Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Almost didn't make it to the main event

Like a good photographer, I'm at the top of a old rusty lighthouse taking panoramas of Yantai city just minutes before the golden-light sunset. My phone chimes. It's Michael, my Changyu Winery host wondering where I am. I'm suppose to be at the reception 15 minutes ago. Opps.

Let me explain the situation. Here in Yantai, China, I am a guest of Changyu, the largest winery in China. During this 3rd-annual Yantai Wine Festival, Changyu Winery has a full program for its guests, of which I'm one tiny potato. Michael is my main gracious and patient Changyu contact. The Program calls for me to be at the Reception now.

So Michael asks again where I am. Insert bad word here. While talking with him on the fifth floor, I get on the lighthouse elevator heading down. Naturally, in the metal elevator I lose telephone reception. Inching down in the rickety capsule, I'm wondering what kind of bad thoughts about this errant photographer Michael is having. At the bottom of the lighthouse, I regain telephone reception. "I'll be there in 5 minutes," I yell, waving off the guard who wants five Yuan for the elevator ride. I run to the hotel pick-up location, after I paid the guard his five Yuan.
Michael, Thank you. I'm so glad I went to the reception. Look what I would have missed.

This last photo recreates what I saw during my ride back to the hotel. But the blurry vision is China's fault. The Chinese way of drinking wine is gambei. The Western world calls it chugging or bottoms up. In China, gambei actually means "to make dry", as in your wine glass. During the reception/dinner we dried lots of wine glasses.
But please note that I am photographing from the navigator's position and not driving.

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