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Cord Houle: Tianjin Day 1

Today we arrived in Tianjin, and the train to get here was awesome. We topped out around 333 km/hour which is roughly 200mph. it took us a little more than 20 min to travel 80 miles. This made me wonder why the US doesn’t have any high speed rail systems like this. The train was comfortable and super clean. It certainly would make commuting from Duluth to the twin cities much more convenient. I find that the US’s resistance to mass transit compared to the rest of the world, especially china to be old thinking. Maybe if the American way has changed and green is becoming vogue we will see a rise in the amount of interest America has with public transportation and ways to cut emissions.

After we arrived in Tianjin we visited an E-mart, a store similar to Wal-Mart but based out of Korea. This store had many employees ready to assist with any potential problem. However, when locating products for you they would always lead you to the product and try to sell you the most expensive one. This abundance of employees combined with their attempt to push certain products made me wonder who was paying them. Did the companies of the products they push have contracts with the stores to try and raise the amount of sales of that product or was it a deeper more cultural reason? The number of employees was excessive and which is very different from American companies that try to cut costs by eliminating as many redundant positions as possible. So the major difference I saw at the store was the large number of employees standing around and there constant attempts to try and sell you the most expensive product where quite different than what is common in most American stores.

Later that night we had an amazing meal hosted by the school we are studying at and afterwards we found an American sports bar. This bar was owned by a Chicago native who was thriving by bringing American style meals of mashed potatoes and steak to both Chinese and ex-patriots. His bar was very reminiscent of many sports bars in the states and was littered with jerseys from American sports teams. It was great to see how this Chicago native is able to carve out a living by catering to the novelty of the experience to the Chinese and the comfort of the experience to many foreigners.