Saturday, July 7, 2007

Day One

Hi all,

I'm assuming if you are reading this that you are either a prospective EMBA student at Notre Dame, an EMBA administrator (hi Amber!), or my mom and dad! Anyway... welcome to day one of my EMBA Notre Dame China Blog.

It is 1:20 a.m. Sunday in Shanghai, and I just returned from a night on the town with my friends Jeff, Tom and Jim. No, those are not alibis to protect their identities - those are the real names.

Travel here to China was actually very easy. We left South Bend at 6:15 a.m. on Friday and made it to O'Hare in record time. The flight left a little late (about 11:30 a.m.) but was also very easy. I watched 3 episodes of Grey's Anatomy on my iPod and then slept for about 9 hours (thanks Ambien!). I was sleeping very soundly but the flight attendants woke me up 3 times to feed me. I felt like I was in the hospital. Maybe next time I'll get an IV and they can feed me plane mush without waking me up. I highly recommend the United Airlines vegetarian, not only because it's pretty tasty but because we got served first! Anyway, the flight went very quickly. I'm glad I didn't pay $550 to upgrade to business class because I actually could have been in a shoe box and would have slept just fine. The Brookstone U pillow, face mask and fuzzy socks helped big time.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon in Shanghai. My first impressions are very positive. Shanghai appears to be a huge, beautiful, clean city. The customs/ immigration booths at the airpoirt were the best I've ever seen: competent, effiicient, etc... We checked into our hotel around 5:30 p.m. and then starting meeting a bunch of classmates in the hotel lobby bar around 6:30. The hotel is very nice; very Western. The rooms are very nice. Once I figured out how to turn the power on (slide in the room key), I was rolling. I have good Internet access as was able to see that my Cubs lost a tough one to the Pirates on Friday.

A group of about 15 of us took cabs to ShangriLa for dinner. It was a buffet, but it was much better than Old Country Buffet, or Golden Corral. There was food from Morrocco, India, China, and "western" food like chicken nuggest and pasta. We had our own special room, thanks to Dr. Bob. Jeff splurged for some nice red wine that hit the spot.

After dinner, eveyone was feeling pretty drained from a long day of flying. Except, of course, for Tom, Jeff, Jim (of Cinicinnati fame) and I. So we walked over to a bar called Paulaner Munchen. Yes, of course, a German bar on the river of Shanghai! Better yet, with a Thai band playing to a group of drunk Irish Catholics! It was a true melting pot.

I wish I could do the Paulaner justice, but I'm afraid I can't. Let me try to sum it up by saying that the mostly-Chinese crowd really enjoyed Beyonce "Crazy in Love" and Black Eyed Peas "Where is the Love." I realize that stereotyping is very dangerous....but the (lack of??) rhythm exhibited by the dancers at Paulaner make me feel like I am at home here in Shanghai!

We bonded a bit with the band, and they appeased us by singing Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones. We drank could German beer. I felt like a true Bodensteiner. But just as I was going to start teaching everyone how to dance.... the music ended. Anyhow, that's how I remember it... I might be a little fuzzy. Look forward to talking to you again tomorrow!

Go Cubs - Jill

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