I was so extremely nervous to leave Louisiana. This wasn’t like Paris. When the time came for me to jet to France, I didn’t have a care in the world. I’m not really sure why this was so different. Maybe because there were so many unanswered questions before I left: about my apartment, about my job, the culture.
So we board the flight to Los Angeles. David and I flew from New Orleans to LA while Clarence and Steve flew from Memphis and met us there. David and I actually had a pretty fun flight to LA. We played trivia games with the rest of the passengers on the plane.
Right on the money, 400 points!!
I came in 5th overall, woo hoo! David won when he was the only player, haha. And there was a celebrity sighting on the plane y’all!!!
Just kidding, it’s me, haha.
So we arrive in LA, and it was the longest layover I’ve ever experienced. LAX is such a HUGE airpport. We were expecting to be able to check into AirChina and hang out in the airport for the rest of the layover, but that’s not exactly how it went. We had to wait about 2 hours to check into AirChina and then wait three more hours to board.
Once we finally got to check in, we were STARVING.. and thirsty. So at 11pm, we managed to find a little bistro that was open and sat to wait for Steve and Clarence. Once Steve and Clarence finally made it to LAX, we had another few hours to waste before the international flight.
So we sat and waited, in style, might I add.
was loving my Chinese Laundry wedges, and my vintage Harmann luggage, of course. I gotta fly pretty!
To say the flight to Beijing was long is an understatement. At least the food was okay. My first taste of authentic Chinese food was pretty good.
We arrived in the Beijing airport at about 5 am Beijing time. Now to go through customs. Everything was going smoothly, and then one of the customs agents decided he needed to drug test my prescriptions. Having to explain to a Chinese male customs agent what medication I had was interesting to say the least. So after a minor setback of about 30 minutes, everything was good to go. Or so we thought.
The four of us were waiting to catch the bus to the plane to Weihai when Steve asked if everyone had their boarding passes. My heart dropped into my… stomach. The customs agent hadn’t given me my boarding pass back after the prescription fiasco. So Steve and I set off RUNNING through the Beijing airport.
Keep in mind: this is a fairly large airport, and I am wearing 6 inch wedges ( I know you’re asking yourself, why on earth would she wear those shoes on such a long flight?! Well believe it or not, they are extremely comfortable, and also, I didn’t have room for them in my suitcase. So I wore them).
I wish I would have the footage the Beijing airport has of Steve and I running through the airport like madmen. Quite a funny scene. But in the end, we made it back to the bus, boarding pass in hand. That was enough cardio for me for at least a few days.
The flight to Weihai was a short one. So we finally arrive ! Off to baggage claims! I couldn’t contain my excitement to see my two beautiful Hartmann suitcases riding on that conveyor belt.
Hoorah for my luggage arriving!
Unfortunately, Steve and Clarence weren’t so lucky. Their luggage got left in Beijing! But fortunately, they were able to get it back before dinner with the Vice Mayor of Weihai later that night.
When Helen told us she had booked our rooms at the Golden Bay Hotel, there was an instant gleam in my eyes. I came across pictures from the hotel when I was doing some research on Weihai before our trip, and it’s one of the nicest hotels in Weihai. The 5 star hotel was absolutely beautiful, and it was right on the International Beach! We checked in, and the view from my room was breathtaking. Right on the beach, with the mountains in the background. Weihai has the best of it all!
A little foggy, but still beautiful!
We all quickly got ready for lunch, where Helen and Mr. Sun took us to a Chinese buffet. (Before you think, ‘Really, a Chinese buffet? They can get that in America!’ Think again.) This wasn’t like your normal American Chinese buffet. Actually nothing like it. It was delicious. There were some interesting things on display, so I just opted for the normal stuff: soup, rice, etc. It didn’t take long for me to get adventurous, which I’ll write about more later.
After our lunch, we had a meeting at the Xigang Yacht Company. Xigang Yacht Co. pioneered the fiberglass boat building industry in China. At first, they catered to the fishing industry and then later expanded into tourist, sporting, and pleasure. Later, in 2005, they expanded to build luxury yachts and sailboats. Their boats are constructed primarily of fiberglass, 90%. They rank 1st in fiberglass fishing boats in China and rank 1st in pleasure boats in North China. They have about 300 employees and are consistently receiving an increasing amount of orders. They currently export boats to more than 20 countries worldwide.They also have an extended product line to include accessories, like fishing rods and ski poles. They produce over 3 million types of fishing rods at five workshops with over 200 workers. In 2006, the Weihai Xigang Yacht Club was founded. It is located in the Xiaoshidao Harbor. The plans for the area include 5km along the coast, and once completed, 400 berths will be available for rent or purchase. Plans for the club also entail a high class Business Casual Chamber where members will enjoy supply tours, relaxation, networking, and entertainment.
We had a great tour of the facility, and the meeting went wonderfully. Their major goal is to partner with a US company from whom they can adapt enhanced knowledge and skills in the areas of technology and design. We are currently working with them on a more streamlined business plan in order to find them an ideal strategic partnership.
Here are a few pictures of our tour:
Steve wears that hardhat well.
So does Clarence. So stylish.
Helen makes wearing a hardhat fashionable.
Touring the Shipyard
What can I say, we all looked good in hardhats.
70' Angling boat
Just a few of the rods
After our tour of Xigang Yacht Co., we had dinner with the Vice Mayorof Weihai, Mr Tian Zhi Ying. It was an amazing way to end our first day in Weihai. Lots of great food, MANY toasts, and many new friends made as well as old friends reacquainted.
Cheers! Gānbēi! 干杯
A GREAT end to our first day in Weihai!
More to come on the rest of the trip later…