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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

Day 5 – Thursday, in Taiwan.

TAIWAN | Friday, 27 July 2007 | Views [852]

SJ survived the night and still had colour in the morning. This hotel was really comfy, went to bed late, but slept very well…

We met for breakfast, which for SJ was just a glass of orange juice. He is still not 100% so it must be a bug. I only had cereals and orange juice today, which is my normal breakfast at home anyway, partly as SJ was still not feeling great, and partly cos I was getting fed up with eating… its been great, but everyone has been feeding us so much food on this trip!

We had to get help from reception to call our contact at the company we were visiting today, as they had written their mobile number on the business card they’d given us, but it was illegible and we didn’t really know the format. The tiny Taiwanese girl with the scary deep voice was not at this desk this morning, had SJ not been so rough yesterday, I’m sure we would have had some laughs at her expense last night! We managed to get in contact with Lulu (cool name) and put off the hectic plans she had for us today and had her agree to a day at their premises instead. SJ simply was not up for a 4 hour round trip on a train after yesterday!

We met in the reception area of the hotel, which was strangely on the 12th floor! The lift at the bottom of the hotel only had two buttons, 1 and 12…! Don’t know what is downstairs, didn’t get a chance to look, must be shops or car parking or something… Our drive to the company premises was about an hour, so both SJ and I were battling the evil nodding-off syndrome that often affects a passenger in a car, all the way to our destination. Lulu likes to chat though, so it wasn’t too bad.

Their place is in a very nice business park that was part of the textiles dynasty of old, and they share their building with 6 or so other companies. It was exactly as I imagined it to be, very nice office space, open plan with cubicles for staff, with some nice meeting rooms around it and a workshop area behind that. The workshop was very tidy and clean, especially compared to what we saw in Jinan! The machines here were very impressive, excellent build quality and they do exactly what it says on the tin.

We had a formal presentation from Lulu, who had only been with this company for a year or so and was brought in to handle setting up European distributors. She was clearly experienced with a large corporation and gave us a slide show presentation on the history of the company and their machines and some good info on their plans. We also met the tech support (deputy) manager, who began telling us how laser engravers worked… Lol! Lulu also introduced us to the managing director, who was a bit ripe smelling unfortunately, which wasn’t so impressive, but he was very nice and good with English and the meeting we had was well conducted and covered all subjects we intended. The coffee here was bloody mental, it was like the cups Bryan makes in the office at home, with sixteen heaped spoon fulls of coffee and ten sugars… I was compelled to keep sipping it though, maybe in the hope it would keep me awake!

They of course offered to take us to lunch, and SJ really wanted to be able to take part, but we made it clear that it needed to be light and he wasn’t going to be able to stomach much. I think some food was going to help though, but my usual recipe for when I’m feeling crap, boiled eggs and toast(!), was a million miles away… They suggested Japanese food as being the right thing to try, which didn’t seem a bad idea as the last time I had that it seemed to be simple food with one or two flavours, uncomplicated stuff… so, we had another drive to get to the boss’s favourite Japanese restaurant which was in a hotel in the town. It was 34 degree’s c outside toady, which was pretty damn toasty, although it only served to make me want to go on holiday somewhere and sit chillin’ with a cocktail!!!

The hotel was nice and the restaurant buzzing with people, it was obviously good if it was full when tucked away in this hotel in town… we got a table and the boss presented us with a very simple day time menu. SJ chose the sashimi, which was a good idea. No oils used and being fresh would give his stomach the best chance of surviving. I’m sure by now his body was craving some nourishment! I chose the fried chicken dish and a soup to start, which I’d tried before and knew I liked. This lunch turned out to be the best one of the whole trip, both for the food, which was superb, and the ambiance in the restaurant, it was nice to sit in a busy place as opposed to the private rooms we had used in China. All of the people we were with spoke good English and it was a really nice hour of chat, which also culminated in some discussion with their MD about the business arrangement between our two companies. They are a very courteous and generous people, and this meeting was held in a much more professional and experienced manner than those in China, and even than the meeting in Korea, although that was head and shoulders above China also. After lunch we parted company with the MD who had another meeting to attend, and made our way back through the hustle and bustle in the city to the company offices.

This city was very interesting. It was not as sophisticated as Seoul, but had the organisation that Jinan lacked! The streets are very colourful here, as the smaller individual businesses are prevalent over the chains unlike the UK, so each shop had different things on display and very colourful, individual signage all over their frontage. Most people use mopeds here as transport, which makes sense with so many people in the city and such small side streets, they are buzzing everywhere and outside the café’s and bars were huge lines of mopeds crammed together… goodness knows how they found their own bike after lunch! Lol.

When we got back to the office we covered off some more detail regarding the machinery, such as pricing and freight issues. Then we were off to the airport again for our trip home… how welcome was this!

At the airport we used the restrooms before checking in to change clothes into something more comfortable. It was going to be nearly twenty four hours until we get back to Bristol! I also threw the stupid bloody cans of sure deodorant away here after another quick spray, I could not be bothered with another episode of the bag search now… just wanted to get home.

We checked in and received invites to a business class lounge which was very welcome and we sat here to catch up with emails and things on the wireless network provided.

We were soon boarding our flight. I forgot just how nice it was to sit in the business class seats and receive that ice cold glass of bubbly! Still a long long way to go, but it was going to be good…

Dinner was a bit dodgy on this flight, I wish I didn’t bother eating as later on, after the stop off in Bangkok we were offered a much nicer option which I just couldn’t stomach after eating on the first leg a couple of hours previous! Bah! I watched the film Wild Hogs which has John Travolta in amongst others, which was actually pretty amusing, and then tried to get some shut eye…

At home, and for many years, I have only been able to sleep on my front, which is why I can never sleep on flights… however this time I did manage to sleep, probably for a good 5 hours which is about the average for me this week! The blind fold and ear plugs helped a lot! Man will I sleep this weekend…! I actually feel like going out and partying really, could do with getting smashed, lol! Don’t think it would be a good idea though, otherwise I’ll carry this tired state through to work next week, and there will be lots to catch up on no doubt. I’ll have to wait until next weekend to go mad…

I’m really excited about getting home, as I could pick my new car upon Saturday!!! Trouble is I don’t think I can get a lift to Farnborough to collect it and I really can’t face a train journey after this week… so it might have to wait! 

The stop off in Bangkok was quite annoying and took about an hour. At least we didn’t have to do security checks etc…

I’m writing this report sat in an executive lounge in Amsterdam airport, SJ has a lounge membership which was handy, it is so much more comfortable than the usual seats and we have a few hours to wait. I will run out of battery juice soon though at this rate…

The news on the TV is showing the floods in the UK, that looks horrible, glad I don’t have to come back and face any such problems personally, which is a bit selfish I know!

Not much more to say after this. We have an hour and bit flight to Bristol now and will get picked up from the airport for the scariest car ride of the week by Daz! ;-) We’ll probably stop off by my flat on the way through to the office to drop of my suitcase and then pop into the office to collect emails and catch up for a bit, but I think I’ll be off home soon afterwards to shower, eat a sarnie (I miss these!) and crash out… My friend Mr Jack Daniels is on stand by to help with the last item on that list… hehehe

I’ll miss writing this kind of thing, it has been a nice way to keep record of the week. My normal life is far to boring to write about, so looks like this will be it for now. Maybe I’ll write a book! Lol

Thanks for reading. Hopefully it has been mildly amusing for you and informative in some way… if not, you have basically wasted loads of your own time that could have been better spent! Ha ha. I have no sympathy for you… :-p


My picture album from this trip is over on Facebook

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