We left the hotel at 6:45 am this morning! We boarded the ferry for the 3 hour ride to He Shan, China to visit Franke and Victory. We had no idea what we were in for.
The ferry was similar to a plane on water...the seats were the same and it even had TVs; however, it was not as clean. It did not feel clean and no one, with the exception of our group, spoke English. We slept, read, and played cards to pass the time.
When we arrived in He Shan, we completed yet another health form and went through another health screening...they really take Swine Flu seriously in China! Health Officials boarded the ferry and took everyone's temperature with a "laser gun." After everyone on the ferry passed the health inspection, we proceeded off the ferry and to customs.
After customs we boarded a bus to Franke. I will never be able to explain the smell of that bus. It was NOT good, to say the least!
On the ride to Franke we passed through what appeared to be an extremely poor part of china-very different from our experience so far on the trip. There were lots of "shops" along the road and few cars. Most people were riding bikes.
Due to the health screening on the ferry, we were very behind schedule. As soon as we arrived at Franke we went on a tour of the office space. The office area was top notch. One strange thing we noticed was that several of the employees were sleeping at their desk. Monitors off, glasses off, heads down, sleeping. It seemed to be perfectly normal.
After the office tour we had lunch in the cafeteria. It was traditional Chinese and needless to say, most of us were starving when we arrived and starving when we left. After lunch we had a tour of the factory. It was a state of the art facility.
Aimee and I in our safety glasses for the factory tour.
Before heading back to the ferry, we made a quick stop by Victory. The conditions were far, far below that of Franke. There weren't many employees and those we did see did not have great working conditions. I was glad we did not spend much time there.
The trip to He Shan made me thankful to live in America and thankful for the working conditions that I am lucky to have.
When we arrived back in Hong Kong, Trish, Preston, Katie, James, Aimee and I walked to Outback for dinner. From watching us I am sure it appeared we had not eaten in days! Cheese fries, Coke, steak and potatoes for all!!
After dinner we made out way back to the hotel to pack for Beijing.