Well, dinner did not disappoint. About 5 minutes after I uploaded my last post I fell dead asleep for a couple of hours and awoke to David knocking on the door of our room. I should note that our pattern of luxurious accommodations has taken a sharp turn South when we checked into the Days Hotel here in Hangzhou, but I’ve been so tired that I couldn’t really care less.
My mental picture of David is of a somewhat serious man with an air of ancient wisdom and a sense of modern style. When we opened the door he fit the part to a “T”. We loaded into his SUV and headed out for what I am sure is not the last amazing meal I’ll have in China. Tender beef, perfectly prepared shrimp & scallops, loads of veggies, and a whole pigeon were just the highlights of this multi-course extravaganza. Nick & David shared a fair amount of rapid fire Chinese while I indulged in the meal (did I mention that this included the world’s spiciest soup?). But every once in a while they’d come up for air & Nick would fill me in with a quick summary of the conversation and ask me a dozen questions or so. We talked a lot about the boats we are working on and how to break them into the US market. One of my primary concerns was that I would have a hard time convincing them to re-brand for North America. Fortunately we bridged that divide fairly quickly, and Coastal Kayaks was officially born over a toast of Chinese Tea and a plate of Pigeon parts.
After dinner Nick wanted to go get massages, but David insisted that we go out drinking to celebrate (I should note that at this point Nick is passed out cold in his bed). We wandered around the West Lake here in Hangzhou which was absolutely stunning on this misty night. The willows were kissing the water as the Cherry Trees were just starting to think about blossoming. This place is going to be absolutely stunning in a couple of weeks.
As we wandered around the lake we passed a number of statues & monuments, but I couldn’t resist asking about the one that looked to me like a pig riding a flower vase. David & Nick tried to explain it’s significance, but the best I could come up with from their discussion was that it represents that life is lived one cup of tea at a time. At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it… until the next cup of tea.
David eventually led us to a bar that was obviously designed to make you think you had stumbled into Dublin or the back streets of London. That is until the band started up and reminded you that you were firmly in China. We spent the better part of 3 hours playing dice games and emptying pitchers of locally brewed beer. Nick’s brother joined us after a bit, and the boys were dying to hit on the European girls at the table next to us, but never quite got around to it before they left.
All in all it was an entertaining night of letting loose with the guys who I hope to work with for several years to come. I think that we are starting to build a solid friendship, and I am hopeful that our business dealings go as smoothly. Now it’s time to convince myself that it’s not Noon and get some sleep. Tomorrow we head to the factory, and I have a lot of work to do to get these boats to where I want them.