I had two projects at the Canton Fair this month, one sourcing high-end silk flowers for a US company and the other developing a childrenfs learning system for a company in Toronto. Both projects kept me pretty busy. I had been somewhat anxious about the silk flower project because the learning curve was steep. I had to learn not only how the flowers were made - cutting dies and molds - but had to learn how to distinguish the really high-end stuff from the riff-raff of which, at the Canton Fair, there is plenty. I must say though that after 4-5 days I could look at a flower and tell you in a few seconds if good or bad - based on coloration of the petals and the stamens. I also discovered that my customerfs current vendor is selling my customerfs own designs, something she is not supposed to do. Of course this happens all the time in China. But knowing that her vendor is doing this and having photographic proof, my customer, I would like to think, is now in the driverfs seat.

The weather was mostly nice in Guangzhou though there were a couple of memorable thunderstorms including one that turned the mid-afternoon sky as dark as night. One thing I learned on this trip was never to assume that it is sufficient to arrive at Bai Yun airport two hours before my flight. I arrived 2 and half hrs before my flight but nearly missed it, the lines at the ticket counters being endless because of the impending May Day holiday. It took me 2 and half hours to check-in, and to go through security and immigration. I didnft even have time for a cup of coffee before boarding the plane. It was good to get home.