Our recent trip to China to source and create new firework products for the upcoming 2018 season. After a productive two weeks, we are now back in Blighty.
We did plan on writing a blog post per day to keep all of you up to date on our activities. But due to inferior internet connections and having to use VPN’S (Virtual Private Networks), this was something we sadly couldn’t do.
So with less than three hours sleep in the last 40 hours and a belly full of some seriously strong coffee. I’m going to write about the second day in Liuyang, China.
After a stuffy nights sleep, we woke up bright an early for our first full day. I had never been to China before, but Norman has been coming here for over 14 years so I know I was in good hands.
After a short meeting to arrange a demo for new fireworks we said our goodbyes and left on foot headed for the center of Liuyang City.
The First thing that hit me when we left the hotel was the sound of car horns like a giant swarm of bees all around me. I could hear them in every direction. The second thing I noticed was the way people drive in China is very different from back home.
Its madness to put it lightly and I’m not saying that to be harsh I’m merely telling the truth. It seems that to be a good driver in China you need to be fearless and dominant on the road oh and use your horn a lot lol.
If a scooter, bicycle, Truck, Car or person is in your way give your hooter a blast. They will sometimes move over but in most cases, they will ignore the horn and carry on about there day. So then it’s up to the driver to make a new route to where he wants to go.
Even if that means mounting the curb, muscling his way through or even driving on the other side of the road regardless of oncoming traffic. To be honest, you have to see it to believe it.
After a short walk from the hotel passing KTV and Fireshow Bar, we arrived at a small and quirky coffee shop called Coffee King. We ordered two Lattes and we sat down to discuss the earlier meeting.
The smell of cigarette smoke in the tiny shop was overwhelming and seemed to leak from every surface in the building.
After our quick refuel of coffee, we were heading straight out the door and across the ever busy road towards the bridge that leads to the City center.
Walking over the double arched bridge was a challenge. Dodging mopeds and bicycles coming from both directions on the footpath it was like a game of dodgems, but we made it through with all our lives intact.
As we reached the other side, I noticed the last section of the bridge lined with fishing rods all dangling over the edge. There was a weathered old man sitting on an office swivel chair tending to the rods waiting eagerly for a bite either for his family or to sell to local traders.
Crossing the road I was instantly overwhelmed by the spicy smell of local food vendors and fast food all you can eat shops. Almost everywhere you look you can see people selling or cooking food for the people of Liuyang.
And I couldn’t wait to get my teeth stuck into the local cuisine, luckily Norman and I are very much the same when it comes to food. We will try anything and the more off the beaten track, the better.
we finally stopped at the open shop front of a noodle bar with steam pouring out of the kitchen, and table benches filled with local people tucking into there brunch we sat down and ordered by pointing to other people food, within five minutes this big bowl of noodles arrived at our table like a steaming locomotive that had reached its destination.
The bowl contained a fantastic concoction of noodles, thinly sliced beef, vegetables and chillis after a little stirring to get the flavours flowing, we tucked in and enjoyed.
after a short time, I looked up and realised that most of the people in this small shop were staring at us, so with a little bit of help from the google translation app we started talking to the locals and ask why they were staring.
They said they were shocked at three things the first being I have a beard which is very rare in China apparently, Secondly that we as westerners were good at using chopsticks and finally that we could handle the spiciness of the local food.
We carried on talking for a short while said our goodbyes and then paid the bill which was 6 Yuan which works out to be about 60p for each bowl crazy right!
As we continued to take in the sites and sound of our surroundings and see the people of the Liuyang go about there daily business it suddenly occurred to me how different the people of this city are compared to London, there all so friendly and welcoming and delighted to see foreigners in their country.
After a few hours, we headed back to the hotel and waited to be picked up for our shells demo, and we had an excellent evening watching our new professional display shells after the demo we headed to dinner.
After about 30 minutes of driving in the countryside, we reached our riverside destination, we were having dinner in a treehouse restaurant even though it was dark the beauty of the place was stunning and I can only imagine what it looks like in the Summer.
The table was filled with all sorts of foods with bright colours and intoxicating smells the food was delicious, and after tucking into everything, we were stuffed and tired, so we headed back to the hotel for some well-deserved sleep ready for our day tomorrow.