A recent business trip took me to Shanghai and Nantong for a brief tour. The visit was all too short, as this was my first visit to China….and such a culture I had not previously experienced. Gun ownership and hunting is strictly forbidden-everywhere. Our hosts were intrigued with the shooting pictures on my cell phone. I showed them one and they took over the phone and just browsed my entire photo collection on the cell phone! Shooting was one thing, but women shooting was even more amazing to them!
The journey started out from Denver with about 2.5 hr. flight to San Fransisco, from de-planing there, it was a mad dash through endless terminals to reach the gate for Air China flight already boarding! Let the games begin! …And no disrespect, but the Asian’s culture has a different view of waiting in lines than what the American’s do. Luckily I’m bigger than most of the Asian women…and some of the men. I’m not that big by our standards…but I am suddenly feeling a bit “Amazonish”. Well it wasn’t too bad getting on, they check and recheck your US passport for the current VISA. Getting off the plane was different. Wow, some of them kind of stepped right over you to get out. They weren’t being intentionally rude, just the way things are done over there… I wasn’t in much of a hurry yet, so I went with the flow. At the end of the trip returning to the US was a different story. I was more than tired and had transformed into a linebacker-no one is getting past me! Bring it on!
About 12-13 hours later we arrived in Shanghai. Getting our luggage and through Customs was a breeze. Very nice airport, thank goodness they also had some signs in English. Yea! A driver was there to meet us on the other side of Customs. I decided I could maneuver the airport if I ever returned solo. Beyond that, I wouldn’t go further without a prearranged driver or interpreter to meet me. Our host and his driver met us there to take us to our first night in Shanghai, a city of approximately 23 million. You put several New York Cities back to back and maybe you are close!
The hotel was beautiful. We’ve been up straight now for about 30 hours and our host insisted on taking us to dinner. No rest for the weary! Drop the bags in the room and meet back in the lobby. From the open lounge area there were four floors we could see with various restaurants, piano bars, etc. We headed up to the third floor. We allowed the host to order for us-I’m game…I guess. Wine for me (don’t drink the water there-and forget ice in your drinks!). I inquired as if they produce any wine in China…as we had a French wine that evening. Apparently they do, but our hosts said it is “no good”. I’m staying with their recommendations! I had a crash course on the correct usage of chopsticks. They brought out many dishes – all delicious! They were very curious about our culture also. But the one of the first things he asked is why are so many Americans so fat! Ha! I’m betting if we forced to use chopsticks, we’d be thinner!
The next morning was a leisure day of touring. Our host took us to the downtown tourist area of Shanghai. Electric scooters everywhere, lines on the road are merely suggestions, and they are constantly honking horns….constantly! But there seems to be no road rage and we didn’t see any accidents. Minus the “horn honking” I think we Americans could take a lesson on going with the flow, so to speak, while driving. After parking we headed towards the Yuyuan Gardens. To reach this you had to cross over a long zigzag foot bridge. The waters below were full of koi and turtles. The reason the bridge was zigzagged is to keep the evil spirits from following and crossing over. Spirits can only walk in a straight line. So once you cross over the bridge, you are considered safe and will enjoy a long life!
Such history there was. I am anxious to return sometime and visit more areas! I only wish I could upload all of my pictures here, but it would go on forever. The next two days we traveled to Nantong and visited the factory of our hosts. Here we met with the partners in the business and they too were very interested in learning about our shooting experiences, etc. We haven’t actually done any business in China as of yet, but were approached at SHOT Show by these gentleman and invited to visit their factory for a tour in hopes of future business ventures. This company mainly builds scopes, which we do not carry, but that was one thing they wanted to impress upon us was their assembly and quality control abilities. While walking their lines and seeing the entire process to the end I asked them how they tested for “shock proof” ability on the scopes….since they can’t test them on actual guns over there. They had a simulator set up for firing which we checked out. Interesting. Personally I prefer to test mine on real guns….a priveledge we have here! …and not to be taken for granted! Long story short, they were very gracious hosts. Their government and culture was very interesting to learn more of. They asked many personal questions about family, living spaces etc. but were very curious to see all the shooting sports we do. I shared my hunting pictures with them and they were in awe.
The one picture on my phone that made the biggest impression was the Babes With Bullets Camp, www.babeswithbullets.com , photos! This just seemed to amaze them!
…Words of wisdom: Don’t ask what the food is until after you’ve eaten it or you may never try it….and for the ladies: Keep an open mind when visiting some of their restrooms…and for gosh sakes, pack your own TP! 🙂