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I have a beautiful granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. She has enough challenges to face in her life and I want to make sure that finding appropriately fitting clothes will not be one of them.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 2 of our China Adventure

Taken from my Journal on my trip to China

Thursday, August 26, 2010
As usual, I woke up very early in the morning, today it was 3:30 am. I started writing my journal yesterday and today, as I sat quietly trying not to disturb Jillian, my writing continued. Documenting this journey as it happened is very important to me. I want to remember every detail.
When Jillian woke up, it was time to get ready for another new day. Still no flat iron! Yuan was going to meet us at 10:00 am today so we took our time getting ready and then went down to the restaurant for another delicious breakfast. The food in the restaurant was fantastic. We could choose from an amazing buffet of Asian and American style foods.
After we ate, we headed for the lobby to wait. Yuan called to let us know he was on the way and said he would be arriving in 20 minutes…which we guessed would be an hour. We were right! Once he arrived, we had to wait for the owner of the shirt factory to pick us up…more waiting.
After the owner finally arrives, Yuan introduces us and, of course, he speaks no English. He is the owner of the factory that will be making our shirts. By this time, guess what, it’s time for lunch. He takes us to a beautiful hotel restaurant that is near his factory. We head up to the 5th floor to a private room. When we get into the room there are others there waiting for us. The feast begins. He orders a large variety of foods and we were at a loss as to what to eat. Many of the foods were looking back at us. We tried being polite and tasted several of the different dishes which were actually very tasty. It took several hours to complete the meal. The owner commented many times that woman my age in China do not usually work and he admired me for the business I was starting. He continually gave me a “thumbs up” with a twinkle in his eye. He was so friendly and gracious. Thank God we had Yuan to help us communicate!
When lunch was over we walked to his factory which was right around the corner. We had to climb several flights of stairs to get to the office and showroom area. The temperature was very hot and the building was stifling. Air conditioning is not what we’re used to. The air conditioners are large, individual units that look like a big refrigerator in the room. They didn’t turn it on until we got there so the room was very warm. We all sat down on a large sofa that surrounded a very unusual coffee table. The coffee table was designed to serve tea in a very unique way. We had the same type of seating when we visited the jeans factory; it must be their way. The owner sat at the head of the table and prepared the tea. He was very talkative and Yuan was doing a wonderful job interpreting but still the conversation was difficult. As I became more comfortable, we got down to business. Next he took us into his enormous showroom. This company manufacturers many things that we will be making later on as we grow. They are a local manufacturer and have never made clothes for people from other countries and especially not for people with Down syndrome. But we were very pleased with the quality of their work and plan to continue to work with them in the future.
The next order of business was to take a tour of the factory. It was very impressive. Again, in their standards, this place was very modern. I will be happy to do business with them and I liked how the factory looked.
We went back to his office where we discussed our shirts. He brought us many types of fabrics from which to choose. Jillian and I decided to go with 100% cotton. We picked some fun colors and discussed price. He invited us to stay for dinner but I graciously declined. We just couldn’t face another creature looking us in the face; besides, Yuan had promised to take us to a shopping mall.
The owner was so kind and drove us back into town. He dropped us off at this enormous shopping mall: so many floors and stores. I’ve seen nothing like it in the U.S. People were everywhere. I needed to find a FLAT IRON! We headed up to the fourth floor where all the electronic stores were located. We were completely shocked at the prices of their electronic equipment…almost double the price in the U.S. We looked at computers with common brand names and they were outrageously expensive. Even the flat iron was more than I should have paid.
The clothes were much too small for us and we just couldn’t find anything of interest to buy. It was getting late and Yuan had to get back to his apartment. He wanted us to take a taxi back to our hotel but we wanted to walk. We said our goodbyes and thanked him for being so helpful.
It took us about 25 minutes, but we needed the exercise. It felt good! When we got back to the hotel, we headed to the restaurant for some dinner. It was about 9:00 pm and the restaurant would be closing soon. We ate dinner then headed back to our room. Yuan had asked if he could get us a hotel nearer to his town. He had made plans for us to do some site seeing and the long distance back and forth would make the plans more difficult. We agreed we would move to another hotel closer to where he lived because the traveling time for him was just too much. I was a little unsure about giving up all the comforts of the Hyatt for a hotel I knew nothing about but we only had 2 days left and I felt very bad about how much time Yuan was spending on a bus or in a taxi. So in the morning we would move.

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