Destination #4: Shanghai

Friday evening, and the end of a tour across Asia: productive, fascinating, confronting and challenging would be a few words to sum up the past two weeks.

I’m looking back at this time with a beer and noodles at Noodle Bull. Because, before I go shopping at Spin Ceramics tomorrow this is the perfect place to build up my ‘need’ for some beautiful ceramics: everything comes served in the beautiful Spin bowls and other table ware. And I’m sure the noodles will taste great as well.

Shanghai has been overwhelming. I have not yet been to Chengdu or Chongqing – I expect them to be worse – but I can never quite grasp the size of this city. It just goes on and on and on which hit me firstly on the drive in on Tuesday evening.

But, of course, the sheer size is also an indication of all those things that happen here. So, my three days have been pretty packed with a variety of meetings: catching up with a few people I know here, talking to people in organizations supporting Dutch business in China to find out better whether CSR is an issue for this companies (answer: no company ever asks about it), meeting new contacts who work in CSR or sustainability and visiting two local factories to see what improving working conditions means in reality.

So, at the end of these few days – and in addition to all the people I’ve meet up to here – I am in a way happy to be heading back home: because I have so much work ahead of me to follow up on this trip. It has made me more secure in my choice of topics to be working on. But it has also made me realize that to be able to really work on this issues in a way that is effective – both for Dutch organisations, and for people here locally – I need to be here much more often and for a longer time in one go.

This will be an interesting riddle to solve for the next few months: how can I be here more while at the same time focusing on building my business in the Netherlands and finding + working on interesting assignments? Any smart ideas welcome in the comments!

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