Round 2 Model Kits: China Trip – Day 4
I’m starting to write this one a little earlier and I feel well rested and ready for the day. The next two days will be spent at Doallser. Like I said, I am more familiar with the people here. This factory produces our Round 2 Models kits and Peanuts Forever Fun product. It seems to be an excellent company to be partnered with.
The owner, Mr. Dasam Hsu, takes a genuine interest in the well being of his employees. He has begun team building and wellness programs for them. He wants them to care for one another and work well as a team. They even take a break every day at 4:00 for dancing and back rubbing. It is quite a thing to see with line workers lined up front to back each rubbing the back of the worker in front of them. I saw training to use a fire extinguisher today. At first I thought it was kind of odd but then I thought about it. We take for granted that having a fire extinguisher nearby is good enough. I can’t recall ever trying one myself though. It seems like good practical training to me.
I was honored to meet our customer service staff- Grace and Fay, who communicate with me daily about model kit progress; Beckie who keeps us updated about our Forever Fun products; and Cola, who handles our die cast product (I think) with our guys back at the office. They seemed very interested to meet me but were quite timid. I was told that they might be shy but that they would be able to overcome this. Each greeted me in English. They fear that they don’t speak English well enough, but I understood everything they said (in English) the great majority of the time. They understood me most of the time and they have always written very well. They were intrigued by (but too timid to touch) my “whiskers”. They giggled to each other at the prospect. They were very proud to point out our product as we saw it on our initial tour of the factory and they were very anxious to talk with me directly about our projects. I have been looking forward to meeting these young ladies. It is always easier to deal with people where you can put a face to a name and email chatter. I started to sweat when they asked about learning Chinese. I had told them I would try to learn a little bit before I came. I had listened to a couple quick lesson on the internet the other night and I made up a small cheat sheet with me and received a couple more giggles because my notes weren’t written phonetically well enough. They set me right though and taught me how to say “China” and “watermelon” in Chinese. I wonder what I will learn tomorrow.
The facility is organized with a lot going on. Recent upgrades in technology in different areas have really raised their capabilities. We had been recently informed of their new CNC milling machine and electrostatic clean room for decorating high end collectible products. They have also purchased a larger format injection machine to inject our model kits.
Right now, they are running the new 1:32 scale 1966 Batmobile Collector’s Edition Tin, Double Dragster and K-7 Space Station kits. They have one final assembly/ packaging line that is devoted to our product. It was fun to see stacks of Batmobile boxes and bins full of bagged parts waiting to come together like a Reece’s peanut butter cup. Mmm… yummy model kits. No sooner had my camera let me down but then the batteries completely konked out on me. It was late in the day before I got more pics. I did take a video of some of the production lines. I’ll find a way to quickly edit them and put them out once I get back.
Dasam showed me some very special projects they are working on and they are AMAZING. Unfortunately, I am sworn to secrecy. I can say precision die cast fans would be impressed. The biggest one is a limited commercial project so I’m not sure if the majority of the public will ever get to see it. I hope so though.
After a long day at the factory, we ended up at dinner with the whole crew. I think besides knowing about the working conditions, I would expect everyone to be curious about real Chinese food. This was the third night in a row for me to eat Chinese. I was hoping to have something else but I think I liked tonight’s meal the best. I’m not sure if I could say why though. I have tried everything on the table and was complimented tonight on my bravery by Dasam’s sister, Amy. Along the way, the dishes have ranged from tofu dishes to BBQ pork, fish with the heads and tails on the dish and almost everything in between. I figure why not, the least that could happen is that I wouldn’t take a second bite of something.
I think the strangest thing I ate was last night and that was a red bean dish. I think it was served as a desert. It was the consistency of a soup and was somewhat sweet. The impression it left me was that it was kind of like a soup version of red velvet cake. It took me a few bites to decide if I liked it or not. I finally decided that I’m not a fan.
The best thing was probably last night also and it was a vegetable similar to a fork sized celery stalk almost like an elongated cabbage. I can’t remember what it was called. It was served in a buttery sauce. There have only been very few dishes that I would say I didn’t like and even then it is kind of a mild dislike.
All in all, it isn’t “crazy” food. There is a lot of variety. Compared to Chinese food at home, it is a bit more subtle. The tastes don’t really bang you over your head like at home. There aren’t many dishes with really spicy hot or sweet sauces. It is a more mellow food. Chinese dishes are brought to the table one after another until they have all been delivered. You start with what is first placed on the table and then eat the other dishes as they arrive every few minutes. Dishes are placed on a lazy susan so everyone can reach it. You eat from a tea cup sized bowl and you take just a few bites worth from the center dishes. It is difficult to really know how much you have eaten yourself. It is a very different way to eat with no sense of urgency what so ever.
I’ve eaten everything without asking what it is. Most times I was told first but not always. I’ve eaten so many different things and understood so little about what was in it that I can’t tell you everything that I’ve eaten. I’ve been a brave little monkey on this trip and I’m sure I’ll be ready for a hamburger once I get home.