If Houston is greeting Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping with 10 gallon-hat hospitality and Texas-style Americana, Seattle is going at the Chinese leader with a plain old-fashioned, no-nonsense Chamber of Commerce pitch.
In a city that prides itself on some of the best Chinese restaurants outside Asia, planners for Teng's visit are playing it straight. The Chinese delegation will dine on steak at a four-star restaurant overlooking urban Lake Union.
And the visit which begins this evening has been planned down to such minute details as just who -- in this case, the port's public relations director -- will hold Teng's umbrella if the Chinese are welcomed by the city's renowned rain.
But Seattle's two days with Teng, the Chinese leader's final days in the United States, have been planned with only one idea in mind -- selling Seattle and Seattle trade with the People's Republic of China.
Seattle's port director, Richard Ford, says that the first symbolic Puget Sound arrival of a Chinese flag cargo ship in 30 years could come as early as late spring or summer.
Teng made his historic flignt from Peking to Washington, D.C., in a Seattle-made Boeing 707 sold to the Chinese six years before President Carter announced the opening of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic.
But there will be no rodeos or barbecues -- no Indian dances or salmon fishing -- for Teng during his visit here that will end Monday morning with his departure for China.
Instead in one of those American paradoxes, conservative businessmen are elbowing each other for tightly held invitations to a small luncheon with the leader of the world's largest communist nation tomorrow at the Washington Plaza Hotel.
Teng will spend most of his one full day here touring the Boeing plant in which 747 jumbo jets are built and examining the port's containerized shipping docks and huge grain terminal which is loading corn bound for the Chinese mainland.
Executives of Boeing, the huge Seattle aerospace company, already are counting future sales in the billions of dollars.
"The People's Republic of China has been a valued Boeing customer since 1972 and we hope that will be the case forever," said a Boeing spokesman, Peter Bush. Boeing has sold $375 million worth of jets to the Chinese.
Seattle port officials are perhaps even more enthusiastic over an open China. They recall the old China trade days when silks were piled high on Seattle docks.
Ford acknowledges that it could be five or 10 years before China trade builds up to past proportions. But he will tell Teng that Shanghai is a day and a half closer to Seattle by sea than any California port, an hour closer by air than San Francisco.
Seattle businessmen, most of them Republican, are not about to ignore their local Democrats' political clout.
The top-ranking U.S. official on Teng's flight from Houston to Seattle will be Transportation Secretary Brock Adams, who left a Seattle congressional seat to join President Carter's Cabinet. At the end of the ramp when Teng arrives at Boeing field will be the new president pro tem of the Senate, Warren G. Magnuson (D-Wash.), and his powerful colleague Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.).
Three years before President Nixon went to China, Jackson advocated closer relations with the mainland in a speech before the conservative Seattle rotary club. After the talk, one of the Rotary's most conservative members walked up to him and said, "Atta boy, scoop." That type of attitude pervades the Seattle business community.
It could be there will be some tense -- and there already have been some lighter -- moments with the Chinese in the Northwest's largest city.
Seattle has a major Chinese American community, with most of its leaders proTaiwan. Demonstrations, both from the right and the left, have Seattle police and the Secret Service nervous.
In an ironic twist, the chairman of the North American Soccer League, Henry A. Kissinger, will be in town to watch the Soviet Union's soccer team play here today when Teng arrives.
While Seattle may have the trip planned down to just who will hold the umbrella in case of rain, not all the early proceedings have been flawless.
As the Chinese advance party went through thhe Boeing 747 plant last week, the aerospace company was embarrassed in a mostly comical breakdown in international protocol.
When the door opened, the 11-man Chinese advance party headed by Ambassador Han Hsu was greeted by a nearly completed jumbo jet decked out with Taiwan markings and ready for shipment for China Airlines, the Taiwan national line.
Han took one look at the plane, held up a finger and blurted, "One China" before moving quickly past the aircraft.