On this splendid day, father, Tracy, her mom, Peter and myself went to an area just outside Weifang to see those little flying creatures of Weifang fame, kites, being made. This place is a little town consisting of one road and lots and lots of small vendor shops peddling food, random storestuffs and, of course, kites. All different kinds of kites in a myriad of colors, sizes and styles; bug-looking kites, hawklike kites, dragon kites, dark, bright, tiny to enormous, all styles and varities to satiate any kite enthusiaists appetite.
At the end of the dusty, rubbish riddled road their stood a Chinese-styled compound which also contained a psuedo-musuem with the famous "kite factory" attached.
It turned out to be an interesting enough place and remarkably for this time holiday time of year, it was rather empty. The grounds were spread out over an area with a dozen or so different buildings/exhibit rooms done up in that old Chinese way that is so prelevant in Asia; tiled, arching rooves with large doorways and with the buildings painted red. These exhibitition rooms displayed old relics, coins, tapesteries and historical articles and ancient kites. Standard fare at most museumesque sites. We meandered around, took some pictures, all the while getting sweatier and wetter with each step thanks to the sun and the enormous humidity the day was exuding.
We found the 'factory' and got to see some laborers really doing their thing.
The inside was bustling, but not overly crowded or in the atrocious conditions one forms in ones head from hearing the words 'China' and 'factory'. The Chinese workers hunkered over, intently focused on their little allotment of the project, the kites being assembled down a long, wide wooden work bench, on a line. One person cutting the paper from a delicate, silk-paper pattern, the next applies the vivid colored paint, another worker molds the feathery frames and yet another applies the glued paper to it. The 'factory' itself had scrap pieces scattered all about the floor and tables, Chinese workers (mostly young women) in their white aprons all attempting with their utmost willpower to focus on their task at hand, but being majorly distracted by the big foreigners taking photo's, video camera-ing, and speaking that bizarre language, you know, English.
A kite head.
There were two such rooms with the folks inside pounding, fastening, shaving, burning, cutting, painting, lifting, pasting, shuffling, organizing, doing their respective part in the piece of the puzzle.
After some smiles, photos and essentially making fans of the factory girls, we all decided to head back to 'the city' to have lunch, but not before shopping for some kites outside the factory. We met up with Val and went to a splendid seafood restaurant. Peter bought and we won some money off the little lottery reciepts from the meal. Tracy scratched and was so thrilled we had won RMB 50!!! (about $6) After the meal, dad and I cruised to Walmart and bought something special for Tracy's mom: a coffee machine! We figured that since she was bestowing an awful lot of tea goodies for dad we would return the beverage favor, western style.
It was awesome to see her face light up recieving that! Hahhaaha. We also got to enjoy some of Tracy's mom's extraordinary cooking, mmmmmmmm. A great last meal for dad before heading out the next morning.