Great weekend for a change. The weather was warm, sometimes sunny, little rain etc… Friday I took the riders to the Buddhist temple which is on the other side of the Qaintang River, then halfway up a distant mountain. Actually the mountain’s base is in a ghetto so we drag our bikes halfway up the 500 stairs and chain them to a rail where the entire world can watch them. I haven’t had my bike stolen there in my previous visits. My monk friend was in meditation when I visited, but their were three elderly female caretakers there to greet us. They poured us some tea and resumed making whatever crafts they were working on. I showed Chen and Ray the various temple buildings and then we left. It is a chore to climb all the steps but it gets easier as I get more used to climbing.
Afterwards we had a great lunch at the dirty road side restaurant which I previously described as the place where they rinse the greens on the same driveway where the baby shits
Crossing the river
. Yes, this is true my friends. I relish the greens here, but they are always washed in some form of black water. Maybe it adds to the flavor. As long as it;s boiled…. I just eat it. As usual the food and service was excellent and cost about a buck fifty for a 5 course meal. The downside is the shit of course. Then we jumped back on the bikes, rode back to the 2 mile wide bridge, crossed over to the Xiasha side, and headed to the riverside park in order to feel the sun and watch the myriad of beautiful kites. We stocked up on beer, pineapple, and boiled peanuts for snackies. We laid out on the river bank and just chillaxed for a couple hours. First time I’ve been able to just “Chillaxe” in the park without having to keep moving. Next time we will bring the guitars!
We left the park, bought some pork stew al’ Filapino ingredients and all went back to my apartment to cook, bullshit, and play the guitar. Chen as usual played his three chords like a madman and soon picked them up flawlessly unlike any other guitar student that I have ever taught. He just practiced the same boring drill for a few hours and done! He internalized the three chords. His rhythmn is horrible so I just have him do downstrokes in 4/4 time. This way the upstroke and rhythmn doesnt confuse so much. Since then Chen has downloaded the 9 chords and lyrics to the John Denver song “Country Roads”, and he just stopped in and I taught him how to play the chords and sing the song
Chen and Ray
. Chen never ceases to amaze me.
After a fun night with Ray and Chen, they gave me a Chinese name: “Chang Xiou Yao”, which means “happy with traveling” as they noticed that I am in a happy place while riding my bike.
Saturday: I chilled at home until 3:30 then headed toward my Kiwi friends place nearby. “Chris” and “Diane” are my occasional neighbors whom I’ve written about before. Chris is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. A great conversationalist. Diane’s best friend was cool as can be. She is a Kiwi, but spent 20 years in Kawai and another 10 in Oregon, her accent is not as strong as Diane’s is. Both her and Diane are atheletes and love to run, bike, kayak ect… They also seem to enjoy shopping! (admittedly one of my weaknesses).
The four of us went to a fancy dinner at a restaurant called “Wu’s Brothers” and had a most spectacular time. Kiwi’s are fairly normal people no matter who they are. Wu’s was an excellent place and the company was nice. Diane and Wyennis had much info on how I can export Chinese jewelry to the US and possibly make some money. PM me for a picture of some spectacular samples of pearl, coral, turquiose and more
Handsome temple guard.
. The pearls a the best bang for the buck. I have a source for excellent pearls at prices a westerner would not believe.
The next day the four of us went to the great trading city known as ‘Yiwu”. Yiwu has a jewelry wholesale market that defies imagination. Pearls and stones as far as the eye can see. We spent hours there, looking over the stock, discussing prices. ect… Yiwu is a wholesale market and wants to sell multiples of whatever it is you want. they sell everything you can imagine. Tools, clothes, toys, electronics, handbags, ect…. Yiwu will have a giant pavillion of nearly any product you want and will ship a container load to you with no problem. Yiwu is where much of the worlds trade happens.
With jewelry I can just mail order it once I determine what will sell. I met many suppliers and have their cards and e-mails. I can get some amazing things at low costs. Being a man, knowing what women want to wear is a problem for me. But with expert help, I managed to buy a few samples to pass on to my reps back the the US. (both reps are new at this as well). Who knows, we might just strike it big. If any of my friends back home want to get into the jewelry business, just let me know
Diane and Wynnis
. You can use the Avon lady approach to sell pearls and other oriental jewelry.
After walking miles around the markets in Yiwu we took a cab back to the Yiwu train station. I totally got busted for having a few sharp stiletto knife in my front pocket. The security lady with the metal detector found it and would not give it back. She put the knife on the xray machine and I politely picked it up and tried to ask if I could put it in my back pack. She got a little pissed and called her boss to come talk to me. I motioned that I merely wanted to put the blade into my baggage, he didn’t think it was the best idea, but since hee was also dealing with some pissed off drunk, farmer bastard, he just handed me the knife and told me to leave. Haha.. China is much cooler about stuff like this then America would be.