by Ray McKenzie
John has asked me to write some thoughts on my first trip to Shanghai as I am here for a week of consulting with local futures industry organizations.
I have been to Hong Kong before but it was my first trip to Shanghai and I look forward to it with great anticipation.
For those of you who have been here before and are quite familiar with Shanghai no need to read further. But for those of you new to Shanghai my thoughts in the coming days may be of interest.
Upon arriving at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport you are immediately impressed with the fact that you feel like you might be arriving in any airport. Signs are in English and Mandarin and it is quite easy to make your way around the airport.
In fact it was a lot easier than landing in La Guardia or even O’Hare. Customs was a breeze, lines were short and all officials were pleasant and spoke English quite well. The baggage claim area was clean and neat and the bags came within 10 minutes of arriving. I am used to one hour waits at US Airports. In fact sometimes the flight is shorter than it takes to get your bags.
We arrived in a torrential rain but I was told this was not common. It is August and usually sunny and in the 80s in this part of China. I didn’t notice any pollution as the rain and fog was so heavy. So thats probably a good thing.
It is about a 45 minute ride to our hotel in the business section of Shanghai. I couldn’t help but think the place looked like something out of Blade Runner. I learned that Shanghai is the largest city in the world, 20 million population. Our host who met us was surprised to learn New York is a tiny 8 Million strong. Driving through Shanghai you see sections of the city that you think are the center but wait two minutes and you see something bigger and bigger. Amazing architecture, beautiful buildings and gorgeous skylines. Masserati dealers, Cartier, the Four Seasons there is clearly some major cash being spent here. Of course there are the American fast food joints, KFC, Subway, McDonalds, Starbucks. I was tickled to see right along the KFC something called UFF with an old dude resembling Colonel Sanders. Our guide told us it is exactly like KFC but Chinese. I will try and get a picture.
What I most wish now that I have landed and spent my first 24 hours in Shanghai is that I could speak Mandarin. But so far so good.
Stay tuned for day two. 谢谢
xiè xie nǐ (If I copied correctly this means thank you. I am saying this a lot)