My trip was not all first class flying and yummy food, I was there to do some work. It’s an exciting project we are building, and it was really nice to see the site and be a part of the discussions. Originally my role was to attend the meetings, walk the site, be introduced to the client, and basically watch and learn. That was the plan at least. More on that later.
Phase one was easy to achieve. We flew to town (12 hours of travel time) spent the night in Ordos, then hopped into a shuttle bus for a 4 hour drive to th site. Then lunch. Then travel by boat (20 mins) to the site. It still in its natural state, so we beached the boat and jumped to land to walk around. It’s sandy and hilly but really nice. It’s hard to think that with all this sand and sun, 6 months of the year it’s pretty frozen in this area. The property will be by the lake, but the lake is set down from the land by about 50 feet or so. So when you are on the lake all around you are the high hills of the land, which makes for dramatic views. It was a long afternoon of walking and comparing where we were to what we had planned and discussing tweaks to gain better views or accommodate sand dunes that would be in the way of the lobby. Luckily the weather was AMAZING. Sunny, windy, cool, but not cold, just a great day to be out and about. After a few hours of walking we headed back to dock, had dinner, then 4 hours back to Ordos, and then into bed. Left a 9AM, home around 12AM…it was a long day to say the least.
That was just Friday.
Saturday, was the meeting with the client. We had some early morning meetings with the local architect and then drove to the client’s office to discuss what we saw on site. Only, that’s not what happened. Upon arriving, we met with a second in command, who had two staff members bring in two stack of very large books on hotels and design. We were informed that we would spend a few minutes looking at images that might help explain our ideas for the design of the landscape and the interiors and then show them to the Chairman when he arrives. Suddenly my back seat role had shifted to driving position. Very quick flips thru the books, tags, brief discussions with the team and ready or not, the Chairman will see you now.
I presented my images, did my best to briefly explain why I thought they would be important and my co-worker did the translation since the Chairman did not speak English, and I my Chinese is limited to ” One Char Siew Boa, please”
A few grunts, some nodding, a review of the landscape images, and the Chairman has left the building. No feedback, is good feedback in this case. It seems he liked what he saw, keep up the good work, see you next time. He just sort of left, without much discussion. The architects never got to speak to him. Alrighty then.
I’m told this is common and that we should just keep moving on. So back to Singapore we go, and we will just keep on keeping on.