Wednesday, October 17, 2012

China Act One

     At the end of September and into October I went to China with David. David goes to China every quarter for work. On this trip, I got to tag along. The first half of the trip was business stuff and the second half was touristy.  I was so glad to have been able to go on the trip with David. At first I really wasn't looking forward to the trip that much. But now as I look back on the trip, I can hardly wait to go again!
     David described our trip like this, "This trip will have three acts, like a three act play! The first act will be visiting factories with Mary Valentine and Johnny her business partner. The second act will be visiting more factories with Paul Higgs and Tom Zhue, his associate. The third act will be our fun time in Beijing." It was fitting to describe our trip like that because it really did have three distinct bits to it. You would think that the third act would be the best because it was the "fun" stuff. However, I'm not sure that the "fun" stuff was really the best part!
     Visiting factories in Shanghai and environs is how Act One began.  My impressions of Act One were that we were always in a hurry! Johnny is Chinese while Mary is Anglo-American. Johnny is the in country guy. It was Johnny's time schedule that we went by.  I'm still not sure if the man ever eats. When we did eat with Johnny and Mary, we had KFC.  Yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken. In China. The first day we had KFC I was so hungry by the time it came I didn't care much. The very familiar box of KFC was surprisingly not full of familiar KFC! I always order the extra crispy original recipe! What I had in my box was various chicken pieces coated in what must have been buffalo sauce? Not sure really.  It was spicy hot and greasy. I noticed that the chicken pieces were not cut the same way we cut a chicken. At least I didn't have any chicken feet in my box, which, I am told, is not unusual! Chinese people really like the feet of the chicken! There were fries, which were tempting.  But, I only ate one bite because they really didn't taste like any fries I've ever had. To drink we were offered Coke right out of the can at room temperature, or water. I went with water. Oh, and no biscuits! KFC in China is super popular, you'll find one in every town. But woe to you if you think going there will taste like home!
     The second time we had KFC with Johnny and Mary was a more interesting story. We were on the way to the train station thinking that we weren't actually going to get lunch that day. We were really booking it to the train because we were running a little bit behind schedule. So, when our driver made a U-Turn there was a little bit of panic in the car thinking that we were lost and surely going to miss the train. Imagine, then, the extra panic when our driver got out of the car and stood in the middle of the busy intersection!! At this point we were told that our lunch was coming to us.  Suddenly we understood. The food was going to be hand delivered to our the intersection! It felt like we were in the middle of a crazy drug deal. Lo and behold, a car came buzzing up to our driver who was then handed a bag of KFC. We laughed so hard we cried. This time we had "hamburgers", which translates to chicken sandwiches. I think this was probably the closest to American KFC that we had. We took our food bag to the train, which we did not miss, and ate on the train. There were five of us. There were about eight sandwiches though. Mary tried to give them away on the train but only got stares of confusion.
     I'll share Act Two with you tomorrow. I didn't take many pictures of Act One. Stay tuned....

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