My trip to China
Three AM. I can´t sleep. I would blame the jet lag — I´ve been into jet lag the whole week — or the sounds of the workers paving the street ten stories behind my room, but if I had to be honest the truth is that I wouldn’t be able to sleep even if I was back home. So much to do, so little time. If I even had a decent internet connection. I spent hours when I arrived trying to set up a VPN just to grab the last version of the white paper from my Google drive. At least I succeeded on making Telegram run, and I was able to connect with my social media guys spread around Europe.
Everybody was joking before my trip. “You´re the first one arriving to Beijing! If you get arrested spread the word so we can cancel.” Ha, ha. Not funny for me. I was nervous at least. I was a little afraid, in fact. Left the only banner I brought at the airport in Amsterdam just to pretend I´m a regular guy and not an ICO outlaw. Forget it Jake, it´s China.
Reached Beijing at one in the morning, one week ago. No one asked me what I was doing in China. No one inquired me about my upcoming ICO. Probably the sleepy immigration officer never heard the term ICO. Not even Blockchain. It would have been funny to answer “I´m coming to a blockchain conference to promote my ICO” just to see his face. But they´ve never asked. And I´m not actually coming to any conference. It was cancelled when the Chinese government called the organizers and gently asked to move the conference to another date, to another city. But I already had the ticket, I was already far away from home and I had this five days space in my agenda.
The first thing I did when I get connected to internet at the hotel was using Flixxo without a VPN. And it worked! That was great news for me, in a country where YouTube is banned Flixxo worked pretty well! The the bad news, checked my eMail and everybody was cancelling.
At least I´m going to visit the Great Wall, I thought. Nope. China is a place full of surprises.
After a nap, having an odd internet connection and a wrong time zone for working — my partners in Buenos Aires were eleven hours behind me and were sleeping when I was up — I decided to explore the city. Spent the day visiting the Forbidden City, and walking around. I was brave and got something to eat on a street market. A couple of Chinese guys bought this stuff that I thought it was tofu, so I followed them and got one pot for me. It was no tofu. I can´t even describe the flavor. Two litters of water after that I decided to go back to my room, try to set up that VPN and work a little bit.
Instead of the conference, a dinner was organized for those who made their way to Beijing. After two days of being lost in translation, there were a lot of guys speaking my blockchain language. Next day I had meetings all day long, had a warm welcome on a great accelerator and co-working space in which I had the opportunity to speak about Flixxo. Not about ICOs, just about blockchain and the great chances of building something awesome on top of all these new technologies. It was a breeze of fresh air not trying to attract investors, just to discuss about our project and share some thoughts on how a video platform could be received on China.
Suddenly everything was changing, and I got an invitation to Hangzhou. Would have love staying in Beijing a little bit more, I made friends and there were colleagues around. However, I decided to buy a ticket to the south.
This 8 million inhabitants city, two hundred kilometers north of Shanghai, is absolutely breathtaking. You don´t have that white fog in the air that you see in Beijing, instead the sun brights all over the new buildings and the surrounding lakes and mountains. They received me at the airport and took me to the offices of Digital Union China (which is about to be rebranded to “Actuality”), an incredible VR company with more than five hundred employees. I was welcomed with a tea ceremony, and a tour on the company facilities. What this guys and girls are doing with VR and AR was way beyond what I´ve ever seen. Wearing their glasses and visiting their virtual worlds was an incredible experience. Just as on an awesome dream, I didn´t want to come back to reality.
There is a potential partnership between Flixxo and Actuality, they wanted to know everything about our platform and to learn how to bring those amazing VR world and AR goods to the blockchain to create unique pieces. It was a real pity that I needed to leave China and didn´t have the chance of staying longer in Hangzhou. But I will come back soon to bring VR and AR to Flixxo! You ain´t seen anything yet!
Got very late into the airport trying to get the most of every minute in Hangzhou. I was the last to get into the plane. The plane took me to Beijing and now I´m in hotel trying to get some rest before taking a new plane tomorrow morning. But it is 3:30am and I can´t sleep…
I run. When I can make a little stop on the Startup-Life — it´s been more than three years now- I wear my Adidas and jump into the streets for a long run. I usually don´t know how long it is going to be, I just run. There´s always a moment in which I start feeling anxiety because the more I run, the more I would have to run in the opposite direction to come back. But I always push myself to go as further as possible. The more I push, the further I go, the better I feel when the journey is over.
Well, my journey is not over yet but I´m happy of having pushed myself to China. I´m super grateful of those who I´ve meet and helped me feel at home being really far away from home.
It was awesome.