I went to China on a business trip recently, but unfortunately was not able to visit a winery while there. Nevertheless, it was a really interesting experience. China is very different from any of the other countries I've been to. Construction is going on everywhere, building new buildings and apartments, one after another. I was told that there are three times more condos available than are required to house their population. New buildings get dated easily after 4 to 5 years and are often abandoned or only have a few families living in them. China seems to be developing and receded at the same time.
My destination was located 10 hours inland from Shanghai Airport by, Maglev, subway, speed train, another subway, a bus, then a taxi. The city views and rows of skyscrapers never seemed to end, and everywhere there were people, a lot of people and noise, everywhere I went, noise, horns honking, people talking loudly on cell phones, etc. Everything there is massive and hollow. The word "delicate" did not seem to exist there.
The people I encountered in China seemed indifferent, strong, and fearless. If you get to know them in person, they are nice and sweet, but I am sure they will be the last ones on earth if something catastrophic was ever to happen. They are survivors. We see many Chinese visitors in Japan buying things like incense everyday. But there are those who had never left this land. For many, their dress and demeanor reflect their countryside life. While I was in China, I had a nice little portable 3G-WiFi, but I had no access to Gmail, Google or Facebook as these are currently blocked by the authorities. This trip made me realized how dependent I was on those services.
The air was pretty bad. I don't remember seeing blue sky until we got out into the countryside. It was pretty dusty and smoggy the whole time I was in China. As this city of five million is surrounded entirely by farmland, the smokey air is attributed to the burning of agricultural waste in preparation for the next crop.
Checking food at the supermarket was fun. There were all kinds of them and a few I've never seen before. Some looked yummy but some were, well...I wasn't so sure I wanted to eat them. I love going to market, especially when I am in foreign countries. Its like peeking into the lifestyle of the place. The supermarket I went to was a Super Walmart and so had quite an impressive imported wine space. The price seemed a bit too expensive if you consider the average salary in China is around JPY90,000/ month and 1RMB is around ¥20. For example, the Yellow Tail, Australian table wine was RMB118.00. I also visited some of the smaller local food stores, but I didn't see any imported wines on their shelves, mostly bijou, beer and a few domestic wines.
So, I bought a Cabernet Sauvignon from Changyu Pioneer Winery founded in 1892. Wonder what it tastes like?
A dog in the neighborhood near where I stayed. Not pretty but lovely. There were a few dogs that were not on a leash, but all of the ones I saw were well trained and behaved nicely.