Today began much earlier than I think most of us wanted to. After a late-night visit with a tailor, finding the strength to wake up at 5:00 was a challenge. Typically I would have no problem with having to wake up at 5:00PM (the time it was in Rochester), but alas my body has defeated jet lag and instead of waking up nice and fresh, I had to groggily get myself ready for the second academic day of our trip. However, despite my desire to stay in my bed, I happily made the effort so we wouldn’t miss our high speed train!

We arrived early to the train station and after a quick security check had an hour to kill. Looking for some breakfast we passed by several American staples. Though restaurants serving breakfast such as McDonalds didn’t surprise us, we were stopped in our tracks when we saw that Pizza Hut was open. Our curiosity of what pizza hut served at 7 in the morning got the better of us and we sat down for a nice “American Breakfast” (as they called it) of toast and jam, hash browns, sausage, and scrambled eggs.

Upon boarding the train, I noted how elegantly designed it was and how well grouped the seats were around tables. As we mulled over what to do to pass the time, I brought out a deck of cards and made the discovery that no one the table knew how to play blackjack or poker, including RITchie! I call it beginners luck, but Ritchie was able to steal the show in poker.

After we made a gentle stop into the station, we made a hair-raising (but culturally accepted) crossing of the road to our bus. Unfortunately for our itinerary, the bus driver got lost and we ended up at the wrong Caterpillar location. The drive to the right location set us back an hour, but we were still able to hear a fantastic presentation and see the facility. Fun fact, the Tian Jin Caterpillar location has increased 3 fold in the last three years, is a current leading Caterpillar location, and is expected to experience double growth in the near future!

The second visit of the day occurred at Lights Medical Manufacture Co., Ltd. I can honestly say I’ve never been better greeted before in my life! The staff of Lights Medical met us outside and with a huge banner for our school and had a fully prepared conference room for our arrival. In fact, we saw pictures of other schools that have visited and saw the Dean on the wall in four separate pictures! They gave us a full tour of the facility, including the pre-, current, and post-manufacturing activities, before leading us to “tea time” with a selection of sweets and fruits. The FDA-approved business was managed by a woman named “Cici” and was projected to achieve significant growth with an IP in the coming three years!

Overall the day was terrific! Despite getting lost early on, we were able to see some great sights, meet new people, AND get to ride the speed rail. Now time to look up some basic Chinese words for when I order food… I accidentally bought food for three people today when I was by myself. Woops!