Saturday, August 16, 2008

China trip update

It's hard to beleive that only three days have gone by on our trip; we have had a lot of fun and many adventures as the cultural acclimization continues. Our first day started with sightseeing on Victoria Peak, then across the harbor to Kowloon to check out Star Avenue (Chinese version of Walk of Fame). The view from Victoria Peak was incredible - the density of skyscrapers is impressive along with the architectual variety. At dinner that evening, sectionmate Matt Payne joined us as we celebrated the first night of the trip (and only night in Hong Kong). The night continued to a couple bars, Prive dance club, and late-night restaurant. We met a number of ex-pats along the way.

On our second day, we took a bus to Shenzhen (45 minutes away) to enter mainland China for the first time. Shenzhen is a massive city (14 million people!), with an impressive skyline. We spent the afternoon at the headquarters of China Vante, the largest real estate developer in China. We toured a few showrooms then spoke with a few execs. That night (Friday night), we hung out at a nice club, Richy, near our hotel, Lushan hotel. We partied in style with reserved tables, bottle service, and a new drink for me... johnnie walker and green tea.

Today was an incredibly relaxing day. We started with a late 10 am start, then stopped by Lianhua mountain (hill) for a nice view of Shenzhen. We then drove to a private beach 45 min east of Shenzhen for a few hours of fun in the sun, playing a modified-game of beach volleyball (inspired by the olympics no doubt). Along the way we drove by Shenzhen's massive shipping port, the third largest in the world.

In the evening, we had a nice Shanghai-style dinner, then proceeded to one of Shenzhen's signature spa & massage complexes. This was quite an experience. In short, I had the best massage of my life - a 2-hour body massage. I also received a 45-min foot massage while watching the olympics (saw the 100M final), and being brought drinks and watermellon.

The food so far has been great. We have enjoyed several styles of Chinese cuisine (Cantonese, Szechuan, and Shanghai), and most of the dishes are completely new to me. Some of the more memorable items include sea cucumber and pig nuckles. We have had pork, chicken, and duck served in ways that didn't look like pork, chicken, or duck. Some of the fun drinks include a sweetened herbal tea (apparently the "Chinese Coke") and a sweet rice wine served warm (very similar to sake).

Tomorrow we leave for Shanghai, after a Dim Sum brunch at a rotating restaurant atop one of Shenzhen's many skyscrapers.

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