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Weston Leake blog – June 2

Weston Leake – June 2nd
–Today we woke up on the overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing. As we all headed to breakfast at 7:30 for our daily devotional and breakfast when we quickly saw that this would not be happening as the dining car was already occupied by other members from the train, who decided to sleep there. We decided that we would postpone our devotional and breakfast till later in the day.
When we arrived in Beijing it was 9:15 in the morning where we were greeted by Dr. Usrey’s old friend Michael who had the Chinese McDonald’s version of a breakfast sandwich, hash browns, and Cokes. As we stood outside of the train station we proudly enjoyed our McDonald’s breakfast which was apparently fulfilling the American stereotype.
Shortly after we boarded a bus that would take us to the village outside of Bejing where we would be spending the day. We arrived at Beiyue Temple which is located in Quyang County and is used by the emperor to make a sacrifice on behalf of all of the people of China once per year to one of the five mountain gods. Next, we visited a porcelain shop in the local area that is known for its historic, several hundred years, quality artwork and crafting. Our next stop was Qian Ren Sculpture Engineering where we toured their gallery of look at marble statues and other sculptures, again well-known over centuries in China.  The prices on large marble statues, was very competitive (about $1000 for multiple colored marble statues over six feet tall).  Joe Maroney is tasked with helping to fine export markets for this company.
To finish the day we headed to our hotel in Beijing and grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby noodle restraunt.
Weston Leake


Ben Lindgren’s post – 5/29

5/29 Day 10

– We lost Nick on Day 8 and he still hasn’t shown up at a restaurant, refusing to leave having found his own type of heaven. Here’s hoping he’s only stranded in Guangzhou surviving off rice and noodles and not in prison. We started off the day bright and early waking up at 5:00 am for our first activity. We headed on a 3-hour bus ride to Hangzhou to do a tour of a newspaper company. Charles is the editorial editor and was a former student of Dr. Usrey. We got a tour of the building and a chance to ask the editor-in-chief questions about newspapers in China and the future of the business. After the tour, the editor and chief honored us with a banquet at a local restaurant. Following lunch we headed to West Lake, which is the largest natural and most popular lake in China, next to the old capital of China, to take some pictures. This area is also known as “Heaven on Earth” – very beautiful.

Next, we hopped back on the bus for a 2.5 hour bus ride to Suzhou. We had a very interesting tour of a silk factory. We got to touch the silk worms and experience how the silk products were made, followed by shopping for fine silk products. I lost track of time and the girls had to drag me out of there after I snagged some great deals. Who knew shopping could be so much fun! For dinner we went to another nice restaurant where we got to try some exotic foods. We ended the day with a 2-hour bus ride home through heavy Shanghai traffic, but got to see huge buildings lit up at night. Overall, besides seeing our lives flash before our lives about 10 times, thanks to our skilled NASCAR driver who pulled off numerous U-turns in a giant bus in the middle of a busy street, it was a busy, informational day with lots of learning.

P.S. Nick is alive and well, back with us.  I was just kidding…

Nick Seifert – May 30th

Nick Seifert – May 30, 2015

To start off today we went to the Shanghai House of Pepperdine University. Pepperdine calls all their oversees studies “Houses”. Here we met three individuals. Ryan, an American and one of many of Dr. Usrey’s former students here in China, is a professor at this branch and also has a company that deals in old Scottish golf clubs in giving the Chinese an experience in the history of golf, which is a sport that has only been in China for 20-30 years.  Golf is a fast-growing business in China among its wealthy.  The next person was Ryan’s wife Tatiana. “Tats” worked for a marketing company called GlobeOne. This company focuses on a plethora of marketing techniques unique to China like using the power of local beliefs and myths. For example, the Chinese think ‘Crest’ is a Chinese brand.  Another is brand education which is used for things like alcohol, which the Chinese use for getting drunk and never for taste or enjoyment. The Chinese need to be taught the delicacies of alcohol like wine and whiskey past drinking it to get drunk. The last presenter was Lori. She works for Eden Ministeries, which is an organization that helps girls in human trafficking, specifically in red light districts to get out. Once out, the organization will give them a job making jewelry to sell and start making a living on their own as well as sharing the love of Christ.
After our meetings we went out to eat with Ryan and got ‘Hot Pot’ at a well-renowned restaurant in Shanghai for having unparalleled customer service. For example when Ryan ordered a Coke Zero which they didn’t have, they sent one of their employees to a local store to buy one, bring it back, and then serve it to Ryan. Hot Pot is basically a Chinese fondue. It is boiling water with spices that you drop meat or vegetables into and then attempt to fish them out of the pot when they are cooked using chopsticks. For some people this was easy; for me this is like brain surgery with one hand tied behind my back and no formal training. Either way the food was delicious and we all had a great time!
The last part of the day we made our way from the restaurant to The Bund. The Bund is a place right off the river that separates a part of Shanghai that looks like England and another, as Dr. Usrey put it, “looks like buildings from outer space”. Could not have said it better myself. On the way there we stopped at a department store called “No. 1” that is completely run by the government of China (amazing), and the Peace Hotel, which is historic from where the Communist Party in Chinas was founded, and is very well-known as it is located right off The Bund. Some of the students, including myself, got into some bargaining at some local markets and got some top-of-the-line ‘knock-off watches’ for dirt cheap. Or in other words, we got watches that don’t work, but say Rolex behind the glass, and we feel great about this financial decision!

Nick Seiferr

May 28 – David Horner

May 28, 2015 – David Horner
The last 24 hours have been very eventful from an overnight train to Shanghai to meeting with a major Chinese financial corporation. Taking the 14-hour train ride from Guangzhou to Shanghai went more smoothly than originally expected. All 20 group members, with luggage in hand, successfully fought the crowd packing onto various train cars WITHOUT leaving anyone behind. After this, we split up into different rooms throughout the train that each had 6 six beds. These Asian size built rooms/beds were small, but cozy. In addition, the rooms were shared with Chinese locals, thus adding another layer to the train experience.

Once in Shanghai, we were amazed at the enormous, unique towers located throughout the city. After checking into our hotel, we made our way to AllinPay Network Services Corporation to hear a presentation by a former student of Dr. Usrey, named Norman Wei (Asst. President), about AllinPay’s operations within the financial sector of China and the world. Consequently, AllinPay is a financial solution provider for personal and business arenas ranging from bank card acquiring business to prepaid cards to internet and mobile payments to finally payment services for financial institutions domestically. It’s a gigantic company with 33 provincial branches and 270 secondary branches located throughout China and all over the globe, rivaling PayPal and Visa. One interesting fact about AllinPay is it’s 1 of 22 Chinese companies that are allowed to conduct financial business across borders. China’s highly regulated financial sector economy by the central government puts a limit on the number of Chinese companies that can perform cross-border business payments in order to keep capital tightly controlled within the country. The meeting with Mr. Wei gave valuable insight into the current financial payment-processing systems domestically in China and abroad in Europe and North America while also revealing what they project for the future – a very different world of managing wealth with the Yuan as a primary currency. After the meeting, Mr. Wei took our group to the river walk, which again allowed everyone to experience the magnificent towers in Shanghai along the famous Bund and Pudong.