China, Day Three

Today started out earlier at about 5:30am while I prepared for today’s meetings with a tight schedule of four companies. After finalizing the consideration metrics I headed downstairs for the “Western” breakfast that is served here at the Grand Skylight Hotel. It’s interesting how they organize the buffet and also interesting what is considered western style food. It seems western food in China is what Chinese food is in America. They had noodles, dim sum, green beans with bacon, and the strangest looking baked beans I had ever seen. To be fair, they did have a good choice of juices, pastries, and yogurts in almost any American breakfast outfit. I tried as much as I could of everything before feeling full and heading out to my first meeting.

Joe, my guide, had organized for a car and driver to pick the two of us up from the hotel and to drive to each of the factory meetings. For the entire day the driver and car cost 500 RMB, or about $60. A pretty good deal considering we travelled over one hundred miles and in sometimes awful traffic.

Traffic here is different. No one follows normal moving traffic laws whatsoever. It isn’t always speeding, but most times driving on the wrong side of the road, driving on a sidewalk, blocking the box, or taking up more than one lane for far more time than it takes to change lanes. The bicyclers and pedestrians ride or walk into traffic whenever they see fit — even on extremely busy highways. With all that craziness happening, though, it seems that no one suffers from road rage.

The weather today didn’t get much better from yesterday. The clouds and fog are still present and the mountains in the distance are hardly recognizable. The sun hasn’t popped out for more than a few minutes despite yesterday’s forcast for the clouds to clear out by the afternoon. Tomorrow is expected to be more sunny so hopefully that will pan out

In the evening and after my final meeting a company decided to take me and Joe out to a traditional Chinese dinner. We arrived at the restaurant and went upstairs to be seated. After a formal introduction with the General Manager of one of the factories I was invited downstairs to choose our meal from any one of the living creatures in the water tanks. From regular shrimp and fish to eel and snake they had just about anything one could possibly think of eating from the water. I enjoy trying new things but I have to draw the line somewhere and I think snake was probably it. As for the meal that was chosen it was very good and I think my gracious hosts for taking me out on the town. I almost made it through the entire meal without needing a knife, fork, or any utensil other than chopsticks but when some members of the dinner party started cracking the crab claws with their teeth I decided a claw cracked would be in order.

After the meal we headed towards the ocean for a drink and some possible shopping. It was there at the coast that I saw a large white statue of a half naked woman holding something above her head. They tried explaining it’s symbolism to me but it was lost on me even after I researched the statue online when I returned to the hotel.

Overall, the day was full of events and those events left me exhausted.

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