Rocky Barker in China: Otter does his own interpreting

June 9, 2010 

Otter does his own interpreting

GUANGZHOU -- Zheng Yongju, deputy director of the Foreign Affairs office of the Guangdong provincial People's Government didn't need an interpreter to talk to Idaho Gov. Butch Otter even though he didn't speak English.

They both speak Spanish. So the two men chatted about Argentina and their joint interests in duck hunting, in the third language. Only Agriculture Secretary Celia Gould could join them in the conversation directly. But both men translated to others around the luncheon table Wednesday, chatting about horses, fruit and sports.

Otter buses across Guangzhou

Otter kept his break-neck schedule Wednesday with two morning meetings across Guangzhou and the luncheon followed by meetings for Amalgamated Research, a subsidiary of Amalgamated Sugar that has an attractive process for squeezing the last drops of sugar out of solutions, and with potential Idaho investors in the afternoon.

He ended the evening as one of the guests of honor for a "great American BBQ" sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Chinese food business people. After five days of exquisite Chinese cuisine the traditional ribs, hot dogs, tacos and popcorn American fare were welcome respite for some but not me. The line up for the food was quite chaotic as people lined up on both ends clashing in the middle as they tried to fill their plates.

We all liked the ice cream though in the humid Pearl River heat. Yes, Otter did give away a Spuddy Buddy.

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