Since arriving in China I have been in smaller, rural, ethnic regions. So arriving in the city of Shenzhen was a real contrast. From the air I could count over a hundred high rise construction projects, next to each a vast worker compound with temporary "housing" built from scaffold material and corrugated metal. When people here talk about the "old" section of Shenzhen they are talking about the part of the city that is only 25 years old. Shenzhen is a government-designated commercial zone on the mainland located just a 45 minute train commute from Hong Kong. Many people work in one China and live in the other.
The three-day conference (International Association of Facilitators, Asia Region) took place at a beach resort just outside of Shenzhen. Participants came from China, Taiwan, HK, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, India, Australia, and a few from the US. To my shock and delight many attendees had already read the English versions of my books. My sessions were overbooked and participants were sincerely hungry for the learning experience. Best of all was the down time spent making many new friends and getting to know some super talented colleagues from this part of the world. Looks like I may have some future invitations to present "Beyond Technique: Six Inner Capacities of the Masterful Facilitator" and "Leading in the Fire" in South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.
During the first day of the conference I sat at lunch with people taking my day long workshop. The standard set up is a lazy Susan in the center of the table with 12 to 15 different dishes from which each person takes what they like -- "family style" as we call it in the US. Ten minutes after the food arrived nobody was eating so I finally asked if it was ok to begin. There was a palpable gasp of relief and laughter around the table as folks informed me that it is customary for "the teacher" to serve himself FIRST. They were waiting for me! Now, if I could only get Linda to adopt this policy when there is a fresh pint of Cherry Garcia in the freezer....
Following the conference I took a two hour flight to Chengdu in Sichuan province. This part of my trip will focus on a few national parks and more UN Heritage sites.
Flying in China is like going back in a time machine when flight attendants wore their hair in buns and a hot meal was served on every flight. Chicken or beef? Rice or noodles... And the obligatory dinner role. Even when the flight is an hour they find a way to feed you. On one flight they handed out a hot meal in the gate area before we boarded!