Hi ,

Yes I'm in China in Jiangxi province, and it is CNY .. Chinese New Year, I'm already in my wife's home town a little village half an hour up a country road from Dongxiang city.
My wife runs the AW buying office in Yiwu, since she took over two years ago we have developed much better relationships with suppliers, cut out all the agent backhanders and bribes. So improved quality and reduced prices by as much as 20%.

Last week I was telling you about Sri Lanka and the gem rock trader, you can read about it here.A big thank you to the surprising number of readers/customers with connections to Sri Lanka and all the useful info and contacts you have sent me. Thank you!
Sadly had to leave Sri Lanka, the last few days were spent by the sea in Mirissa, we went whale watching - and actually seen a majestic Blue Whale (the largest creature on our earth) and also swam with turtles in Turtle Bay. I have only one word for you.. GO!

From Mirissa we drove to the heritage city of Galle and walked it's Portuguese / Dutch / British back streets and alley ways.. then on to Colombo airport and a night flight to Guangzhou the on-wards to Nanchang.
So it's year of the pig.. and China is on Holiday. That doesn't mean they relax. Holiday in China is non stop activity - doing stuff - no time to just chill.

The first time I came to Dongxiang city, I was famous.. Yes.. now I know how Brad Pitt feels. It seemed like they had never seen a foreign person before. I remember walking down the high street and shop girls tumbling from the shops, taking pictures of me, wanting selfies. Small children whooped in delight at seeing me, and old men offered me cigarettes. There was only two places in town you could by a cup of coffee. One a rather pompous coffee bar with dreadful coffee at outrageous prices, the other KFC. In the KFC a policeman marched up to me looking pretty menacing - I thought; Oh bugger I'm in trouble - but in halting English he thanked me for visiting his town and wanted to officially welcome me.
Outside of town is a strawberry farm, a small lake, a big hill and an ancient abandoned Buddhist pagoda. A modest affair only eight stories. We clambered to the top of the hill it was hot I remember, then still sweating and out of breath climbed the eight floors to the top. From there you had a great view back over the town. There was only us. It was glorious.
Yesterday we went back to visit.

We had to park half a mile away at the brand new "Tourist Visitor Centre", then pay for an electric buggy to drive us up to the lake. By the lake a cranky fairground, go-cart racing, a horse ring with three sad horses giving rides to kids. Candyfloss and overpriced strawberries. They have built a huge Buddhist statue for people to make selfies next to by the lake. Hotels and restaurants being built. Organised tourism for the people. Seriously this is not progress, I found it all a bit depressing.
The city is better. Nice parks, lots of spanking new posh apartment blocks. Fancy cars everywhere, more coffee shops and western style restaurants than you can shake chopsticks at and nobody blinks an eye at the Englishman.
How long since I first came here?.. six years I think..

Now I'm in the home town, even here things are changing, the main road is been ripped up and replaced and gardens planted. All the houses have posters on them saying "We are going to make this village beautiful - please help by being tidy" Outside toilets were banned a while ago, the local government will pay for a proper toilet if you cannot afford. This year it is kitchens, they are encouraging people to take out the traditional built in wok with a wood burning stove under it. The old ladies don't like it, they are rebelling.

The oldest lady in the village is my wife's grandmother. She is 90 today. There is a big party, fireworks, brass band from the local church (this is a Christian area) and lots of food and strong drink.
I gotta go, no time to chill, I'll report on it next week.

So happy new year.. and happy Valentines trading.. only two weekends to go.
Soap flowers.. new candles.. boy do we have the best deals and products for you. As you can imagine we are really really busy, a bit behind with orders. If you need stock for the "Season of Love" stock up now.

Take care



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