OK, so I'm finally in China proper...
I arrived at Jinan and hit straight up by the very cold air even in the closed airport. So I went straight into the toilet and added some more layers and got out my possum merino scarf gloves and hat I bought in Brisbane... I also experienced my first Chinglish which I should have taken a photo of but didn't want to draw even more attention to myself. It was in the bathroom and was along the lines of "recycle save bumf" I'm not even sure what it meant.
Nikki and Tony were waiting for me and we headed out to the car and then after having put all my warm clothes on it was time time to take it off as the car would be very heated.
The drive to Dezhou (pronounced Der jo) was definitely an experience, it was my first time in a LHD car and on the wrong side of the road... the first "oh shit" moment was when our driver mised the exit and reversed about 200m up a highway, although, in the style of a mining vehicle he did honk first a few times, although I was soon to learn that this is just the way of telling the other vehicles / cars / bikes/horses "look out we're coming through" It was also an eyeopener as to what to expec in terms of lanes (there aren't really any) overtaking, (if theres space on the road - left or right take it even on a shoulder). Some f the trucks we got stuck between or passed would have need a full escort as wide load in Australia.
When we arrived at the hotel, Tonys cousin was waiting for us and had ordered dinner... (and of course the very important beer). We were ushered into the room and I was given the all important seat facing the door. There were several plates of food which looked a bit interesting but on tasting weren't that bad...
As I've said an important part of any meal especially when you're being hosted is beer. Everyone has a glass (about 100ml, sometimes a tumbler sometimes like a very small wine/port glass) and its filled, often you keep your bottle (more tallie than stubbie ~ 6/700mL). Whenever anyone drnks, you drink, if they say Ganbei (cheers) you have to drink the whole glass (and bonus poits for making a loud aah or smacking noise when you've finshed..) The one saving grace is Chinese beer is only 3% so it shouldn't affect seasoned australian drinkers too much except of course when this practice coninues all night (see coming entry on my birthday)
So the food was pretty good, but I was still full from my icecream and adventure and a bit wary and so tonys cousin was a bit worried I didn't like it (an ongoing problem that I am getting better as I find more food I like. So the other funny thing about the dinner was when his cousin was finished he just up and left and the poor dude who was driving had to try and finish his meal an chase him out the door.