Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beijing bound

Last week I went on a buying trip to China and Japan for Hadleys new developmet and to see some packaging ideas that we want to use here. I did the usual and checked out the places we were going as much as I could on the net. I knew it was summer over there but nothing could have prepared me for what summer is like in China and Tokyo. It was HOT as you know where, and very humid. Temps in the high 30s and low 40s humidity above 75% for the entire trip. Now I have spent a lot of years in Brisbane and the summers there are no picnic but this was way above anything that I have expereinced or could have imagined. But and this is a big but I had a fantastic time and loved every sweat soaked minute of it. Beijing what can I say it is huge. Population greater than Australia in the one city it just seems to go on forever. The do side of a city this big is the smog and boy was it thick. We did not see the sky or the sun at all during the time we were there. Even when I went to the great wall the smog was bad even that far out of the city. It was big, loud, crowded but exciting. The one thing I did not expect was for Beijing to be so green with trees and parks everywhere. The cars on the roads ,and there are millions of them, seemed quite new with very few old cars spotted. Driving in Beijing well what an experience thankfuly we had a driver. The roads while in very good condition are huge 4 lanes each way. Now the lane markings seem to be a guide only as no one sticks to their lane. Lane changes are done abruptly and usualy with no indication. Everything is done accompanied by a chorus of blaring horns. But for all this chaos I never saw any road rage and only a few minor fender benders. But I am sure that my fingernail imprints will be in that arm rest for a very long time.

The first day we were off to the hotel suppliers and this turned out to be a huge Bunnings like building with two floors of suppliers selling everything from tea spoons to cooking ranges and everything in between. Just the vast amount of equipment was mind blowing. To be able to get everything to fit out a hotel in the one place was fantastic, except for the lack of air conditioning. For lunch that day we went to a local restaurant that our interpreter had been to for a typical Beijing meal. We had fried dumplings, a very spicy but tasty chilli chicken dish, roast duck with pancakes and all the trimmings, stirfried vegies and steamed rice. And a few cold local beers. 

roast duck delicious.

Fried dumplings.

Spicy chilli chicken, just a few chillies.

After lunch it was back to the supplier centre to finalise orders and get quotes ready for the next morning. After we were done we headed to the silk market, this place is knock off heaven. I desperatly needed some shorts and polo tops to cope with the heat. The tip I recieved before I went to the silk market was you need to haggle hard and if you come out with your purchases in a plastic bag then you have paid too much. Well I must suck at haggling as I came out with three plastic bags but I did not care as I got what I needed and was very happy with the price. Then we headed out for dinner to a local restaurant called The Tree that is a local version of a Belgian Beer Cafe serving wood fired pizza instead of mussles. And with a good range of imported beers as well. The pizza was excellent and the frosty cold beer even better and it was a great night.
After dinner it was back to the hotel for a much needed shower and rest to get ready for day two. Day two will be posted in the next couple of days. 

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