Monday, May 25, 2009

China: May 24-25

I mentioned a little about the way the cities look here. I am thinking what makes it really stark is that it is juxtaposed to the landscape here, which is amazing. We are surrounded my large hills (I don’t know if I’d call them mountains), think the bluffs around Prairie du Sac but about 100 feet higher. They are covered in trees and bamboo and climb out of the earth all around and through the major cities. Very cool. I’ll try to get some pictures. They have built tunnels that go through them. It’s cool to watch out the window at the landscape. Another thing that they have done here is to add landscaping everywhere. There are trees and bushes in the medians. It looks like a lot of work. Daniel mentioned that it is to combat all of the smog that they create. It’s not working. The smog is heavy. It covers everything like a haze. Hills that are a half mile away are barely visible. Like there is consistent light fog. Everything is covered in soot. The windows of my hotel room are covered in dirt. I have to open the window to get any good pictures of my surroundings.
Speaking of pictures of my surroundings, we checked into the hotel in Yuhuan and there, outside my hotel window is a huge pagoda. It looks similar to this one, but not as complex (the picture is of a pagoda in Hangzhou). I’ll try to get some good pictures of it.

My bed is as hard as a rock. Seriously, it is like sleeping on the carpeted floor. Apparently, that’s how they like it here in China. When the Chinese guys come to America to visit us, many of them have to sleep on the floor because the beds are too soft. I ended up waking up 4 or 5 times the first night. Fortunately, I was not as sore as I thought I would be after the nights sleep.

I did a pretty extensive audit of YMV on the 24th, and on the 25th we visited 2 vendors in the area and did small audits on them. We took a look around the place, that sort of thing, pretty easy. The only interesting thing I’ve found around here is that they factory may be a dump, but the owner’s office is unbelievable. No matter where we go, it is always that way. Huge desk, leather chairs and couches, and huge meeting rooms with plush chairs. Joe says that it is done this way in an attempt to impress the people who visit the facility and therefore get the visitors to give you business. Also, they are trying to garner respect by having the best looking office. This applies to most things that they do. I can’t tell you how many Mercedes’, BMW’s and Audi’s I’ve seen. They are all over the place (Yuhuan is a fairly rich area). However, here is the kicker. Most of them are driving out of these dive apartments. They spend next to no money on their apartment, but will spend 300,000 RMB ($60,000) on a car. It’s the same principle. If people see you in an expensive car, you must be doing well, and in that case, you deserve to do business with them. It’s all about the honor here.

It is the evening of the 25th as I write this and I just got back from supper. We went out with a bunch of guys from YMV and they started passing around the Bijou, or rice liquor. Yikes. I’ll tell you what, after 4 of those and 6 beers, I am good to go. They will call out cheers, and make you drink either half, or all of the glass you are drinking out of. And when you think you are done, they say, one more, one more. But it was a good time and it helps to form a bond between everyone. It was good to get back to the hotel room. I shouldn’t have any problems sleeping tonight even if the bed is hard as a rock.

Tomorrow, the food.

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