Technically I boarded a plane in Beijing last Monday night at 11pm. I always feel fine the first full day back at home adjusting to the thirteen hour time difference. I do get a bit frustrated with the 4am wakeup time on day two and three of my return. I really try so hard to adjust back instantaneously. Oh well…now it’s been nearly a week and after a full Saturday of doing very little and a most productive Sunday afternoon at Schlitterbahn I am back in the swing of things.
I believe my first container of Chinese products will arrive in central Texas five weeks from now. I also am planning my next trip back in very late December.
I am almost home. I have access to my twitter and facebook accounts. Right now I am waiting in the SFO airport for a direct plane flight home to Austin. The days in Beijing felt so long. I’ll attempt to describe the last two of them since my last entry. Yesterday was today. I left at noon on Tuesday and arrived in California at 7:45am on Tuesday. The flight was ten hours or so. The day began around seven with emails, two phone calls to the states, and breakfast.
I get paranoid about getting stopped in customs with my imitation handbags and watches; therefore, I prettied myself all up for the walk through customs. I made it through while they stopped the folks who had facial hair, skin that was not white, and ugly attire.
After breakfast on Tuesday in Beijing we (Amy, John, & I) loaded Amy’s car and made the 40 minute drive to the airport. I brought a foam machine with me so getting it on the plane cost a little extra due to it’s weight and size. With the extra charge I was placed in economy plus. This allowed for extra leg room and an empty seat next to me.
Going backward in my time line….Monday consisted of a subway ride to the factory, a final walk through of the foam machines and the making of a checklist for packaging them up for shipment to Texas next week. I also received my new decals and New Deal Foam Machine banners. The cost savings was tremendous (80% less than U.S. pricing) and the quality was better.
After the factory we ate lunch and shopped, got a haircut and shopped and shopped. Before I knew it the fancy new watch on my wrist read 7:40pm. That meant street food, beer, and conversation with strangers. I arrived back at the hotel before ten and went to sleep before 11pm.
The other day to be described is Sunday. We paced Sunday slowly. There was a little bit of shopping, some Starbucks tea, a subway ride, a cab ride, spicy dinner, and a manicure. In between the shopping and Starbucks and haircut, and manicure we managed to work on the Bubble Blaster 3000 manual. There is also a top secret bubble blower project, a semi-secret jewelry mission, and some other work items. Those will be discussed at a later date. I will update this site with photos, video links, and more text as I see fit.
Friday feels like so long ago. Right now the clock reads 12:30am Sunday morning. Today started when the alarm sounded at 4:30am and is winding down now after midnight. Friday we visited the factory where my solution will be blended. The general manager showed us around graciously. The factory was a good half hour further away from town past our Bubble Blaster 3000 factory. We shared lunch near the solution mixing facility with the boss. We ate traditional Chinese food. Friday night consisted of a little shopping, some beer, and char for dinner.
Today began with a cab ride by Tiananmen square and to the train station. We rode the train for 3 hours to Han dan and were greeted by Mr. Han outside the train station in Han dan. We drove directly to his factory for a tour and some photos. By the time were had completed our tour and some photos and video we headed out to a lunch of hot pot in a fancy restaurant. I love the hot pot. After lunch we visited some historic sites in the city and also got a few souvenirs. We ate dinner at a fish restaurant. We dined on very fresh dumplings and fish before heading to the train station for our three hour trip back to Beijing. I believe it was the liquor from lunch that contributed to my painful headache that went away after an hour nap on the train.
The shopping adventure never gets old. If I could eat hot pot at every meal then I would. I feel most healthy because I boil the food. I eat plenty of tofu, vegetables, and garlic in the hot pot. I eat a much smaller portion of meat with the boiled vegetables and beer appears to be the beverage of choice with each meal except breakfast.
I will be processing all of the photos from the professional phot shoot yesterday for several days to come. Today I spent too much time in the car and it’s only 4pm. Eighty of the ninety Bubble Blasters are at the factory and ten of the El Jefe frames are in process. My level of comfort in China increases each day. Next on my list is Rosetta Stone. I mean business. Saturday we will take the high speed train out into the sticks to visit a very large lighting factory. Something is always close to look forward to. I could stay here for another few months.
Attached are photos at the fiberglass factory. We are creating a new bubble blower. I rode the subway both ways today. Lunch consisted of stir fried vegetables and egg. Stir fried cucumbers, some kind of green peppers, tofu, and kind of unique green vegetable with bits of pork in it all tasted great. Lunch was not spicy. For dinner I ate alone at a restaurant in the eating area in the basement below my hotel. I picked out several items: three different styles of tofu, seaweed, mushrooms, cabbage, broccoli, and lots of garlic. They stir fried the items with some crazy hot spicy peppers and gave it back to me with a small bowl of rice. It was tasty.
Today (Tuesday) looks like it will be more productive. My stomach is still on the mend. The weather is great. I get to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt.
It’s now Sunday morning. I have been slowed down a little bit. Something I ate did not agree with me. I believe it was all of the oily food from Friday night. Typically my diet at home has vey little grease or oil. My body is not used to it at this point. I can leave this story right there.
I have some photos to share. The way I know how to do that here is with photo links:
I’ll work on more photos soon. Saturday was spent at a great big park. It is where the beach volleyball took place for the Beijing olympics. It can be equated to Central Park in NYC. We had a great lunch of sushi at a Japanese place near Ya Show the shopping center. We traveled in cabs on Saturday. I prefer the subway or walking because traffic is so horrible. We rented an electric boat at the park for an hour. We also rode a very mild roller coaster and ate some very fresh dumplings. Dinner was more hot pot which is still my favorite. I went to bed before 10 pm and slept until after 6am. Today (Sunday) I will finish my instruction manual and then get out to see at least one tourist site.
I slept in til 9:30am after being up past 4am. I needed that to get adjusted. It is now Friday morning at 5:15am and I have been up for an hour. I did get my 6 hours of sleep after a full day. It will be great when I sleep from 11pm til 6am. I hope that happens tomorrow. Now it is Friday. On Thursday I skipped breakfast and we headed for the subway at 11am. I ate a big bag of fresh dumplings on the subway. This is street food. It does not scare me and it is good and filling. It was so filling in fact that it held me over til our 7:45 pm hot pot dinner. The afternoon was spent at the factory after the 25 minute subway ride. There are dozens of Bubble Blaster 3000′s ready for labeling and packaging. It looks like I’ll get to take one home on the plane with me on September 15. We left the factory in the late afternoon for a market to purchase some items for the machines. The market is a flea market style Home Depot. Without a translator I would be out of luck.
I was the driver for part of the adventure. It seems to me that any trip in the car is at least an hour. I am always glad to be out of the car. I have noticed that the folks here have tinted windows. They are entirely unsafe because they are too dark.
We managed to get a wonderful dinner of hot pot right before 8pm. This is where the boiling water is on the table and we keep adding vegetables, tofu, and meats into the water. As the food items are cooked we pull them out, dip them in a sauce and go to town. This is my favorite meal here.
After dinner I was worn out. The weather is mild compared to Austin. At night it’s in the low eighties. During the day it is warm but not hot.