Last month I went to China for the first time. It was my second time traveling to Asia, and my first over seas business trip with Loloi Rugs (my employer). I was over the moon ecstatic about this trip and could not wait to get back to Asia. The food was amazing, the work was awesome, and I loved exploring and sight seeing.
Getting ready to go on my trip started off a bit difficult. I was in need of a business visa, and I went through hell and back for this damn thing! I was told to get a visa with very little preparation time and I was going on a separate business trip to Highpoint Market in North Carolina a couple of days after I was informed about needing a visa. To get a business visa you must have a state license or an electric bill in your name proving your residency of the state you work in. Easy peasy right? Wrong...
First and most importantly I still had a Wisconsin license. That was the start of many errors. When you move states you have about 30 days to switch your license over to that state. Since I never changed my license while studying in Maryland, I did not change it to Texas either. I honestly did not see it to be necessary. My next mistake was the electric bill. As I live with my boyfriend we share the bill. However Young Chan was not working right away after our move and I started work the day we arrived. He put all of the bills in his name and I am listed secondary. Our electric bill only puts the first residents name in the bill and the visa office will not accept anything but the bill. The obvious thing to do would be to switch the names and wait for the next bill, however I did not have time for that.
That day I drove to the dmv during lunch to switch my license, but that was a mistake! Not only was the line outrageous, but they do not accept copies of documents, which was all I had at the time. (I am leaving a lot of other things that happened out so you don't have to read my whole lengthy sob story of mistakes). Many other things happened after this, including a long long trip to get my vehicle registered, another dmv trip, and a trip to the social security office. Finally, for the last time I went to the dmv a couple days later as they were closed ALL WEEKEND (DUMB). I went an hour before they opened so I could arrive to work on time and I still had to wait in a line. I got a paper slip for my texas license as a temporary license until my new one would be mailed. They took my wisconsin lisence and shredded it. I knew I needed it for my trip to north caolina, however the man at the dmv said the paper one would work.
I skipped into work, placed all of my paper work and my passport into the mail, and shipped my documents to get my business visa. All was jolly until I left for North Carolina and they almost did not let me on the plane. The man at the DMV was wrong. The temporary ID did not work as it should! However after pulling out three credit/debit cards, a gap card, a costco card and insurance and triple a card. Finally they let me in with extra security. This worried me for the way home. On the way home the baggage claim lady gave me shit and said I would not be able to go, the man before security gave me shit and said I could not fly, and the TSA checking IDs and tickets put me to the side and called upper management. This lady was thankfully nicer. They didn't seem to understand why I didn't have a license or passport. To me it was simple! Texas made me surrender my old license and my passport was shipped off to get my visa. What is so hard to understand?! I did the whole pull out all my credit cards schpeal. Finally I said I had my photo on my costco card and the TSA lady lit up and let me through. I got a big glass of wine and was thankful this was all finally over. My passport with both an Indian visa and Chinese visa were on my desk waiting for me once I got back!
Maybe it was good Karma after all of that bad luck, or maybe it was simply good luck, But we got upgraded to first class on our fourteen hour flight to Beijing! Thank God for Steven Loloi and his extra upgrades! My coworker and I were livin large in our reclining seats. We ate two and a half delicious meals, and watched movies with our expensive, noise canceling ear phones courtesy of of our seats! I could have stayed on that flight for ten more hours no problem!
Day one in China was great! I was happy to be there and we got to do some great work to improve our rugs! It was awesome to work on product directly and not have to wait for things to be shipped. Working one on one is so much more efficient. I was super excited because we got to experience fall in China and it was gorgeous everywhere we went. I am talking about the leaves however, and not the weather or the sky. Everything was grey and it was rather cold.
Day two we went to the 798 Design district after work. Here we saw lots of galleries and street art, as well as many shops and boutiques. Above are images of some very cool things we saw that day. My personal favorite was all of the street art we kept passing by.
Factory day was my favorite day! We drove abut three hours to Tain Jin China, just outside Beijing. The sight seeing from the car was pretty cool and we even went off road for a while. Good thing I had my ginger gum to keep me from getting car sick! We went to three factories and saw many different processes at each place. At the first place, we saw lots of finishings and massive industrial sergers. This was right up my alley to see these old machines at work! We also saw how things get packed and ready to ship.
At the second place, we saw a bunch of very large machine made products. These machines would each be run by one person, who would make sure the yarns were all in place and did not get tangled. The machine would spin in a big cycle and make the rugs. It was unbelievable how big these machines were and how many they could fit into these buildings.
The last stop was the best stop! We went to the factory who makes our hooked product. Here we got to see yarn everywhere. They even had rooms filled to the top with just yarn! My mind was blown and I wanted to lay across these beds of microfiber! We also got to try hooking a rug using the guns! Pictured above is my coworker using the tufting gun attempting to make the design. This was not an easy thing to do, But we had a fun time trying!
Here are some additional photos from the trip. Our amazing food, and the Forbidden City. That last Image was my favorite meal. The restaurant was called Da Dong and I have been craving that dinner since we left. Cheers China, until next time!