Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 5: Ningbo

I woke up refreshed, the day was crisp but I had time to take a walk around the block, I had started a small collection of city coffee mugs from Starbucks and I wanted to see if they had a Ningbo mug. They did, score!

In China, the hotels have this strange phenomenon. During the winter they have over heating. My room was so hot; I called room services to come fix it. Someone came up and just opened the window!

So when I woke up this morning, I opened the window, it has NO screen or any other kind of safety. If I wanted, I could have taken a flying leap, might have been a tight fit, but I think I could have made it. The oddest thing was even though I’m usually afraid of heights, I had no qualms about hanging out of the window to take these pictures. It is sunrise over Ningbo. If you look closely, you can see the side of my hotel building, I literally hanging outside of my window so I could get a nice picture of that area that still had the old traditional courtyard homes.

Ningbo still has old bridges that still have bullet holes from when the Japanese invaded China during WWII. I was told that it was part of the Japanese push that had resulted in the rape of Nanjing. It was eerie to see that kind of history still alive today.

There’s not much to do when you are on a business trip, so of course I go down for the breakfast buffet. I was eating alone when I saw a group of American’s come in and sit at the table next to me. I overheard them talking about someone, who’s name they mangled, unfortunately, no matter how you mangle my name, I still recognize it. They were my first appointment!

I was going to the outskirts of Ningbo today, Cixi & Yuyao. The areas are starting to blend into each other so I can’t quite tell where I really was, but my host is an American expatriate who has lived in China for close to 20yrs. He actually lives in Shanghai and was visiting Ningbo because his company’s VP AND President, were also here to tour their facilities. For a President of a large company, the guy was really nice and we hit it off. I’ll see this group later in my trip.

They were a great group, engaging in the banter and teasing of men who’d known each other for years. The expat was a font of information on China. He pointed out a bullet hole on one of the many bridges that criss cross Ningbo. He said it was scars from WWII, when the Japanese invaded China.

This is an old bridge & traditional Chinese house, more like the China I saw in movies & hoped to see. Unfortunately, I only saw it from the car & even the Chinese tell me there are less and less of these traditional architecture.

After our meeting, we had lunch, not a problem. My next appointment was as 1230pm, I didn’t expect them to feed me again; they did. Seriously, we didn’t meet at an office, the two companies agreed to drop me off and pick me up at a restaurant.

So today I had two lunches. I’ve turned into a Hobbit. The second was a Chinese restaurant, I almost fell down laughing so hard! Look at the photo. I had no idea toilet seats come with fuzz.

This is a photo of one of the pedicabs, it’s blurry cuz we’re moving. The picture next to it is a divided major street, not a highway, but 4 lanes, as you can see, but there are pedicabs hogging the right lane!

I’m writing this as I sit in the 1st class lounge of the Hangzhou airport, it’s the size of a walk in closet. Ok, so I exaggerate, but it’s pretty frakkin small. Nothing else for me to do since my flight is delayed. I am a bit ticked off by it.

I had the driver rush me back to Hangzhou from Cixi because I had this flight to catch, so what would have normally taken 90mins, he took in 45min, cuz he drove 90-100mph! In the dark! This is a photo of one of the ramps we were taking; it’s the only lights on this part of the highway.

In China, if you have a 1st class ticket, you can jump in front of the line at any time. So you don’t have to rush to get to your gate. I just hope they tell me when my flight leaves cuz I can’t spend the night in Xiamen, I have a very important meeting tomorrow that I CANNOT miss! I spend the entire day with these guys, that’s how frakkin important they are and I CANNOT sleep in this airport!!!!

cont’d: Hello Xiamen

OMG this Chinese hotel is gorgeous, I thought I’d get some crappy little hole-in-the-wall for a $125/nt. But no, it’s really nice but I’m only going to spend 1 night, since I get picked up at 8am tomorrow. How pretty is my room? LOVE the infinity mirror in my bathroom, thank goodness they didn’t position the commode anywhere near it!

BTW, driver & front desk reassured me that there were no problems due to the quake in Xiamen. I was concerned earlier cuz Taiwan is literally across the water from here. Xiamen & Taiwan are so close, IF they had a ferry to Taiwan it would only be like 90mins.

Gotta sleep, delirium setting in.

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