Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 1483 - China Day One

We've arrived safely with smiles, tears and everything in between.

Guangzhou - view from the Canton Fair
We've survived day one in Guangzhou.  The flights were great and the airports were welcoming.  The bus trip from Guangzhou airport to the Crowne Plaza in Science City was "interesting" to say the least.  Old bus, relaxed bus driver, crazy tooting horns all around us, an unscheduled stop for Mr Bus Driver to buy some lunch, another unscheduled stop for Mr Bus Driver to deliver lunch to one of his family members, a tour through goat tracks" (aka back streets) and another unscheduled stop to drop off his friend on a side street.  Yes, interesting.  

Arriving at the hotel was a very welcome site with the Crowne Plaza Science City being in a pristine area quite remote and far removed from the city.  The hotel is beautiful and inviting.  While part of me is disappointed we are outside of the city limits and a little protected from "the real streets of China" a bigger part of me is relieved that we feel comfortable, safe and clean.  

We did a quick turn around and headed straight for the Canton Fair.  Another bus trip and more tooting horns but a much more direct route then our first tour.  

It seems we didn't have our thinking caps on before we headed to the Fair.  While we took our registration paperwork we didn't take our passports which caused all manner of complexity.  Of course they wanted to ensure we are who we say we are.  We thought that would be clear given we'd uploaded photos of ourselves during our online registration. No, they needed passports.  A very forward thinking young lady called the hotel for us and had them give the information they required from the passports (as they photocopied our passports when we checked in).  After paying $30 Yuan for a passport photo (which equates to around $6 AUD) because my online photo was "too big" we finally had our lanyards and we were on our way.

We walked around the different booths to get our bearings and it became apparent that we are very little fish in a big pond.  Minimum order quantities (MOQs) are thousands.  Eek! I knew that already.  That's why I'm here. I'm trying to find a way to start this business without losing the house.  I'm not sure why I thought it would be any different once I got over here ... I guess I just hoped.  

So yesterday we were feeling a little "vulnerable" and uncertain.  Perhaps that's why I got emotional when I walked into the public toilets to discover they were squat toilets. The tears prickled and I just said "I want to go home".

Today is a new day.

Let's see where it leads. I would suggest it's onwards and upwards! Let's hope ...

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