, spring rolls, and pot stickers. The ginger ale in China had so much more finger than back home. It tasted more like a ginger beer. The texture of the potstickers felt like they needed to be eaten with chopsticks, and I used a fork like an American. The spring rolls were better than any I've eaten in the US. Overall, I felt the food was much different than in the US but in a good way. The cuisine in china is amazing so far!
Class #1 This photo was taken on the way from the airport to the hotel. My first impression of China is that it is crowded, but organized. The lines at the airport were insanely long, however, I noticed that everyone was able to maneuver through the lines quickly. The tram system in the airport was more efficient and intricate than the one in Orlando. On the drive to the hotel, I noticed how beautiful and clean the city of Beijing is. The architecture was stunning. I look forward to more first impressions of China tomorrow!