The week didn't start well. The flight from the UK to Hong Kong takes 13 hours, a long time to be on a flight for anyone. But a nightmare if you aren't allowed to sleep, sit still for too long and must drink as much water as you can manage. It felt like I spent most of the flight in the loo. As mentioned before I insist now on going Business Class so I have enough leg room. This time we flew with BA so went Club World. It was my first time in this class on BA(we usually fly Virgin), but the seats weren't too bad - they lay flat and are approx 20 inches wide. Any larger lady reading this will know the terror of airline seats. In the past I have endure the embarrassment of the seatbelt not fitting and having to hide this from the attendants - no way am I going to ask for an extension!! Luckily in Business Class the belts are generous - why can't they do this across the board?! The seat was wide enough to not dig into my hips and the headphone socket was up high away from my thigh.
Not that relevant to the blog, but blimey the food on BA is awful!! So I arrived in HK the next day, my boss had had a lovely long sleep and felt fine, I did not - and hid away in my hotel room for the rest of the evening. On the Monday morning we fly out to Fuzhou in Eastern China. A short flight, but I felt so sick. We were right next to the Galley and the smell of the food being cooked was almost unbearable. I must mention again that my boss does not yet know about the baby, this will a complete shock to him as he doesn't really see me as a woman - just a fat design robot! Harsh I know, but after 10 years of working with him and being his support system for his roller-coaster emotions I know him too well.
Moving on - the day in Fuzhou was tough, the factory was (as most Chinese factories are) dirty, messy, smelly and depressing. The showroom part was full of wonderful product, but whilst my boss shut down, suffering from jet lag I was left to conduct the rest of the meeting, amending samples, photographing product, discussing QC issues. The whole time suffering from a bad headache, and feeling like the floor was moving up and down - even though I knew it wasn't. To top it all off it was bitterly cold, and when the visit was over the time spent in the airport was even colder and more depressing - with only a choice of three places to eat. I knew I needed to take something for the headache as I feared it would become a migraine, but stupidly I had left the paracetamol back in Hong Kong - all I had was a cooling gel patch for my forehead - not a great look - but I was desperate. I was dreading the flight with the dodgy food smells, I didn't know if I could keep my chinese lunch down!
After a very long and tiring day we made it back to Hong Kong and the familiarity of our usual Hotel. I felt like crap, just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry - which I did. Thank god for the rest of the trip I felt better, and made sure I was well prepared with water, snacks and paracetamol for any emergencies.
So on Wednesday night we fly into New Delhi. I had only been there once before last October - now we were visiting two of the factories we had placed orders with last year. My previous experience of India had been the chaotic but funny trip to and from the trade show - so not exactly a cultural overload. My boss decided that to be on the safe side we shouldn't eat the food - so I survived on mini cheddars and chocolate - but this time he was prepared to eat - which meant (as much as I love Indian food) I too had to eat and risk the infamous Delhi Belly!!
We stayed in a lovely hotel - The Imperial on Janpath. Very old school colonial! But the contrast between the 5 star luxury of our hotel and the squalor we experienced on the way to, and inside the factories can only be seen to be believed. India has a serious problem with poverty, hygiene, organisation, corruption, infrastructure and safety - but the worst problem of all is that no-one seems to care and everyone just accepts it!! Truly shocking and exhausting.
My worst experience was on the last day. The traffic was bad (as usual) and we were stuck at some lights for ages. Anyone who has visited India will be aware of the many people begging at traffic lights. A shocking sight no matter how many times you have seen it (as a Westerner). I was used to people tapping on the window for money. The only option, as hard as it seems is to ignore them. Many of them either choose begging as their career, or are under the control of the mafia who provide shelter, food and protection in exchange for all of their earnings. But on this occasion a woman in her twenties, painfully thin pressed herself and her malnourished baby up against my window. She gestured as to feeding the baby - I looked at the baby's face, it had large oversized eyes which stared right at me. I felt angry that someone could use their chid as a begging tool - I personally think there are always ways of making a living without resorting to begging, but I also felt so sad and wondered what life lay in store for this child. I had often seen older children - 3 or 4 years old who were already experts in begging unaided by their parents. We had no where to go so had to sit whilst this woman pressed herself up against the car, tapping my window. The India factory owner and his father sat in the front unaware of my distress - my boss sat on my left drifting in and out of sleep. That was until I began to cry, and much to my efforts I couldn't contain my sobs. It was embarassing as this was a business meeting, but my so called stiff upper lip disappeared entirely. My boss was unsupportive as usual, and chose not to comment - so my reaction was left undiscussed. Even now I am crying typing this, I cannot get rid of the image of that baby's face. Horrific - just horrific.
Gladly I am home now, back with the hubby and my two cats. Feeling queasy, with a banging headache. But so grateful that I was born in the country and nowhere else - something I don't really appreciate. And knowing that my baby will be born here also - with a chance in life, and not as a money-making tool. Although even here that happens too - but in a much less extreme way.
Sorry if I've depressed anyone reading this - it was a long tough week, and my last trip abroad for quite some time.
Here are my measurements for this week -
Bust - 51.5 inches (+0.5)
Waist - 49.5 inches (+1.5)
Hips - 56 (+0.5))
Weight - -1kg
I kind of thought I had begun expanding - but now the measurements prove this! I don't know whether to be happy with the weight loss, but I guess at this stage I really shouldn't be gaining anyway - I'm sure I will put it all back on again next week knowing me!
- queasiness - threw up several times
- headaches - getting more extreme
- Expanding waistline!