OK, again I have been somewhat of a failure at blogging. I mean well, but it is not easy to make myself do it! Anyway, here is an update from the past few days…
Back in Tanggu (more precisely TEDA [Tainjin Economic Development Area]) we began the day on Wed with quite an adventure. After meeting in the lobby for breakfast, my collogue and I went to get the concierge to write down the address to the office. Well, he did, but because there was a conference in the hotel, and there were many people trying to get out of the hotel, we decided to walk to the office. It should have been 10 min from the hotel. Well, we started out OK, and we wondered down, just like the hotel said. At some point we got to where we thought we should be, but we could not find the office. There were no marking, nothing to help us figure out where to go. Well, we started wondering, and not finding the office, decided to ask the locals for help. We took the card that the hotel had written down for us, and started showing it around. Each local looked at it, and pointed us in a different direction. We even had a nice older man try to communicate with us by using some body language, much like you would expect from cherades! Anyway, after a few attempts, we finally found a lady that could speak a little English, so she pointed us in the right direction and after about 45 minutes we found the office and got started about 30 minutes late. Class itself went very well, although as usual, most of the time they all look at me with this look of “how am I going to do this while I do everything else?” but they were all very nice about it. You know, in every class there are one or two that stand out, and that was true here, as well in Beijing. Lunch was traditional Chinese, they call it Pizza. Evidently the Chinese love pizza! At about 3:30 we went ahead and stopped so that we could take the opportunity to go to the shore base. It was about 30 minutes drive from the office, and during the trip we passed by the Central Production Platform and Platform B that they are fabricating at the yard there in Tanggu. They were impressive! We toured the warehouse, saw some of the drill bits that they used to drill the wells which are still in storage and visited the dock. It was a very worthwhile trip. For dinner we went with a former supervisor of my collogue. First we did a little more shopping though, this time in places that spoke no English. We ended up in this place with open stalls and got some wonderful prices on a few gifts. At dinner we went to a place where you boil your own food. They bring you out a pot with water and then bring the food out raw to the table. We had beef, fish balls, veggies, tofu, and potatoes. You take the food, put it into the water, leave it for a while, and then dip it in sauce. It really was pretty fun, and tasty. The only problem, is that with an open flame, you get hot, and let me tell you, most of the places here are hot to begin with! So that was the end of the day, overall very good, a little of an adventure, but fun!
On the second day in TEDA, we were smart and had the ConocoPhillips van come pick us up from the hotel. That worked a lot better. Oh I forgot to say that the day before on the hotel card that they put the address for us, they put the wrong address, so we would probably have not gotten there, even in a taxi!!!! (It just said that it was inside TEDA, which is the whole district!) The day in class was good again, although I always feel bad as we tend to speed up at the end of the training, but I digress. Today they did have a more traditional Chinese lunch, and I was feeling pretty good, like I was really getting a handle with the concept of eating with chopsticks. More on how that was probably wrong later! We ended around 2:30 and got Beijing by around 4:30 or so. We were planning to meet up with some of the class from the first session, and so after getting settled into the hotel, we went out with them to get some Peking duck. Well, let me tell you, this was most definitely a day of firsts for me! First, I don’t think that I have every really had duck, and really that in itself was not too bad, but I didn’t just stop with the duck. I tried the Scallops, which was not too bad, but real fishy, and then I tried the fried duck, again not to bad (really pretty good), and the duck wing (kind of a cold shredded version), but then I had the duck liver, which I have never had. Then for the piece de resistance I ate Duck Tongue. That right duck tongue. I must have been crazy! If you want to know, the taste is not too weird, but it is so very chewy… you just have to chew and chew! I only ate about half of one to be honest… Well, all in all, an interesting meal, and experience. After dinner, we headed to the Silk market for some more shopping, where I did a bit of shopping (I think my bargaining skills started to go down at this point!) Norma did much more shopping, so it was fun to hang out while she spent money. Back to the hotel we went, for the end of another successful day!
Today was pretty eventful. The first thing that happened might have been about the worse thing that I could have ever pulled off! Although it all turned out well… It all started when I decided to send some laundry out for cleaning. I got it all ready, counted and put in bags for the service. As I left the hotel, I went by the front desk and let them know I had laundry in the room to be done… OK, simple enough… until I got to the office… it was at that point I suddenly remembered that I had left my passport in the back pocket of the pants! I was in so much trouble!!! I turned around and went back to the hotel. When I got back, the laundry had already been picked up, so I went to the concierge and told them of my problem. They called the laundry and fortunately for me, my stuff had not gotten down there yet. I went to my room and 10 minutes later I had my passport. What a scare! Anyway, I have kept it much closer today! I got back to the office, joined in on a conference call and did some email. We went to lunch with the procurement supervisor at a local shop, enjoyed a Chinese meal of dumplings, peanut chicken and a very tasty bean and chili dish. After finishing, we headed back to the hotel, Norma left for Singapore, and I decided to head out and do a little more shopping. I went back to silk street where I spent all the money I had allotted in a very short period of time, but I got pretty much everything I needed to get. I almost spent to much money though, and came close to not having enough money to make it back to the hotel! But I made it back about 3:30 to the hotel. I decided to watch a movie, and ventured out to dinner and ended up back at the Hard Rock café. That about does it… my adventures in China are about complete! Now I am traveling onwards to my next stop, Singapore then onto Jakarta.
Until next time!