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.
Jillian and I got ready for the day and headed to the hotel restaurant for another delicious breakfast. When we finished eating, we waited for Yuan to arrive, but again he was late. I felt so bad for what he went through every morning to pick us up. When he finally arrived, we packed up our things and checked out of the hotel. We took a taxi to the new hotel outside of Guangzhou not far from where Yuan lived. When we pulled up to the front entrance, I was little nervous. But once inside, it wasn’t so bad. Nothing like the Hyatt, I will admit, but at least it was more convenient for poor Yuan. It was within walking distance from his apartment and not far from the jeans factory. For that reason alone, it was worth the downgrade. Besides, I saw several McDonalds very close by and their food was looking mighty tasty by this time!
Once we checked in, we all ate lunch together in the hotel restaurant. This restaurant did not have very good food, but the fried rice was satisfactory. Then we went back to the jeans factory. Yuan wanted to prepare gifts for us he said. He was going to have his company make us each a pair of custom made jeans. He wanted to get our measurements and wanted us to design them however we wanted. What a special treat this was. I was thrilled to have something custom made and embroidered especially for me. It meant a lot to him to do this for us. But instead of jeans, I chose a jeans skirt and, of course, Jillian could fit into a pair of those “skinny” jeans! They will begin making these for us very soon and send them to us later.
We took a tour of the factory, floor by floor, and were amazed at the skills of the people who worked there. There were no modern computers or lazars for cutting. Everything was done by hand or on a sewing machine. On one floor, two men were laying out the fabric on a huge cutting table. Yuan explained the process to us. They stack the fabric sometimes 300 layers high. The pattern pieces are laid out on top of the stack and then the workers use a large “jigsaw” type saw to cut out each pattern piece. In the U.S., this would be done by a computer and lazar. One woman I watched was putting a stencil on a pocket piece. She had some sort of white solution that she brushed over a stencil that sat on top of a large stack of pocket pieces. She was as fast as any machine; her hands moved like lightening. She would stencil each pocket piece so it could be embroidered with stitching.
On another floor, the pieces are sewn together by the sewing staff. It was a large room with many people at sewing machines. Each person had just one job. I watched one man sew the flat felt seam from one end of the pant leg, around the crotch and down to the other end of the pant leg. It may have taken two or three seconds. I watched in amazement how fast he could do this. He had a stack on one side of work to be done and on the other side of him was his completed stack. Parts and pieces were everywhere. Some people wore masks, others did not. The fabric dust was everywhere and scraps of denim lay in piles.
The next floor we toured was the shipping department. The people on this floor inspected and packaged the jeans and prepared them for shipping. It seemed like a very simple process here.
After our tour of the factory, you guessed it; it was time for another meal. So, we’re off to a different restaurant. It’s Friday night and dinner was even more of an event. We were joined by many other people. The meal turned into an enormous feast, so many different dishes. They just kept bringing more and more food. I tried many of them and most were very delicious. But, the restaurant got really crowded and smoking was allowed…I couldn’t wait to get some fresh air.
When dinner was over, we went to a shopping mall nearby. We shopped with the owner of the factory. She was so kind and bought us each a small gift. We walked around for a while and finally headed back to our hotel.
Yuan had a special night planned. In China, the young people love to go to a place called KTV. I was definitely out of place here. This place consisted of individual party rooms where they gather to eat, drink beer and sing Karaoke all night long. They also played some sort of dice game which I really didn’t understand. Jillian joined in and played for a few hours. They really had a great time. I think this was their way of unwinding after working long, hard hours all week. No man was embarrassed to sing; they each took their turn. Yuan chose all his songs in English. We got such a kick out of watching him sing; he’ll be ready for American Idol very soon!
We had a good time but it was getting late and we were tired. So we asked if someone could drop us off at our hotel. Saturday would be our last day and Yuan was taking us to a place called White Water Valley. I knew it would be hot and we needed to get a good night’s rest. Back in our room, I collapsed on the bed and was fast asleep in no time.