When visiting China for the first time in 2004, one of the things that struck me was that, when in China, one should switch one’s mindset to another scale for everything altogether. And it’s not based just on demographic or geographic statistics. Here, everything is bigger.
Well, it may not apply to everything (such as the size of a roast duck), but I don’t think I’ve ever seen city parks as big as Beijing’s own Beihai, Zonghai and Houhai gardens. Not even mentioning the Summer Palace park which doesn’t really count as a city park and lays by the 4th ring. If the notion of city ring doesn’t mean anything to you, think of the nice peripheral highways that border your city. Paris has two: the Périphérique and the Francilienne. Beijing has seven of them… Oh, and did I mention it? They’re bigger.
This year, one of the reasons why I went to Beijing in the first place was to visit the Tsinghua University with which HEC has a double MBA degree agreement. A nice lady from the Tsinghua SEM IMBA admission office greeted me and we discussed about the application procedure. Finally, she gave me their IMBA brochure and invited me to visit the campus. Now I must mention that students typically travel between different academic buildings riding a bike. I’ve seen some people do it with a taxi. We walked… and going from toward the South exit (where SEM is located) to the North exit (by the dorms) took us 40 minutes.
Today, I’m in Xi’an, home to tens of thousands terracotta warriors. Flying tomorrow to Shanghai and its two world tallest towers, then flying back to Beijing and its world biggest airport…
And ponder upon the fact that people don’t know what gigantic is before coming to China.