GUANGZHOU: TRADITIONAL MODERNISM

I flew to Guangzhou for a week-long of meetings for the 2018 Product Creation Technologies Summit. As usual, I decided to extend my stay over the weekend to explore China a bit further (as if I hadn't explored it enough already, but it's such a vast country!). Only this time, I have decided to stay in Guangzhou and see what the Cantonese megalopolis has to offer. Believe it or not, despite countless business trips there, I have never paid Guangzhou the proper visit it deserved.

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BEIJING: OFF THE WALL

One of the greatest joys of living abroad is the ability to meet friends around the world. That's precisely what happened on this particular weekend, as my friend Wanwan asked if I'd join her on a weekend trip to Beijing. As you know, I never miss out on an opportunity for travelling to China. So I accepted the offer with a lot of excitement! Having already been to Beijing a year ago, there were both new areas I was yet to explore, and ones that I've visited already that were worth a second look. Only this time, with a little help of an insider's.

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YANGSHUO: THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES

Coming back from Nuremberg for a short four-day trip, I barely had time to touch base for 12 hours in Ho Chi Minh City that I had to head back to the airport for a business trip to Guangzhou, China. It’s funny how every time I plan vacation, there is always a business trip that places itself right after. Some might find it exhausting, but I actually enjoy flying and am always happy to travel. What gave it away, right? Besides, I haven’t set foot in China since last year’s short term assignment. I was quite excited to reconnect with the country that hosted me for three months in 2017. Despite all the beautiful places I had visited last year, there was still one on my list I had yet to discover.

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SIX (6) WAYS TELSTAR18 GOT THE BALL ROLLING WITH MY CAREER

Last summer, I had the immense privilege to be sent out to China to take part in an employee rotation program called the 'Global Operations (GOPS) Ambassador Program' to support the production of TELSTAR18, our latest Match Ball for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Today, I live in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where I relocated about a month ago, to oversee the Manufacturing Excellence Footwear initiatives with all the Boost, Knit and Bottom Component facilities in Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. This post is my humble opinion on what I believe contributed to enabling my global mindset as part of our Global Operations department.

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MUTIANYU: THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

Alejandro was a Mexican-American from the southern state of Georgia. He was on a two-month travel through Asia which started in Seoul a few days ago. He then made it to Beijing the same day I met him. He entered the hutong cantine the same way a Bandolero would step into a saloon in a Western Spaghetti. We shared a look and nodded at each other - a sign foreigners share between themselves while in an area predominantly frequented by locals. In China, although a lot of tourists come to see the wonders of this beautiful country, we foreigners are still highly outnumbered by the local population. Therefore, whenever we cross a "Western" (as they call us), we show some kind of acknowledgement.

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BEIJING: THE FORBIDDEN CITY

As my short-term assignment is coming to an end, I finally got the chance to travel to Beijing. I only had two main sights I absolutely wanted to visit while travelling to the North Capital: The Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. Based on my previous experiences while travelling through China, I knew that visiting the main sights during the Chinese summer vacations would guarantee large crowds, which would prevent me from fully enjoying my travel.

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ZHANGJIAJIE: THE FLOATING MOUNTAINS OF PANDORA

Zhangjiajie is about 12 hours away from Lushan - where I am currently located. This means the optimal way to get there was again the train. The first part of my commute was between Nanchang and Changsha and only took two hours on a G-Train - the Chinese bullet train. The second part was about 8 hours and left from a different train station. So I took a cab from the Changsha Railway Station to the Changsha South Railway Station for 30 minutes and 27 Yuan - a tiny detail which will be helpful toward the end of this post.

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SHANGHAI: SCAM CITY

On my first evening in the "City Above the Sea", a few guys I met at the hostel and I decided to team up for some sightseeing around the Old Town. On our way back from a full day of exploration, we decided to walk along the Huangpu River. As we were discussing while enjoying the skyscraper view along The Bund boardwalk, two ladies disturbed our friendly conversation by complimenting my outfit and uncommon haircut.

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SHANGHAI: MIDNIGHT EXPRESS TO THE PEARL OF THE ORIENT

I should have known that I was in for a crazy ride when I decided to go for the cheapest option possible to get to Shanghai for the weekend - a night train in 2nd. Class. In my defense, I am neither aware of the different commuting options in China, nor of the gap that separates First Class from "the people" (lower case).

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WHAT I'VE BEEN TOLD ABOUT CHINA

I finally made it to the People's Republic of China despite a rocky preparation. As you know from my previous post, I am here for a Short Term Assignement of three (3) months to work closely on improving production with our suppliers. I have just completed the first part of my assignment at the first factory, so it's the perfect moment to reflect on my first impressions about The People's Republic of China.

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MURPHY'S LAW VS. THE WORLD

This month, I had the opportunity to travel to China for a short term assignment at work. Murphy's Law being always faithful to itself, my preparation for this STA was far from easy. Of course, things being what they are in a large global organization, no one was really aware of the process to follow to support me in this preparation. Fingers were crosspointed at each department (e.g. home location pointing at host location and vice versa). On top of that, I am sure you can imagine how complex the administrative process to obtain a Chinese visa could be. Add to this the good old German bureaucracy and you got yourself a very elaborate cocktail of mayhem.

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