Friday, July 13, 2012

Kobe, Lebron , Jason or Alex?

July 11, 2012
Hong Kong - Shenzhen (China)
Harbour Grand Kowloon - JW Marriott Shenzhen

The Harbour Grand is a 5* hotel located right on the breathtaking Victoria Harbour. My new friend, Sandy, who is the Director of Sales met me for breakfast at 9am and we spoke for an hour about the potential for our group staying at her hotel next time we visit. She showed me some of the additional rooms and suites and I must admit, they were quite nice. Not on the level of either of the JW Marriott's I stayed at, but probably closer to a 4 1/2 *.

After the tour I made it up to the rooftop pool, where it was considerably less crowded than yesterday afternoon. I was able to get in some uninterrupted laps in and enjoyed the morning sunshine.

I checked out at 11:30am and hopped on the subway for the 60 minute trip back to China, Shenzhen to be exact. There are two ports of entry in Shenzhen (from the Hong Kong side) and my entry port Lok Ma Chau was pretty quite, aside from about 50 1st and 2nd grade students who live in China but attend school in Hong Kong. They were out of control, but quite funny as well.

Immigration was a breeze and I was back on the subway... Shenzhen version... in a matter of minutes. It was just three stops to my hotel and after about 5 minutes in the train and a 10 minute walk from the station, I was checking in at the JW Marriott Shenzhen.

This was another "Free" room based on Marriott's summer promotion and I was once again upgraded to the Club Level, which included an upgraded room and concierge club access. If the JW in Beijing was a 5*, this hotel was probably a 4.8*. Things were exquisite, however there was just a small level missing in terms of attention to detail. I'd still highly recommend the JW Shenzhen though.

Shenzhen is a city of 10+ million people and just 30 years ago there were less than 300,000 people. This is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and they've done a great job managing the growth with an excellent infrastructure that has been put in place.

My goal in Shenzhen was to meet one of the future Knights of St. Joseph HS. This fall we are having 5 Chinese students and one of them lives in Shenzhen... HUANG, Ziyue.

Ziyue, along with his mother, father and cousin met me at the hotel for a buffet dinner and gave me a great welcoming gift of a gold dragon which will be proudly displayed in my office. Ziyue and his cousin both speak good English, while the parents mostly used them for translating everything. It was a lot of fun and Ziyue offered to take me on a city tour in the morning... which I readily accepted.

Most Chinese students arrive in the USA with a self-chosen Western name which helps us non-Chinese speakers who have trouble pronouncing words in the Chinese language. Ziyue came to the dinner thinking that he was going to choose "Jason" as his Western name, but he wasn't 100% sure. He asked my advice and my suggestions of "Lebron" or "Kobe" were met with some concern.

He told me that he'd think about names tonight and let me know in the morning.

Dinner was great, the company was even better and I think Ziyue's mom and dad feel more comfortable now with the fact that they are sending their only child across the world to continue his education. We gave our pleasantries and I returned to my room for an early night of slumber.

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