This short trip to China was the first time in the country for me. As you can imagine, being from the US and living in Japan, I may have heard some information about China that would create some visions of what it would be like. Let me just say –
I LOVED IT. The food, the culture and mostly the people.
I’m not sure why American Chinese food is bad but it is. I ate Peking duck in Beijing, special lake crabs from Wuxi, the best pork ribs and the most amazing wonton soup. The companies grew the food to ensure supply and safety. Organic chicken, duck, eggs, taro, purple yams, and all sorts of veggies.
The presentation on the humongous lazy susan tables was quite beautiful but as they were work functions, I didn’t whip out the camera until Saturday night.
Yes, there were some things that I didn’t quite care for – pig tail, boiled sea cucumber [I did try it] and preserved eggs – but every culture has its share of unfamiliar things.
I was surprised at the level of toasting which far exceeded my experience in Japan. Of course, I’m Irish so, hey, go with the flow. Ganpei, so close in sound to kanpai “cheers” in Japan, is not really “cheers” but rather “bottoms up” and a finish the glass requirement.
Innovative. Vibrant. Invigorating. It felt fun, fresh and new. 25 million people in Shanghai and an hour outside, the majority of the city was built-in the last 5 years. The place where we stayed was a “Lake Resort” something close to 5 star hotel. I totally expected to bring out my Jersey_Girl_Christmas_Mall_Shopping elbows but it wasn’t necessary. Perhaps because we were on business but I just got the feeling that stereotype probably persists more in the US than in China.
I felt strangely at home with the Chinese people. In fact, I got 3 hugs after business meetings and as a huge hugger, I thought that was the best. They were open and very complimentary. I can’t really describe it without over sharing but suffice it to say, the people really made the trip. Educated around the world – US, London, Australia, China – fluent in many languages and very, very gracious.
I had such a good time, I know I will return soon.