Good Friends Group and Wetland Park

Trip Start May 21, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today is our last day in China. I can't believe we are flying home tomorrow but at the same time am a little homesick for foods I am familiar with. It has been a very busy trip jam packed with all sorts of learning. Even when we are on the bus driving to and from places we are holding group discussions and debriefings. I am looking forward to switching my brain off and taking a brake from intellectual activities.

This morning we are going to Good Friends Group. They are a machine manufacturer who produces mostly auto parts for companies such as Mercedes, Ford and others. In addition they also build forklifts and other construction machinery. When first walked into the buildings there were 6 women bowing (3 on either side of the door) which is part of Japanese culture. We had the pleasure of meeting with a higher up manager. He showed us a very detailed video about the different segments the company operates and the locations of the factories and the countries they do business with. The head of the companies name is Jimmy Choo so many of us got excited that he and the shoe maker were one of the same.   Following the video and a brief Q and A we took a tour of the factory. They model their factory off Taiwanese cultural practices meaning they keep the factory very clean including cleaning the machinery.

For lunch we had a new dish called taffy pineapple. It was very sweet and yummy, very similar to a candy apple.

Next we went to The XiXi Wetland park or translated the West Creak Park. It was (and is) the first and only government-protected land in all of China. We took a boat ride (this marks our fourth and final boat ride of the trip) down the river. Our tour guide told us if you were to walk at a brisk pace it would take you 8 hours to cover the entire park. After our boat ride and safely on dry land we saw the dragon boats practicing. Every June 6th there is a festival in which they race these boats and eat for three days. We were even able to climb to the top of a tower to get a panoramic view of the whole park. Next we hopped onto a tram and were able to see the park by road before getting back on our bus to head back to Shanghai.

When we arrived back in Shanghai we went to our last Chinese group dinner. This restaurant was different than any restaurant so far because it was very touristy. When we got off the bus there were both men and women in traditional Chinese grab complete with a gong. It was also the first time in the last nine days we saw other white people who spoke English. In addition to dinner we also had a show, we watched two sets of women dance and a man sing in Chinese. As part of our last night we had superlatives chosen by our group.  I was voted something along the lines of "most likely to be seen taking a picture." (Charlie also won some awards including “Best Dressed Stuffed Animal,” and together we won “Cutest Couple.”)
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