Day two was an interesting one. A little more alert today, we were better prepared to take in some of the things Beijing has to offer. We started our morning with a 7:00 breakfast at the hotel. The spread included everything from Western style omelets to bean dumplings. It was a great way to start the morning. From there, we headed towards the U.S. Embassy where we had a private meeting with “Lee” to discuss Chinese-American political and business relationships. Key takeaways included the need to be culturally sensitive, knowledgeable of laws and regulations in both countries, and the differences between business practices. For example, the Chinese tend to be much more about relationships than their North American counterparts. Where we often do business over the phone and email, Chinese business people prefer to meet in person and court relationships over a much longer period of time. However, once that bond is formed, it is much more difficult to break.

A view of the interior of our hotel in Beijing

Once our time at the embassy came to a close, we were shuttled over to an authentic Chinese food restaurant for lunch (the name escapes me for the moment), which prepared another very nice platter for us. Although the names of the dishes were largely the same, the taste was vastly different. I think the most of us appreciated the authentic flavors and spices. From there, with packed bellies, we traveled to “The Forbidden City,” and toured a city that received its name because, for several years, was only accessible to royalty. I’m definitely adding The Last Emperor to the list of movies I need to see. According to our tour guide, that is the only movie to ever be filmed in the actual city.

At the entrance of the "Forbidden City"