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Departing via DCA, JFK, SFO (01/04/10)

January 23rd, 2010 by under China. No Comments.

I arrived at the Ronald Reagan airport (DCA) around 9am. I had a luggage, a carry-on and a Terps school backpack. I had to transfer some clothes from the lugguage to the carry-on due to the 50lb weight limits by the American Airline. The flight departed at noon.

It took about an hour to get to JFK from DCA. JFK has 8 different terminals and I had to take an Airtrain at the airport to go from one terminal to another. I think JFK is way bigger than Dullas. When trying to depart JFK by Delta, it took me about 20 minutes to go through the security gate. A security guy throw away the followings from my carry-on: shower gel, shampoo, lotion, mouth wash and shaving cream. He asked if I wanted to deliver them somewhere via post. I didn’t bother doing that.

On the way to SFO from JFK, I read HBS book about How to do Business in China. I thought I could finish the whole book but I only finish two chapters. I took time to absorb numbers and stop a lot to think and relate facts being presented. I tried to figure out patterns and information that might be applicable in transforming Burma. I think I got lost in doing that.

My parent’s friend picked me up at San Franscisco International airport and I spent the night at their house. I haven’t seen the host’s family for a year now and it was good to meet them again. The host lives at the Freemont. I got to see the Freemont area landscape on the way to the airport in the morning of Jan 5th. It looks dry when compared to DC. But, it was good to see mountains at one side of the highway. It reminded me of my hometown, Mandalay, Burma, where there are mountains at the east. I like looking at the mountains when the sun rises up in the morning from the back.

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Trade-off between a customized trip, pricing and negotiation power (Nov,Dec 2009)

January 23rd, 2010 by under China. No Comments.

I couldn’t find any flights, leaving BWI or Dullas, that would go through San Fran and Tokyo. Since I wanted to stop by San Franscisco on the way to China and Tokyo on the return trip, I found a deal on priceline.com back in Nov. It costs me $1011 and here is the itinery:

01/04/10 7:15 pm   departs    New York (JFK)             01/04/10 11:25 pm   arrives  San Francisco (SFO)                                 

01/05/10 12:10 pm  departs  San Francisco (SFO)      01/06/10  5:00 pm   arrives  Narita, Tokyo (NRT)

01/06/10  7:00 pm  departs  Narita, Tokyo(NRT)         01/06/10 9:45 pm  arrives Shanghai- Pudong , China (PVG)

01/18/10 4:40 pm   departs    Beijing, China (PEK)      01/18/10 9:00 pm   arrives  Narita, Tokyo (NRT)        

01/19/10 3:05 pm  departs  Narita, Tokyo (NRT)       01/19/10  2:00 pm   arrives  New York (JFK)

I bought a round-trip ticket between Ronald Reagan-JFK for $199.

After I got the ticket, I wanted to change the depart date from Jan 4th to Jan 1st. But, the Priceline would charge me about $2000 more for the schedule change. So, I had to stick to the original schedule. Otherwise, I could have stay in San Fran for a few days and wonder around before I leave US.

Lessons to be learned>>>>plan and prepare long before the departure. Obviously, getting an air ticket 2 months before the departure did not give me enough room to find better deals.

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At the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC (12/14/09)

January 23rd, 2010 by under China. No Comments.

I arrived at the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC at 9am. Since I was the second person, I didn’t have to wait much. At the application window, I submitted all the documents. A staff very carefully looked at my passport, letter from the school and the transit visa application form. She then gave me a receipt. No questions asked. Nice. The whole process took about 5 minutes. I was out of the building by 9:20 am.

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At the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC(12/08/09)

January 23rd, 2010 by under China. No Comments.

I arrived at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC around 10 am. There were about 20 people waiting to submit their visa applications. There were 5 female embassy staffs handling visa applications. I don’t think I’ve seen any male staff expect the security guy who is an American. The office was a small room about the size of a class room from DC campus. I was quite uncomfortable with the room setting where you can hear the conversations between the applicants and staffs. Well, it was entertaining for me to hear all of those conversations for 2 hours.

 I saw 2 fellow Smith MBA students from the business plan competition group. One of the students was trying to explain to the embassy staff that he was applying for a tourist visa. But, I saw that the embassy staff got confused after hearing so many words about business, school, tourist, etc. The second student stepped in and explained that they just wanted tourist visa. He did not mentioned anything else at all. It worked.

Since I wanted my passport back by Friday, 12/18/09, I paid $20 extra. As a result, I paid $150 for the single entry tourist visa. During my conversation with the staff, I could feel a bit of the language barrier between us. It took me about 15 minutes answering questions and waiting at the window.

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