Steve's China Blog

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back from Dalian

Back from Dalian, and I think I got all of the things done at Bank of China that I needed to do there. I flew up there on Sunday afternoon and stayed at the Kempinski Hotel. I've stay at the Kempinski at various cities and have always gotten good service there. On Sunday night I had dinner at Cafe Igosso, which is a nice little Italian restaurant near there, and Jesse was nice enough to join me. It was wonderful to see Jesse again!

On Monday I went to the main branch of Bank of China for Liaoning Province in Dalian. The bank had just started selling a new mutual fund, so the bank was very crowded that day with a lot of people looking for some safe investments. Someone from my office had called ahead of time for me and told me to find one of the floor managers named Ms Huang to help me. After I asked around I found her and explained all of the things I wanted to do. Ms Huang was very helpful and helped me fill out the paperwork I needed for my various transactions.

There were three things I wanted to get done... exchange some US$ in my account to Chinese Yuan, withdraw some US$, and then transfer the remaining US$ to my account in ChengDu. The first two were not a problem... I just had a long wait to do them since it was so crowded. The money transfer to ChengDu did present some problems. The first problem was that after the information was entered into the computer the transfer would not take place. By this time Ms Huang had gone to lunch and the regular workers reverted into their normal lousy service mode.

They told me that my account in ChengDu must have been an account that would not accept US$. I told them that I would not have opened the account if it did not accept US$, and that they should call the branch in ChengDu to verify this. They would not call the branch in ChengDu and said that I would have to do this. At this point I was getting hungry and had to go have some lunch, so I basically called them liars, told them I would do their job for them, and left.

I then went to our new office in Dalian (we have two there now), and after a quick lunch called the bank branch in ChengDu and verified that my account there could indeed accept a transfer of US$. So, back to Bank of China I go and find Ms Huang. I explained to her what happened and she tells someone to call the ChengDu branch and they do it. The problem it turns out is not the account in ChengDu, but that they can not do an immediate money transfer out of the province so they send it as a 24 hour transaction. Anyways, the money got transferred.

The rest of that day and the next morning I spent working at the new office, and visiting old friends from work there. I had dinner on Monday evening with my friend Rosaline at Paulaners. On Tuesday I had lunch at a Korean place with a few friends, Ping and Semela. After that I flew back to ChengDu and worked some more in the evening from home.

Even though I would have preferred not to fly all the way to Dalian to deal with a stupid bank it was all worthwhile since I got to visit some friends. One of them told me she really wanted me to move back to Dalian since she missed me so much. That was rather unexpected and I was very flattered!


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