For the last eight years, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce has given us a unique opportunity to go as a group to China for 10 days to explore the lovely cities of Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. I had the opportunity to go on the China Trip a few years ago, and the itinerary was full of all the famous places to see, fabulous hotels, and one of the best tour companies in the country to show us around.
Our first day was spent walking around one of the biggest man-made lakes in the world at the Summer Place. As a pleasant surprise, we were lucky enough to see the famous large rubber duck that has traveled all over the world and just so happened to be in Beijing while we were visiting. The most exciting of course, was the climbing the steps of the Great Wall. Pictures and words can only convey so much of the beauty and intensity of being at one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We climbed over 1,000 steps that were tattered, broken, and uneven along with large mobs of tourists from all over the world. The Asian tourists seemed to be more interested in taking pictures with us than the Great Wall. They expressed their admiration for our Western features and their excitement to meet us while sharing minimal but memorable words of exhaustion while we climbed the Great Wall together.
Of course the highlights were the Great Wall, Tian An Men Square, the Forbidden City, and the famous flashing and sparkling lights of Shanghai at nighttime, but we were able to see so much more. The most impressive and intricate was seeing the process of making silk garments, rugs, and extremely detailed silk embroidery pictures. We were able to see the creation of jade carvings and cloisonné after wandering through gorgeous gardens and temples. We also got to learn about Chinese medicine and about the different grades of Green Tea. Although we saw many ‘interesting’ things to eat on the street, like scorpions, snakes, tarantulas, crickets, live chickens, and testicles (only to name a few), our food was provided through the tour company in abundance.
We shopped until we dropped (at least my family did), ate until we were stuffed, and walked until we couldn't walk anymore. At times I would look up at the high-rise buildings and the modern streets, and forget I was in China. After traveling to Asia many times but never to Mainland China, the itinerary full of fabulous site seeing seemed like a trip worthy of bringing the whole family.
Strategic Consulting Partners is a member of the chamber and a family business, so it was a great way for us to couple a family vacation with business networking with the other Chamber participants. It not only was a chance to network, but a great chance to build long lasting relationships with the other Chamber members. The cities, the people, and the history of this gorgeous country were so impressive and dynamic. I am so grateful to have had the amazing opportunity to see the progress, innovation, and intensity of China in person. It was truly a trip of a lifetime!
Editor’s Note: Registration for the 2018 China Trip closes on July 15. To join, download the registration form and learn more on our website. For questions, contact Sarah Lindner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 525-2400