Day 2 started at 2am when we finally arrived by taxi to the New Century Hotel. This was quite a saga, as we accidentally went to the wrong hotel first – same name, wrong location!
However our relief turned into anger when the Night Manager told us there was no room booking under our name. With much carry on and argy bargy we were finally able to get a room with an extra trundle and a higher priced fourth room without breakfast.
We got to the room where a waft of cigarette smoke hit us. Worse still, the bottle of Midori we had bought for our Chinese assistant had smashed and leaked all over our clothes and Aussie gifts! At this stage we ran out of fight and just collapsed and went to sleep.
We woke up at 6am feeling rejuvenated. We went downstairs to explain the booking confusion to the Day Manager, but to our surprise it turned out everything was sorted out…no thanks to the Night Manager!
Breakfast was an eye opener for Quirky Sis as it consisted mostly of savory delights – pork buns, rice and so on. We sampled most things and found it all to be quite tasty.
We left the hotel confident that we would get to Jonathan Health & Textile Co in time. However, the best-laid plans soon become unstuck, especially when the taxi driver stopped every few minutes to ask for directions. He spoke to loud on the phone that Quirky Guy grabbed some tissues to block his ears!
After an hour, we finally arrived to meet our contacts for the Birdies swimwear label – Miss May and the owner, Mr Jonathon. However, it turned out that Mr Jonathon had gone to the train station to pick us up! Another miscommunication. But we were made to feel at home with Miss May trying so hard with her English (more than we were trying with our Chinese). Eventually Mr Jonathon returned and the meeting got underway. We learnt a bit about the company and their desires achieve a quality product.
Quirky Sis explained what sort of swimwear she wanted to be made as samples, and Quirky Guy picked out the fabrics. He also picked the only pair of swimmers that were being made for the Zimmerman collection! Quirky Sis was ever so happy to learn that fact!
We spent a few hours discussing business and looking at some medical items that Quirky Sis wanted. We ended by giving them our Midori soaked gifts of appreciation, and thanked them for taking the time to meet with us on a Sunday.
They took us to the bus station and helped to purchase our tickets for the bus to Shanghai. It was very lucky, as there wasn’t another westerner in the whole place. Miss May was so great, we had our tickets and now just had to wait 30 mins for the bus to come. Something tells me another adventure is around the corner…
We arrived in Shanghai and managed to get to the hotel easily as Quirky Sis had the address written in Chinese. No problem checking in, but Quirky Gal was tired and grumpy after discovering no wifi. We thought China would be wired everywhere, but it’s not. Very tricky when traveling with an iPad which can’t be connected!
Once settled in the room, it was time to explore. One problem – it was raining. We went out anyway, not to miss an opportunity of sightseeing…or shopping! We went to a bank and managed to get some cash and then someone from a booth nearby came up and gave us the best free gift ever – 3 umbrellas (of course with advertising on them). We were so happy we would have paid. We found somewhere for dinner and drinks and then stopped to buy milk and diet coke (which seem to be a luxury item)s. Dinner was great and so cheap.
On the way back to the room we saw the funniest thing, a place named the Astor hotel with a Chinese man wearing a kilt – you won’t see that every day!
Finally everyone collapsed into bed, exhausted from the day’s adventures.
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