Understand – there is no air conditioning in the hotel room. The logic is – it is winter. We don’t need a/c. If the room is hot (which they are), open the window (which I did). So last night, after a Chinese supper experience Anthony Bourdain would be happy with, I settled down for the first real night of sleep in China. At 3:30am I was awakened by the sound of explosions – numerous explosions. My first thought was that another revolution was happening. I soon realized that the sound was fireworks – many many fireworks – all over the city! This display of pyrotechnics went on for the rest of the night in various degrees of intensity, but it didn’t stop until after 9am.
It seems that today is a very auspicious day in China. It is supposed to be a day of good luck and good fortune. All over Yiwu, the hotels were booked with large wedding celebrations. Businesses were having grand openings (ah, that’s why there was so much insistence that we be here for the hotel’s grand opening). But it resulted in a night of sleep broken by explosive flowers in the sky.
Breakfast at the hotel is interesting. It is a combination Western/Asian buffet as interpreted by the Chinese cooks, of course. And once again getting a large cup of black coffee was fruitless. The little 4oz cups were nice, but I had to have quite a few of them.
It was expected of me to give a speech at today’s grand opening. I wrote that over my 4th cup of coffee.
The grand opening went well. I actually stood in front of the Chinese press, the mayor of Yiwu, and more than 200 Chinese folks and delivered the above mentioned speech – 10o% in English with no interpreter. I’m told I did fine, but who really knows.
In addition to the speech I was also interviewed for Chinese television! And all this time I thought I was just here to “grip and grin”!
We’re heading out for another supper with Thomas and his business partner tonight, and tomorrow a trip to the “countryside” outside of Yiwu.
Check out the photos from today over here on Flickr, and thanks for reading!