The region surrounding the Pearl River Delta is a global epicenter for manufacturing and production. If you are a human living in the first world today, you own a host of products made in this part of the world.
We entered China proper on a ferry traveling across the delta to visit a friend and colleague in Jiangmen city. Stepping off the ferry just a 90-minute ride from Hong Kong, it was starkly apparent that we had entered a different world. The grey industrial feel of Jiangmen contrasted sharply with the vibrant financial capital that we had just left behind. The rush of doubt/regret that would become so familiar over the next 11 months of our journey came flooding in. But the bright familiar faces of our friend Jason and his wife Shelly on the other side of the immigration hall were there to welcome us, and in no time we were absorbed in the experience and feeling good.
Jason and his wife took us for an interesting jungle hike that ended up being quite a challenge. Despite our fancy hiking Chacos and all our mountain and river experience, we found ourselves incapable of keeping up with these two in their foam flip-flops. We scrambled up the steep cascades of the small stream that served as the only potential route through the thick jungle.
We were also given a full exposure to the crazy food that the southern Chinese are notorious for. We stayed true to our vow to avoid dog flesh, but ate all sorts of interesting and disturbing dishes. In those parts, they often include the head so that you can be certain the type of meat… Shelly enjoys the eyeballs!
Come Monday morning we caught a ride with Jason to Zhuhai to visit the Black Diamond Asia headquarters and see some more friends and colleagues. We spent an afternoon at the facility watching the assembly of cams, carabiners, ice axes, and other mountain tools, as well as playing on the climbing wall and the slackline.
That night we enjoyed another evening out with our friends, including a few from SLC over to work on production. We crashed at the BD apartment in Zhuhai that night, and spent the next morning exploring the streets by the waterside. Then in the afternoon we boarded a sleeper bus bound for Yangshuo.