Talk about a fish out of water!
Sky scrapers of tiny apartments everywhere you looked, 4 lanes of chaotic traffic, English barrier, it was all a bit of a change for this country girl.
But I was picked up in style in a Jaguar, and the motel stayed in feels like it would be rude to sneeze.
First day in the office and on the feature wall in reception was my book! Along with many many other amazing titles Colorcraft have printed. Feeling like the big time!
The board room is full of examples of their work. From: The Lonely Planet to Hairy Maclary, The Beatles, Encyclopaedia of British Columbia, The Hazelton story, Kittens, Orange, NZ Rugby Greats and even Annabel Langbein cook books. Yep I'm up there with the best!
Out to lunch with Don, Kelvin and Fraser we had a Chinese banquet....I needed an afternoon nap, I ate too much! And was the master of chopsticks.
But I worked it off with a 2km stroll around the park with Fraser as we did a little sightseeing. The idea was to get a good view of Hong Kong island but it was super foggy and we only just made it back in time before monsoonal rain! So next minute I'm trying to protect my eyes in the rat race of people with umbrellas walking around like they are drunk and only thinking of themselves. No indicators on the road, no indicators on the footpath and they just walk at you authoritatively, expecting you to move and in the blink of an eye they change direction like 'shit I want to go this way now'.
Danny picks me up in the jag again to go to dinner. Fraser is already in the back seat, and we had to pick up his partner on the way. I laughed and told him how I sat in the front seat from the airport to the office and asked Danny heaps of questions! Apparently not the done thing. Turns out I was supposed to sit in the back! Lol
Danny dropped us off for dinner at a classy Japanese restaurant, parked the car and went for supper himself while he waited for us. Most Chinese eat out every day as it is fairly cheap. We laughed and told stories over dinner. I kept trying to change the conversation to learn about their culture but they kept going back to me and the cattle drive and the truck project.
The next day I was picked up by what felt like the Mafia, they handed me a customs doc and we headed to China. The car was so flash I felt like I was sitting in business class on an airplane. The countryside was green but I was blown away with how third world it seemed. Aesthetics are not high on their list of importance. Nothing looks smart.
Our border crossing was really smooth. In China they drive on the other side of the road! We had to be picked up by a Chinese registered car, hence why we couldn't drive ourselves there. And no one uses their indicators their either! It's like Russian roulette driving in China. All horns, waving arms and lots of braking!
And did you know, Facebook and messenger and gmail and YouTube don't work in China! Yep the government has them blocked! So I was completely off the radar as far as what was going on in my world back home. Kinda nice for a while, but I missed out on exciting wins my staff had while I was MIA!
We got to the factory and on the outside you think really, my books are made here! But inside it is unreal. It was a huge eye opener and gave me appreciation for how the process happens. There's a lot more to making a book than just sticking some pages together and putting a cover on!
We spent the day there checking pages and colours and watching the different processes. At any one time they are working on around 25 books for people.
Some processes are done by machine while others are done by hand.
Every time I had questions, Kelvin would speak to the manager and then interpret his response back to me.
The next day we headed back to the printers to check on the overnight work. I was happy, comfortable to leave the printing of my 10,000 books in their hands, and try to wait patiently for their arrival. Bound for the airport and home to Australia, I couldn't wait to see my dog, Barney, who would have his own kick ass story to tell me about his adventure to Bribie Island and the farm to paint with Joey and Annette.