Monday, May 25, 2009

China: May 23-24

Ok, so where was I? Have I mentioned that Shanghai is huge? Holy crap. We drove from the airport to the hotel and it took an hour. We never left the city. I was expecting to see a lot of different architecture while here. So far, not so much. However, I have noticed that everything is always in a general state of dis-repair. The concrete is cracked, the buildings are dingy, they leave trash and building materials everywhere. They are constantly building stuff here. I have never seen so many apartment buildings in my life. They are everywhere. And not just a couple duplexes like back home. I am talking about 15 story concrete structures. They are big and everywhere you look. Not very good looking structures either, because they make them out of brick and plaster the fa├žade with concrete. It would appear that everyone only lives in apartments. I have only seen maybe 2 or 3 houses, the whole time I’ve been here. Over top of that, there is the constant haze of smog.

So this is what I see on my drive to the hotel in Shanghai. We get to the hotel, and it is really nice. It is meant for foreign businessmen. No doubt about that. How can you tell? Well, it isn’t a run down craphole for one, also the beds are nice and soft and some of the people there speak English (more about the beds later.)

We get there and check in and go up to our room for an hour before supper. I decide a shower is a must. After a 14 hour flight I felt like the junk you scrape off the bottom of your shoe (and I probably smelled like it too.) One tidbit about traveling to China that I picked up from the other guys at work. Never drink the water, not even a little. If you are brushing your teeth, use bottled water. In the shower, keep your mouth shut. The only time I drink water that doesn’t come from a bottle is when they make tea (which we drink all the time). If you don’t follow this simple rule there is only one consequence, jet-ass. I’m not going to describe it, think about it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

After a nice shower and a change of clothes we go out for my first Chinese meal. We went to a restaurant that was also hosting a wedding. Very loud, but everyone was having fun. I’ll blog about the food separately, but it was pretty good. What helps is that these guys have been coming here for quite a while and they have found a few places that have good food. Takes a little of the error out of the trial and error. Also, I can’t say enough for having a guy along who is from the area and knows what he’s doing. We have Daniel Zhu. He is in charge of the Milwaukee Valve inspectors here in China. He has been helping White Guys (WG) who come here for years and is a major help. He acts as a guide, interpreter, and is obviously involved in the business aspect as well.

After dinner we went back to the hotel and I was finally able to sleep. I had only been up for 29 hours or so, I was ready for bed.
We got up early the next day and were on a plane again. This time we were bound for Tiazhou, which is about 200 miles south of Shanghai, on the Chinese coast. From there, we drove to Yuhuan. We have a joint venture here called Yuhuan Milwaukee Valve or YMV. We are going to be in Yuhuan for 3 days. There are a number of vendors in the area that we will be visiting.
I’ll leave it there for now. Plenty more to tell.

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