Thursday, January 31, 2008

the Chinese Brand



i’ve been mulling the post about arrogance. And noticed three things in the meanwhile.

1. the elevator is English. she announces ‘going up'.... and 'the 17th Floor’ in a singsongy english voice. she doesn’t even pretend to speak Chinese.

2. Starbucks a couple blocks from my hotel is excellent. for real. The espresso is better. The croissant is much better.


Better than what? the average starbucks in the states. The butter croissant may be on the List. And there’s more. Yesterday I got a raisin scone and it was memorable (....a memorable scone....)


3. The process sheets (work order traveler that follows a part as it’s manufactured) were written in english. Imagine a credit card application written in Chinese.... this is what it must look like to the workers.
_________________________

There is obviously an intersection of culture in Shanghai, resulting in a whole lot of commerce: The Chinese must live with western brands and products whether they like it or not.

Can you imagine going to new york, staying at the Hilton, getting in the elevator and it talking to you in Chinese and NOT English? ...... maybe every elevator worldwide is restricted to English. I’ve never noticed... and I guess that’s the point....

Also it appears that the Western Brands are making a real go of it. Staples, Starbucks, Audi; the presentation of these companies is impressive -- with Staples it’s the advertising and size of the store, with Starbucks the quality of the food and service, and with Audi -- well you should see the flipping show room.

Circle back to the comment about arrogance. I suspect that the psychology must in some way be rooted in a desire to see Chinese brands simply be as successful as the Western brands that are so IN YOUR FACE in this city--

There was a time when the two concerns with sourcing in China were quality and ‘extra’ product going out the backdoor and making it to market. Actually these still are the big issues...

But perhaps another issue is looming. If a Chinese factory’s primary business model becomes developing it’s own brand it will necessarily subordinate a ‘sourcing’ customer to the demands of the Brand. If a factory capable of making 90 million socks is developing its own brand, then the relationship with Hanes or whomever will have to change.

Moreover with an incentive to sell product under it’s name and an outlet for direct sales (of quantity) it will face a pretty significant temptation to ‘leverage’ technology and design trusted to it for production.

So what’s different between this and the Knock Offs.... everything. We talk about buying $10 Gucci bag on the streets of New York not a Chinese Brand of bags that’s as good as Gucci. The ridiculous handbag industry is worth another whole essay.... suffice to say that Gucci and everyone else in that industry makes bags in China. Right now all they face is a copy of their bag being sold as a fake gucci bag. But what if that Gucci factory had the brand power of Kate Spade.

To draw a clearer example. If Boeing were to make a plane at a Airbus facility. The conflict is self evident and really doesn’t need more explanation.

There is an intersection of commerce here. If China is intent on evolving from the sourcing model to the establishment of worldwide Brands it may open the door to a whole lot of second guessing from folks who have for 20 years poured money into the country to get their goods manufactured.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Cold Feet





















this may sound insipid, but it's cold in here. and my feet are freezing.

the heater-- for the whole office. gloves and coats are requisite work attire ;)


charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

mo' food



ate chinese this afternoon -- tonight it was taiwanese. I'm going to need a bit to collect myself after this last one (no pictures of the evening feed... ) in the mean time here's the afternoon fare which was kind of light weight but interesting :

charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

perhaps it will change


There is an arrogance here.

I really enjoy Shanghai, I like this city a lot. On par with Cities that i’ll record as my favorite. It’s lacking in a couple of areas.... but so significantly makes up in others that the lack of things to see is offset by the things to do and for the time being my choice level of cultural clumsiness.

the blush of being new in China hasn’t worn off. I wake up with a grin and eat with first date anxiety. I haven’t gotten tired of not understanding anything and have picked up ‘thank you’ and ‘hello’. Got them backwards for a whole day. Learned that people like to teach me chinese if I ask. And my ear feels like it’s stuffed with marshmallows when they talk-- spelling things is the only way.

in this mess of newness and business i’ve also see one nasty consequence of the economic success that defines shanghai --

and that’s hubris. Maybe it was just surprising, and i'm sure it isn't the Rule (this is a big place after all...) But it's also not hard to find.

Someone may read this and damn the jingoist . But i’m not, don’t really care. and I genuinely like the place.

the businesses here have exploded. 5MM three years ago, 50MM this year. Again and again you hear the same story. For eons as economies ebb and flow as the fates of success roll up somewhere new-- And in China a cosmic scale lottery ticket has been cashed.

The cynical head of an old American brand? yeah. i am.

But the circumstantial success of a shanghai. did you grow the billion and pay them nothing sir? no. you happened to be in a place where you could well exploit a population, and were an able enough skipper to navigate through some chop to end with a successful business. no bitterness -- a lot of respect. respect.

But to mistake the scaled production of cheap goods with genius, or worse with brand integrity is arrogant. Of course this economy will mature and I know that some of the great brands in the 21st century -- a la GE, Coke, Apple, Ferrari, will be Chinese.

But if you’re knocking off thousands of sewing machines and think for a moment that you’ve nailed the integrity factor that builds a worldwide consumer base who trusts and invests in your product for generations. no. ain’t happening.

why? well my reaction probably sounds a little ham handed-- but is it? Name some great brands that have developed and lasted building a business on knocking things off. Brands. Not behind the scenes ‘shaws’ brand pepper. If you can, name them in the comments.

I rattled off a pile of 50 and couldn’t tag one as fitting the bill. The closest i got was Walmart. And actually this category has a couple, so maybe the whole boxstore enchilada can be assessed.

But is driving across state lines to buy cheap teeshirts and chachkis to sell cheap back home the same thing? I’ll help here. No it’s not. Because your business is predicated on customer service and low costs. People liked Sam Walton, they liked shopping at his store.... and his prices were better.

So what’s the bottom line. Shanghai has a good thing going and I'd bet there are a handful of Sam Waltons as well. But the business leaders here should be aware that good fortune is often chairman of the board. Careful to whom you lift your nose. massive economic good fortune has a tendency to not give a whole lot of warning before taking a walk.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

distractions


sculpture, shot through the window of the car.



a jazz bar with a creepy drawing of black america
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

taxi take 2


am in the taxi back. long day, it’s 11:30PM.

I’m pleased with the day. This was an important one. Not momentous, in fact not even a step forward. But a lot of debris was blown out of the system.

I’ll be working with folks tomorrow to test todays production. If all goes well i’ll fly to hong kong and then maybe taiwan. If not, I come home saturday.

highlight was an impromtu dinner at a factory I was visiting. We were concluding the visit when Susie asks wether i’ll take a light meal? Odd this, I thought.


Best,it was served with chinese budwiser. Not only does it taste better but it has the coolest pull-off tab, like V8 in the states. Chinese Bud.



I also went DVD shopping. First thing in this country that I found a deal on. 5RMB for a DVD. This is like .80. I don’t buy DVDs generally, but at .80 I did. At .80 i’ll buy almost anything....

_____
the riviting taxi update: a 1 and 1/2 hr. ride back to the hotel is now sidelined. We’re stopped dead on a highway, have been for 15 minutes or so. Driver is out smoking on the overpass. In fact as i’m writing there’s a small army of people rolling up through the cars. Now the optomist in me makes the following assesment: we’re on a long elevated road, a small army of chinese are marching toward whatever isn’t moving ahead of us, no one is moving or has for 20 min. or so (incidently the taxi meter continues to tick.... ) perhpas they’ll just chuck the offending blockage over the overpass and get this show on the road.

Remember in China we’re all a drop of water in a fast rushing river....
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

taxi


i’m in the taxi now--



we’re headed out of shanghai. He speaks no english, which is fine generally. but by the by I pissed him off. When you’re in a taxi heading somewhere unknown (no idea how far, 1hr.? 5hr.? 1/2hr?) with a hostile taxi driver it’s fun to toy with the idea that neither you nor he really knows what’s going on. Or worse he does -- and might just let me off on a corner somewhere....

In India this happened. For more than a half hr. the driver drove. When pressed with pen and paper ‘do you KNOW where your going’ -- ‘we’re going HERE....scribble scribble’ he vigorously shakes his head and says ‘no, no!). So I get out and wait befuddled, for another taxi.

This time I’m armed with three destinations. Hotels and a business. If I get the improbable but possible ‘no, no! I’ll whip out my back up ammo-- chinese written hotels! . And then pay him more money.....

____
After a 1/2hr. or so we crossed a big bridge! landmark and cookie crumbs for the trip back....

___
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Monday, January 28, 2008

construction in shanghai


somewhere in this city there is apparently a scale model of what shanghai is anticipated to look like in 5 years.

it would be worth finding. The poor guy who has to work on this thing, for him every day must suck. ‘kim chi you have not updated model, what happened?’ ‘sir, i went to sleep’, ‘you do not sleep! this is shanghai, model out of date!’



the long highway that i’m driving is curbed with new skyscrapers. the height is generally not outlandish -- if you look i suppose that the average is 30 to 40 floors. But by volume it’s almost impossible to imagine how there is enough stuff to occupy, nevertheless pay for rent in all of this space.

Residential? was the population homeless yesterday?

The count is 25 million in Shanghai, I assume they live somewhere to be counted. Is the residential construction meeting the demand of people immigrating to shanghai? Or are there a lot of abandoned crap shanty housing somewhere as a middle class develops?

Either way a lot of people have new digs, and by the looks of it a lot of realestate developers will be investing in tums if the markets show so much as a whisper of slacking.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Technology


from the Rainbow hotel room 1705 in Shanghai, with a macbook and some gadgets it's as if I were in Wareham,MA. I open my laptop and the Eyebeam software (which is my phone) connects to the server in Wareham. When you call 508.295.8899 my laptop rings. If you are in wareham and dial extension 601 my laptop rings. With headphones and a microphone the quality of the call is as good as it is in wareham.

Our ERP/CRM system (opentaps) is now all web based and completely accessible in Shanghai

Our payroll is online and completely accessible

With Skype and Jabber I am connected to everyone by instant messenger as well.

And with Google Applications, which we use for mail, documents and calendar -- I have access to many of the company's documents, contracts etc. as well as my 30,000 or so emails

With the Blog I can describe what I’m doing generally and offer some color, as the travel is as much understanding the scope and breadth of the Merrow brand as it is the specific transactions we’re focusing on at the moment.

And between linkedin and facebook I can network....

this technology is amazing.

So what’s that worth?

In India the charge was 895 rupees/day. Here it is .6RMB/minute. And the hotels make all the dough.

So what if, say google, bought some of the mobile spectrum (or bought, say Sprint) and came out with a GSM cell phone that allowed for a heavy duty connection -- a broadband connection that optimized google apps specifically. Not just a cell phone with broadband - but a system that was designed to leverage (READ SPEED UP) all of the technologies listed above.

What would this be worth? If I were google i’d multiply the number of people who use computers in hotels by 895 rupees/day (then hopefully divide by say 100). In countries that don’t have fiber all over the place i’d add to the multiplier the # businesses without broadband access. And to add icing to the frosting I’d throw on 15% of the youth with cellphones who with legitimate access to facebook, myspace, picasa and flickr would be in hog heaven.

This is the number (well not really but you get the point) I would use to predict revenue from the most successful communications device to be launched in 2009.....

the iphone is cute but on par with a palm pilot. It can keep track of things and is a phone -- but it doesn’t really allow any of the above technologies to really be leveraged. Moreover it doesn’t have a network, it’s just a device.

Being able to do what I do with my all this software and my laptop is really, really, really useful. I HAVE CREATED A DEVICE THAT LET'S ME BE IN THE OFFICE WHEN I'M NOT -- now if someone can make it smaller & create a worldwide network where I don't have to pay for broadband access in a hotel (or at home for that matter) -- I will buy it. Lot’s of it.

Because blogging/talking/opentaping/IMing/emailing/videoconfing/networking seamlessly is what matters.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Sunday, January 27, 2008

some walking around the city


Today was kind of a mess -- was a half a day off-- but I did get to walk some around the old temple downtown. Caught a movie tonight in Chinese --

Here are some of the pics. Didn't get anything real decent other than this one:


Which I think captures the contrast well, of this ancient and bleeding edge.

It was a sleeting rain all day
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

delicate inaccessible subjects


-----
a quick update to the post below. turns out that it was even easier to get at the blog, after googling 'blogspot proxy china' the first link is here. allowing simple access via way of proxy to the banned website.

With all the technical muscle the banning of information seems trivial. So what's the deal?
-----
a perfect follow up to the last post.

can't get at my own blog. or wikipedia. or a host of other sites

chinese won't let me.

links die. these things simply aren't available.

the weird thing -- when I click on this link -- it loaded! for an eighth of second and then shut down. This means that somewhere a chinese black box was actively, not preemptively, filtering. So they are watching what i'm looking at....do they know my hotel room #?

so is it sinister, or childish? As the link describes a simple script in firefox circumvents the government firewall-- that's not exactly a whole hearted effort to stop information transfer.

I'm sure if I hunt around there is a lot written on this-- and after a quick look it seems like a smaller and smaller deal. but it was a touch disconcerting to not be able to just go to a website...

so after writing a quick and sincere post about how darn capitalistic shanghai is -- i butt heads against the System that somehow is nurturing this and keeping a finger on the button. As one of these posts mentions 1984 meets 1989 -- throw a little 1999 to the mix and we'll bake cake.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

communsim of different stripes




For someone that likes to focus on work, Shanghai is (to really hack up a metaphor) a Shangri La. This is evidently the one of the best places on earth to do nothing but work.

Erm. Correction. This is the best place on earth to do a lot, and while this lot is being done to not lose track of work or deal making.

I’m in the lobby of the hotel, each of the tables taken has a small group of people laptops tipped open most leaning in closely to listen

It feels like san jose with more chinese. Note though that the composition of white faces is even young wearing hip glasses. The Chinese are generally older.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

shiny new city please


Last night driving through shanghai the size of the city was impossible to ignore. As LA has several ‘cities’ within the metro, so does Shanghai. Except that they are not connected by relatively low rise buildings. The place is dotted with skyscrapers

On the River (which to this point has been the most visually striking) the buildings are lit up like Tokyo? or Las Vegas. The citibank building’s entire and considerable facade is a billboard.

And there is old architecture, I think. I’m not sure how much of the ‘this is 500 years old’ i buy. Most looked awfully 18th century to me... Nonetheless the contrast isn’t even significant. This is a new city, it makes NYC feel staid and formal.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Fish Eyes



Kindy and I ate dinner at a Japanese restaurant (in Shanghai).

1st. I never heard or saw Kindy order. I was watching the waitress scribble frantically as he was reading the menu, but figured she was practicing or something-- he was certainly not saying or discernibly pointing to what he wanted to eat. Obviously I’m wrong as we got food -- but still it seems cryptic to me.

And he ordered 22 plates of food. Like tapas. They started with 5 and as we ate more appeared.

And 50% was new to me. scallop concoctions (served in the big shell), exotic sashimi, large sardines, egg soup, a good kim chi... Fish heads

So we’re half way through when the first fish head comes. The first one was tuna head. It comes with two pieces, the whole head and then a chunk from the shoulders (fish shoulders?). Kindy advises me to go for the head.

I did with commitment. This whole eating thing is my bag. The stranger it looks the happier I get. The hotter, the mo’ bitter whatever. I love eating food -- challenging food. The fish head wasn’t necessarily this....

But then I got to the eye. Big grin on my face. Was having fun and thinking ahha! my first chinese challenge! Not going to even ask -- going to savor the eye, I think I read it’s a delicacy..... do i pop the whole thing in? or bite it? whole thing! aha--hmm ,round, slippery rolled around on tongue, it popped, salty, thicker than I thought, woah meaty, viscous, mouth is very full, need to chew, it’s a two swallower.

I still can’t figure out what the chalky white thing in the center was, but I’ve never eaten anything quite like tuna eye.

A couple of plates later we got salmon head. I asked Kindy to take it. When he got to the end all that was left was the eye....

i pointed chop stick; said saving this for last eh? He laughed; said you eat eye? i never have, ok ok i’ll try.

He had a nibble and spit it out.
I assume because he’s taiwanese and not chinese he must not know....

C
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Landed and working


Landed in Shanghai.

First Impressions --
it's big. in the car every 20 min. for 2hrs. i'd ask, what city is this? Miki turns around everytime and says 'city? city Shanghai! -- I figure she just doesn't understand the question.

this is Miki. insert a height crack about the photographer here...














This is a picture of a wee bit of shanghai from the hotel room:

The day was actually memorable. I got off the plane mid-morning, cleared customs without a hiccup, and was whisked away as soon as I left immigration.

Finally smooth sailing, Miki asked if I wanted to go to the hotel before the factory -- I said yeah, she said ok 20minutes?'.

This was the beginning of my getting to relax just a bit plan getting stuck in mud.

....so after a 2 hr. ride. i took a 20 minute pit stop and it was off to lunch. Fine right? There's Kindy waiting for me outside a restaurant 'Charlie, good to see you, we go to a party!'....and with this was official death of any chance at a rest. We did go to a party. His friend was having a new years party (at 1PM) -- karaoke with a couple hundred people.

EVERY TIME YOU ARE INTRODUCED TO SOMEONE NEW YOU TOAST, WHEN YOU TOAST YOU CHUG YOUR CUP (the cup is small, but it is full of beer nonetheless). I'm not kidding. And I was in a room with 300 Chinese people. Wasn't exactly a familiar bunch...

And they just rip up a karaoke floor. It was unceasing.

By 3PM we left.

I spent the evening at the factory, it was productive.

We work Sunday, i'll offer updates as the circumstances warrant.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Friday, January 25, 2008

Next Leg


The next leg begins.

A day in this new Merrow office...


Flight leaves for Shanghai at 2 this afternoon. In the mean time i'm going to try and hunt down a little food.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

India -- Ludhiana


No bandwith to upload pictures until today.

so here some shots from Ludhiana.



I'm in now in Heathrow. Waiting for the next leg to start. In email i've described some of the detail of this trip. The blog isn't the place for details with respect to business.... so I'm just going to stick to to the travel.

There is a lot of it.

A: In Ludhiana there is a factory in almost every home.
B: The city has no drug issues, no bars (to speak of), no theatres -- they just work.
C: It is largely Seik. The Seiks wear turbans, all colors. Green, pink, black, blue.... and all of the color is amazing
D: Ludhiana is a 6, 7 or 8 hr. drive to Delhi. If your driver doesnt' know where the airport is, it's longer.

D....the traffic was so bad that we drove, at the end of the day, 12 hrs. to get to the Delhi airport (followed by a 9hr. flight ... yeah i'm a little tired)

Imagine this-- this is like driving the Washington DC to take a plane. And then my driver had to drive back!

I'll log back in an hr. to add more.... in the mean time here some more pics.

charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Sunday, January 20, 2008

India Day 5


Where I'm headed this morning, and what a sunrise in India looks like:


(that's 60 miles from pakistan...)

Pats//Giants. A small world, I watched a live blog of the green bay giants game-- and nearly jumped out of my chair when the field goal went in -- too bad that.

Off to the north now.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

India Day 4




In India there are a lot of one word historical epochs

1947 was ‘Independence’
1974-1976?? was ‘Emergency’
Jan. 19th 2008 ‘Adjustment’

adjustment. this is what they call delhi belly. for me the 36 hrs. was more like what i’d imagine the best and worst of an absinthe hangover in a sadistic weight loss clinic. i was pretty sick (delirious...fwiw)

lesson -- don’t drink the water in India. no -- seriously, don’t. they don’t even drink it (if they have a choice).

After a rough outing on the first day of the show and an effective withdrawal on the 2nd, Merrow did well on the third.

I met one of the largest garment factories in the world (employee base, 50,000-75,000.... people) We talked shop about buttseaming (they have 60 -- can someone please get me an accurate idea of the # of machines a company should have at a given size--it appears that if you're big you have 60-80. end of story. what??), and scheduled a visit in Bangalore

With many more customers we talked about blanket stitching, emblem edging and butt seaming.

We also found out how little people know of Merrow. They know 'Merrow' (high quality xyz machine) -- but no one knew what we did in entirety. And almost everyone we spoke to had a supply issue.

We need more machines & parts-- we need to get our act together and shorten our delivery times. Customers need a lot of different machines, lots of different parts, this is their challenge. Now we figure it out -- this is our mandate.

This means getting them machines, parts, support. A new website, new stitch samples, marketing material-- this means blocking and tackling. It's easy to talk about in the office -- a lot harder to see how much energy companies with hundreds of sales people will dedicate to Merrow if we can give them something to work with....

that said, the people at HCA were fantastic -- I took video of the party after the show tonight, like nothing i’ve ever seen.

India is growing roughly 10%GDP per year (this year will be a little less). You can feel change in the air, and smell it and hear it. And yet there is always the relative measure of how things are ‘it’s not as good as last year...’ They have no idea how good they have it...which is an almost impossible thing to really believe when you see how far India is from approximating US infrastructure. Yet their growth is something the US has not seen in 40 years.

So empowered with perspective and cunning, we will adopt their GDP growth, and China's and Brazil's and reap the rewards.

It is a good time to work for Merrow -- this is exciting.

I’ll be traveling north tomorrow, saying goodbye to delhi. We should return soon however.

Best
Charlie
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Friday, January 18, 2008

Indian Evening


This will be quick -- am exhausted. Pics from the show. Took mostly video. A Good day generally.

charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Indian Morning




I took a pre-dawn hike. With considerable disapproval from the hotel staff-- but this is India and I was determined to see the sun rise from a hill.

Not great luck with the pics of a sunrise, bad vantage. (shots are of the hotel, my view from a hill, a laborer and the doorman)

and the food! This morning the requisite porridge, fried tomatoes and steamed vegetable root. Olives and chicken sausage added on for pizazz.

and the Language! this AM in the Times of India several instances of "upgradation". A useful word, I think (Tata Motors knows that the brands, that operate in developed markets and compete with some of the best in world, need constant upgradation, on engines, model facelifts. )

We leave for the tradeshow at 10AM -- i'll work to add updates as the day goes on.
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hr. 7 in India



We're in Delhi --

Delhi, Just another poor city? No. the sweaters and clean cardigans & clothes made this impossible. Clouds of dirt and cars and noise and everyone somehow appears dressed well.

Yet Unmistakably poor. Poor on the roadside, filthy slums and bi-level concrete shell housing farther out as you look. For 20 minutes or so I was deceived into thinking Mexico, or name your place.

And then, cows in the road!

Not being herded, harassed, harangued or otherwise. not being owned by anyone apparent. Just loitering... The Indian Cow, everything started to make sense.

Then there were monkeys. And I looked closer and the poverty felt different. More like the stories i’ve read, not kipling the Other stories. Beggars and desperation that was harder, larger, tougher.

But the color and the clean clothes and the smiling kids in the back window of a bus waving at the stopped car behind was very familiar. Even the smiles on the dirty street kids were recognizable. So this was the contrast --

And now at the hotel i’m sitting in the dining room. Indian band just stopped playing and the cook at the buffet named guptarathi really likes making me spicy food-- got this grin on his face when he hands my plate back ( because I keep returning my plate asking for spicier food...)

Me and India, we're going to have a great time it would seem

Couple of hr.s prepping for the show tomorrow -- and it's gametime.

I'll wear a cardigan
charlie merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space