Written by: Amy Hingston, Jerry Ding and Matt Townley (MBA Candidates)
We woke up to wet and windy weather in Beijing on our first day in China. Bright and early, we headed to the Great Wall. As one of the seven wonders of the world, getting to walk on the wall was on most people’s bucket lists. With unfavourable weather conditions, rain jackets, umbrellas and ponchos were a necessity. Our guides arranged our tickets and the brave/ foolish began climbing the numerous steps towards the wall while others caught the gondola. Despite the cloudy and rainy weather everyone was able to experience the size and expanse of this architectural marvel.
After 2 hours at the wall, everyone loaded into the bus and we headed to the jade market for lunch. Plates of Chinese fare were placed on the lazy susan for everyone to enjoy. When a plate of watermelon arrived and Kenny G started playing on the loudspeaker, we knew the lunch was over and the restaurant was closing. The jade shop was a massive warehouse filled with more jade than you ever knew existed. Intricate carvings including eagles, tigers and ships were available to buy for a price not attainable for most students. Back on the bus, we headed for the silk market. We got to hone our negotiation skills to buy items for over 70% off the sticker price. Our negotiations were motivated not only by cost savings but more so for bragging rights of who secured the best deal!
In the evening, the group split up for dinner, with some sticking around the hotel and others heading out with our personal guide of the city, Alex. While the group who went out for dinner had audacious plans for a night on the town, jetlag reared its ugly head in the lounge on the 80th floor of the tallest building in Beijing. Heavy eyelids forced the group to bow out early and head back to the hotel, hitting the hay early to ensure revived energy for the busy day ahead!