Late on Saturday, my teammate who had presented in Tokyo arrived and we caught up. After breakfast Sunday morning, we borrowed some umbrellas and took off for a trek around the (big) block, visiting a shopping center to get some souvenirs. That was interesting because it was a bunch of vendors crammed into a bunch of small shops and nothing had price tags – it was “all haggle”. Luckily my teammate is Chinese-American and speaks Mandarin well enough to haggle on my behalf!
After that trek we dried off in the lobby and waited for our other colleague from Singapore to arrive. Once he got settled in, we took a taxi downtown and explored the area known as “The Bund”; it’s a group of European-inspired buildings on the west shore of the Huangpu River. The fourth member of our rag-tag team arrived, a colleague from Shanghai who is hosting this part of our trip. We then drove over to the east shore of the river and visited the financial district, which houses the Pearl Tower and the largest building in Shanghai (and growing). I was told that it had all been developed over the last decade from the ground up; very impressive. It seemed like it had all been built recently, as the city is doing a lot of repaving, road-building, and sidewalk renovation to prepare for the World Expo which starts on May 1st.
We went to a restaurant called “South Beauty” in the Super Brand Mall (more like a Western Mall experience, with 10 floors of shops and restaurants) for what James and Gerald called an authentic Chinese restaurant experience. A kitchen of about 30 chefs prepared from a huge menu (over 15 pages with several hundred items) and the food was served promptly on a rotating glass carousel so that we could all share. There were only a few things in the ~10 dishes I didn’t like; I’m just not a fan of crab tofu yet. After dinner we were all tired and ready to head back to get rest before today’s work — presenting to about 22 IT managers from various parts of the country.