So this last week has been very busy with school, meeting some very exciting people, and having some unbelievable dinners with Dr. Li. Dr. Li is always a celebrity at all these dinners that we go to. The dinners are held in these very elaborate and decorative rooms with many people serving you. The food is all served on a giant wheel that sits in the middle of the table and you pick what you want off the dishes with chopsticks. For me this has been a big challenge using the chopsticks as food goes by me! The food is delicious, and very different from the food I am used to eating back home.
Dr. Li has been introducing me to many of his political, business, and education friends. This week I have melt a retired congressman, a man who opened the first private business in Guiyang in 1982, a women who owns hotels and farms from Guiyang to Hong Kong, and a man who runs one of the largest English speaking schools in China. All of these dinners have been first class, and I have learned very much by attending these dinners of how the Chinese people show respect, and have fun at the same time.
For example on Tuesday I had dinner with a few doctors, and some men who were administrators at Guizhou Medical College. We had been eating and drinking for about 30 minutes when their bosses made a surprise visit. A couple of the administrators excused themselves from the table, and their bosses sat down, and had drinks with us for about 30 minutes. Once they were done and left then the gentleman we were originally eating with came back to finish dinner. They did this as a sign of respect, and because of the hierarchy culture dictates this.
Before I go any further I need to tell you what we drink at these events. It is a clear liquor which is called Maotai. Maotai in not famous in the US, but it is around the world. It it 53% alcohol or 115 proof. A bottle cost anywhere from $300 To $1000. We usually go through 2 or 3 bottles between 8 or 10 people. I have never felt hungover, or tired from drinking Maotai. I also have never felt drunk for that matter. It is a very different feeling, you just get real hot when you have had too much, but this feeling goes away quickly. Many people here consider Maotai to be good for you. They say it cleans your system. In fact, some studies have been done to support this argument. Maotai is made here in the Guizhou province, and is the National Liquor of China. Below I have pasted an article about Maotai.
Maotai Liquor, the world-renowned liquor in China, brewed in Guizhou Province, is honored the National Treasure in its kind. Maotai Liquor is as famous as Usquebaugh of Scotland and Aquavit of France -- the three are renowned as the Three Famous Wines in the World.
|Guizhou Maotai Liquor|
Dating back to the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, Maotai Liquor has a long history of brewage. As early as in the 18th century of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Maotai became the first excellent wine brand in large-scale production, with an annual output of 170 tons, which was very rare in China's wine brewage history. Before the liberation, there were three main wine factories in Guizhou, whose products were respectively called Hua Mao, Wang Mao and Lai Mao, among which Hua Mao is the predecessor of today's Maotai Liquor. In 1915, Maotai Liquor was brought to Panama World Exposition and awarded the gold medal of the exposition.Maotai Liquor belongs to catsup fragrance style, tasting pure, sweet and refreshing. Maotai Liquor is made from jowar and barley. The brewage of the liquor will go though 8 times of ferment and 9 times of distillation, the whole process lasts one year. After the process, the liquor will be stored for years. The specific techniques of brewage make the strong liquor suitable for drinking and beneficial to the health. You won't feel dizzy even if you drink too much.
One of the dinners that I attended I met the Vice Police Chief, and a few of his deputies. I drank more Maotai with the police then I did anyone else. The dinner was held at a fantastic restaurant on the top floor of a building which overlooked the river running through Guiyang. Below are some pictures of the room which we were entertained in and the view. After dinner everybody played Mahjong which is like a card game, but you use Dice. The closest thing I can relate it to is Gin.
All in all it has been a great week, and I look forward to more many great experiences here in Guiyang, and throughout China. What I do like here is that I get a taste of how the wealthy live and a taste of how the common person lives. Both lives are interesting and unique, and I learn so much about China, and how the rest of the world sees us.