China Diary:
Wrapping Up


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]


Dec. 22: Rockin’ Chrismas Party – Penelope is working on a joint training program between my home university and Fudan and she has been here for about a week to recruit participants. Today, she takes me and a couple of Waiban staff to a working lunch to discuss the New York-Shanghai Partnership for Human Resource Management. Later that evening in the same hotel, the Waiban office hosts a Chrismas party so I let my MBA class out early. They give me a (very nice!) Chrismas present and card and I make it in time to pick up a guitar and sing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" with Maurice, backed up by the other Americans. My Woodstock tie-die T-shirt makes all the difference.

Dec. 23: Downtown Double Meal – For lunch Fenwick takes me, Jackie, and one of his classmates to Pizza Hut downtown. He has a scholarship, and the local student tradition is to host a banquet in celebration. These students have frequent banquets. Later I join Johan from the Nordic Center for a banquet downtown at a restaurant grand opening. It is hosted by a local consultant and attended by some movers and shakers from business, government, and academia. When I get home I take Yoshi out for his birthday celebration.

Dec. 24-25: Chrismas – Our French friends are cooking for a pub downtown managed by one of their Chinese students learning French, so a bunch of us foreign experts go there to celebrate Chrismas Eve with an international group. The next morning, fourteen make another trip sponsored by the Waiban, and I and Nikolaeva the Russian teacher are the only Westerners. We go near a town which mined tin for centuries when it was known as You (with) Xi (tin); when it ran out it simply changed its name to Wu (no) Xi (tin). It is now known for its silk, pottery, spare ribs, and Tai Lake which was a bay of the East China Sea until the Yangtze silt isolated it. First we stop at the Buddhist temple at Ling (spirit) Shan (mountain) which has a giant copper Buddha. We have a banquet where I sample the spare ribs, then go to the lake for a stroll where I sample the silk (purchase) and pottery (no purchase).

Dec. 26-28: Putuo Shan – On Saturday, I take the 6:00 p.m. overnight boat ten miles down the Huangpu River where it enters the Yangtze, then out the thirty mile wide mouth at the East China Sea. We heat for a remote, charming, and serene island which is one of four Chinese mountains sacred to Buddhism. It has attracted pilgrims for over one-thousand years and is inhabited by monks living in ancient monasteries. After one island stop on the way I arrive fourteen and one-half hours later. The weather is mild and sunny, and I spend Sunday wandering by foot and minibus to visit Puji Si (Universal Benefit Meditation Temple), the oldest (1080) and most central; Huiji Si (Wisdom Benefit Meditation Temple) by taking the cable car to the summit of Foding Shan (Buddhist Summit Mountain); and Fayu Si (Way Rain Meditation Temple) on the southern slopes. Concentrating on my map for several minutes, I slowly lift my eyes to see a crowd formed around me and acting somewhat bemused at my apparent perplexity. After lunch, I walk the beach and make my way to Chaoyang Dong and its small cave. By 5:00 p.m. I take the overnight boat back, and this time the direct return takes only thirteen and one-half hours. For a change, I will get to my front gate just after it opens.

Dec. 29-30: Final Classes – I hoped to get some last-minute work done on Tuesday before my evening class but an apparent virus keeps me in bed until I crawl out for lunch around 3:00 p.m. I manage some preparations, then wrap up my MBA class in Strategic Management. I get an ovation and pose for some photos. They will submit their projects while I am gone and I will have one week to get their grades out. On Wednesday morning I wrap up my International Business seminar and the four groups make their final presentations. I finally get to stir them up a bit. Then I pack lightly for my two-weeks back in New York State. It’s been a mild winter but today it is getting very cold, so maybe I’m leaving in time. My flight is from Beijing on New Year’s eve, and there is no connection that morning so I go the evening before. Fittingly, I will leave from the city I first entered. Equally fittingly, the flight is delayed one-and-one-half hours, but I still arrive in time for a Beijing duck (ya) dinner.

Dec. 31: Going Home – Having traveled on many Chinese airlines and visited the coast extensively, I’ve come to know many names and places. The major port cities were sleepy fishing villages last century until the European powers came to colonize the coast. The mid-south, a flat delta formed by the Yangzi River, is criss-crossed by canals. In contrast, the north is mountainous. In fact, China is most known for its Great Wall, rising from the Bo Hai Gulf and following the rugged terrain on its northern border. This wall probably did more to insulate its inhabitants than protect them from outside invaders, and I think of modern-day China as a country of internal walls with buildings in every city and town ringed by a guarded wall purportedly to protect its inhabitants. Every city and town in this country which reveres the common folk has a main street named after Dr. Sun Yat Sen (Zhongshan Lu), many after the political writer Lu Xun, and typically a "People’s Park" (Renmin Gongyuan). I also think about how my senses have been exposed to many sights, sounds, and smells. Actually, the constant assault by noise, pollution, and crowds eventually takes its toll. Chinese public hygiene has a long way to go as its citizens routinely and publicly spit, couph, burp, nose-pick, and even urinate. To fend off the occasional illness, I’ve tried various herbal medicines and folk remedies. But China is also a country experiencing rapid industrialization, for better and worse. My contemporaries are the product of the cultural revolution, but their children – the current generation of college students – is the product of China’s one child policy. It amazes me how happy these people seem. They are full of optimism about their future even as the economy slows down. When I return in a couple of weeks, I hope to head further west into the vastly different interior to experience the diversity of this large country, both culturally and geographically. Who knows what next semester will bring? Until then, Happy New Year’s!


[Leaving Home] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Settling in Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Getting to Work] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Becoming Routine] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Western Contacts] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) ["National Day" Trip] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Meeting Folks] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Plenty to Eat] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Downtown] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [South by Southwest] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Socializing] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Dance Fever] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Exchanges] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Business Week] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [North by Northeast] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Computer Crash] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [The Good and the Bad] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Wrapping Up]