I had some down time so I went to get a haircut at the local salon. A little different then what I am used to at my barber’s place. Here they invite you in, sit you down, massage your shoulders, arms head and face before they ask you what you want. Then they lovingly wash your hair and massage your scalp. Then back to the massage chair for more shoulder and neck work. By then you feel like a bowl of jello, and they ask if you want a haircut. You can’t resist, Of course, you say, and the girl brings you to a hair stylist.
Through hand gestures, I indicated to him to cut off around 1 inch all around, and clean up the sides and back. Somehow, it seems so much easier when I tell my barber, Guiseppi, the same thing, at least he understands. I had to get the interpreter to explain what I want. (My Chinese/English diction was useless when it came to this.)
I found out later that they were determining how much to charge -
was it a haircut, or a hair styling? (haircut); Gel or hairspray? (neither). All have different costs. Anyway,
Bathroom is here!
after a decent cutting and blow-dry, I was good to go. Total: 22 RMB, about $3.00. Not bad. (Maybe I should have gone for the gel?)
The next morning, it was planned that I visit the factory that makes a special motor. Remember Leo? We were to visit the production manager and the factory where he supervises. The factory is on a beautiful island in the Shanghai/Hangzhou bay.
The down side was that it was a four hour drive from Hangzhou, then a one hour ferry trip. No problem. We made plans to leave at O’Dark:30. (That’s before the sun comes up - 5:00am). Leo called me at 4:00, and we were on the road on time. I was excited; I was traveling outside the city, into the country, and taking a ferry ride to a beautiful island in the China Sea.
The ride was long, and there are only trucks on the road at that time in the morning on the highway.
I thought car drivers were reckless, I was wrong. Truck drivers "own" the road.
Actually, it’s a hierarchy, bigger trucks bully the smaller trucks, cutting them off, and being very assertive. Cars don’t have
the line went through two rooms
I was concerned that our car would end up as “road kill”, stuck to the tires of a ten wheeler, and no one would ever notice. We would be dragged along, ending up in Mongolia or some remote place, until someone actually found us.
Anyway, as I said, there really in not much “countryside” to this part of China. But we did drive through beautiful mountains. But the building is never-ending. China ( at least the Northeast) is moving “up”. All apartment houses or condominiums are at least 12 stories high, and they build 10 at one location. Leo told me that in the new economy, people want to upgrade their living quarters, and this is the way to do it. Build “Co-Op Cities” all over the area.
When we finally reached the largest city in the area, Ningbo, We were driving for 4 hours. We decided to stop for lunch and a potty break. Food, was bought and eaten in a deli-style place, but it was difficult to locate a public bathroom.
We decided that the closest was in a local Health Clinic/Hospital. Leo said I could see and experience a Chinese mini-hospital.
When we got there, guess what - it was baby inoculation day!! At least 100 mothers and new babies were lined up with their heath cards waiting. And the bathroom was in the waiting room! Yeah!!! All I could think of was “measles, mumps, chicken pox”, and who knows what other microbes were lurking. But it was very clean and orderly, and we got in and out fast.
Ningbo is a fishing city. Ever thing here is about fish, or factories. The fish smell in the air in not of rotting fish, just fish.
We finally arrived in the ferry terminal. Exactly like any ferry terminal in the US, except ferries run every half hour 24/7. Same seating area, same snack bar, beautiful scenery, but muddy water (you wouldn’t want to swim in it.)
We arrived at the factory and met the production manager, Mr. Shay. We saw some of the products they make. Not a huge factory, but medium size.
As I said, everyone here has a business. It turns out that our driver, Theu, has a product that this factory is working on, A spinning, handheld skeet projector.
Also, Leo, represents a
Walkers included. Zhoushan is 16 miles away
person in the US who is making a motorized duck decoy here. This factory specializes in battery powered devices. The owner/production manager is a genius when it comes to batteries and power and motors.
My stuff is ready for me to try and take home. We hang out with them and I took some photos of the factory.
Then we went to Lunch (of course). At this restaurant, the customer picks out a fresh fish from a tank or from an ice bucket. To me, even the fish looked foreign. I recognized crabs, flounder, crawfish, and three different types of clams. Every other fish was a mystery. (Good thing I am a vegetarian). OK, for lunch (besides my “easy to digest veggies”) they had whole octopus, whole squid, giant sardines, what looked like mackerel, snails, eels, and carp. Nothing cut up, everything whole. If it isn’t staring and grinning, they don’t want it.
But it was a very nice meal. We had a good time.
After lunch we headed back to the ferry. While waiting on the line of cars and trucks. I noticed that a woman was walking up to the cars and tried to
get the drivers attention. She was carrying two pretty big live turtles in a mesh see through bag, and I thought she looking for someone to adopt these cute creatures. No one seemed to want to adopt them.
Well, she was selling them, but it wasn’t for adoption. Turtle is a delicacy here, but hard to cook, and no one wanted them because her price was too high. Poor little guys. But life goes on.
We got back in good time, and, of course, it was time for dinner.
My friends ate three huge meals a day, but no one was overweight or obese. The food really is delicious, and they are so physically active, working 12 hour days and running around, I guess that requires a lot of fuel. There are Western fast food places everywhere in the cities, but just not as popular as in the U.S.
We had a gathering of many people, because it was my last night in China. I insisted on getting packed and ready before going out, and they reluctantly agreed. Leo took that time, however, to invite even more people to accompany us.
We ended going out
to a place called KTV, which are very popular in China. It is basically a karaoke bar with private rooms. You can have up to twenty people in a room. So many people came to see me that last night. Leo, Simon, Xu Min, his girlfriend, Peter, Rose, her friend, Judith, Mr. and Mrs. Xu, his son, both drivers, and me.
The music is booming, people are talking, and then someone takes the microphone, mutes the words of the song, and sings away. Lots of fun and everyone cheers afterward. I sang “Soul Man” by the Blues Brothers to jeers and cheers and everyone got up to dance. They think I am a good sport for doing so, because it is not the Western way.
Anyway, then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the next day.
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