Monday, November 11, 2013

Awesome Asia Adventure

Tienanmen Square and The Forbidden City
Getting hustled in Tiananmen Square, eating unspeakable things at a street bazaar, and getting kicked out of a Chinese restaurant/bar are just a few of the memories from last week’s awesome Asia work/pleasure adventure. It is too much to cover in a single blog post, so I’ll start with this chronology post and follow up with posts expounding on individual related topics ranging from bathrooms to political oppression (we saw shocking examples of both).

The chronology:

  • #1 Friday - Philly to Manila via San Francisco and Beijing. About 24 hours in the air, six shuffling through airports.
  • #2 Saturday – Still flying and shuffling.
  • #3 Sunday – Explore Manila, lovely outdoor dinner with the local management team as US based team members trickle in (they were delayed by LAX shooting and Tokyo earthquake).
  • #4 Monday – Get fitted for custom tailored pants and a Barong. Workday starts at 9:00 pm and ends the next morning at 5:00 am. The Manila team greats us at the front door with corsages and take us upstairs where they perform a Philippine folk dance for us. This is followed by all day meeting with the entire 50+ person team where they just knock our socks off with their energy and intellect. They are a formidable team that will do great things with us, very exciting.
  • #5 Tuesday – Second workday. The typhoon is in all the local papers and is a topic of conversation but not a real concern. Yet. Another incredibly productive day with the team. They continue to impress us.
  • #6 Wednesday – Third workday. The approaching storm has been dubbed a “Super-typhoon” and is scheduled to hit Friday night. We’re scheduled to fly out early Saturday morning. We have morning meetings with the management team but by lunchtime (just after midnight) it is suggested that we consider evacuation due to the typhoon. We reluctantly change our arrangements to leave early Thursday morning. Both teams are a little emotional over the decision. 
  • #7 Thursday – The US based team enjoys some time together at Manila airport before heading our separate ways.  Dan and I head north for a couple days in Beijing. We get lost in Zangzizhonglu, visit Tiananmen Square, and get hustled by two school teachers and an accountant.
  • #8 Friday – We risk food poisoning with some street food, make friends with a 6 year old on the train, and visit the Great Wall.  Dinner and a 100 proof bottle of something unspeakable ensures we have a good night sleep.
  • #9 Saturday – Forbidden City, Olympic Village, and a food bazaar near Wangfujing where we eat something gross that was still alive 15 seconds earlier. Dinner at a very loud and hip restaurant packed with young Beijing locals. Another bottle of something strong, only 80 proof this time but a bigger bottle. We eventually kicked out by the owners (past closing time) but not until we get our picture taken with them. We end the night at the hostel bar talking politics with a Chinese and a Chilean student who has been on the road for two years.
  • #10 Sunday – A very long haul home, made even longer because travel agent or airline bungled reservation so we have to buy one-way tickets on a later flight in order to get home. We’ll have to sort out the finances later. Trip ends on #11 Monday with a redeye from LAX back to Philly.

Those are the basic facts but the actually experience was intellectually and emotionally powerful in many ways which I will attempt to explain in subsequent posts. It was a trip of a lifetime.


"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose"
     -- Dr Seuss

No comments:

Post a Comment