Saturday, April 15, 2006

Guangzhou Fair

I am currently down in the CantonFair in Guangzhou, more correctly known as the China Commodities and Exports Show (or something like that). From what I understand, it is the world's largest trade show. I cannot begin to describe how immensely large it is, but when you consider that most of the the things that you can purchase on our planet are manufactured in China and that this is the main show for Chinese factories to find overseas clients, everyone in the manufacturing world seems to be at this show.

Andrew (my Chinese colleague) and I left Yantai on Wednesday afternoon to travel to Guangzhou, a good 2500 km away. We were dropped at the bus station, took a 4 hour bus to Qingdao, and met our travel agent at his office. After a while he took us to our hotel for the evening and said he would come by in the morning with out train tickets. Normally our train was supposed to leave at 9am, but a few days ago there was a train crash (actually the exact same train that we were supposed to take) that killed 30 people. In true commie fashion, the Chinese media only reported 2 people being killed in the accident, but as our company had some people on the train that could tell us the truth, we found out that actually 30 people had died. Needless to say I was a little nervous about taking the same train along the same track only a few days later, but I made it without derailing.

Anyway, after 35 hours of sitting on a train and being the local attraction for all of the Chinese passengers in my car, we finally arrived in Guangzhou at 1am (only 13 hours late). After waking my boss Max up at 2am (yes, I am sharing a room with the CEO), I unpacked my things, and went to bed. We woke up in the morning, had a quick breakfast, and went to the show. I spent the whole day walking around from vendor to vendor giving the same schpiel (sp?) and getting catalogues from people... I know it doesn't sound very interesting, but it really is pretty neat to see the huge variety of things that are produced in this country. You can buy anything from diaper making machines, to miniature motorcyles, to marble countertops, to citric acid, to forklifts, to hardwood floors, to traffic lights.

Anyway, I am sitting in my room now with the boss, having a conversation with him while I write this... which means I should probably go now because I think my responses to him are starting not to make sense.