Between leaving Beijing and arriving home, we toured a number of cities. I sort of put my laptop away for a while and just enjoyed them. I don’t recommend this if you have to give a talk about Internet-y stuff as soon as you arrive home (oops!), but I just accepted that perfect slide decks are what boring people do and rolled with it. Instead of doing a Top 5 list for each, here’s my top 1 list for 5 different places:

5. Shanghai – This city captured my heart in about 30 seconds. Between walking along The Bund and looking at all the buildings, gawking at all of the stylish people and enjoying the delicious Shanghai specialties of salted chicken and all kinds of crazy dumplings, I was hooked! My favorite part of Shanghai? This city loves it some jazz! If you go, hit up a jazz club or two. You won’t regret it.

4. Hong Kong – I imagine if you have a few million dollars to blow, you could breeze through it in a flash in Hong Kong. A city filled with everything you could ever want to buy, plus the most expensive real estate I’ve seen means this is not the place for backpackers. In other words, my kind of town. If I lived here, I would surely develop a drinking problem, as every building seems to have a restaurant or lounge on the top floor, with an amazing view. 

3. Hanoi – The traffic! It cannot be described. With thousands of scooters on every side street and no rules, traffic signs or stop lights, crossing the street in Hanoi has become my benchmark of being a man. If you can make it through to the other side, there’s nothing you can’t do!

2. Halong Bay – If you’re going to do the tourist thing, do it where there’s water warm enough to jump off the boat into. Stunningly beautiful islands, warm water and quiet enough to feel like there’s no one around.

1. Ho Chi MInh City – The Vietnamese really know food! Between the french colonial architecture and some of the best food we had in Asia, I could have stayed at dinner for hours. 

So many cities, so many flights! It’s hard to really understand different cultures when you only spend a few days there, but I really felt like we enjoyed our time in each city. All of that travel has given me plenty to think about for work, as well. Overcoming communication barriers and cultural differences in each city gave me ideas on building communities, insights on how to explain things so everyone understands and a new level of tolerance for others 🙂