This BLOG is a way of sharing the highlights of our travels near and far with family, friends and anyone who is interested. This has mostly been about our international travel with a couple of domestic trips. It recently occurred to me that my international followers may be interested in my travels in my own backyard. 'The trouble with not having a goal is you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.' – Bill Copeland
Sarah and Dan got a great deal on visiting Disneyland in both Shanghai and Tokyo and grandma got to tag along – she never needs to be asked twice. These are the kind of experiences I like to fill my life with I would rather create a memory then buy things any day of the week. The less you buy the more you can spend on making memories.
Flight Qantas 129 A330-300 – Departed a few minutes late at 9:35am
Great seat in row 57KJ DEF 2 3 2 configuration at the back of plane allows room to stand in the aisle while someone passes. Food was good chicken for lunch and beef and rice for dinner were my choices
Kids were amazing never complained or asked once ‘how long now’? Emily and Daniel had several hours sleep and Ollie (so many movies too watch lol) got at least 2-hour nap during the flight.
We landed just after 6:30 pm. Shanghai is two hours behind Australia so no jet lag. Customs was a very simple and easy process and given the number of people in the queue we were through very quickly. We are confident now that we could have entered through the 144-hour visa waiver line. We had obtained a visa in Sydney just to be on the safe side. We didn’t want to put Japan part of the trip at risk if we were turned back. After finding bags lapping around carousel 10 we spilled out into the throng people in arrivals. Our transfer driver spotted us quickly. The Donald Duck and made Mickey Mouse luggage might have been a give away or that we only fair people in the place. After a very comfortable 30 minute ride our hotel stood before us and was a welcome sight even though only 8pm were all ready for bed.
The hotel is amazing Toy Story theme from top to bottom including woody appearing in the lobby from time to time. Not sure how many rooms all built on figure eight design which makes getting around easy. The grounds were so peaceful and a great place for an early morning walk
We were up early for the day our first day in the park and on the first bus for early entry. Hotel guests get early entry access to the park which is really good as giving everyone a chance to get set before the masses pour in. Our first ride was xxx one of the best in the park for all ages. Then we were off to slinky dog for a mini roller coaster. Dan and Sarah then tackled Rex’s Racer which looks relatively tame but was more of a stomach churner than it appeared.
Pirates ride was the next Emi didn’t like this much but Oliver loved it. Kept saying go again. The graphics were so real it felt like you right in the battle and on the galley rising up through the sea. We waited to meet Jack Sparrow and just got there right at the right time to beat the line. Jack spent ages talking to Ollie and Emi. Oliver just thought he was the best, everything was about Jack said this Jack said that for a long while afterward. After some bbq corn and yummy chicken sticks, it was time for the Fantasia show in front of the castle. The props and costumes were amazing and so well done. The kids were totally meresmised.
Next, it was time for the parade we settled down in a spot to wait. Sarah and dan ducked off to do the seven dwarf ride. The parade was fun and the character loved Ollie and Emi in their hats. Everyone in the park loved them. The characters to cast members and the people who were always wanting to take their photos. After the parade found the hotdog stand and they were quite tasty buns a little hard, not soft like ours but filled a spot. Next, it was time for Ollie to hold court with all the Marvel characters especially Captain America. Kids love all the characters and love meeting them over and over.
In meantime, Pluto and Goofy came walking out to do their stint. The waiting line was closed before we were finished with the ducks. So Ollie waited in the middle of Main Street and sure enough, when they were leaving Pluto spotted him took his hand and Emi with goofy to walked all the way back to the exit. It made Ollie’s day perfect and it was only 3pm with dinner at Cinderella’s table and fireworks to come.
We headed back to Main Street to meet Donald and Daisy together.
Before dinner, we decided to take the boat ride and the kids were delighted when the cast member loading the boats organised with our boat captain to let them steer – it didn’t seem to be something they were doing for others so kids felt a bit special –
No doubt their hats which caused a stir all over the park helped them secure this opportunity. They did
a good job and we made it around safely.
Dinner in the castle was really good and the food was delicious the character spent ages with the kids and although tired the kids were still loving their Shanghai Disney day with another day to come.
No rocking to sleep needed at night for anyone.
Up and at ‘em early again to take advantage of early park access which is a part of being in the Disney hotel. Enter through. Special entrance before the park opens. Our second day was a bit of a blur for me but I know there were more character visits and slowly the book was filled with character signature on their page.
Sarah had purchased a Disneyland storybook (A- Z of characters I think) and kids were getting each character to sign their page. Emily patiently waits for a long time to meet with Snow White and she was made feel very special.
We had a shorter day today as kids were starting to get worn out so we decided on a late lunch at Cheesecake Factory which is located in the downtown Disney area before heading back to the hotel for a rest – well grandma and kids. dan and Sarah headed back for a night session to finish their Disney experience Dan called the Tron best Disney ride at any park he has visited.
The kids day was complete a very tired Ollie walks into the hotel and who’s there no other than Woody. He suddenly found a second wind to do once last character visit before grandma took them to the hotel convenience store for a scratch up dinner. Next stop Tokyo
This park is really amazing and I would recommend to anyone. So well done and very organised.
Our car service Sun Transfers got us off to a great start and returned us to the airport with no fuss and worth every penny for peace of mind. Hotel staff we so helpful and we had no language issues.
All in all, it was a brilliant experience mostly down to Sarah’s hours and hours of research and a great understanding of all things Disney which means she plans everything to get absolute best out of the park visit. Plenty of hidden gems if you do the research.
Next stop Disneyland Tokyo Japan
After breakfast eight of us decided to take a cab down to Nanjing Rd and check out the shops and visit The Bund. Two cab eight people would we ever see the other four at the meeting place on Najing Rd. Surprisingly despite going different ways and being dropped on different corners we found one another again. The morning was spent wandering down towards the Bund from the Peoples Square.
Shops shops everywhere and the highlight was going in and checking out the The Peace Hotel is a hotel on The Bund in Shanghai, China which overlooks the Huangpu River. The word “bund” means an embankment or an embanked quay which decribes it perfectly. Even if we only slipped in to use the bathroom but I do know when I go back to Shanghai I will be having a night or two here.
We headed under the Huangpu River river to Pudong which is a district of Shanghai, China, located along the east side of the Huangpu River, across from the historic city center of Shanghai in Puxi in The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel which is one of Shanghai’s top five tourist attractions and it’s also one of its strangest. Bizarre, trippy audio-visual effects play as you travel in an automated car ‘into the core of the Earth’ under the Huangpu river.
Guard on hand to keep everyone off the grass
Just has to try it!!!!
Spending half a day wandering around was great experience and Shanghai is just like New York, I have another favourite city in the world to add to my list of favourite cities.
I will definitely be back to explore this great country and Shanghai more. Rested up in the afternoon to get our strength back for the MacWool Farewell China dinner.
While we were out seeing the sights Don, Ian and Kerrie were scouting out a venue for our farewell dinner. Can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it was in the French Quarter and we had a great night with everyone sharing their memorable and not so memorable moments of our time in China.
David Zhou – Our guide
The common thread in every speech was how lucky we were to have what we all considered ‘The Best’ national guide in China. David Zhou from Wendy Wu tours was just fantastic and really contributed to a very successful and amazing trip.
Nothing was ever too much trouble he had a great sense of humour and quickly picked up on the Aussie fun loving ways. He will always be remembered by all in our tour group.
The next morning eight of the group were up very early to catch a very fast train to Biejing for an additional couple of days while the six of us heading home from Shanghai had a bit more time for one last buffet breakfast before a bit more free time heading to the train station to catch our train. Sharpy and Frank wanted to visit an old haunted of Peter and Nadia Brice. The just had to go there even if too early for a beer. The Shanghai Maglev Train is a magnetic levitation train, or maglev line that operates in Shanghai,China. It is the first commercially operated high-speed magnetic levitation line in the world and only the third Maglev line to be operated.
The train line was designed to connect Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the outskirts of central Pudong where passengers could interchange to the Shanghai Metro to continue their trip to the city centre. The top operational commercial speed of this train is 431 km/h (268 mph), making it the world’s fastest train in regular commercial service since its opening in April 2004. During a non-commercial test run on 12 November 2003, a maglev train achieved a Chinese record speed of 501 km/h (311 mph).
The train ride was sensational and my need for speed ensured this was one of my highlights of the whole trip for me.
After a rather eventful flight home with Ian in pain with a flare up of kidney stones, we arrived home after a fantastic trip with the best group of people you could ever travel with.
The team at MacWool should be congratulated on a great this initiative and providing us all with the opportunity to get out of our comfort zone and experience another culture with the bonus of seeing what happens to our wool when it leaves Australian shores.
Up early and on board the bus for a big day or the road visiting a scouring, a top making and a weaving mill. Each of these mills proved very interesting in their own way. The bus ride to the first mill gave those feeling a little weary some extra zzz before we arrived.
Some of the group were suffering from heavy colds and bravely battled on to see the very reason we were all in China, the mills.
The mill owners and all the mill staff were very gracious with their time and gave ample opportunity to get up close to their business. There is no way we would have been allow to see these processes if in Australia, no yellow lines and catwalks to stay on here.
The mills owners seemed genuinely happy to have woolgrowers visiting them and showing interest in their business.
The owner of Australian Harvest mills gave us over an hour of his time in the board room telling us about his business and answering questions form our group.
Australian wool is seen very much as the premium wool in the world but the Chinese still would like to buy our wool cheaper. Plenty of questions were asked and answered on both sides and it was interesting exercise to do this through an interrupter.
The Australian Harvest Mill, which has a strong alliance Australia, provided lunch and the fare was authentically chinese and this was enjoyed but we are all getting over the cuisine. After fantastic few hours at Harvest we headed to the final mill of the day which was a spinning and weaving mill. It was interesting to see such mechanisation up close and the volume of product they move through the mill in a single day.
This mill was surrounded by the homes (blocks of units) of the workers and there were lots of children wandering in and around the mill yard, again no chance of that here.
It was a very quiet ride home in the bus with most passengers sleeping and those that remained awake were able to witness the skill of our driver in very heavy peak hour traffic.
Henry with finished product – heavy too
A quick meal at Holly’s Place (owner, Benny just back from studying in Sydney since he was six) burgers all around for dinner and everyone turned in all feeling very tired. Free day tomorrow!!!
Couldn’t help himself
Neither could he…one for the pool room – Photo with the security guard
As this is what we came for, everyone was keen to start checking out the mills. We were lucky enough to have representative from Tech Wool take us to the all the mills.
Wu gave up two full days to ensure we got the most out of our visits the various mills. Everyone in the group really appreciated her being with us to add value to our experiences at each of the mills that she had organised for us to attend.
Our first mill was a carbonising mill about 2hours outside Shanghai, we were welcome by the mill owner who spend time explaining the process and showing us around the mill. He was delighted as this was the first time actual woolgrowers had visited his mill.
It was amazing to be able to get up close to all the processes, there is no way this could have happened in Australia due to OH& S regulations.
After Don presented the excited mill owner with a hat and boomerang we headed back to town for lunch. The place Wu chose for lunch was amazing and was huge, there were many many private dining rooms all with amazing decor. Wu ordered an array of mostly seafood dishes of which the crab was my favourite.
John and Sharpy reviewing John’s test results while standing in a mill in China – Technology
Sharpy talking to Tom Elder about his wool –
After lunch we headed to a textile exhibition and show, where we spent an hour or so before boarding the bus to be taken to a tailor where many of the group ordered items from suits to jackets and shirts. I was able to pick up a very nice piece of material which I will have made into a jacket at some stage.
We boarded our cruise ship Victoria Lianna for our much anticipated three day cruise
down the Yangtze River. After a few (a good few drinks) in the Yangtze Bar we settled in for the night in our great little cabins. It was so nice to leave balcony door open and watch the world (China) glide by. The first tag team took on David (guide) in a drinking session, looking at likes of Gary and crew they were unsuccessful as David bounce up full of beans and they were a little worse for wear.
Our cozy comfortable cabin
It would have been worth being up at three in the morning to see Louella headed to the bar in her robe looking for Gary who she was certain must have fallen overboard somewhere.
David in strife following big night
Breakfast was enjoyed by most of the group with exception of a couple people who chose extra rest over the meal. Almost all the group set
on the guided tour to the ghost city with all reports pointing to fascinating experience.
For those of us who remained on board it was chance to catch up on some rest and try and ward off the colds that are starting appear among the group.
In the afternoon we all headed out on deck for the viewing of the first two of the three gorges. Qutang Gorge and Wu Gorge. Qutang Gorge is the shortest (5 miles), narrowest (500 feet), and most dramatic. The 25-mile long Wu Gorge is known for its quiet beauty, forest-covered mountains, and cliffs so sheer that the sun barely penetrates the precipices. It was a sight to be seen, this afternoon also featured the captains reception where we were treated to canapés and drinks.Dinner was uneventful and team two took up the running with David who saw them off in style. Not sure who was in this group but there was a fair amount of mixing drinks during the evening.
The scenery from the deck or the cabin was forever changing and it was hard not to just sit and gaze out but there was always something to do.The only problem some many things happening little time to just sit on the balcony and enjoy the passing views.
Another feature was the trip was transferring to another vessel for a relaxing excursion through the attractive gorges of Shennong Stream. Once at top of gorge we watched traditional dancing and singing before returning to our cruise ship. This was the most amazing place and the people living here must be very strong as the terrain would make every day activities almost impossible. Needless to say the mountains were dotted with homes, power lines and roads. How they ever put this infrastructure is beyond belief.
Back on board it was time for a rest before a practice for our cabaret act. It was decided that the group would sign G’day G’day with some actions and limited props.It was decided that Sharpy would give a demonstration of an auction with our group acting as buyers. This went over well and I think Don (with David interpreting) introduction as to why we were in China was well received and gave some context to our performance. There will be no Oscars, awarded for the performance but we had a lot of fun and certainly entertained the other passengers.
After the performance it was time for us to go through the locks at the dam, this was sensational and we all stayed out on deck for the whole process, which takes around 4 hours to be completed. In the meantime it was the final tag team turn to take on poor David, pleased to say he withstood phase three but I think his stamina was starting to wane, another night on board and I think they would have had him.
After 3 big nights finally wearing him down – Needed 1 more night
Up and at ‘em next morning, albeit a little more slowly for those who partied on until well into the night. We tramped off the boat again to bus over to the three gorges dam for another tour- another highlight to add to the long list of highlights on this tour. What an amazing feat to build such a structure, although we could see it all that well as it was a very misty (smoggy) day but to see the lock system that we came through during the night and see the dam itself was all I expected and much much more.
Back on board for lunch before disembarking for a bus ride to Yichang airport for the short flight to Shanghai, the last leg of the main tour. Eleven members of the group are travelling on to Beijing while eight of us are headed home after few days in Shanghai.
Old town in Chongqing and Panda Zoo was on the schedule for the morning of day eight.
This was very interesting and most of the morning was punctuated by a game of pegging (someone from Tilpa who shall remain nameless purchased half a dozen pegs).
Pegging at its extreme
These pegs where pegged to various of the tour group members followed by much giggling and snickering among the others until the pegee found the peg and then homed in on the next victim.
At one staff group from Yass who will remain also remain nameless ended up with no less that 5 pegs on backpack, someone decided to add their hanky to the peg as if drying washing.
Oh yes a couple rogues in the group peg the statue of a kangaroo in the panda park. It was funny to see how such a silly little game could cause so much laughter and so many alliances formed, you keep eye on my back and I will watch yours, etc
River mist not pollution – that was the line provided
The panda’s were very sleepy but we did get to see one up close
enjoying a bamboo lunch. After the enjoyable visit with china’s national treasures we headed off to lunch of our own in the old town and our first real experience of street seething with people.
It was unbelievable but everyone was so nice and I really felt very safe prowling around the streets.
After a meal at a great place that of looked the old town street were headed our to sample their wares, everyone seem to come back to the meeting point with a purchase or two.
Doesn’t everyone carry compressor like this?
Back on the bus to navigated (at one point our national guide, David was off the bus folding in drivers mirrors so the could pass the bus in narrow gridlock little road) our way to teahouse and learn how to make and drink traditional Chinese tea.
Right ..well I think a quick board meeting is required
Once at the teahouse drop off point the two MacWool staff decided they need to have a meeting on the bus while the rest of us visited the teahouse ZZZZZzzzzzzzz.
The park was very beautiful and the tea was tea but worth doing just the same.After another dinner you guessed it Chinese but it was again tasty but a few dishes that seem to make repeat performance such as the scrambled egg and tomato, very yummy but not three times a day.
Following dinner it was back on the bus for a 10-minute ride to the dock to board the Victoria Lianna, our home for the next three days.
Thanks goodness we walked down the 200 hundred steps to board and not up otherwise I would be still in Chongqing.
After breakfast, we collected our bagged lunch, we piled on the bus again and the regulars took their places on the back seat for the short boat ride down Li River (4 hours). After a warning by our guides not to consume the food provided by the boat, as it is prepared using water from the river (one look at the kitchen area of each boat gave any further incentive needed to stick our packed lunch).
Taxi – anyone?
The four-hour float down the river was very peaceful and with a backdrop of the most beautiful sentry all the way we will all remember this part of our trip for years to come. The brave went up to take in the full wonder of Mother Nature’s display of this magical place.
Sharpy and I made a short stay up top to enjoy the little break in the misty rain before returning to comfort of our table in the cabin.We arrived in Yangshuo in the mid afternoon and scramble up the steps through the intense market staller-holders that came to the waters edge to hawk their wares. Those who made the mistake of speaking to them (even to say ‘no thank you’) had following all the way to the hotel 20 minutes away. If you speak to them they take it as acknowledgement and you may be talked into buying something. A strategy that worked on a few in our group, they ended up making a purchase just to get rid of them.
After walk through the ‘Hello’ markets (whole town is markets) and are known as the ‘Hello’ markets as the stall holders constantly call out hello, hello, hello in the hope that you will engage with them before then sell you then sell you something.After running the gauntlet of the stallholders for the 20-minute walk through the market town to our hotel we checked in to comfortable rooms.
The Green Lotus Hotel was very comfortable and after a short break everyone headed out in pairs or in small groups to explore the markets for a couple hours. Our little group made our way to KFC to sample some western style food, we just had a snack of chips etc. it was nice to be on familiar ground once again albeit for a short time.
Let the shopping begin, their were some great bargains to be found and I think everyone in the group made a purchase or two and others made many purchases. We had a pleasant dinner in the hotel before most of the group headed out to the world famous Impressions Show using the lime stone mountains as a backdrop. This is just something that words cannot described and one of the ‘seeing is believing’ parts of this fascinating country. This was an outstanding show and everyone thought it was a very worthwhile additional excursion.
Day 6 – Old Farm, Group Massage (Foot Reflexology) and Cormorant Fishing
A bit later start at around 9.30am we boarded the bus and headed out to a farm just outside Yangshuo the farm house was 300 years old and the two old farmers living here were both in late 70s. They didn’t want to live in the new house next door. It was very very primitive and cold.We then re-boarded the bus and headed out to a small village where we wandered around and got the feel of village life, it was very interesting but not a place I would like to have to spend my days.
Back on the bus and back to town for lunch, surprise surprise it was Chinese. Everything was good and we all ate up heartily before the highlight of the day and maybe the trip. Most of us booked in for a reflexology foot massage 120Yuan for one how. This was sensational and we were all in a room together with gales of laughter we enjoyed the experience very much and all felt better afterwards. Sharpy was very footsore and lame going in and came out feeling like a new man with fresh feet, must have felt better tipped his girl 100yuan.
Cormorant fishing which interesting t see how they used to use the bird to catch their fish. The ride out into the middle of the Li River in pitch darkness on a bamboo raft with only the glow of town lights to guide was eerie but well worth every minute. This would never happen at home as regulations would not allow twenty people on a bamboo raft with no life preservers and a very swift flowing current in the pitch dark. We only ran aground once and all the boys had to move to the back to get us going again. The hardy ones headed to a Karaoke bar to belt out a tune or two and rest of us headed back to hotel and turned in after a long enjoyable day.
Day 7 – South China Pearl Museum and Flute Reed Cave Guilin
After another substantial breakfast we boarded the bus for the one and half hour ride back to Guilin, once back in Guilin we visited the South Sea Pearl Museum and boy there was some serious spending done here. Such a beautiful range of the most beautiful fresh and seawater pearls I have ever seen. Yes Sharpie had to kick the tin a bit too for the Guilin economy and I purchased a beautiful black sea pearl pendant and a few other bits and pieces.
After the shopping stop and with all the boys on board feeling a little or a lot poorer on International Woman’s day we set off for the Flute Reed caves. What can I say they were spectacular and like nothing else I have ever seen, probably as I have never been under ground before. Other that had visited caves elsewhere were blown away by the beauty and formations they saw.
After lunch we headed to the Guilin airport here we said goodbye to our local guide Kevin (he was fantastic and so interested in our group) and were promptly being processed by security we all gathered at the gate and enjoys a bit of a rest, although a couple of they die hard shoppers still managed to fine some things to buy.I was just happy to Skype all the kids and catch up on news at home. Little Indee still thinks we are at Chinese not in China, kept asking Poppy Ian if he was still at dinner.
Doesn’t everyone defrost steak on rack in street
The short 1:10hr flight found us in the biggest city in China (if not the world), Chongqing. Some 32 million people live in this very modern and glittering city, the bus ride to our hotel was just amazing and our hotel Harbour Plaza is bang smack in the middle of the downtown area. You guessed it after dinner the shoppers set off again and were probably still there when the shops closed at 10pm. Ian and I just had a wander around took in the sights and the sounds before retiring to very comfortable room.
With great expectation we boarded our bus for the two-hour bus ride to base of the mountain.
About an hour into the trip we stopped at a Chinese servo for a short break where we sampled fruit from to road side stalls. The apples Ian purchased were the largest and tastiest I have ever eaten.
This was our first toilet ‘Chinese’ style and lets just say it will be forever burned in the memories of those who needed to use the facilities. On arrival at the base of the mountain we transferred to a smaller bus with a driver experienced for the climb up the mountainside. This ride was exciting to say the least, how do you know if someone coming around the single lane hair pin bend…. honk your horn and gun it… and hope for the best !!!! and with only what seemed like endless hairpin bends and all at 40-60km hour.
At the start of the hiking section we all piled out and we made the fantastic climb to Dragon Backbone’s Rice Terraces is the most amazing terrace in China! Construction of the terraces began in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and continued until the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when construction was completed. The Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces are the culmination of both the profound wisdom and strenuous labor of the Zhuang people. Twenty (the whole group) of us started out and twenty of us made it to the top. It was worth every step and I mean steps, it was a constant climb. I wanted to count the steps but need every once of my strength and endurance to get up there. On the way up very kind stall holder who had little english but still offered Sharpy a chair when he stopped for a spell half way up the never ending trail. After the traditional group picture we headed back down and were lucky enough to see a water buffalo plowing one of the terraces. Half way down we sampled an authentic Chinese lunch including sticky rice cooked in bamboo and completed our walking section with some serious scarf shopping we climbed aboard our (we hope) trusty little bus for the return journey down the mountain.
If we thought we needed to hang on the ride up the hill it was nothing compared to coming down it felt coming down off the mountain at Bathurst raceway over and over again with the added bonus of oncoming buses, not sure if driver was standing on the brakes or the horn more when diving into the tight little turns. Tomorrow, we take a 4-hour boat ride down Li River to Yangshuo, as long as there are no steps all will be well. We will be staying at Yangshuo for next two nights.
After another great brekkie some of the party took a quick trip to the main island on the star ferry, to say they had been there. Time was short, as we needed to check out and be on the bus by 11am. The rest of us just wandered around the mall near hotel and check email and caught up with other chores
David (Jai) National Guide Wendy Wu
Dragon Air Flight Routes
Our uneventful 70-minute flight on Dragon Air to Guilin on a near empty plane was a nice breather for us all.
On arrival our national and local guide from Wendy Wu tours met us at arrival at the Guilin Airport. Kevin and David, David stays with us the entire time we are in China and Kevin will be our local guide for Guilin. We will have a different local guide for each location.
The bus ride from the airport gave our first glimpse of the real China. We were all excited and looking forward to tour getting underway for real.
We arrived and checked into the hotel by 4.45pm and quickly got our bags to the rooms and set off to dinner in downtown Guilin.
Dinner was more like Chinese from home apart from the snake wine which only the very brave tried but tomorrow we will hit the more traditional food.
The brave had a taste of this
Everyone pretty tired so all had turned in by 8.30pm. Tomorrow we hike to the rice terraces at Longji
We started the day with a breakfast to please all. The hotel had a complete buffet breakfast with everything one could possibly want to kick off the day.
Our party grazed their way through the offerings at various times between 6.30am and 9am. Daniel Chang from AWI (Australian Wool Innovations) meet us in the foyer and we piled on the bus for 45 minute ride to the Love +Hope Textile factory.
A lot of these types of manufacturing businesses have been priced out of Hong Kong and have moved to mainland China. This business is considered high-end manufacturing that work with a number of well-known brand names. Their model is one of excellence and high-end manufacturing.
They employ around 60 staff and take garments from end to end. All the growers really enjoyed this visit, it was great to be able to get so close to each stage of the processing and asking lots of questions. Johanna and Ark were very generous with their time and answered all our questions.
After the factory tour we headed back to the hotel for a dim sum lunch. This was fantastic and Brenda from AWI joined us and helped us navigate our way through all the dishes the just kept coming. It was voted a real highlight by all of us.
After lunch we head to the AWI office for a presentation on what Brenda and Daniel do to promote the qualities of wool with manufacturing in mainland China and around the world.They were so enthusiastic and demonstrated a great knowledge of the merino product and showed many innovations they are working on to encourage a greater use of wool in manufacturing.
After a couple hours as guests of AWI Hong Kong we walk a short distance to the Polytechnic University where we were taken right through all the various training rooms. Every graduate of this university has to learn how to use all Legacies & Innovations: Cheongsam Exhibition before it opened to the public, the garments produced by students and staff for this display were not be out of place on any fashion runway in the world.
machinery and technics for using textiles before they graduate. Our AWI host both graduated from this university and are testament to what a good university it is. Students can access the uni 24hours day to work on projects and assignment. Our group was lucky enough to see the garments on display for the
On leaving the university most of the girl
s and a few brave lads set of on a shopping expedition with Brenda, the rest of us skedaddled back to the hotel for a quick kip and tidy up before joining the other a restaurant on the waterfront selected for us by Daniel. About 20 minute walk down past the famous Peninsular Hotel we arrived at the restaurant and the other were ready and waiting.
Fish Swim Bladder and Mushrooms
The laughter and frivolity became. Daniel was charged with the responsibility of ordering beers and dinner.
The ranges of dishes was extensive it included crabmeat balls in toasted almond (dish of the night for me), sharks fin soup (Sharpy had 2 bowls, he could have had another 16 if he wanted), scallops and some unidentifiable shellfish, suckling pig without the pig, just the crackling, steamed whole grouper, fish swim bladder and mushrooms (tried it but awful), rice, red bean soup(dessert, awful) and steamed bums buns with bean paste (they looked like the latter and caused righteous behaviour at both tables).
The interesting fact was that both tables like and dislike the same dishes which just goes to should our palates are all very similar. Daniel was the best host anyone could ask for all on his own time and as he was due to fly to mainland China early the following morning it was so well above and beyond.