Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 28th -Night club from hell

A few evenings ago I found myself in a small Chinese provincial city in the middle of nowhere in the illustrious company of Ulrika Larsson and Joakim Hermansson Upplevelsebolaget and Leif Davidsson, KajakEvent.
After a sumptuous dinner with some Chinese friends the four of us ended up at our hotel wanting a “digestive”.
The hotel bar tuned out to be more than that.
A full out, take no prisoners night club with full blast, state of the art sound system and a laser show that would make Le Byblos in St:Tropez full of envy.
A 40x10 meter superscreen and a stage that would move up and down bringing us one attraction after the other.
The main problem was that we could only order a full bottle of brandy. We were quite desperate so a Hennesy VSOP arrived. “We will take it with us after and drink it all week” we agreed… yeah right!
After a a mellow start a band started playing, followed by a very very disco dance show. Then Mickey and Mimi Mouse appeared on stage in real slick Disneyland outfits and danced. Bizarre? You bet! As time went by the crowd, all local, became more and more rowdy. Though kept in line by 8 combat equipped police men, helmet and all.
The locals were happy to see a bunch of westerners and one after the other came up to “kambei” with us. That’s “Cheers” in China.
In the wee hours the bar tender went bonkers and started juggling Molotov cocktails around and spewing the guests with 5 meter flames . It was a riot.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February 28, Paddling the Huangpu River

Last week I made a paddling excursion on the Huangpu river (a very small part of it) not far from Shanghai, China.

Chinese regulations can be confusing. Before heading out our Chinese lawyer had investigated the matter of paddling the Huangpu River. Her finding was that “it is not illegal”. But in the next breath she added: “but it is not legal either”. Ok. I deemed it confusing enough not to worry about it.
Joakim, Leif, me and Ulrika
Joining me on the excursion were three Swedish paddlers. Ulrika Larsson, well known Swedish paddling personality, who recently paddled the Swedish coastline “the Sea kayakers blue ribbon”. A 2500km/ 1500 mile two month undertaking with very challenging conditions at times. Ulrika is also one half of Swedish paddling outfitter and retailer Upplevelsebolaget. Her partner in life and business, Joakim Hermansson, an avid adventurer as well, also took part in the fun.
The final member of our little excursion, Leif Davidsson, a kayak instructor, professional photographer and owner of south Swedens leading paddling outlet and retailer, KajakEvent.
The Huangpu river connects Shanghai and Hangzhou, said to be the most beautiful city in China. Well, I did not paddle the 150 km to Hangzhou but instead opted for a day paddle exploring the side rivers of the mighty Huangpu.
Leif in a Point 65 X-Ray

Our kayaks and gear was loaded on a beaten up old truck and we followed in our car. Our Chinese manager had chosen the launching spot with great care so we were a bit surprised when we arrived at the spot.
Ulrika paddling the new Point 65 Whisky 16
The main Huangpu River is a super highway for huge barges carting mostly sand down the river. Were we launched is the spot were the barges anchor and reload their cargo into smaller barges that ferry the sand directly to the concrete factories just outside the booming metropolis of Shanghai.

Not exactly what we had in mind but once on the water we entered a fascinating new world. There were literally hundreds, if not over a thousand barges lined up for mile after mile in the middle of the river, creating a floating society with crews typically consisting of the captain, his wife and child and one or two crew members. Paddling along the never ending row of barges these people were stunned to see our alien crafts and hurried to the reeling to watch us go by, waving and smiling.
Leif edging the new Point 65 Whisky 16 designed by Nigel Foster

After a quick picnic on an island we decided to take a smaller side river and paddle away from this bustling water world. Ulrika, Joakim and Leif took turns paddling our latest model, the Point 65 Whisky 16 designed by Nigel Foster.

A few strokes and we suddenly found our selves in the total calmative world of rural china with fields and small villages lining the river. As the day started to come to an end on the maze of rivers we headed into a village and beached the kayaks.
Joakim under the bridge
Immediately a group of residents surrounded the small inlet, pointing and laughing. Pretty soon a young woman materialized who spoke perfect English. She helped us get hold of the truck and explain to the driver were he could find us.
Ulrika chatting with Iris, who became our newest recruit
This was not an easy task as we had managed to paddle into the neighbouring district with which the driver was not at all familiar. Iris, as her name was, impressed us by the way she solved the problem and her general attitude and helpfulness.
In the village centre having a beer while waiting for the truck
During the hour or so wait for the truck we got to know her better. As she was a bachelor degree in human resources and financials, a position we are currently trying to fill, I hired her for our Chinese subsidiary. A great ending of a great day!
Local fishmonger

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Point 65 Management meeting

Vivi, Public Ralations and Lina office manager

The Point 65 Management Team took some time out and went paddling around the island of Finnhamn. We took photographer Malte Danielsson along. By the way, Malte is the son of Swedish paddling legend Jim Danielsson. The pictures are really good and many made the Point 65 brochure. We never use models and all the paddlers on our web site are members of the Point 65 staff.

Nigel, Vice President Research & Development pushing the envelope in a SeaCruiser

Lina, Office Manager and Max, Sales

Kristin, sponsored paddler

Paul, international sales -Paul, got your keys?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Le Bistro de Paris

Where I live, in the northern parts of Loire, France, there is this fantastic little restaurant, Le Bistro de Paris in Laval. It is one of my favorite restaurants. It deserves it’s star in the Guide Michelin. The food is to die for. It is friendly and cosy. The chef and owner, Monsieur Guy Lemercier is a really nice guy and takes time to personally discus the menu and choices with all the guests. And his Fois Gras is not from this world. The value is great. What about a gourmet 3 course menu at 27 €? I took my wife Camilla and son Felix there tonight and took some pictures. Enjoy! We did...

The door to heaven

The sacred book

Felix and Camilla

did you say 27 Euros?

Magic man, Mr Guy Lemercier

Sauté de crevettes à l’huile d’ail mmmmmmm

The kitchen

and le fromage

Soufflé au Grand Marnier

The Point 65 Dealer Event

Last fall, before ice covered the Stockholm archipelago we invited all our dealers and distributors from around the world to the island of Finnhamn.

There were guests from Sweden, Italy, Israel, the US, Norway, Denmark, Finland and more. We paddled of course but also did a real Swedish sauna (at midnight), the first time for some. It was great fun to see the Italians, used to the agreeable Mediterranean waters throw themselves into the ice cold Baltic sea.
One evening we had Swedish cray fish, a special speciality that looks weird to the non Swedish eye.