Wearing many hats: test proctor, businessman, friend, and father
Happy 4th of July from Beijing, China! I had a feeling this was going to be a much different Independence Day than years past. The morning started helping out our Chinese hosts, Shu Wu and Jessie Cui (of Beijing Orient US-China Consulting Co. LTD), monitor bankers that were taking their FIREC exams. I wore my best suit and tie, put on a stern face, and patrolled the classroom with an aura of authority.
Proctoring the bankers’ FIREC examination
It was quite interesting as I never had done anything like that before, but I’m always one for new experiences, and I relished the chance to help out Shu and Jessie, who essentially coordinated the whole FIABCI USA delegation trip.
With our lovely host, Jessie Cui
Back to the Swissotel to get ready for dinner
After the classroom, it was back to our room at the Swissotel, where Alex and I got ready for a dinner at traditional chinese restaurant that specialized in Peking duck, something Alex had been waiting for! We were to meet with a couple Chinese professionals, Sylivia Wu (CEO of Beijing Zhongrun Meike Real Estate Brokerage Co., LTD) and Zhanfu Zhu (Executive Director of Zhongqing Investment Management Co., LTD), who reached out to me and expressed interest in hearing more information after an initial meeting with FIABCI USA at the Xindadu Hotel. We were greeted by their assistant, Irene, and a private driver in our hotel’s lobby and headed off to brave Friday rush hour in Beijing.
Out to dinner with Sylvia Wu and Zhanfu Zhu
We reached the old school restaurant and met our hosts, who immediately started ordering a plethora of dishes, which in the end, amounted to a fantastic 12 course feast! The highlight of the meal was definitely the Peking duck, which was cooked perfectly, with crispy skin and juicy meat. It was even better the duck I had enjoyed earlier in the trip!
Traditional Peking Duck, it was unreal!
Some more of our dishes from dinner
We started the meal sharing stories about family, friends, hobbies and where we all came from—then talks shifted to business as they have investors that potentially want to find properties in Hawaii and the West Coast. It was all very exciting as there seemed to be legitimate interest to potentially do business together!
The facade of the restaurant
As we left there was a big group of college graduates finishing dinner and I offered to take a picture of them all, much to their pleasure. Alex even snuck in and photo-bombed! We left the restaurant, thanked our hosts for an outstanding meal, and wished them a fond farewell.
Recent graduates from University, can you spot Alex?
Ending the night in Houhai
After that incredible banquet of flavors, we went to the lakeside area of Houhai to watch the World Cup match of Germany vs France. The Chinese are very enthusiastic about soccer, and many of the bars were to be open all night for viewings of both matches. We found our way to the 2nd floor of a swanky VIP bar for the last half of the game and watched anxiously as Germany attempted to fend off multiple attacks from the French. The match was ultimately won in the last seconds and Germany’s keeper blocked a would be tying goal from France’s top striker.
Enjoying the 1st half of the World Cup Match of Germany vs. France
There was much celebration in the bar as the final whistle blew, and its was quite fun being a part of that atmosphere. However, it was now close to 2 a.m. and both Alex and I felt we should get some sleep as we had a full day of sightseeing planned for the morning. Many other revelers were thinking the same thing and the scene trying to catch a taxi was very hectic. So Alex negotiated for an electric scooter ride back to the hotel—a ride best characterized by no taillights, headlights, or stopping for red lights. But we’re in China, and that’s all apart of the adventure!
Lights dancing on Houhai Lake