China – 20 November – To Wuhu

This morning we had breakfast together at about 7:00.  It was a huge buffet.  I do not think that Country Buffet would even come close.  There were many different types of fruits and veggies.  Lots of pastries and meats.  I had some bamboo with peppers, a rice flour cake (very good), pears, peaches, watermelon, sausage, bacon and two eggs, cooked over easy “while-u-wait”.

Now that it was light, I was able to get some outdoor pictures of where we stayed.  It was a nice surprise to open my curtains thsi morning to have an inlet of West Lake right outside with a gazebo and a canoe.  The hotel often catered for high state officials and their meetings.  There is a main building where we checked in last night and then several separate hotel units, one of which we stayed in.

After breakfast, we were off to visit a potential porcelain supplier about an hour and a half away.  Though we were on the freeway most of the way, I do not think that we were out of sight of multi-level appartment buildings, many of which were eight or more floors high.  Often we would go over a street perpendicular to the high way, lined with multi-level homes and apartments bordered by very large rice fields.

The porcelain coating company was very interesting.  It was quite shabby looking as we went in.  All the buildings were cinder block as are most buildings here and a lot colder inside than out.  We were taken into a large room that opened out to the outside and it looked like there were several of these large rooms in the building, most were used for storage or part of the production.  For those of you who might be familiar with African school buildings, this one reminded me of one of those.  But the one we were taken into had a large desk with windowed cabinets all around with products in it.  They contained such things as porcelain coated pot, roasting pans, trays, and in the corner were a couple of stove shells and tops.

After some discussion and a couple cups of green tea we when on a tour.  One of the new buildings at the back housed a fully automated line and a semi-automated line.  Unfortunately, production here was more like you would expect to see in the third world.  People seemed to be treated well but still a ways away from what would be permitted in the US.

While we were on tour, a young lady joined us with a little one about 18 months old.  Remeber, that little ones are rather rare to see since there is only one child for each couple.  Very cute little one.  After the tour, she joined us for the remaining discussions before lunch.  Come to find out, the 51% owner’s daughter is going to university in Minnisota and this other young lady is the daughter of the 49% owner and was very actively involved in the discussion.

Anyway, we went out for lunch with both owners and the wife of one of them and really enjoyed our time.  Lots of food shared on a large “Lazy Susan” in the middle of the table and, as usuall. reach into the dish, grab a peice and eat.  Had the standard place setting of tea cup, cup, small bowl for desired sause, larger bowl with spoon used for soup, noodles, rice, etc, a pair of chopsticks, and a plate which is usuallly used to re-adjust food in the chopsticks and hold the few unedible parts.

Here I got my first taste of rice wine.  It was very good and they tried hard not to let my cup get empty. If they felt that I was not drinking fast enough they arranged a toast which required me to take a sip.  It did taste quite good but it was rather strong so the sips were rather small.

The meal consisted of a lot of items.  Most was normal food but maybe fixed in a different way.  I liked the bamboo dish that has some sort of green veggie with it.  The fish ball (white fish rolled into a ball) and mushroom soup was pretty good too.  Best was the fried pork rib dish and a dish of cooked then sauted lima beans.

The trip to Wuhu, Anhui was rather uneventful  I tried to get photos of the little village that we went through on our way back to the highway, but that was a little tough as we bounced down the road.  We did go through a lot of mountains with many tunnels.  I hope to more pictures of these on our way back to Shanghai on Friday.  We arrived at Sunshine Peninsula Hotel, Wuhu, Anhui at about dusk.

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