April 30, 2006
I woke up fairly darned alert thanks to an ambien and a melatonin. We had scheduled a tour of the largest, most modern paper mill in the world about a three hour bus ride from Shanghai. The facility was unbelievable! They manufacture more paper in a month than some U.S. mills do in a year. They employ 5000 people on a campus that covers almost three square miles.
It seemed like we met about 10 percent of these employees in a board room as soon as we showed up. One day into a five day business trip and I’m already almost out of business cards. Oh crap. It’s not like I sell paper or anything…
After a 2-hour introductory meeting, we broke for lunch. One of our compatriots made the crucial error of ordering white wine for the table. Apparently white wine in China signifies some sort of 100+ proof rice schnapps that tasted like napthalene. You know it’s nasty when Westerners are voluntarily asking for more of that yummy cow intestine to get the taste out of their mouths.
Unfortunately, the Chinese contingent really enjoyed toasting us one at a time and as a group. Then we noticed that some of them were toasting us with water and freakin’ wine spritzers. That just wasn’t fair, but I understand that it is a pretty typical Chinese negotiation tactic.
We reconvened for another meeting with a pretty good buzz on and our stomachs struggling to digest some non-traditional chicken parts and unidentifiable seafood. This meeting was to design the packaging specs for a new product line we proposed bringing to the states.
Someone once described a platypus as an animal designed by a committee. We were acting as a twenty person committee, but half of us were buzzed, tired and starting to get cranky. After a couple more hours of talking in circles, we agreed to table the idea until we were better rested and informed.
Next stop tonight is the garden city of Suzhou. It is supposed to be a beautiful historic tourist attraction. But it’s raining cats and dogs (no, that’s not the menu for dinner) and we’re stuck on another bus ride talking excitedly about when we will get to sleep tonight.
Ahh, the joys of a business junket. More gustatory details to come.
April 30, 2006
So how’d you spend the past 35 hours? (Note: I doubt any of these China posts will be in real time, since I don’t have local internet access on this here Treo.) Thanks to all my blogging advisors for their jetlag advice. I’m holding up alright so far, but I’ll let you know how I end up.
I drove from Macon to Atlanta last night. (2 days ago? Damn international date line!) I got in by 11:30 pm and got to bed by midnight knowing I had to get up at 4:00. Unfortunately, my wonderful girlfriend forgot about the time zone difference and called at 12:45 with the totally thoughtful idea of leaving me an “I love you” voice mail. I groggily agreed that I loved her too and ended up staring at the clock for the next 3 hours until it was time to wake up.
So I’ve been awake for pretty much a day and a half and I think there are bats flying around the room in my peripheral vision. The flight from LA to Shanghai was long enough for me to need a haircut by the time it was over-15+ hours.
I’m mistyping more than I’m getting right on this tiny keyboard, so I figure I’ll iron a few shirts and hit the hay. More from the East tomorrow.
April 29, 2006
We pulled the trigger and went ahead and drafted Vince Young. I was really in favor of this a year ago. I hope we don’t get buyer’s remorse.
I just can’t shake the image of Bud Adams as Hank Hill’s boss, Buck Strickland. “Dad gummit, Jeff. I don’t care what you and Norm think. Go out and get me my local boy!”
Like I said when we unveiled that ugly-ass logo and quasi-stupid team name years ago. Get used to it now. It’s your team and you gotta get behind ’em.
April 27, 2006
I tried to go check my own blog and found it can’t be opened here on the internet. Either blogspot.com is down or I’ve been censored.
April 27, 2006
I only have a few more minutes of internet access time, but I thought I’d share this comment I got from the “Chinese Internet Police”：
“You have misued your alloted minute on our state-run computer, spreading your lies about our eating habits. Tomorrow you die!Imperialist capitalist pig!”
I’ll be back in country this weekend with plenty of stories to tell (type.)
Stayed tuned if you care.
April 25, 2006
I only have a minute on this computer, but I thought I’d give a quick update to anybody who’s reading this and cares.
I’m pretty sure I ate dog last night. By mistake, I swear.
Other than that, all is well and I’ll post full trip reports when I return next week.
CeeElCee Xiao Peng
April 22, 2006
I snuck out of the convention I’m attending in Macon to visit Duane Allman and Berry Oakley’s graves side by side in a beautiful old Confederate cemetary on a hill overlooking downtown. I went with a friend of mine who’s a real “old head” like me and who I knew would appreciate the moment.
In a Spinal Tapesque moment, as we stood silently contemplating the irony and the tragedy that these two great musicians would die so young in motorcycle wrecks almost exactly a year apart, my friend started to hum “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“That’s not the Allman Brothers,” I thought.
“What the hell are you humming?” I asked.
“Free Bird, dude. Free Bird.”