The Nancy’s is what I call myself and my friend Taylor when we do some investigating in China. When I say some I really me this one time but we could be on to something. I believe having recently watched an episode of Raising Hope featuring Nancy Grace playing herself as she hosts “Inside Probe” on Hope’s Mother had something to do with the name. Or it could be a flashback to Nancy Drew, whatever some good investigating went down in Suzhou at the No. 1 Silk Factory.
We were in Suzhou on a day trip where we went to the No. 1 Silk Factory to learn how silk products are made. Pulling into the factory there are people all over the place and tour buses for days. We pass all this and go to the back where it is calm, quiet, we are the only ones, and a sign that says welcome foreign friends. Where are all the hundreds of other people who came traveling on all those buses? Were we at the No. 1 factory and they were at the No. 2? It made us wonder, something is up.
We take the tour of how silk is produced, get to hold silk worms, and hear how they make pillows out of silk worm poop. We were told some people find these pillows special for they smell nice, like mulberry, which silk worms diet is made of. I am sorry the Nancy’s did not investigate the truth in this statement of if it smelled like mulberry. After the tour we are escorted through a giant shop where you can purchase silk products and worm poop pillows. Here we finally encountered some other folks, all foreigners as well. Why do they have us separated? Taylor and I are convinced that this shop is selling to foreigners and of course the prices are much higher than what they are charging the gaggle of Chinese tourists. The goods are very expensive there is no way locals are paying those prices. Obviously, why we are separated.
We ask our guide where are all the other people? I can’t remember what she says exactly, something about it being a large factory, but her answer did not satisfy us and we said we want to go to the store, the store where the local tourists go. After not letting it go on our part the guide told the driver to take us. Along the way the parking/security attendants see us in the car and tell the driver that we need to go back to where we came, the “foreigner” shop. We are on to something! When we got out of the car, which only the Nancy’s did. Todd and Trent stayed in the car, who should really be called the “Nancy’s” now? Their claim is they didn’t want to go into another silk store, I think they were afraid. The guard tells us to get back in the car, a cover up! Our guide said he doesn’t know anything and to ignore him, I love it!
We enter the forbidden factory and got many stares, especially from the employees. I think we confused them why were some foreigners there. The experience was very similar to the one we had. We made it to the store and all the speculation around foreigner price gauging and other shenanigans was not true! The prices were the same. The Nancy’s speculation was wrong! Oh well at least now we know the truth and can report that the prices at the No. 1 Silk Factory are the same for everyone so feel confident if you go buying the fragrant silk pillows.
Why the separation? We don’t know for sure but I believe it has to do with culture behaviors and being comfortable. Local tour groups are large numbers, all wearing the same hats with a guide talking so loud over a Mr. Microphone. It can become loud, overwhelming, and pushy, I think they separate for a pleasant experience. It comes down to business. If they want people to spend money, you need to make them comfortable. Smart, practical.
Until the next investigation!
The Nancy’s are accepting leads for their next investigation so send them our way!