Elliot has graciously allowed me to use his blog again to document my business trip to Dalian, China. This is actually my first time in Asia, so I’m a bit excited an anxious at the same time.
Let’s begin at LAX. For this trip, I would have to go to Seoul, Korea for an 8 hour layover, then to Dalian. As I picked up my tickets, the clerk informed me that my luggage would be going on another flight directly to Dalian…why couldn’t I just ride on the same plane with the luggage?
As the plane to Seoul departs, I am surprised to find a pair of slippers as part of the passenger package, quite interesting. It’s certainly cooler than wearing my shoes, given how warm the plane was at the time.
When I arrived at Incheon Airport, I am impressed at how it is so much better than LAX. Incheon is clean and has many upscale shops, giving it an elegant ambiance. Many upscale stores, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, you name it, were all present with multiple locations. The food restaurants were quaint and unique.
If that wasn’t enough, there were Cultural Centers that showcased traditional Korean culture like a mini-museum. I even got to paint my very own decorative Phoenix!
As I stepped of the plane, the first thing that I immediately sensed was the smell of cigarette smoke. Even just a quick glance at the city around me told me about the substandard hygiene of the city – it’s just dirty.
The other thing I noticed was the driving style – there is little regard for rules and people honk all of the time. In the US, we honk when we are impatient, angry, or trying to warn others of a possible collision. Here, they honk simply to announce their presence, as a sort of way to say, “I’m on the road, so stay out of my way.” Don’t even get me started on crossing the street – it’s like playing Frogger.
The general manager of our China office, Sam, came to pick me up and we were off to an apartment graciously loaned to me by a coworker who left for the US. The apartment was nicer than I expected, though the shower is poorly designed, as there is nothing to keep the water from flowing all over the bathroom!
After a hearty lamb-based dinner, we explored the local Walmart, which is very similar to a US Walmart, except more colorful and with livelier ads. This Walmart also has a grocery section, which felt very much like 99 Ranch, dirty tile floor and all. The only thing that was different was how they left certain produce and meat products sitting out…I’ll pass on those.
After this, it was about 10PM China time, which meant like, 7am Pacific Time? Given that I only had a few 30min naps the past 2 days, I was beginning to feel the effects of sleep deprivation, so off to bed!