Friday, September 7, 2007

Hello from Ningbo

Ni Hao

Greetings from China.  I'm in Ningbo at the Ningbo Institute of Technology. For those who didn't know, I'm here on a two month teaching assignment for the University of Indianapolis School of Business.  A strong partnership between these two schools has been developing for some time now.

I've been here for about 24 hours, so I don't have a lot to share. But here are some initial things I've seen on my way in.

-  I spent a night in Hong Kong prior to my final flight into Ningbo. My hotel..... The Disneyland Hollywood Hotel.  Seemed a bit surreal, but there were Mickey silhouettes all over the place. The Hong Kong airport is like a giant upscale shopping mall.....  you can find darn near anything there (outside of maybe appliances or home improvement items).

-  Even though ownership/management/governance of Hong Kong was returned to the Chinese by the British government, Hong Kong still has their own currency. So I had to exchange US $ for HK $..... and I had to also get Chinese Yuan. 

-  Now, here's the interesting thing... a variety of newspapers were made available to us as we boarded the plane to Ningbo.  As we were preparing to land the flight crew actually took back EVERY newspaper that was on the plane.  I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

The people we've met here at NIT have been great. They are working hard to get us set up in our apartments and make us feel as much at home as possible. The welcoming dinner last night was pretty spectactular....

First comes the selection of the dinner items....  the only way I can describe this is to think of a showroom at a car dealer... only instead of cars it has tables of assorted menu items, and in the back of the room is several layers of tanks with various kinds of sea life that you can also choose.

As you enter the room, you are greeted by a host with a small handheld device.... the host walks around the "showroom" with you and enters into the device the items and quantity of each that you desire.  Once the ordering is done, your party is then taken to a private dining room for the meal....  which, by the way, is no short simple thing.

Picture a large round table that seats about 12. The center of the table has a large glass disc that rotates (where I come from they are called lazy susans).  Entree after entree is brought out... so I've learned already.... small portions as there is much more to come. Everything I tried was good.... and in a couple of cases I decided not to ask what I was eating!!!. 

Also part of the evening's protocol is toasts..... lots and lots of toasts.  The host will make one to the entire group, and then many additional ones are made... to the entire group and also in smaller side toasts.  So it's quite possible to consume a fair bit of wine if the group is particularly toast happy.

It was a wonderful evening and a great welcome by our NIT hosts.

That's all for now.... I do anticipate sending additional periodic "e postcards" like this while I'm here.

Be well.... /jeff

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