Each boat has a 15-strong crew and the next leg will be around 24/25 days. On top of this they need emergency rations for another five days. Scale this up to ten boats, add the food you'll find (or rather not find) in Chinese supermarkets and you'll quickly have problems.
We've spent the last two days in two of the big supermarkets in Qingdao... the Jusco and the Carrefour. We have more or less cleaned both of these places out of tinned meat, tinned fruit, pasta, tinned tomatoes, Frosties, etc. The only thing they did have enough of was, surprise surprise, pot noodles!
While checking out our six trollies of foodstuffs we had to pay twice... the till wasn't up to either the number of items we'd had, or the sum total! In the end we'd still only spent about 300 pounds at the one shop... not a great deal more than two large families might spend for their big shop!
Our big advantage over the other teams was having Xiaoxiao on hand to help with translation... both of packets and to help ask the shop workers if they had more Frosties, pasta, etc. In the end a lot of the things we ended up putting in our trolly had come straight from the back warehouse.
We had a tough time convincing the store staff to let us drive the shopping carts across the road to our hotel. In the end they agreed but only on the condition that one of their workers came with us to ensure they got them back.
It's not every day you get to drive into a five-star hotel lobby with supermarket trollies. We got some great looks going past the check-in desks and heading into the lifts.
This evening we booked our flights to Seoul at 5.30PM, returning Friday evening. It's a very short trip, but we knew this in advance. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the sights, but it's a shame that some bloke torched the oldest structure in the city just a week ago.