Adventures in China
I arrived back from China on Saturday, September 18th, 2010. As I am a new blogger, I would like to say it was an amazing life experience. I will chronicle the trip by date, so here it goes:
Tuesday, September 13th,
Cross the Chinese boarder from Hong Kong and meet my new friend/translator Morris.
Morris is 26 and grew up in Guangzhou. He is incredibly intelligent and wants to come to the States to get his MBA. Morris loves American Movies and we both believe that the all time best movie made was Shawshank Redemption. I would call him a friend after our week long adventure together and would welcome him to my home at anytime. I can only imagine what he actually said to his fellow country men as I tried to negotiate with them through him as a translator. I will tell you that one of the hardest things in China is the language barrier. Most of the places that I have been all over the world, there is some English spoken. In China, just a few can understand a little. That made the trip very testing at times when trying to communicate specifics or specifications.
With the driver we head toward the city of Panyu, in the Guangdong Region (http://www.orientaltravel.com/China/Panyu.htm). Our first stop was to a stone yard that could supply slabs of marble and stone. I wanted to go there because I was searching for a source of a real stone paver for driveways. A cobblestone sort of effect but if wanted I could specify multiple sizes and shapes. Out of all of the stops that we made this was them most UN-successful that we had. I found that the prices were not that great for the “Hassle Factor” and the stone that we like were imported into China.
The next stop was Ceramic City. I am not sure what the actual city name was called (if you must know I can email Morris to ask). I found out that in each region, certain cities (I mean mega-cities) specialize in certain products (for example: one city would specialize in ceramics, one city was specialized in Lighting, one city was specialized in Jewelry, one in furniture, and so on and so on). The city was enormous and for at least 5miles there were tile, porcelain, and pottery manufactures. This was best find of the trip. I discovered a porcelain collection that is absolutely stunning and to make it better they make it 1 meter by 1 meter pieces (believe me I did not know what 1 meter was but it is approx. 3′ by 3′). It is was incredibly priced and a fantastic product. I imagine I make more orders with them. We went to a company called Arrow (“The Best Plumber Manufacture in China”) Maybe it was that I was working off of 3 hours sleep in 3 days, but I really liked there designs. The showroom had them set up a little chessy and you had to get over that but they had some good product. With the new water conservation codes and all of the documentation that is neederd to meet city requirements, I was not comfortable moving forward with an order but there could be something there in the future.
Final stop for the day was to an iron company that did all of the iron work for Disney Hong Kong. It was an impressive place. The work that they put out was fantastic and the material used was high quality. I was expecting to be under-whelmed with the “Made in China” quality but these guys did a great job. Maybe the specifications and requirements that Disney had made them a better company. I was impressed. I will try to do business with them somehow.
Returned to Panyu to the Panyu Hotel for the night.
Wednesday, September 14th:
Returned to Tile City for a second day of looking. Morris and I located a manufacture that can emboss tile to any design that you desire. It was an incredible idea. It is a machine that takes porcelain tile and creates any drawing, design, pattern, or etching that you can think of and puts in on any tile or grid of tiles that you want. I spent most of the day there coming up with ideas of things that could be accomplished. This was really neat. It was the first real innovative thing that I found and Morris and I just stumbled upon it. It is the newest and latest concept that I have seen and it could be incredible. We ordered a test section and when it arrives I will post my creation.
Went back to another stone deal to find the paver that I was looking for and only got more frustrated the second try.
After a full day of just looking and exploring we returned to Panyu and retired for the night.
Thursday, September 15th
Morris picked me up early and I was able to tour the factory that he actually worked. With my typing skills it would take me a month to explain the experience that was. The factor was spotless, the people were happy, it did not seem to be a sweat shop, the systems in the factory was incredible, the technology was cutting edge, and everyone lived on campus, ate on campus and seemed to like it.
After the tour of Morris’s factory, he took me to lighting city. Morris saved the best for last. We were able to make many great connections. I have been looking for different can light designs (square can lights, multiple bulbs, special art cans, etc.) I found an incredible source. They even will create a fixture if we would like it. Secondly, the decorative lighting was fantastic. It was a great source for any type of light fixture, espically if you were looking with anything that has glass or crystal on it. Finally, I was in search of light bulbs. I truly went to China with light bulbs as the #1 item on my list to find. I want to find a light bulb that is a standard can light bulb that is energy efficient and last the life of the home. I am not sure I found that but I think I am onto something that will come close (More Details to follow). Thursday was the best day of the trip and the most productive.
Morris rushed me to the local port on the river and I boarded a ferry that took me back to Hong Kong. I want to thank Morris for his help and being a good translator and tour guide. If you go you have to have a Morris or you will be lost.
1. If you go to China be prepared for the food. I am adventurous about food but I was not even closely ready for what they wanted to eat. The most sought after fish on the menu is (what I call it) Alligator Gar.
I can say that in Texas it does not get consumed very much by me or any one that I know. I can also say that Morris met his first Texan, and I met the first person that I know that actually ate GAR. When it came to the table, it looked just like that picture, but it was cooked. It had its head body and mouth just like that.
2. If you go to China be prepared for the bathroom experience. I will not elaborate any more than that. I would not want to ruin it for anyone that actually will go to China. I want you to have the experience that I had.
3. Made in China – That is the most correct statement that I have ever seen. EVERYTHING is made there. It is an incredible culture. I went there totally blind and had an awaking of an experience. They make everything in China.