My Day One.
Remember it’s like being in Africa! Food, hygiene, mentality, bargaining…just think like you are in Africa but they will stare at you! So I asked “why? I am sure Chinese people have seen black people before!” You are mixed! “Oh!” I said. We had this chat when Robair dropped me off at the coach station to catch my coach to Heathrow for that flight to Guangzhou.
Got to my seat…no one sitting next to me, and great legroom, yay! However! There was a row of old Chinese women speaking loudly behind me. They must be excited to be heading back home. Said it was going to be an 11-hour flight. Sleep I could catch up with was well in order and I must say I was only awake for 4 hours out of the 11. The plane food was actually tasty. In my opinion, usually, plane food sucks! Before I forget, another exciting discovery! The windows on the plane are dimmable and a button controls it. You can dim it to how dark, blue, purple, light you want it. You don’t pull down the shutters like “normal” planes lol.
14 hours later, a 27-degree atmosphere, I made it to my hotel room. A tiny room at about 8 pm. At midnight, my eyes felt extremely heavy so I gave in to sleep but within 3 hours, I was up again. Never slept on a mattress this hard in my entire life! That was it for the rest of the night. I reverted to Maltesers Fun Times, which I sneaked into my suitcase from UK for the rest of the night. Forgetting my travel adopter with a dead lap top battery, low phone battery, local TV channels, there wasn’t much to do! At 6 am, I was wondering if I should get ready for the bus to the Canton Fair that departs at 8:15 am or forcefully squeeze in an hour of sleep. 7 hours later, I wondered how I could sleep so deep. Must have been the lengthy prayer to Jesus to send His angels to be with me because I was uneasy and homesick in my hotel room on the first night. I asked myself what I was really doing in the middle this country, by myself, 8 hours ahead of my family?
Before coming, I heard about their eating interests: snakes, dolphins, human fetus, etc.… None of it interests me. A friend also said their local Chinese is not what I am used to. So at Heathrow I bought a packet of Rich Tea Biscuit and a bottle of Lipton Iced Tea for snacking on the first night. As we drove towards the hotel, I was looking at the restaurants along the road. They are lined up like the Lebanese restaurants on Edgware road. One after the other but they sure looked greasy and unhygienic. When I got to the hotel, I asked Yvonne the receptionist how the hotel restaurant is and she answered “so so”…Not sure she meant to say that but I am not taking chances! Rich Tea and Iced Tea it is!
Since I missed the bus, I decided to go flower shopping for Mahogany instead. On of my priority on the to do list. I pulled out a card Shika gave me in Ghana and showed it to Adams the hotel Manager who got me a taxi. When I sat in the taxi, he yelled, call me if anything. How nice of him J Hopefully I wont have to call Adams to the rescue at any point in time. As we drove along, I spotted a Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonalds and Starbucks…There is hope!
Goodness, they drive like maniacs here. And people just cross the road as they please. No structure! I guess I should start feeling at home. OMG! My eyes lite with joy when we pulled up in front of this tall building full of flowers!!! All these flowers in one building!!! First stop the fake fruits and vegetable for decorative pieces store. Then one flower shop after the other. I was excited!!! Then my final stop was with Selina and her shop assistant. They kept looking at me closely, looking at my hair and one gathered courage during our chat about the various flowers I was interested in and asked where I was from. I said Ghana and she wasn’t convinced. The shop assistant stroked her arm to say but your complexion! I said “My mother Ghana my father London”…The easiest way I could say that. Doubt they have heard of Scotland. London yes! Ghana surely. They must see enough Ghanaians walk through the indoor market.
They burst out laughing in excitement and said. MIX!!!! I started laughing even harder than them because I remembered when Robair said, “you are mixed”. It is definitely exciting to be bi racial for them. Soon after, Selina’s mother came in with her one year and four month old grandson who was reaching out for my glasses and wanting to come to me. Story of my life. Global Baby Magnet. With that runny nose, maybe not today Baby “Tam Pon Ni” as his mother pronounced it. She said he doesn’t have an English name. Just a Chinese name, with a meaning she couldn’t tell me. Damn language barrier!
Decided to walk along and when I am tired, will catch a taxi. More shopping along the way. This time electronic gadgets. I was having fearful withdrawal symptoms that I couldn’t charge my laptop and phones. I have emails to respond to, invoices to work on. My phone must work! I need my laptop! I kept meditating at the back of my mind God help me find sockets. I get to the ideal shop but Google wont work. I cant Google an image of a travel adaptor. Oh no! Lets try amazon for product searches. That worked!
Reminded me that since I got to China, my instagram and Facebook hasn’t worked. I would occasional whatsapp sentences to Priscilla in UK to translate for me because my Google translator wouldn’t work either. She would also send me images of things I want to buy and can’t describe. Thank God for Priscilla my virtual assistant. Good thing she is at home on maternity leave. I was banking on Google map to find my way around and that isn’t working either. What’s going on???? So I asked Priscilla to Google why my internet functions are so limited and she sent me this result: More than 2,701 websites are or were blocked in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) under the country’s policy of Internet censorship. These include Instagram, Twitter, Google….
Gadget shopping was fun. I am a woman who loves gadgets so this part I also enjoyed, even more than the flowers. GuanDong Electric Appliances Market it was called. Got my multi sockets adapter! All joy. Darkness had set in, I started making my way back to the hotel and about an hour’s walk later, and I finally found an empty taxi to jump into. Showed him my hotel business card and 13 CNY later I was at the hotel. I must have walked half way back because I paid 30 CNY on my way to the markets.
It was 8:10 pm; I hadn’t eaten since I woke up at 1 pm. I am definitely not having any of the food in the restaurant. It was dark and I just wanted to get back to the hotel so I didn’t bother look for any of the “International” restaurants. I stopped at the supermarket next to the hotel, bought a bottle of Coke, a pack of Lays Crisps and a bottle of water. I wanted a brand of water I knew but it was only Evian and I don’t like the taste of Evian. I am sure I can trust this water at least! That’s dinner sorted.
Back in my room. I have killed one mosquito so far but two have escaped. I must make tonight an early night. Saying that, it is 11:25 pm. I must join that bus at 8 am!
Good night from China 🙂
My Day Two
So I ended up not going to bed at 11:30 pm like I had hoped to last night. I was up until 5 am today! Waking up was yet again a struggle and I definitely snoozed the alarm when it went off at 7 am. At that instant I thought to myself, why must I go with the bus. I can take a taxi there! Sleep won the battle but I eventually made it out of bed at 11 am.
Heading out at 11:58…. so much for an early start. When Adams (the hotel manager) saw me at the reception he shouted out “you over sleep again? Next bus to Canton Fair 2 o’clock” I said “Adams the time difference is troubling me” and he said, “What you want to do now? What is your plan?”…. I got directions to the nearest Bank Of China to change some money and will hopefully finally buy a SIM card before heading to the fair.
This place is just like home! I get to the bank, 8 minutes walk from the hotel and the customer service lady at the front desk is busy having a chat with a lady away from her desk. I stood there for about 3 minutes; she looked over at me and carried on chatting ignoring my presence. Thank God it said foreign exchange on one of the teller windows. I walked towards the queue and a lady in the queue said, “you need number”. Clearly I look foreign. I went back to the talking lady for a number and she looks at me like I was a bother. In her own time she hands me ticket number A061, with 9 people ahead of me. This will be quick I had hoped!
There are 4 teller windows, yet only 1 operating teller and she is so slow! Reminded me once again of how I hate going to Banks in Ghana! At least in Ghana the customers are well behaved in the queue. In line and very quiet. You dare not pull out your phone or iPad. Bank security will match you right outside. This place however is like a market place. People talking on top of their voices, people on their phones, people pacing in and out of line. The lady who told me to get a number keeps looking at me and nodding her head as if to say, I know I know, it’s just crazy in here! Maybe it is worse than home!
An hour and forty two minutes later, I am losing my patience so I asked for the manager to ask how long more it would take and of anything could be done to make the queue move quicker, just for her to tell me she needs my passport to change money. I asked her why I wasn’t told this when I came initially? I could have walked to the hotel and back in this long waiting time. All she said was she was sorry. There is no way I am going to be walking around Guangzhou with my passport in my bag. What if God forbid I got robbed or lost my bag? I don’t think I want to be stuck in this country for a daylonger. I have a bride waiting for me in Accra for her big day, 2nd May 2015!
The manager then told me that she would call her friend who lives close by to come in with her ID card to change the money for me. I asked her if that wasn’t illegal. Just as illegal as changing my dollars without my passport. That might take another hour. I best dash back to the hotel for the bus ride that sets off at 2 pm and worry about changing money tomorrow. Worst case scenario ,for my meal of the day, I will withdraw cash from an ATM. I only have 6 minutes to get there. Bank of China! Worst Bank Ever! Now I truly appreciate Lloyds TSB and maybe, just maybe Standard Chartered Bank.
I get back to the hotel at 2:03 pm and Adams suggests I take a taxi because he wants to use his VW Touareg to the Canton Fair and that can only take 3 passengers plus his driver. There are 3 smartly dressed Europeans/Americans at the lobby on business so they are priority to Adams right now. Not me, the poor looking African girl. I turned down the taxi ride because I don’t have money to pay for it so I had to just go upstairs for my passport and take another walk back to the bank. That was a great start to my day!
I spotted another bank along the way, ICBC – Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. So I walked in and asked the smartly dressed lady at the counter who asked how she could help me in “English” (exciting) if I could change money here and she asked, is it dollars? And do you have a passport on you? I took a deep breath in because at least someone here knows her job! Happily I collected my ticket number A0152 and took a seat. 8 people before me. Let’s see how long this will take. At least there are 2 tellers and everyone is sat quietly awaiting their turn.
29 minutes later. Let’s hit the road! I can’t waste any minute in China, especially when most of the morning is spent sleeping (covering face). But I must say it is pretty frustrating when you don’t have Google map in a strange country. Just before I left the bank I walked to the front desk and spoke to John who speaks a little English. I pulled out 4 business addresses and asked him which one the nearest is so that I make my way there as I only had 3 or 4 hours before the shops close. He said the nearest of all 4 was about a 20 minutes taxi drive away. Great! I start walking in that direction hoping a taxi would come along.
During my walk I realized that my hotel is in the Metals and Hardware Commercial Area. Every shop along the road was either a greasy restaurant or hardware store. Some of the shops had women sitting outside bagging parts and components, and men cutting metals. I didn’t pay much attention earlier on my way to the bank. Would have been perfect for me if I were a dealer in that unit. I was showing the address to people along the road to make sure I was walking in the right direction and they cheered me on. About an hour later I am standing in front of the 4 storey wholesale mall with the address on my paper at its entrance. I walk in and first shop I see is a Wedding Décor Shop with exactly something else I was looking for on display! At that very moment I said “Thank You Jesus! I would never have found my way here if I made it to the fair today. I guess everything happens for a reason. Delay surely isn’t denial. Its all the plan of the One that ordains your steps.”
As I entered the store, I saw an African man looking over at me. Minutes later he entered the store and said hello. I said hi and carried on minding my business, asking for prices and taking photos of the products for future purchases. Still standing close by he asked where I was from and I responded Ghana. With that look which isn’t a surprise to me any longer, he said but you don’t look Ghanaian. I was expecting it so I ignored him. Then I asked which part of Nigeria he was from as his accent gave it away. He said, “I am Igbo but I lived in Festac in Lagos”. I asked if he was also visiting but he said he had been in China for two years doing business. Next thing he said was, “you look too fresh to be from Africa”. I replied, “it isn’t all Africans that look sick”. At this point almost irritated, I turned over to bargain on prices and he started bargaining on my behalf in the local language. We spent the next 3 and a half hours in the mall with him as my spokes person. After the last shop I asked him where I could get food other than the local food and he offered to take me to Pizza Hut! Oh he is reading my mind. I didn’t even have to say! Did God send me an Angel or what? We got a taxi to an area, which looked like Canary Warf and enjoyed my only meal of the day, my dinner, with a glass of Cranberry and Blueberry Iced Juice amidst people from different continents. Emeka said a lot of foreigners live in that area. Nothing like the Metal and Hardware Area I walked from. He proposed we stayed out so that I could experience Friday nightlife in the city which from his description would be like a typical Friday night in any vibrant city with clubs opened till 5 in the morning, the streets filled with party people, drunken people. I politely said a thank you for today and called it a night with a cab ride back to my home for the next few nights. 4 to go…
It is 1.48 am and I have been back in my hotel room since 8:30 pm responding to emails, logging my expenses and then writing my account of today. I am going to the fair tomorrow and that is a promise so I am going to force myself to sleep! (Eyes rolling)
My Day Three
Walked through the door at 1:25 am, worn out but still with a little bit of adrenaline rush from my latest experience.
When I was done from the basement, I walked into the light, streetlights still beaming bright with cars speeding down the dual carriage road and pedestrians still full of energy at that hour. Oxford Street maybe? All the taxi’s I tried to flag down had passengers in them. It was past midnight, I shouldn’t be standing on these streets at this time I kept saying to myself, especially when its been raining on and off all day. What if it begun to pour down again? Wait, I have always wanted to sit on their local motor taxis. Maybe this is the time! The roads are wet though! Well there are no taxis and there are many lines up, why not!
Happily I jumped on one. Only shame is my phone battery had died at this point and my power bank also out. It would have been an amazing ride to video. I showed the hotel address to the rider and jumped in the back seat. Wooo what speed! He was speeding down the wet high way with so much confidence. I felt every pothole we went through right through my spine. And he would just go through splashes of water, never mind if our trousers got soaked. After all, it is drizzling! At one point when we took the turn I asked myself what if there was an oncoming vehicle? Thank God he brought me straight to the hotel door safely! I gave him an applause. It was an experience. Fast wind blowing into my face with a cold feel, butterflies in my stomach and holding on to my last breathe. I have never seen them ride that fast! I didn’t think they could even go that fast! It was cool! I will definitely do it again, but on a dry day. Especially because they get on the pavement and drop you straight at your destination entrance, get off and give you a hand to get off. Unlike the taxi’s that park at the other end of the road because of parking restrictions.
So how did the day end up like that and at that hour you may be wondering by now.
It’s 7 am! I am up I am up I told myself. At 7:39 am I was in the hotel lobby. Yay me! Two nights later, my sleep pattern is on China time. What a relief!
I have enough time to squeeze in a McDonald’s breakfast 15 minutes walk away. The shops are still closed but the restaurants filled with people. So early! Do they eat at home at all?
A left after 4 blocks, a right after a block, the McDonalds sign never looked this good another 2 blocks away! A sausage and egg mcmuffin and hot chocolate meal to eat in and an orange juice to go please! She spoke English! Whilst I was in the queue, I wondered how I was going to show her what I wanted pointing at the board behind her without everyone staring at me.
Looking out the window whilst enjoying my breakfast, I saw a tattoo shop and above it was a flat with a towel with Jamaica boldly written across it hanging out of the window. Then I begun to wonder how many Jamaicans live in Guangzhou….Ah! Then a wedding and parties shop sign cut out in paper spelling “Eight Wedding”. Now this should last me all day! I said to myself as I walked back to the hotel for the bus.
What a huge complex? How am I going to be able to walk though this one? All I know is I want to be in that Branding Forum I saw on their website which will be discussing the theme E-Commerce and Brand Building from 2 pm to 4 pm. The walk from where I stood to the conference room holding this forum should take me about 3 hours if I stopped and looked at exhibitions along the way. Started the walk rushing it at first so that I won’t be late and as I was getting closer, I paced it only to get there and be told it was for exhibitors only. Why didn’t they put that on the website?
The plan was, as soon as that was over, I would go and look for a shipping company to air freight my shopping to Ghana because there was no way I could take my shopping on as excess luggage to London and then to Accra. And I need most of the items in Ghana for my 2nd May wedding. She specifically wants Meyer Lemons in Vases. She wants Chandelier centerpieces. Last night, I barely could take 3 steps around the room. Stuff everywhere!!!!! Its 2 pm, let me go and sort that out and come back to the fair tomorrow. Now the true adventure of the day begun.
I contacted my cousin Edem in Ghana who often comes to China for a recommendation and he showed me where to go but did say he had personally never done air freight. He often does container shipments. Jumped in a taxi and about 30 minutes later I arrived in the middle of the business place I have not seen in Guangzhou since I arrived. For a minute, I thought I was in Nigeria. There were more Nigerians than Chinese. All I heard along the walk was Igbo. The Chinese were sitting on bikes and in mini vans that looked like mini “trotros” waiting to take on passengers with luggages or goods. The commercial buildings were huge. Wholesale written on most of them. Shipping companies everywhere! Which of them do I go to? I say a prayer in silence for God to take me to the right person. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”. Proverbs 16:9 NIV
I started asking for the companies who did 2 days air freight to Accra and most of them said they only did it to Nigeria as it is cheaper and they have more people doing airfreights to Nigeria daily so their focus was more on Nigeria. And sometimes, they sent it all to Nigeria as the hub and then on to the other countries. Oh No! My things are not going to Nigeria. No way, no how! (Sorry if you are Nigerian and reading this. You know your people naw!) How would I go looking for my missing items in Lagos? So I asked that I be directed to the right place. So one of the shippers kindly took me to the “right man”. As we walked on, I kept thinking oh so this is where people come and pick up all these clothes and shoes and Chinese packaged foods we see in Ghana. Exeter Corned Beef! I never knew Exeter was a China product! That I said out loud and the man said, China replicates anything. This is China Exeter! I started laughing. I must make sure when I am buying Exeter Corn Beef in Ghana; I look for where it is produced. Mind you though, I never looked so I wouldn’t even know. Asda sells Exeter. I will check when I get to England if it says made in China.
Its 4 pm and the tall, gentle looking man said if I could get my stuff back to his warehouse by 6 pm, my things could go on today’s Egypt Air freight to Accra via Cairo, meaning by Monday I would have my things delivered to my house. When he mentioned the cost involved, I asked myself yet again, when I would ever be making profits in this business. On lookers think you are making lots of money without thinking you keep buying new things because you don’t want all your events looking the same. Those who shop around think you are expensive as compared to others and would tell everyone who would listen that. Like I told my friend Michelle a couple of days ago when she said someone approached her and said “you are that expensive mahogany’s friend”, I wont talk negatively against Silver Star because I cant afford to buy a Mercedes. I went to Rana Motors because I could afford a Kia. I have never for once felt I needed to discuss the pricing of luxury goods because they are produced for a particular market.
Anyway, there was no way I could go to the hotel, pack my stuff and be back by 6 pm. I lost hope so I asked when the next flight was and he said my things would get to Ghana on Thursday. Now that’s a risk! Debbie get your strength together and do this. Jumped into one of the trotro vans outside, rushed to the hotel and was back with my “goods” quicker than I have ever been in my life. The girls at the hotel reception were wondering what was going on with me. They had never seen me in work mode! Serious face, breaking out in sweat, with just me bringing my things down into the Lobby. How I managed to get all these things down and out so quickly, only God knows. Many hours later, all my things have been packaged, labeled and paid for ready for the flight. So that’s how I ended up in the basement warehouse. It was an experience. Watching so many people bringing goods in to be shipped, seeing them being repackaged for shipping. One of the things that got me was when a Chinese woman came to the basement and spoke Igbo!
Its past 2 am, after that well deserved warm shower, I am off to bed. If you notice spelling mistakes and sentences that doesn’t make sense, remember I am typing this half asleep.
My Day Four
Woke up to realize last night’s email didn’t deliver. I guess I was too tired to wait to see sent successfully notification on my screen before closing the laptop.
I received a bb message from my friend Frimpomaa at 7:56 am that simply said “Day 3??????????????” Ha ha ha I didn’t realize that so many of you were actually enjoying this journal and was looking forward to it. Nice! I immediately hit Resend!
My alarm went off at 7 am because I wanted to go back to the fair. I was too tired. My legs were aching and my feet tired. I am going to break down at his rate. Let me rest I told myself. Let’s snooze to 10 am. Even that was a hustle. Do I just stay in today? I asked myself. In that same instant I said, I only have 2 days left. I need to get up! Let me close my eyes for another half an hour. What I forgot to do was snooze! Woke up at 1 pm!!!! How do I spend the day? Canton fair for a few hours, tourist sight seeing or stay in and catch up on admin work.
By the way, I also forgot to mention last night that I had Chinese food! Don’t get excited! Before I jumped on the motor, I saw KFC written on a building across the road. I decided to get take away for when I get to the hotel. Looking at the menu, I decided to go for the Chinese infused KFC (covering face in shame). I had plain white rice with chicken and vegetables. It tasted regular. Nothing worth spending a paragraph on.
The streets seemed much more quiet this afternoon as I observed whilst been driven in a taxi to Dashatou Market at 3 pm. I am tempted to buy a 18-300 mm lens for my camera and I am even more tempted to buy a drone. We drove along the river, which was nice. Maybe like Embankment. They have boats available if you want a cruise tour on the river. Next time I come to China, I will stay 10 days – 2 weeks so I can do both business and do some site seeing. I just remembered the first night when I was so home sick and couldn’t sleep.
Dashatou is a road full of shops and markets. They sell a lot of digital equipment, gadgets and electric appliances. I need inks for my printers at home and at the office. One cartridge for my lazer jet is 300 cedis in Ghana, 72 pounds in UK and 150 cny in 9-month pregnant Nancy’s office equipment shop. It should be £20 pounds not £72, 100 cedis not 300 cedis!!! Nancy looked swollen and tired! I asked her when her baby was due and she said anytime soon. I asked her what she was doing sitting here at 9 months. She said she needs money and that is why she is too tired to be bargaining with me. “Too much reduce reduce not easy. I give you good price my friend. I am tired.”
No mercy from this tired pregnant woman! We went through what I needed and paid for them. As I waited for the items to be brought from the warehouse, we begun to have a chat. So I asked if this was her first baby and her response was. “No! I have 2 girls and 1 boy so I want 1 more boy.” I shouted 4 babies!!!! She laughed and said. “I am African mama. Many many babies”. The she asked if I had any and I said not yet. Then she asked if I had a husband and again I said no. She said “Don’t Kill Me”. Not sure if she meant “Don’t Kid Me or You Must Be Kidding”. I am sure “Don’t Kill Me” means the same thing. She didn’t end there. She went on to say “You very nice why no husband many many boys in Africa why you don’t have husband? How old are you?” When I said 33, this 30-year-old mother of 4, married to a 33 year old man she refereed to as her “Old Buba” decided to give me a speech.
No need to make big money. Family is important. Woman need to make a family so get a husband. Don’t be doing too much business to make big big money. 33 not young. To have baby when you are old is very hard. I am sure you have many many boyfriend. Marry one and have baby. Next time you come China, come tell me you have husband and baby. I will be very happy. My husband sister had first baby when 40 and it was very hard!
About 10 minutes later, I left her shop. But before I did, she took my number and sent me a picture of her current 3 kids on whatsapp. And asked me to also send her pictures on whatsapp of the man I marry and said she was looking forward to seeing my baby’s picture too. Once the new baby comes, she will send me his picture.
When I told Nancy I was 33, she didn’t believe me at first. And she isn’t the first. They all ask me how old I am? And when I ask them to guess, they all guess between 22 and 27. Do I look that young or Chinese people look older even at a younger age? Confused! And they always ask how old I am. Especially the women! And the next question that always follows is if I am married with kids. Not sure if that’s just a way of them making conversation or they are just nosy about strangers’ lives.
Now let me make you laugh! When I was in my hotel room later, Nancy and I were chatting on Whatsapp about the cartridges I bought from her and below is part of the chat.
26/04/2015 19:13:33: Nancy Printers And Inks China : Inside is color cartridge
26/04/2015 19:17:25: Nancy Printers And Inks China : One color one box
26/04/2015 19:19:46: Think | Mahogany: I know
26/04/2015 19:21:07: Nancy Printers And Inks China : Ok. I hope u go ghana find nice husband
26/04/2015 19:21:21: Nancy Printers And Inks China : If fine send photo for me
26/04/2015 20:15:20: Think | Mahogany: Ha ha ha
26/04/2015 20:15:22: Think | Mahogany: Ok
26/04/2015 20:16:05: Nancy Printers And Inks China : Make baby
26/04/2015 20:19:07: Think | Mahogany: 4 babies
26/04/2015 20:19:57: Nancy Printers And Inks China : HAha
26/04/2015 20:20:36: Nancy Printers And Inks China : SO faster
26/04/2015 20:21:02: Think | Mahogany: Faster faster ha ha ha
I guess Nancy just couldn’t keep this conversation about her products on the subject. I best get married and have babies to make miss Nancy happy in China.
At 9 pm, I went back out to get some food, as I hadn’t eaten all day. Just as I got to the street where Pizza Hut is, I got a call from the shipper that he wanted to take me to go and eat Chinese food with two of his other customers who are also in town. He had told me yesterday that he would but I completely forgot about it and I had missed a couple of his calls earlier in the day when I was at Dashatou. I thought, why not. He along with his two customers met me on Beijing Road and we went to the Latin Grill House.
Latin Grill House is where you enjoy 9 Different Parts of a Brazilian Grilled Cow, Chinese Buffet, and European Buffet whilst listening to a Live Latin Band. It was great! The Sushi didn’t taste raw; the sauces were just as I know them to taste, the rice too! I didn’t bother with the European baked Potatoes, Spaghetti Bolognese, etc.… I sampled many of the Chinese dishes and I enjoyed the Brazilian grills. Different parts of the cow are cooked differently and served in turns based on the part of the cow, which is numbered. There is a paper place mat on the table, which talks about each numbered part, and how is it cooked. Interesting! Tasted great too! I had a nice glass of Pina Colada with that.
At midnight we left on to a club called Cave Bar with bar and table top dancers as well as dancers in Cages. I checked out the environment, which had many Chinese, Arabs/Turkish and Indians with a glass of Long Island Iced Tea. We stayed there for an hour and then went on to Kama Club, which played Turkish, Arab, Chinese and Nigerian Music. It was about 6 times the size of Cave Bar. It had many foreigners. I couldn’t tell you if they are visiting foreigners or resident foreigners. I enjoyed the environment along a pint of Orange Juice. Great place!
At 2:30 am, I new I was ready to go back to my hotel. However I was being convinced that we should go to the African club from 3 am to 6 am and then go for breakfast before heading back to the Hotel for my 8 am bus ride to the Canton Fair. Politely I declined, and was taken to my hotel and the 3 men proceeded to the African club.
Took a shower, responded to emails and writing to you. I only have 2 hours to sleep. I am definitely staying longer next time!
My Day Five
Great news great news great news! All airfreighted items have arrived successfully without being tempered with. My heart leaps with great joy!
After just two hours of sleep, I made it to the Fair for half the day and spent a few hours after buying some more bits with a Gold, Red and White June Wedding in mind. Dashed to the hotel to pick up yesterday’s shopping in addition to today’s plus others and headed to my new loved shippers’ warehouse to send them off to Ghana.
Relieved that I get to travel with just two suitcases and non is overweight! After watching them bundle and tag my packages, they offered to take me to a Nigerian restaurant for my last dinner in China this trip. As we walked towards the restaurant, I was thinking it is the one Nigerian restaurant that we are going to. I see Auntie Selina, which is owned by a Chinese woman, and then I see Ezeugo Food owned by a Nigerian, and then there is Peter Food owned by a Nigerian, as well as many more along the way including Nigerian bars/pubs, until we got to the one we headed to, Iyke Delicious Food & Bar Special African and Western Food (Just Like Mama) as his sign reads. Managed by a Chinese lady called Candy with Chinese workers. I enquired and was told this is however owned by a Nigerian. They are open from 11 am to 3 am daily. This part of Guangzhou never sleeps.
I ordered Eba (Gari) and Egusi Soup with Goat Meat and it tasted good! Apparently Auntie Selina up the road has been running her Nigerian restaurant for many years and when I asked how a Chinese woman is able to compete with the Nigerians who own restaurants on the same road, I was told “The Chinese are smart. They will learn your skill, get better than you and sell it back to you”.
Today felt like the hours flew by so quickly! I didn’t notice much more happening around me like I usually did. Perhaps I am getting used to the environment, or I am beginning to get familiar with my routes or maybe simply because I was concentrating on getting my last few errands done as quickly as possible.
Ah! How could I forget? At the junction of Yao Tai West Street, outside one of the Trade Buildings were two large speakers, the one to which couples danced on the street and a few yards down is the one to which about 50 women followed their aerobics instructor’s steps. Fascinated, I stood by and watched for a few minutes. Clearly, some of these women joined the class just for the fun of it because more than half of them were not in appropriate exercise/aerobics clothing. Some had long skirts and platform slippers on, some had dresses on…. at least they are getting some exercise which I am lacking! Wait a minute! I have walked more in this week that I have done the entire month of January, February and March. Shame on me!
Headed back to the Hotel at 11 pm. Its 2:20 am. My taxi gets here at 6 am for my 9:30 am flight to London. Well tonight is my last night here….6 Nights in China! It has been an experience.
Until Next Time!