On to Malaysia and China...
Once again, I've got a 20 plus kg large box full of fairing moulds, flying to unknown on short borrowed resources, leaving a lot of half fixed motorbikes and angry customers, leaving on a date determined by my friends visa expiring.
Through singapore late at night, up and down numerous stairs on the singapore malay border, carrying this enormous box, to meet my friends brother in law in Segamat, who has a lot of empty factory space, but when we finally meet, he asks how much building space I need, how many workers, and I say, I need to get some local material, try the malay post service, and then gear up, (all of the boxes that come from china with motorbike parts are way over aussie post formula size, and I had enormous trouble convincing the Thai's to take them) he responds with, I've got too much work on, I'm not interested, good luck, goodbye.
Wish we'd had this conversation before I'd left in such haste.
I decide make friends with a local panel shop, to test local material and post, and then jump to china if it's not favourable.
After a few dramas, I think the panel shop guy I chose was coming home looking stressed as to whether he could complete the work to agreed standard, and he told my Chinese friend/ translator 'my wife won't let me try something new, so I told him I'd rent some space and make the pieces myself, then a change of venue to another brother in laws sawmill, where I make and get a set on it's way, in primer, not painted ready to fit, then decide to go to china, too many limitations here for the time and money budget.
But importantly, I'm paying much less for a better resin grade than I'm using in Australia and it costs less to send the fairing set back to Melbourne than I pay from Melbourne to Sydney.
While at the sawmill, a worker is trying to make friends with me, he's got snot hanging out of his nose, and is smoking the worst cigarette, (I don't think they say 'mild' on the packet) and saying 'you, me, work' as politely as he can. When ever he can catch my eye, when you see a white man and the bosses son working hard, there must be money involved. The son in question is very bright and hard working, but not sure what to do in life, still at school, so his parents think fiber glassing might be a career, or some direction at least, he's a very good kid, but circumstances are too adverse to plan to set up there, a panel beater at least already knows how to paint.
I go to 2 Chinese weddings in one night, eat myself stupid at the first, don't even look at the food at the next.
They shut down the street they live in, and put marquees over it, for about 3 house bays, and there's the same people I've been talking to during the week about supplies I need for biz, small town...
A little bit jacked with Malaysia, it's got more angry car traffic, a lot less bikes, mainly 2 strokes,
and the food's not Thai, the lovely pic of a bowl of veg and meat translates to a bowl of salty noodles I order a large bowl of chicken feet, get this huge bowl of noodles with 2 chicken feet, 1 is foot, 2 is feet, and they were large feet... what's the problem?
They do have some nice lamb dishes in the mix, which was rare to nonexistent in Thailand, and goat apparently,
Unfortunately, China is coming up to another of their 'turn off the lights holidays', but the chosen factory promises to take off only 2 days and then go back to work, typical china, as soon as they have the moulds, they return to the main plan of taking off for 10 days, so I come back with them not well trained, as they were more interested in packing up than watching me knock out a set and explain nuances.
I'm happy to have got safely thru Macau to my friends place in Guangzhou without any local language, carrying this enormous box that doesn't really fit on busses and trains, past the Chinese customs guy telling me the box isn't permitted,
Great! He speaks English 'No! you go back!, not permitted!, etc.' after half an hour I show him some happy snaps, bike pics, travel photos, and he says, 'go thru' this time I don't even need to have my stuff xrayed.
Taxi driver on Chinese side is another English speaker, trying to wrestle the box from me, and showing me the numbers 600 on his phone for a trip to Guangzhou about $100, 'No bus, no bus' they guy who sells me a sim card agrees with the taxi driver, 'no bus' it turns out the bus is downstairs form the nearby food court, it seems as if someone speaks English they've learnt it to rip off foreigners, whereas everyone else I deal with won't take a 30 cent tip, my taped together phone isn't working, so I borrow one off an old guy on the bus, ring my friend, and the old guy tells her where the bus is heading, he emphatically refuses a couple of Yuan,
My friend takes me to a fantastic feed, an enormous plate of roast goose for $6, which could feed a family of six, we both eat that and other delicious plates until goose fat is nearly coming out my nostrils,
later in another city by myself I go thru a row of eateries, unable to communicate with staff, and looking for one with pictures,
Another friend has me in a nice hotel, with a brothel downstairs and another next door, I open the door to see who is putting the cards under the door, and have a push and shove with the pimp, who's trying to force his way into my room, a surly ugly character, who I end up violently shoving out and slamming the door on him, I was slightly curious to have a look inside the brothel, but don't want to meet ugly again. I feel sorry for the girls in his employ.
The factory is in a beautiful country setting, crops, gardens, rustic houses, small rivers with ducks swimming in them, I wonder if any ducks die of old age here. My friend chose it because are less likely to copy my designs, than a big city place, he's the perfect businessman, thinking for everything, got everything covered, excellent company, but try's too hard with the food, takes me somewhere flash, orders a heap of food, then tells me he already ate with his Mrs.
We set up in the factory and I start making a set, to the great amusement of the workers, mainly woman who continuously get told to go back to work, meet the boss about halfway thru the day, I'd already picked him out of the men that crisscrossed thru by his better shoes, the woman helping me was his Mrs, and I'd met the son on arriving, who also didn't speak a word of english, but my agent friend had introduced us, and he'd organized a work table. One of the memorable feeds is the simple workers fare in the factory, slow braised meat with local veg and weeds, simple, healthy and tasty, good change from my friend trying to impress me with the local flash restaurants.
My friend has a baby scooter, the better one he bought got stolen almost immediately, and actually, only electric bikes are permitted in Chinese cities, so the other ones I see are an instant fine whenever the authorities can be bothered, unless you know the authorities, I don't know why they banned petrol bikes when the roads are choked with angry car traffic.