China Diary:
Tropical Tour

[Returning to Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Spring Festival] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Chinese New Year] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Fulbright Mid-Year Conference] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Back to School] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Back Online] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Into the Heartland] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Ancient Capitals] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Judeo-Christian Holidays] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [From Albany to Zurich] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Yellow Mountain] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Loose Ends] [Hello, Debbie ... Goodbye, Debbie] [Southern Capital] [Tropical Tour] [Unwinding] [Farewell Banquets] [Winding Down] [Good Bye, Shanghai]

May 24: Nordic Center – I receive an invitation to speak to a Scandinavian company about human resources issues in China. The staff at the Center take me to dinner to go over my outline and provide more detailed information to the company.

May 25: Letter of Recommendation – Marci wants to apply to graduate programs in environmental management, and I write her a letter of recommendation. (I am writing many of these lately.) After class, I meet her and give her the letters; in exchange, she takes me to a local vegetarian dinner.

May 26: Xiamen – In the morning I participate in a USIS conference joining Raj from Nanjing and Karen at Jaio Tong. I am late because I stopped at the bank to get some cash and a local money exchanger tried to separate me from my one thousand U.S. dollars. But it is a good opening story for my lecture on "Business Ethics in China." We three are taken to a vegetarian lunch by the USIS representatives, Terry and Tony. After my afternoon class, I quickly pack and go to the airport for my evening flight to Xiamen. Having skipped dinner, at check-in I am told it is a meal flight. Turns out the meal is dried fish flakes and beverage of your choice. Because of a thunderstorm, we stop in Fuzhou, the provincial capital, and arrive pretty late. The taxi cannot find the university guesthouse for quite a while. I eventually check in and by 1:00 a.m. make my way to the street market to find dinner and mingle with the locals.

May 27: Strategic Mission and Vision – This part of China is the historical stepping stone for droves of Chinese who headed to southeast Asia as well as for Western colonialists invading China. This mass two-way migration also made the area wealthy, in turn fueling even more migration which Beijing was unable to halt. Spread over several islands in the Taiwan Straits just off the mainland, Xiamen (known as Amoy) remains one of China’s most prosperous cities in part fueled with significant investments from Overseas Chinese since its 1980 designation as a Special Economic Zone. One of the beneficiaries is Xiamen University. Lu Xun, the revolutionary writer, taught here for one semester in 1926-7, so the university has a small Memorial Hall to him. Unfortunately, the university guesthouse has no soap, towel, or shampoo for me and by the time they send some up it is time to meet Leo, my guide. He takes me to Huli Shan (Mountain) Pao (Cannon) Tai (Platform), a fort with a huge cannon facing Taiwan. We then go to the Nanputuo Temple where we stop at the tea house. After an institutional lunch at the university guest house, I take a cab to the old town and wander the streets. I give my 2:30 lecture on , where I visit to lecture on "Strategic Mission and Vision." I meet fellow Fulbrighter Jack and his wife Lucinda for dinner, and we are joined by a Belgium couple living there. After dinner, I return to the old town.

May 28: Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics – In the morning (ouch!) I lecture on "Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics." Lunch is a banquet with the Dean, Associate Dean (and former Fulbrighter to Cornell), MBA Director, as well as Waiban representative and guides. It finally stops raining so the two guides take me to the ferry to Gulangyu Island. The Treaty of Nanjing which ended the Opium War turned this island into a foreign enclave, officially designated an International Foreign Settlement in 1903. Today it is a huge park with colonial architecture and mansions. Best of all, the island has no vehicles whatsoever: no cabs, buses, cars, pedi-cabs, or even bicycles (electric golf carts whisk tourists around). We go to Shuzhang Park, built by a wealthy Taiwanese businessman early this century. After a couple of hours of wandering the beach and souvenir shops, we head back to the university where a car takes me to the airport. I fly to Hai (Sea) Nan (South) Island, a large tropical island known as the "Asian Hawaii" and roughly at the same latitude. Isolated, one of the poorest regions, and traditionally a place for exiles, this "Tail of the Dragon" was a military outpost in the 1970s and became a province in 1988 as one huge Special Economic Zone. This winter resort is usually packed, but in late spring Hainan is hot and humid and in the beginning of typhoon season. It has rugged, dense, tropical forests in the center, but I fly into Sanya, the southernmost point on China’s southernmost undisputed tip, with sunshine, long stretches of sandy beaches, and hot weather. The cabby drives off without putting down the meter. When I ask him about it, he quotes me a ridiculously high price (been there, done that, and do not need another opening story for my ethics lecture). After some argument, he sees things my way. My hotel is one block from Da (Big) Dong (East) Hai (Sea) Beach, one of the few places in China where you can publicly unwind by taking advantage of the water sports and night life. I go out for dinner late (becoming a habit), and meet Berlin the local fruit peddler who also teaches English locally. I invite him to the local seafood restaurant for dinner and brew.

May 29: Sun Burn – I rent a chair and umbrella on the beach, read a bit, swim in the lukewarm ocean, and burn like crazy. I walk down the beach, buying a coconut with a straw poked in and checking out prices for water sports. On the way back to the hotel, I get a mango and banana from Berlin. I try the outdoor Sichuan restaurant for dinner. Taking a taxi downtown, the cabby obviously becomes frustrated by my incomprehension and begins to yell. I shout back "I am not deaf, I just don’t understand you!" (been there, done that). I ride back in the sidecar of a motorcycle. Back by the beach at night, I again meet Berlin and buy him a brew. The term "yellow" is used in China in the same way Westerners might refer to the "red light" district, and this part of China is teeming with yellow fever.

May 30: Scuba Diving – I planned on taking out a sailboat in the morning but it is pouring so I sleep in late instead. Besides, my sunburn and swatting mosquitoes all night kept me awake most of the night. Just before noon, I walk down the street passing many seafood restaurants before entering one where I get a huge abalone for lunch but pay dearly. I wonder if being a lone Laowai (foreigner) gives these guys a license to steal. After lunch I go scuba diving around the coral reef for about one hour, swimming among many fish, mollusks, and strange creatures. As I go back up the beach, I meet Dave who is scouting the island for Fodor’s travel guide. As we chat, someone asks me about my diving experience. Turns out to be the local diving coach. Dave and I head to the beach for a while and exchange views and experiences, then I take a taxi downtown for dinner. It is my cabby friend from the airport, and this time he puts down the meter but I pay him the "standard" price which is less than what the meter shows (been there, done that).

May 31: Hard Labor Day – It is again pouring in the morning, but I have a bus to catch for the provincial capital of Hai (Sea) Kou (Mouth), so I put my backpack over my sunburned shoulders and head for the beachside hotel where the bus stops. (The three-hour ride across the island costs less than the half-hour taxi ride from the airport.) We pass though Lingshui (a.k.a. Lingcheng), where China’s first Communist government convened in 1928 a few months after Chiang Kai-shek’s bloody clampdown in Shanghai. Further up the road is Qionghai (a.k.a. Jiaji), where China’s first Communist cell was formed in 1924. We make the turn before the town of Wenchang, the birthplace of the Song sisters: Qingling (who loved her country) married Sun Yat-sen, while Meiling (who was in love with power) married Chiang Kai-shek. In Haikou, I wander a bit with my backpack before deciding to get on the back of a motorcycle. At a local hotel, I check my backpack and call one of my MBA student’s former classmates from Fudan who works here for the Bank of China. When he arrives, we watch a movie being filmed in the hotel lobby and restaurant where we get a reasonably-priced seafood lunch. He drives me to Hai (Sea) Dian (Isle), a couple of local parks, and down to the beach. But he has a business meeting and his "big" boss from Beijing is coming to town tomorrow morning, so he drops me off at the old town. I wander the colonial streets, eventually making my way to People’s Park where I drink a Coke as I walk through the crowds. At the other side, I buy a bag of litchi nuts and head back to the hotel for my backpack. As I get a taxi, it (of course!) again begins to pour. At the airport, the cabby quotes me a price double what the meter shows (been there, done that – what are these guys thinking?) but I have the correct change on me and there is little argument as I leave.

[Returning to Shanghai] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Spring Festival] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Chinese New Year] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Fulbright Mid-Year Conference] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Back to School] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Back Online] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Into the Heartland] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Ancient Capitals] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Judeo-Christian Holidays] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [From Albany to Zurich] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Yellow Mountain] arrow.jpg (877 bytes) [Loose Ends] [Hello, Debbie ... Goodbye, Debbie] [Southern Capital] [Tropical Tour] [Unwinding] [Farewell Banquets] [Winding Down] [Good Bye, Shanghai]


Copyright 1999 Paul Miesing. All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission unless in the People’s Republic of China which does not enforce intellectual property rights. Revised on January 17, 2001.