This Think China 2013 blog post was written by Marisa Jolivette, one of the splendid 13 who are part of the trailblazing excursion to China. 🙂
This bus ride felt like we’d been driving for days but in reality, it’s was only a hour. Wake up call started at 5:45am and with me being used to the time in the United States, I’m still trying to adjust to the correct bedtime.
The highway we were driving on was full of trees and grass. A couple times I saw somebody on a hill with animals and a dog. It reminded me of California so much; especially the farms. In China, the freeways are different than they are in California. People can pull over and basically chill on the freeway. I mean about at least 20 cars at once do this. The signs on the freeway are all in Mandarin. I always thought it would take somebody longer to read them while driving but maybe it’s just me.
As we approached the Toyota Motor Company in Tianjin I was excited to find out what I was going to learn. We were greeted by a sign that sign that read “Welcome Think China Northern California Delegation” which was a couple feet from the 2014 model cars. Next, we entered a room where a pamphlet, a sheet of paper with information about Toyota, and a hat that we were to wear while we were in the factory. In the Toyota company in Tianjin they produce two cars which are the Corolla and the RAV4.
During our walk in the factory, we were informed that it takes 69 seconds to produce a car in which are available in the color black, red, silver, white, or brown although they have a total of 8 colors that they produce in the factory. After the cars are produced, two cars are shipped to dealerships and the rest are saved in a lot to wait and put in stock to sell throughout the year.
Bryce Bell thought “[I’ll remember] the teamwork of the workers when using the assembly line to make sure every precise motion was beneficial towards their common goal. Even though they came from different places and spoke different languages they were still able to work together through communication through their duties.”
At the factories, they speak Japanese so we needed an interpreter to understand the presentation. The floor manager smiled when he heard we were from Northern California. He lived in San Ramon, CA some years back and worked at the Nummi Plant in Fremont, CA. It’s a small world. The workers were either Chinese or Japanese.
Following our visit at Toyota Motor Company of Tianjin we were off to lunch at McDonalds. Being that this was our first time at a fast food restaurant in China, I was pretty shocked. The menu at McDonalds was a lot different than the one in the US. Rice and tapioca drinks were offered there.
“The McDonalds in China seemed better than the ones in the United States….the menu was quite different then what I expected. The service we received was great” said Isaiah Mobley.
When we got back to the bus, we were informed that we were going to go shopping. Personally, I was super juiced about it because I was ready to see the different products China had compared to what was offered in California. Also, no tax rate being applied here. As we departed the bus to shop, we ran into a large group of African Americans from Howard University. One of the students was from Oakland. The Howard group explained that they were in China for a three week immersion in Mandarin. I could only imagine how difficult that is with me only having had one session learning the language. My classmates and I are struggling to understand the phonetics of the language.
The Silk Market was a different atmosphere compared to markets in the US. When we tried to bargain with sellers, they would get mad when we didn’t want to accept the price they said. There was times when things got a little tense.
“The market was cool. There were a lot of different things that seller’s tried selling us for a lot of money. Having the conversion factor down pact made negotiating easier,” said Jordan Williams.
“Sellers shouted or tried complementing you to get your attention so you could buy things” said Ibrahima Mobley.
Trying to get out the stores was difficult especially when turning down a negotiation. It didn’t take much for sellers to just take your offer when they saw profit walking away. In all, most of us walked away with some good stuff.