So as you’ll all be aware, Kane and I were invited out to China for a week. We’ve been inundated with people asking as to why we were out there, what we meant by our vague definition of: ‘on business’. So, we thought what better way than to reveal what happened out in China in the form of a daily diary on our blog. Slowly unraveling one of the craziest and most amazing weeks of our lives, and perhaps a huge step for all of the Giraffe family! So, buckle up, here we go…
Day 1: The Longest Trip, Ever.
At 2am on Sunday morning, I hear the faintest of knocks at my door. They were here, and I needed to leave. Through sleep deprived eyes, I see Kane looking equally groggy. We both exchange small talk about how ridiculously tired we are, get in our cab and our journey begins. On our car ride to London Heathrow Airport, Kane and I discuss the longest trips we’ve ever experienced; I propose flights to Florida, but Kane out-trumps me with his flights to Vegas a few years ago. We naively try and compare the trip to China to those minuscule ventures.
We arrive at Heathrow at around 3am, sit at Caffe Nero and begin necking coffees. Our flight schedule for the day is to fly from Heathrow to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Beijing and finally Beijing to Hangzhou. It will be a long day.
Hours later, we’re sat in Amsterdam airport, eating the Dutch attempt at a full English breakfast, it goes down great. We do our rounds of the shops and get coffee at a Starbucks with arguably the nicest staff in the world, and kill four hours – waiting for the big one. Amsterdam to Beijing. We board the flight in surprisingly high spirits, considering the serious lack of sleep (must have been the Starbucks).
The flight wasn’t too bad, it seemed relatively painless. I spend most of my time listening to the new Arctic Monkeys album and watching the full Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat game from last season, where they ended their win streak. Glorious. Kane peeps a whole Harry Potter movie, I believe it was The Goblet of Fire – but you’ll have to check with him. As we move into the second half of the flight, we both watch some Great British Bake Off on Kane’s iPad and fall asleep as they were making the muffins.
Landing in Beijing was a real relief, but it didn’t last long as we were informed that they had cameras measuring arriving passengers temperatures to check for fevers. If you have a fever, you will be taken into quarantine. The whole thing had a real Battle Royale feel, so we both remove our jumpers just to be safe. We make it through immigration surprisingly easily, and start staring aimlessly at all the signs written in Chinese. Before we know it, a man in a white shirt asks us where we were going, says to follow him as he quite literally jogs away from us. We must have chased that guy for at least 5 minutes, before he brought us to the check-in desk, walked us straight past the queue, checked us in and then ran us to our gate. We start wondering if we were running late, baffled by the sudden change in time zone. As we get to our gate, he asks us for a £50 tip. We had been had. We both laughed, and handed him a £10 note. Which isn’t bad for 5 minutes! Think we’re in the wrong line of work.
The flight from Beijing to Hangzhou was arguably the worst flight we’ve ever been on. Having been awake at this point for best part of 24 hours on only 3-4 hours of sleep, we were feeling a little grumpy. The flight was easily the loudest flight in the history of air travel. We end up just closing our eyes and forcing ourselves to try and sleep through it. Which we did.
Day 2: Welcome to Hangzhou.
Landing in Hangzhou was a nice feeling, especially being greeted by a lot of beautiful greenery actually inside the building, it was quite amazing. Our driver was waiting outside for us just as Lisa had promised, we shake his hand and follow him out to his car. Our first taste of the road in Hangzhou was a terrifying one. The lanes painted on the road apparently mean literally nothing there. A horn was beeped approximately every 3 seconds. But this didn’t really matter because we were too busy staring out of our window in awe of the fact that we were in China. The other side of the world.
We arrive at our hotel and our driver begins to prove his awesomeness by taking us up to reception and communicating with the receptionist in Chinese to help us get our room. He then walks us to our room, puts on the AC and leaves Kane and I to sleep off the travels. I look at my phone, adjust to the new time zone and calculate that we were travelling for 27 hours, Kane sighs. The hotel room is fantastic, with spectacular views over the city. But right now, we just want to sleep. We close the curtains and hit the hay.
Introducing, Lisa Lavers, the managing director of Hongjin Trade Co and Global Primo. We wake up from our slumber in time to meet with Lisa for a really nice dinner at a restaurant called ‘Splash’. She explains the plan for the week and excites Kane and I with some of the plans in place for us. A few beers, a curry, pizza and grapefruit salad (with prawns?!) later, Lisa walks us back to our hotel room. Kane and I are ready to sleep again, so we say goodnight and get some rest so we’re ready for our first day at the Hongjin office tomorrow at 8:30am.