Sunday, January 07, 2007

Volume 30 - China - Third Edition

Of all the cities visited on my adventure to China, I would have to say that Shanghai was my favorite. The international metropolitan flavor, the architectural skyline, the business mix of people representing all parts of the world, and the mystical nature of the Shanghanese people only highlights this city of 17 million people. Having arrived on a Saturday afternoon, gave me the opportunity to settle into my first weekend in this three thousand year old culture.

Sunday in Shanghai proved to be simply a wonderful, relaxing day with a special twist. Through our partner attorney, Daniel Thomas, we have employed the very competent law firm Calfee Halter & Griswold of Cleveland, for the specifics of trademark law and international law. Because of this relationship, our international lawyer, Bob Ross, Calfee, had made some special contacts for me before my trip. One of these contacts was Mr. Chunyang Shao, partner in the Jun He law firm, located on the top floor of the Kerry Center in Shanghai. Mr. Chunyang picked my interpreter and I up at noon and took us to a spectacular two hour lunch before entertaining us at his 32nd floor office building. The view was spectacular from all four sides of the building giving me a view of this city not seen by many visitors. My sincere thanks to Shao and to Bob Ross for this special time.

From the factories visited during the next few days, the nightlife, the local restaurants, the 'Bund' (the riverside area of the Huangpu River booming with offices, restaurants, and nightlife of Shanghai), the surrounding districts and cities, the Jiading district and the beautiful city of Suzhou, were very special. For example, the Tang Hotel for lunch, with one of our factories, not only is beyond exquisite but within walking distance of the Formula One race track, and the international race that is a regular on the F1 schedule.

The journey continued onto Taiwan and the city of Taipei with an early morning flight that takes you through Hong Kong, since traveling in and out of Taiwan involves customs and immigration, one of simple political inconvenience. This means flying to Hong Kong, de-planeing, checking through immigration/customs, then a new plane to Taiwan, a very long day; unfortunately, I had appointments starting at 4:00 p.m. and didn't stop till late into the night. If there was a good side of this long day, it involved the wonderful experience on Cathay Pacific, the airlines that took me from Hong Kong to Taiwan in which the 'sea bass' was magnificent.

The following day, being the first outside of the Hotel since my arrival and the late night meetings, the first impression hits you immediately that this island is very lush and mountainous. I visited a factory on the North Shore and was taken back with the beauty of this lush, tropical, mountainous area that is joined at its base with waters of the South China Sea, the Taiwan Straits and the East China Sea, a portrait screaming to be painted. Lunch was at a mountain spa from which, in the distance, one could see the city of Taipei, and the tallest building in the world, 'the 101'. On my next trip to Taiwan there will be much more time spent in this very attractive part of China.

Back to Hong Kong for an international Hardware Show, and a meeting with another law firm, and possibly the most powerful lady I've ever met, Y.M.Elaine Lo, partner Johnson Stokes & Master. Somewhat of a light work schedule, but at this time I was feeling burnt, so Hong Kong celebrating Halloween for four nights was quite the site. They actually shut down some streets in the restaurant district for hundreds of thousands of partying people from all over the world. Outside escalators in the SOHO and Lan Kwai Fong areas, with 35 degrees of slop entering one neighborhood onto another is simply worth the trip, not to mention Fat Angelo's, Havanna House, Bulldogs Bar and Grill, and Stanton's, just to mention a few of many hundreds. The central district, the hub of banking, commerce, and shopping is simply awe inspiring.

With the return of Hong Kong and Macau, the last of the European colonies, back to China, there is a real sense that the Chinese destiny is being returned to its rightful place at the center of the world and hopefully will take this challenge to forge with other leadership countries in making this world a better place for all the world's people regardless of politics.

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