After a late wake-up (see pics from night before), and forgetting that we needed passports to travel (again, see pics from night before), we finally went to Suzhou around 3PM.
Suzhou is called the “Venice of China,” but Venice usually doesn’t serve pork brains for dinner. And no, my team didn’t allow me to order it… so lame!!! But I did get to eat fried crab-on-a-stick and fried squid!
We didn’t eat any “Crispy Stinky Tofu,” but the name was definitely spot-on. We could smell it from blocks away…
Suzhou is a much more traditional Chinese city than Shanghai, with beautiful gardens and waterways. And we even met up with the other Shanghai GAP team.
Of course each team had to brag about how the other team’s experience was sooo much better. But isn’t this what blogging is for?
Being the obnoxious Americans we are, Pudi and I did push-ups on their national landmark…. While Pudi yelled “ ‘Merica ”…
Friday was awesome!! Three biggest highlights:
1. We finished our first week of work. It was a blast! We feel accomplished with our job and had collected a lot of resources. Definitely took a lot of collaboration and trust to get this done.
2. It was the end of the quarter for Philips, so President Thio invited us to get American food and drinks with his team. We got to collaborate with senior level executives and realized the importance of having fun and getting the work done well.
John was the designated bartender, and as you can see in the pictures, he did an excellent job!
We hit a few bodybuilding poses. You know. Bam!
3. We then hit the club, Club Muse. We met up with some new Swedish friends.
“Work Hard. Play Harder” – Desmond Thio
Monday is always blue…especially after Goa trip. However, today is a productive day. After the discussions with Wonderkids team, we had a deeper understanding of the situation. Therefore, we tried to generate the marketing strategy for Wonderkids. Thanks for Professor Jay Dial. We used five forces and VRIO to evaluate Wonderkids and competitors’ situations. We did apply the knowledge learned in school to real case.
On Saturday we rode elephants!!! Alina and Ashley were washed by an elephant! I think they thought they were going to be ones doing the washing, but boy did they get surprised. We ended by giving the elephants a snack immediately prior to pictures of O-H-I-O elephant style!
After riding elephants we headed for a very interesting tour of the spice plantation where we leaned how spices are harvested, which are the most expensive on the market and that Coca-Cola buys 30% of the world production of vanilla. Who new there is something non-chemical in there? We chew cloves, bought Indian hand made cigarettes (bidi), drank lemongrass tea and a couple of shots of caju moonshine (feni). We also took pictures of the monkey man picking up fruit off tall palm trees.
With 3 hours in the SUV and 2 hours in the Jeep going and back, we finally arrived at the water fall. The beautiful scene made everyone forget the tiredness. Everyone was looking forward to jump into the water. While we swam, Ean put his feet in the water and said he felt something moving under his feet. After everyone got back to the land, Bliss saw a snake in the water near us. “Time to go”, Ean said withdrawing his feet in a beat from the water and we all fled the site. On our way back we had the pleasure of encountering a family of monkeys.
In India people are divided into vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and being in the last category kinda…. Sucks! Not only the restaurants are vegetarian but people would not eat vegetarian food in a restaurant that cooks meat. You never know, a sausage might have exploded in the kitchen at one point in time.
Our task of finding food is even harder with Amanda’s 1001 allergies.
Looking for meat we found this nice restaurant where a pre-monsoon torrential rain caught us and eventually left us in the dark, dining under iPhone flashlight. Internet worked though!
I was so excited at the thought of having an Indian hamburger (vada pav) only to discover that it’s …. vegetarian.
the next treat was a typical sweet (peda). Good by vegetarian or non-vegetarian standards.
Last but not least, worth mentioning, the awesome Kingfisher beer and a weird non-alcoholic blue sparkly drink.
Happy Birthday, Melissa! We were excited to celebrate Melissa’s thirty-th… er… twenty-first birthday in Shanghai! It was a busy day, but we still fit in some fun.
Of course we had to start the day off with some donuts. What?! The local Donut King doesn’t open til 10AM?! Apparently donuts aren’t eaten for breakfast here, but are rather considered a dessert. It’s really strange that sugar-coated fried bread is considered a dessert here…
But at least they’ve got Tai Chi (which we have vowed to participate in).
Next, we became “mystery shoppers” to see how medical sellers operate in China. We went to Shanghai No. 1 Pharmacy (BTW, most everything starts with “No. 1” here, so the “No. 1 Chinese Restaurant” in Columbus now makes sense…). This pharmacy was huge, spanning three stories!
The first floor was all Eastern medicine. There were tons of herbs, and some that looked like dried starfish ran between $200 to $5,000. Yes, $5,000!
The medical device companies like Philips were on the second and third floors. OTC (over-the-counter) is one of the newest channels for Philips in China, but accounts for less than 30% of total sales for respiratory products (I know you were very, very interested in that…)
Next, we met with Ni Libin, one of the most successful Philips distributor owners in Shanghai. What a dynamic entrepreneur! The interview was conducted in Mandarin, and we had to wait through 2-5 minutes of Mandarin dialogue before getting an English translation. It gave Justin plenty of time to beat his high score in Angry Birds (or 2048)…. Just kidding. But Ni was great and despite the language barrier, he made us feel very welcome.
When we got back to the office, Philips surprised Melissa with a cake! And we presented Desmond with a thank you gift for supporting our GAP experience (he loved his OSU white coat!).
Philips took us out to a phenomenal Japanese restaurant, Dozo, where we had lots to eat. And maybe just a little bit to drink…
And a rhino may have also been involved…
Yesterday we saw some Chinese hospitals. Two words… Mind blown! One sound effect… Boom!
There are over 200,000 hospitals in China, and of the top 1,200, this was one of them…. But it’s insanely crowded and old.
Plus, the level of hygiene was, to say the least… a bit unsanitary compared to American standards. Doctors were coughing in their hands – where’s the hand sanitizer? And the bathrooms were squatters… with no tissue OR soap. Slightly unsanitary? #chyeah
And this was a top tier 3 hospital!
This experience was humbling and eye opening, and it’s changed my entire perspective on practicing medicine in a state-of-the-art facility like the OSU Wexner Medical Center.
Makes me feel… legit!!
Pudi (AKA Bane)