Trip to the Canton Fair, Gaungzhou

Good day,

I’d be sleeping but someone in my hotel started doing Karaoke at ~9:45, it was so loud and so obnoxious I felt the need to personally get out of bed and give them the “WHAT are you doing hand gestures as I put ear muffs on my ears via charades”. It did the trick.

The Canton Fair was quite insane, I’d been to large trade shows before namely one in Dallas, Texas but this dwarfed it. To even try and begin describing this behemoth would do it a great injustice, as a result, I will not.

Rest assured it had basically every manufacturer you could ever imagine and so many products your head would spin a la Beetlejuice until you found yourself on a saline pump in the medical ward for the start of a most ridiculous migraine.

Met some interesting people, namely some ladies from South Africa who informed me of the difficulties of doing business in China and selling to retail stores. They have been a design house for 38 years and still have issues with lead time, quality control etc. Also met a gent from Canada who told me he hates Guangzhou and does not feel safe, at all. Then again he also was donned in designer gear and near the end told me how once on a flight from Toronto to Hong Kong, they were out of Business Class as he had a visa issue and had to ride “coach”. He said it was the most disturbing experience of his life (I’m exaggerating, just slightly) and it almost ruined Xmas for himself and his son. I told him I’ve been traveling for 7.5 months through Asia on local transport, he thought I was insane.

Guangzhou has ~90,000,000 people and last night we ran into arguably some of the coolest. Expats living here for 5 years who filled us in on all sorts of things. We’re staying on Bar Street, Riverside, supposedly it’s right near the Guangzhou “Ghetto”, how quaint. One good thing of living near a Ghetto is that if you roam the streets, run into some other foreigners who speak the language, you can have one of the most interesting meals of your whole life.

For 1RMB each you can pick any type of skewer and there are ~30 choices. You then put it in soup and well, eat it, we eat 30. You can get massive beers for ~5RMB. ~6.8RMB = $1US. We eat a lot, drank a lot and chatted a lot. It was most amusing. What’s crazy is how everything is fresh. Ever seen people kill chickens in front of you for dinner?

I was not sure if the chickens were dead, alive, inbetween or just their nerves going but what I saw was, well, shocking and interesting. We hear a chicken gawking or whatever noise they make. We were like “is that thing dead” as she starts de feathering it. Then she throws it, feathers and all into a hot vat of boiling soup broth while another was twitching on the dirty concrete in front of her. I asked my new friend “Why would she throw a full chicken, potentially alive in a boiling vat of soup!?” He said “I have no idea” then we found out. She took it out by its feet and just threw it on the concrete, odd I must say.

Anyways, we have a ticket out of here for 2PM, we are changing it to tomorrow if we can. There is an electronics market and several other markets near the Central Train station that I’m dying to check out. We also got filled in on some intricacies of doing business here.

I’ve concluded I can probably make more money selling pre-existing products then making my own shorts. FYI I saw at least 1,000 styles of shorts at this fair. If I was in a more blogging mood, despite blogging like a hail storm from Hades daily, I’d upload pictures.

In other news, some lady with a backside the size of Brooklyn pushed myself and others out of the way to get on the subway then squeezed her over sized load into the smallest parking spot on one of those benches. This Chinese guy got up in disgust while she looked at him like “What you lookin at fool!?”.

Also, believe it or not, there is a labor shortage here. Many factories began moving to the interior during the economic slow down and it’s hard to get migrant workers here now, despite there already being 10,000,000 of them living here. Isn’t it nuts that this one city has ~3x the population of Canada?

If we cannot change the train tickets, it’s not the end of the world, it was only $10US. In China for shorter trips, I’ve found out you should just book 20 min ahead of time as many have trains leaving every 30 minutes or so.

I did meet someone who may be a good here, well I met a few. None at the Canton fair but at the Jin Han Fair while taking an extended massage chair “time out”. I stopped in there to get a free coffee on the way with my name badge, it was lunch. I eat so much food so quickly it was impressive. On this note, what is with people who at tradeshows get there first, eat and then just “hang out like coffee break” when there are 50 seats and 250 people who need to eat. Someone should approach such said inconsiderate ingrates and say “hey, feel like getting out of that seat in a hurry so someone else can eat? Do you NOT see the shortage of seats and you’re doing nothing but resting your chankles.”

I found it funny that at major fairs, no free lunch, no free drinks, just insanely over priced ones and a ticket to get in. At smaller ones, free everything. I made the most of that situation.

Tips hat,

P.S: After riding that subway for ~30-40 minutes each way I was reminded that I’ll never live in the “burbs”. There is nothing more depressing and soul squashing then taking public transport a LONG WAY to get to a job you’re not overly interested in only to then after it’s all done, put up with that crap on the way home. Many depressingly glazed eyes on that subway.

Author: iyashinoshigoto

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