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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 3--Katelynn Johnson and Monica Klein

Today was a very busy day!  We started with a 3:30 am wake up call and left our beautiful hotel in Beijing with our cute boxed breakfasts in hand and were off to the largest airport in the world.   We flew to Shanghai and were met by hotel staff perfectly dressed in pink tweed suits.  We parted with our luggage and were whisked away to the Li & Fung Shanghai office. 

Pamela Chen, the Executive Vice President gave us a presentation about Li & Fung’s history and an overview of the company.  The perks of the company were amazing, including a workout facility with a yoga room and Ping-Pong game room.  We then had a tour of the product development showrooms, including Habitat, a UK grocery store, and the furniture pieces for American companies like Starbucks and McDonalds.  The showrooms were exquisite, each completely different from the other and truly showcasing the brand’s personality. 

Following the tour we had a traditional Chinese lunch in one of the Li & Fung cafeterias.  Then we met up with Jennifer, our new tour guide for a 7-hour tour of Shanghai.  We began with a beautiful garden visit where we saw more greenery than we had seen in all of China so far.  There were rivers and caves, coy ponds, and unique Asian trees and flowers, pure beauty. 

The next stop was a gorgeous outdoor Chinese market.  We went to a shop upstairs that was filled with beautiful fresh-water and salt-water pearls.  One of the workers showed us exactly where pearls come from by taking an oyster out of the tank and cracking it open to find 20 beautiful fresh-water pearls inside.  On the other side there was a tea house, where we all had the chance to participate in a traditional tea ceremony and test out some different teas.  At this point of the day, we were all pretty tired, so luckily we found Starbucks next door. 

After the pick-me-up, we were ready to see the third tallest building in the entire world, the Shanghai World Financial Center.  The building is 101 stories high and has a hole in the middle near the top.  It was very futuristic, along with most of Shanghai.  It’s hard to find a building in the area that is more than 25 years old.  Stepping into the first elevator, it felt like a scene right out of Willy Wonka.  Lights were flashing and music was playing accompanied by a dramatic countdown.  We had to get on a second elevator to get to the very top, where there were glass bottom lock out points and we could see the entire city, including our next stop, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

 The building looks like a giant space needle with a red ball in the middle.  We went to the top where the entire floor was made out of glass and it was not entirely closed in so we could feel the cool evening breeze.  After the quick trip down the skyscraper we were headed to dinner. 

We had another fabulous dinner, complete with 3 appetizers, 8 entrees, and dessert.  With our full stomachs and tired eyes, we headed back to the hotel for a great night of sleep after our full day.  We are absolutely loving Shanghai and cannot wait to see the knit factory tomorrow!  

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