Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Today we started our business visits by going to SearchSino—a research and consulting company owned by our gracious host Manor and his partner Ed Britton. Here we were exposed to just how business is conducted in China. It was a very formal and very different from what you would expect coming from a business visit in the United States. We had a tour of the building which included an explanation of the various signs that marked the different rooms. Instead of just labeling the rooms they all had different phrases that were symbolic of the goals and direction of the business. Here they also did a demonstration of a focus group that they would normally use to get opinions and a fresh perspective for their clients.
Next we had the privilege of seeing another of Manor’s business ventures called TelePark. The idea revolves around a smart parking lot that electronically detects cars and allows drivers to pay for their parking with their cell phone. I thought that it was very interesting and has the potential of further streamlining city parking problems.
Afterwards a small group of students were selected to go with Manor and Ed to lunch followed by a very cool visit to one of Xi’an’s government buildings. We were privileged to a small tour that briefly covered the history and culture of the city and province. It was extremely interesting and ended with the exquisite gift of hand-made Chinese fans painted personally for us by some of Xi’an’s most distinguished and revered artists. I felt honored just to watch the masters work, but then to get one of the fans was exceptionally special.
Next we took a ride through the beautiful countryside to the base of one of the closest mountains. There we visited the Buddhist temple that is traditionally viewed as the location of where a specific sect of Buddhism started. I thought that it was different from all of the other temples that we had previously visited. It was more secluded and peaceful. Instead of being a tourist attraction this temple was secluded and only had a few people there, but those few people had a great reverence and respect that was felt by us foreigners. Though a major part of the buildings were under renovation and hardly presentable, it has become my favorite holy sites visited up to this point in the trip. After thanking Manor and Ed for being such gracious hosts we departed and left for the hotel.