Thursday, November 30, 2006

Overland Express

6 grand US all-in, leather, anti locks, bish-bosh, the works

Occasionally I think I'm working in the wrong part of my field. Working for an organisation at the coal face is pants when I could be working at the mid-level admin stage, blethering on about "coalitions" and using more acronyms than a NASA engineer.

I was sitting in the window-less function room of a non-descript roadside motel all day yesterday, trying to figure out how to best share information on s*bst*nce ab*se pr*v*ntion pr*gr*ms among various agencies and organisations that work with the public directly in a manner appropriate to a small and widely dispersed population like Maine's. At one point I was listening to my group brainstorm, paitiently waiting for them to get to the service delivery bit so that I could add my two pennies worth, when one of them made a very popular suggestion.

"Why don't we have a convention?" She said, adding "We could take two days, get everybody together and meet under the theme of 'Celebrating our Successes'!"

While everyone else went batshit ecstatic about the idea- "Oooh! A convention! Two days! With booths!"- I wearily began cataloging all the work I wasn't getting done while sitting pretending to actively consider whether or not we should set the convention date then the convention budget, or vice versa.

"Bear Grylls doesn't have to put up with this." I thought to myself. "I'm gasping for a ciggie and could really use a drink."

Sensing that the discussion wasn't going anywhere while the colour of the backdrop behind the keynoter's podium at the still-imaginary convention was still under deliberation, I retreated into my head for a bit to ponder a plan I had started to form while reading The Economist in the karzi before heading out that morning.

According to the business and finance section, China's domestic car makers are turning out knock-off models of popular Japanese, European and US marques at blistering speeds (100 new models were rolled out in China this year alone). Also, thanks to government subsidies brand new cars (like the fully loaded Shanghai Maple pictured above) sell for pennies on the dollar when compared with their US counterparts. They are also left hand drive. Furthermore, due to the relative affordability of brand new cars there is little in the way of a second hand market, which means I could even pick up something like this for a song (complete with ambasadorial/commissarial flags):

All I would have to then is either drive it onto a ship in Shanghai or drive it overland across Asia and Europe and then load it as cargo bound for the east coast of the US.

What I need to figure out is that with the flight to China, import/export duties, road tax, gas, and sea freight from either Shanghai to Los Angeles or Rotterdam to Boston would I still come out ahead versus the more mundane purchasing experience here in the United States? And would I be able to time my trip in order to regretfully miss the convention?


SkookumJoe said...

I have been sequestered in meetings which revolved for an hour around what colour paper should be used to keep the minutes on.

I wish you every success in your endevour

Wes said...

Do the cars also come with comely models as pictured in the top photo? If so, definitely go to Shanghai. "Oh, Country Mouse," says Weasel, "I've learned that it will definitely be a much better deal to travel to china for the car."

weasel said...

But I have a comely and lissome missus at home who I bet would flounce about in our driveway in an evening dress if I asked. In return I may have to unclog the drain wearing nowt but work boots and cut offs but beggars can't be choosers.

And I would like to commend you both, Wes and Joe, for rapidly getting to the crux of the matter rather than suggesting we have a convention to celebrate bad meetings/foreign car buying expeditions.