Apologies to our esteemed readers. China has thrown a few wrenches into our plans. I was all set to post earlier last week when we landed in Beijing, and discovered that I couldn’t access our blog – Adam was apparently successful, but only after waiting a long time. Now, it seems like we’ve got access to WordPress again, so it seems we owe you some blogging.
Beijing has been amazing. It has finally given students studying Chinese a chance to put our language skills to the test. Although we still struggle, most report having some successful conversations with taxi drivers and shopkeepers. We’ve had two lectures while we’ve been here. Vestas was first. If you are unfamiliar, Vestas is the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world (HQed in Denmark) and has a significant presence in China. Their story here is rather unique because the Chinese government has set very high goals for wind energy and Vestas, being an industry leader is right at the forefront of the Chinese market. But beyond that, it was fascinating to hear how the government also wants to grow a domestic industry, while relying in multi-national companies to be the seed.
Mercy Corps also came to talk to us. If you are from Portland, you know all about Mercy Corps, or maybe you’ve heard about them in the wake of the Haiti Earthquake. They are an international relief and development organization working in over 40 countries. In China, one of their projects is to provide vocational training and education to a ethnic minority group in Sichuan province.
We’re also doing a fair amount of sightseeing – including the Great Wall! I’m sure we’ll share some more pictures and stories once we get back to the States. Using the Internet in China has proven to be quite a challenge!