IBM Executive Service Corps Assignment – Day 2
timhahn 100000F0AC Visits (2037)
I've been in Da Nang, Vietnam for less that 24 hours now, have a good night's sleep behind me and have had my first face-to-face meeting with the IBM team. We've been having prep calls leading up to this assignment for the past 8 weeks, but it's always great to put a face to the names and voices that you've heard on the calls. We come from all over the world – 4 from the USA (Connecticut, North Carolina, Illinois, and California), 1 from Singapore, and 1 from Shanghai. We're also lucky to have two additional team members with us from Royal Dutch Shell. They hail from Texas and Brunei.
We got together today to discuss our backgrounds, go over logistics for the engagement, and meet our interpreters. Yes, we will be using interpreters for our meetings with local government and others. This will be a first for me and so I am looking forward to how this will go.
I haven't mentioned yet that Da Nang's climate is hot and humid! During the day, it's in the 30s (celsius) with high humidity. Definitely like late summer in North Carolina.
In the afternoon, since our first meetings with government officials will be on Friday, we went into the city center of Da Nang for lunch and to get a better feel for how residents of the city work, eat, and travel. While the streets are in very good condition, there are relatively few cars. And a huge number of motorcycles! I would estimate the ratio to be around 10:1, motorcycles to cars/trucks. The next thing you notice is that there are very few traffic lights. Instead, motorists all move in a constant flow style, even at intersections. This applies to pedestrians as well. When you cross the street, don't wait for traffic to clear. Rather, move deliberately and with a constant speed. Motorists will miss you as long as you keep moving. Believe it or not, it works … it does take a bit of getting used to!
I am looking forward to meeting the mayor of Da Nang tomorrow, and also meeting the heads of water, transportation, and agriculture departments as well. Now that we're mostly over our jet lag, it's time to get down to some work!