My husband dropped me off at Charlotte Douglas Airport (our International airport, as I would brag about in the upcoming days) and I pulled my two bags to the counter, only to have one be overweight and had to repack what I had carefully done the days before. One bag was laden with souvenir gifts — small pottery pieces, made in North Carolina — to give as gifts to the people who would be hosting our delegation in their towns and factories.
The first leg of my flight took me to Chicago, with a 3-hour layover, and then a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong. I was in the middle seat during the long trek, so didn’t sleep, but my adrenaline was pumping when we reached Hong Kong. I didn’t know what to expect, who would meet me, how to go through Hong Kong customs…but was simply excited for the days ahead.
George Harris, Huntersville’s lobbyist, greeted me as I headed toward baggage (entering with my passport was easy), along with Karen, who works for the SoZo Group. SoZo had planned the entire trip and Karen had taken care to get passport and visa information ahead of time, so she could get a rush visa for me into China.
Karen waited for the Alabama delegation at the airport, and George and I took a light rail and then a cab to our hotel in Hong Kong. I got settled in my room and then headed to the Executive Lounge to meet a portion of the “team”. Raymond Cheng, president (and dynamo!) of The SoZo Group greeted me, introduced me to some of the group, gave a quick review about our next day. Since we were still waiting for people to arrive from the U.S., I knew that going out to eat would be much too difficult on no sleep, so I begged off dinner and slept well.
We started May 10th (yes, I left Charlotte on May 8th!) with a very tight agenda. I’m going to use the SoZo agenda as the basis of this blog and the ones that will follow about the China trip, and insert my comments. It was a busy, structured trip, as you will see……
Friday May 10th -Hong Kong
07:00 -07:30 Daily Briefing Executive Lounge
07:30 Depart for Asia Society
08:00 -09:30 Breakfast presentation -Why and How the USA is Focused on Asia as its Priority Trading Region over the Next Decade by Hon. Francisco J. Sanchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, US Department of Commerce
09:30 -10:00 Tour of Asia Society Host: Mr. Ronnie Chan
10:05 Travel to North Point
10:30 -11:15 Meeting with Mr MOK Wah-hoi, Assistant Director of Corruption Prevention, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on anti-corruption effort in Hong Kong)
11:15 Travel back to Asia Society Hong Kong Center
12:00 -14:00 Lunch with Mr. Ronnie Chan; Chairman of Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Hang Lung Properties
15:00 -16:15 Meeting with the Hon. C. H. Tung, Former Chief Executive of Hong Kong; Vice Chairman of the CPPCC National Committee
16:15 Travel to Central Government Office
16:30 -17:15 Meeting with Mr. Daniel CHUNG , Head (Airport Expansion Project Coordination Office), Transport and Housing Bureau (on Hong Kong’s key infrastructure projects, e.g. rail, bridge and airport expansion etc.)
17:15 Depart for hotel
Skipped dinner (we were exhausted!)
Day Two coming next….