Friday, April 22, 2005

Friday, April 22, 2005

Was it a dream?

I spent three days last week at the Canton Trade Fair in Guangzhou. A huge, dirty, noisy crazy city that is the commercial, industrial and trade capital of Southern China where 150,000 wai guo ren (foreigners) descend to make trade Guangzhou is an assault on the senses.

They come from every corner of the globe and the halls are a living “It’s a small world” collection of nationalities, dress and languages.

Brightly colored dresses from Africa, veils and robes from the Middle East, jeans from America and suits from everywhere.

I left Guangzhou on (shit, what day was it, I really am losing track) Thursday and arrived in the city of Jiangmen for four days of business.
This usually means thirteen hour days of meetings, travel, factory inspections, sales pitches and deal making.

Today I had a real surprise and a real treat though.

We traveled 2 ½ hours along the South China Sea coast to a meeting and I was treated to some of the most spectacular scenery I have seen anywhere.

The landscape is a lush, deep, deep green of rolling hills, mountains, palms trees and farms.

It was like I went to bed and dreamed of an ideal China. Mile upon mile of farmland, wet rice paddies, farmers plowing with Oxen, thatched roof homes, conical hats, all in a valley that was like a painted 12th century landscape.

After enduring the dirt, noise, congestion and frantic pace of Guangzhou and its massive trade fair this was a welcome departure into a dreamscape of greenery and a simpler life.

The ride back came at sunset and it was even more magnificent.

I am now dead exhausted in my hotel, going to bed soon with another three days of hardcore work ahead of me before I fly to Chongqing for my three day Yangtze river cruise.