Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Matter of Guanxi

Sorry-- No picture on this one. Only one of my three email addresses is unblocked, and I cannot send attachments on the one I am using to relay this posting to Dennis. Information Control is apparently very busy. I am told sites go down when they are being electronically copied. There is said to be a vast data base of email in Beijing.
The airline ticket problem is being addressed. I hit a brick wall when I tried to change the date of my flight back to the US. Turns out I was doing it wrong. I had presumed there were uniform procedures for such things as in the US. Wrong! In China, guanxi or "relationship" is the necessary ingredient in all but the simplest business transactions. To get anything done, you have to have pull with someone.
Northwest Airlines was giving us a hard time about changing my flight. They said I had to visit their office in Beijing personally. But I needed my ticket changed before I made the flight. The airlines was totally inflexible.
A woman in the university's international office had a solution: she has a friend who works in the building where Northwest Airlines is housed in Beijing. The friend will personally represent me. This seems to be satisfactory to all concerned.
It seems a convoluted way of doing things in an age of computers. But, as I keep reminding myself, this is China.

1 comment:

Jana Dobesova said...

Crazy shit!

What does tomorrow mean? It is 5:30 pm here, but at home it’s 5:00 in the morning. I leave Weihai tomorrow and make a stop in Beijing. ...