China Day 16 (Tianjin)
Today was our last day of classes. The last lecture was very interesting but I am glad to be done with the classes. After the lecture today we went to the IKEA shop in Tianjin. This was the biggest IKEA in the area. It was a three story building. We went to the 3rd floor of the building and the tour guide's showed us around the shop. I wasn't too fond of this visit because the IKEA in Tianjin wasn't very different from the IKEA in the Twin Cities and I think we could have gone somewhere much more interesting with much more cultural and economic significance. None the less, this was a pretty interesting visit. The main thing that is different between the IKEA in Tianjin and the IKEA in the Twin Cities is that their products and store layout are built for different living styles. At the Twin Cities location they have many products that reflect people having spacious houses to live in. In the IKEA in Tianjin, on the contrary, their products were built for apartment and/or small house living. They had a few different models of a standard Tianjin home with different IKEA products to fill the living quarters. Typically, these model living area's consisted of 1-2 bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom, and a kitchen, all within relatively close proximity to one another. I was also surprised by the price of the items at this IKEA. The prices there well reflected the prices on similar items in the United States. I thought that the prices would have been much lower. We went through a bedroom area, kitchen area, dining room area, and kids area within the IKEA store and we got to sit on different chairs, lay on different beds, and just walk around and look at the different products. In the dining room area we sat down as a group for a few minutes and we had a brief Q&A with the staff there about IKEA, China, and related topics. After all of this we stopped at the restaurant in the IKEA store and I got a plate of spaghetti and a couple of chicken wings. They were surprisingly good for IKEA food. After we ate, we left the IKEA and we had the rest of the day to ourselves. Again, I thought that the IKEA visit could have been spent on something better, but it was still a good, informative visit none the less. Now we just have to tackle our cultural presentation tomorrow and then it is the weekend!