2009 China Trek – Notes from the Trek

Ni Hao! (Hi)
Xie Xie! (Thank you!)
Gan Bei! (Cheers!)
Zai Jian! (Goodbye!)
31 participants
12-hour jetlag
4 cities
11-day intensive exploration and transformational experience
Face-to-face interaction with government policy makers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs;
Everyday Mandarin training;
Ongoing culture immersion;
Assortment of yummy food and incredible drinks;
Non-stop party nightlife
Yes, it’s HBS 2009 China Trek!
If you want to indulge in the history of a country of 5,000 years, do the China Trek.
If you want to see how capitalism and socialism interact, do the China Trek.
If you want to spoil your stomach and challenge your drinking capacity, do the China Trek.
If you want to embrace the warmth of the people, do the China Trek.
If you want to improve your bargaining skills, do the China Trek.
Most frequently asked questions:
Q: How does the “one child policy” work in China?
A: Minority people in China are not subject to this policy. And if a couple is composed of two people without siblings, then they may have two children of their own. But believe it or not, the policy works very effectively, so effectively that as a Chinese citizen you might even think it is natural to have only one child.

Q: What if people happen to get another?
A: Usually, people will have an abortion, which is legal in China. Or people will be subject to a steep fine (no detailed information about the amount) from the government and this might have other negative impacts on the family.
Culture shocks:
Some comments we collected from participants during the trek:

1. It is a developed country.
2. People are genuinely friendly and helpful and quite interested in foreigners.
3. People are proud, but humble.
4. Everything stays open till late.
5. If you start drinking on the table, people won’t let you go until you are drunk.
6. Tips are rare since waiters are paid by monthly salary.
7. If you haven’t bargained long enough, people won’t give you a discount. Well, give me a discount : )
8. Karaoke places look like five-star hotels.
9. People say “Qie Zi”, which means eggplant in Chinese, when they take a group picture.
10. Do I need to wear clothes while receiving a massage?
Mini Lonely Planet: Must go places
Beijing: Tian An Men Square, Great Wall and Forbidden City
Shanghai: Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Yu Garden and Xin Tian Di
Xi’an: Terra-Cotta Warriors
Guilin: Li River
Must eat food
Beijing: Roast Beijing Duck
Shanghai: Xiao Long Bao
Xi’an: noodle and Jiao Zi banquet
Guilin: rice noodle and snake wine
(a new discovery to us!)

September 8, 2009
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