We met for dinner in the lobby at 6 p.m., and then we were shuttled over to the convention centeragain for the Opening Banquet. The China Hotel Association usually goes all out for these types of events, and this was similar to the other events I have attended.
Imagine 60 tables with seating for 10 people each in a large room, and everyone talking, so it was loud but very elegant. We sat down, and yes, we were the only Americans in the room. Then the platters of food began to make our way to the table and just when we figured out what the food was, the next course was placed on the giant lazy susan that took up most of the table.
We had everything from Lotus Root to fried sweet sesame balls to braised turtle. Yes, braised turtle with chestnuts. With the shell (but at least the head was not on it, like it was in 2012)! The food spun around and around until we had our fill of Wuhan-style Chinese food. When the fruit course was placed on the table, we knew that was the end of our meal. It was almost 8 p.m., and we had to meet in the lobby at 10:50 p.m. to start preparing our food for the next morning. So, we went rushed back to the hotel to try to take a quick nap before the chaos began!