On Wednesday I found the lecture to be a bit redundant in that we have learned a lot of the Chinese economic facts a few times in a row. Although they are interesting, it is often the exact same information being given by a different professor. The business visit after lecture/lunch was pretty interesting to see, at Tasly Company. The company was by far the nicest that we have visited in my opinion, with many large conference rooms filled with amazing paintings and large leather/lazy-boys. The company had its own small shopping center and even a small club! The sculptures that the organization had were pretty incredible, with a lot of emphasis on ancient/historical medical practices. The cement wall artwork was my favorite part, with a long story board about 300 feet long with all the major creators of many medical practices and remedies.
Also the company had its own garden area that was pretty amazing; with just open space, a greenhouse, and a small pond with fountains and goldfish. It was all set up and taken care of very concisely. The company was very well prepared for us too, having 2 movies for us to watch giving an overview of the company. After the visit me and a small group went to Golden Street and explored a massive store that could be like a Chinese Old Navy. It was pretty amazing to see the store had like 6 floors, so we were having a blast on the escalators. The clothes in this store were very good quality and about half the price of anything you could find in the states. For dinner we went over to Pizza Hut and had some much needed American food! It was cool to see the difference in design of the restaurant, which appears to be a lot more of a sit down fancy place here in China. The price was similar, as we have found any of the American things/foods or anything we find here all have similar prices to the states. It is funny because we find that expensive in comparison to the typical 5 dollar maximum for a good meal. Then we went back to the hotel, before meeting up with Eric and some of the other students for Ali Babas. It was fun again, this time I got to meet a Chinese guy and a group from Detroit studying at Nankai. It is just fun at Ali Babas because you never know what kind of people you will meet. I also met a guy named Stuart from Manchester, who is soon going to begin teaching English at Nankai.
Thursday we had a lecture again that was very similar to past ones, and we ended up having the professor skip half of it to avoid repeating info we got in yesterdays lecture. We changed up the schedule and had our business visit first, going to a business that sells life insurance/and health insurance. The most incredible thing happened at this company, when we ran into an employee in sales at the company that I had played foosball with at Ali Babas the night before! In a city of some 11 million people I was thinking it was a pretty small world for a split second. The business was pretty cool, being situated on the 37th floor of a high rise and having an incredible view overlooking the city. For lunch most of us ate at the base of the company at star bucks, not being able to wait until after the long drive back to the hotel. We then had the lecture and went straight from nankai to a fondue restaurant for some true Chinese traditional food. It was so much fun and we even got almost every Chinese student we have met to come with us making our group around 25! It was really an experience getting to make or add whatever you wanted and cook it yourself, in your own small fondue pot. The Chinese students had to be integrated throughout our group to show us how to cook everything and what spices/dippers to use. It was a really great time, and also a 4 hour event. We eventually got too loud, and probably had the rest of the restaurant in an uproar. We had about half of the students back to the hotel to hang out with us and showed them more American games, and spoke about their plans to travel to the states. I have become pretty good friends with Eric and Lu, and Lu wants to continue his studies in the states after he finishes school here (in two years) and I am going to try to stay in touch with him to possible have him live with me if he comes. I think it would be a great learning experience for me, and would definitely help him to adjust and learn his way around. So at the end of the night I gave out a bunch of bracelets I made for the students, and they all were as expected very excited and felt obligated to get me something before we leave. The culture here is incredibly grateful for even the smallest little things, and it is really refreshing to be around people with such good mannerisms/politeness. It really is a lot different than in the states where after being here it feels as though we take things for granted too much and could really learn a lot on appreciation from the Chinese culture.