2004 was when I had been to Shanghai. I was part of a regional agency team working on a body wash brand. It had been a mixed experience. Could also be because I had just started travelling on work. Had no experience on my side.
13 years older, with life and work changes redefining me, I boarded China Eastern last Tuesday. I did not know what to expect. So went with just that.
A decade and more does change things. More so in economies that are driving things at a furious pace. There were more skyscrapers lining the clouds, the Bund had buildings that came alive with light and images that could beat most cities in the world, glass facades of new office buildings stood high against the sun and the rain.
What struck me most, however, was the friendliness, the smiles and general positivity that was clearly in the air.
I had no problem engaging in conversations.
Made very few faux pas while ordering food in the little alleys off Nanjing Road.
Work was pretty much a global culture.
Designed to be such.
But as I boarded the home bound aircraft, I looked back to the city.
Realised I was going back with hope and expectation.
At many levels.
Ambitions at work.
A desire to come back again.
Know more about the culture.
What drives. What doesn't.
Until we meet again, Shanghai.
Thank you for a great three days and a weekend.