T’was a very, very long and difficult day yesterday. The meetings themselves went extremely well and progress was made on fronts that we did not anticipate, but physically? Trashy was trashed.
Unlike the day before when it was clearly a problem with fatigue, yesterday was a day chock full of overwhelming exhaustion, nausea and headaches. I recall the same thing happening the last time I was here. At about the Day 4 or 5 point, my body tries to make the full shift to Chinese realities.
All is good this morning however, as I slept for almost a full 8 hours! And other than being a bit dopey (yeah, yeah – I can hear you!), I’m 100% better today! Good thing too, as it’s my turn to take the reins at the meetings and lead was will be a day long presentation.
Too bad about yesterday though, as last night was traditional banquet that the Chinese hold for us on each mission. The banquets are quite an occasion and it is considered to be an honour to be a guest at one of these events.
A couple of dozen dishes are placed on the giant lazy susan (above), which slowly spins around allowing each of the diners to pick off what they want when it comes around. Squid, yummy chicken (with the head still attached!), yams, shrimp, a spicy beef dish… lots of things to please any palate. There was also a served portion of the meal that consisted of a 6″ prawn, fish soup and a crisp salad… a little surprised about the salad. I think they included that for us.
During the meal, a number of toasts are made. First by the host and then by the guests. The toasts are made more or less in order of rank at the table. Rank is a big deal for the Chinese.
One can either toast with wine or juice, but the guests, especially the men – are often asked to toast with a shot of baiju, which is a strong liquor with a 52% liquor content! Normally, I would be at the front of the line with these toasts but due to my blah stomach, I only partook in two toasts… just to be polite… which is also very important to the Chinese. It is considered very bad form to refuse a drink or a taste of an exotic dish even if you feel like crap!
Enough for now. If I’m back in my room in time tonight, I’ll scribble together another post about the happenings of today. I do, however, have to make some time to pick up the custom-tailored shirts that I had made the other night. Only $18 a shirt! Woo-hoo!