Beijing used to be Peking except a lot of people here still call it Peking. It’s a dialectual ancient- modern difference like Wanganui or Whanganui I suppose. We descended into Beijing into the most stunning clearest day ever. We'd read that it was smog tied and grid locked but no, you could see a 100 miles 360 degrees. It was 36' Celsius and Beijing is a most beautiful city when you can see it! The city is a mammoth. The capital. The buildings are so gigantic and consistent that it’s easy to think you're in a low rise city except each building is 60 stories plus high in one whole square block and runs for 20km in every direction...like a mountain chain of front row props. This is CAPITAL GRAVITAS! Immense huge monolithic monotonous MANA! 22 million people can’t be wrong. No flashing neon lights no tricks no gimmicks. Just muscle. Tuturu!! The Great Wall of China. The Forbidden City. Tianneman Square. The list of titanic struggles. The juggernaut Chinese economy that everyone seems to be afraid of. Our second largest trading partner. Trump is trying to beat back economic rising star, trying to beat up on Beijing. Our hosts are saying they will never be raped and pillaged again, not by the Mongolians, the British, the Japanese or the Americans. Trump is in Tokyo trying to get Japan to militaryise up against China and North Korea. China is just pushing onward one wary eye on the US while getting on with the rest of the world. Geo-political ructions.
We are here to try to get the Glomfjord and Pania Fisheries Chinese registration so that we can process and trade here. World shattering and tectonic movement stuff, not! It costs about $450 NZ but it’s wrapped in bureaucracy red tape and Chinese whispers. But here we are. As said earlier we are in Asia to market up to $10 million worth of hoki, tuna, alfonsino, gemfish, silver warehou and cardinal (us fullas better get used to these names for we are a " fishing" iwi now) and other species but a China registration is paramount to success here. We were supposed to meet with the senior MPI NZ official here, Dave Samuels, but he’s headed back home. Carl Worker the Ambassador to Hong Kong has just returned there from here and the New Zealand Ambassador Claire Fearny is in Outer Mongolia. We’ve hosted them all at Pakipaki.
Steve Sutton at the NZ Embassy Beijing
We met instead with the NZ Counsellor Steve Sutton who will promote our case to the Chinese Customs and Regulators. Steve is from the deep south and is proud to be here working for his country. His mum works for Fiordland Lobster in which we are a minor shareholder. Small world indeed. Our meeting went better than expected and we left the NZ Embassy knowing our case is in good hands. I suspect NZ’s rejection of Huawei operating in our region as have Oz and US has a bit to do with China cooling relations with our country.
While Nino and I were at the embassy Mere and Karina sampled some of tourism sites since it’s the China-NZ Year of Tourism. It was 35' Celsius and they did the Great Wall. And having done it twice already I know it’s a hip, knee and back fracturer. Well, afterwards Mere said it was like trying to bunny hop up the pyramids, pole vault Stonehenge and climb down the Eiffel Tower- in a sauna! She was and wasn’t a happy chappy, stiff and miffed (because we didn’t suffer with her) but wiser for having been there and having done her Lara Tomb Raider experience. But the magnitude and magnificence of the Wall silences all its visitors I suppose. They also toured the Forbidden City and retold us fabulous tales of wonder and intrigue.
Peking Duck – Delish
So what do you eat when you arrive at 7.30pm in Beijing? A course of Peking Duck of course!...which is whole roast duck carved at your table. Crackling in quackling sauces and soups. Awfully good if you’re into it.
And if you get queasy on the local cuisine then the toilets are something else. When I first came here the toilets were a hole in the floor and it was "squat, crouch, hold and engage" and good luck if you hit your target or not. Then you had to take your own toilet paper. Too bad if you didn’t!!
But now its "squat squeeze and squirt" because every toilet is now like ours except you get a rinse and a blow dry before you rise. And you don’t need paper anymore. China has passed us in ablutions in a matter of only 10 years or so. So this a tribute to their innovation.
Also 10 years ago people were smoking any and everywhere inside and out. Now there’s no smoking in any public places and China has the most smokers in the world.
And we go for a stunningly good walk along the main streets of Beijing at 5.30am next morning. The streets are shiny clean, the people so polite and helpful, the fresh smell of a new day. There are no street vendors with their kai karts anymore either. So no authentic breakfasts on the run here, Starbucks, McDs- aue tau kiri e. We even do the back blocks into the pohara areas and these are swept clean as well. Not what people would expect in China. Then it’s off to the airport for Japan. Our taxi from the airport took about an hour. Our taxi back to the airport was about 30 minutes because our driver thought he was Jacky Chan in Rush Hour ducking and weaving through heavy traffic sometimes it felt like on 2 wheels as we careened our way to the terminal then screeched to a standstill! With a full toothless grin he charged us double! Ahh some things never change in China!
Tokyo here we come- konichiwa!!
And we are met at our hotel by Nissui tuna buyer Komatsu san who has been home several times now. We were whisked off to a Tepanyaki dinner of scallops, meat patties, tons of fresh veges with wagyu beef finished off with sticky rice and "finished off" was the order of the night. I’ve put on 5 kilos already in a week even though we’ve walked at least 1 hour every morning and sweated our way through each blistering day. But Tokyo is cool and fresh in the morning and we smell the city waking up. But we have a heavy schedule of meetings today where we will try to sell all our fish-1000 tonnes of hoki and 500 tonnes of other species as well as 200 tonnes of pelagic tuna.
We met with Maruha the biggest fishing company in Japan, Jaylux that buys fish for Japanese Airlines JAL, and Kokyo who supply supermarkets throughout Japan and China. Amongst them they agree to buy 400 tonnes of hoki and about 100 tonnes of mixed species which is a flying start to our trip. In the afternoon we meet Nissui who want to buy 5-600 tonnes of hoki and 200 tonnes of mixed species. And they want any other hoki we can catch as well.
Once our visitors have left our hotel where we've held all our meetings we "Yipee yi yo" with high fives as we’ve just sold the entire hoki catch from the Glomfjord in one day which is worth about $6 million NZ. We just got to catch it now and we still got meetings apopo as well. The head hoki buyer for Nissui Machiu san takes us to an Italian restaurant for tea and we crawl to bed - bona noche.
Next morning at 4am we go to the new tuna market in Toyosu in its $5 billion relocation and upgrade. Afterwards at 9am we meet with Momokawa who agree to buy 200 tonnes of hoki and other species. This is after we are able to show them pictures of the Glomfjord, hoki product from Glomfjord and recent catch history for which they almost drool over.
Well it’s up to us now to catch it, process it and present to our buyers in the best possible condition and presentation from the "hook to the cook".
Takitimu Seafoods at Toyosu Market
Well it’s time to head to Oklahoma now so we bid adieu to Nino and Karina and head from the cultured east to the wild west.