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Published: September 30th 2017
Geo: 37.209, -93.2916
Our VISAs have arrived! Our final paperwork from the tour group has arrived! Excitement has replaced any previous fears we may have had about visiting a communist country where we only know how to say hello, thanks, and thank you ….and we aren't even for sure about those pronunciations. We are traveling to China with our minds and hearts open to their cultural differences ~ the mannerisms, the language, the food, etcetera…. but there are some trepidations on our minds as this trip is only a few weeks away now….
* Kamie says he will eat anything. If he sees a cockroach on a stick, he's going for it. He has no fear of any of the food we may be eating. I am amused by Kamie's attitude toward trying strange items but I am also usually nursing him a few hours later. I, however, am a very basic eater. While clearly not malnourished, I tend to eat like a third grader at times. I don't eat foods when I feel unsure of what the ingredients might be, I am grossed-out when cold is not super cold and hot is not super hot, and textures can make or break a dish. Let's just say my culinary expectations for this trip are low.
* We have been told we need to remember to always stay with the tour group because China is people-people-people everywhere. Kamie is concerned we will get lost and not have a clue how to get back to our hotel or find the group again.
* We have been told there will be no ice available to us at any time during this trip. NO ICE. Aaaaahhhh We like our ice. A LOT. 😞
* Basic Internet is not something I spend time using whilst on vacation ~ this blog is pretty much all I usually access. It's a V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. However, I think it is interesting to note that there is no Facebook, no YouTube, no Twitter, no Google, etc in China. Expats call it "The Great Firewall of China" ~ the Communist block on Internet. Expats also know how to circumvent this (at times) by buying a proxy ahead of time but of course this is not something we need or would use. This blog will be our only means of communicating with family and friends. Since there are some new people reading my blog this trip… note to the newbies: please do not post comments on the blog about anything bad that may have happened at home…. losing a loved one, house burned down, etc… we will learn the news upon return. On that same note, if you don't hear from us for 99%!o(MISSING)f the trip… don't worry… it's because we don't have time or we don't have access to Internet. One of our touring days is 11 hours long. I think it's fair to say we will be busy. Updates may not come in a timely fashion. Please don't worry mom and dad ~ we are okay. 😊
* The flights. Oooooooo the flights. There is no way one can get excited about sitting in economy class on any plane for 13 hours but add to it a 3-3-3 seat configuration with a tall husband…. this equates to my being guaranteed a middle seat. I think I'm dreading the flight more than Kamie who is giving-up smoking for approximately 17 hours. I looked into Business Class upgrades -- a full $6,000 more. Ummm… NO. There is hardly any other way to say it ~ the flights will probably suck. It's only 13 hours of my life. I have a new Kindle Fire HD to keep me happy. Kamie has his Kindle and electronic cigarettes. We should live and all and that is important so I'll stop whining now.So… the good things and the anticipation…
* I didn't plan… well… ANY of this trip. We booked with a tour company that picked our flights and even picked our seats on the plane. (I've been trying since August to get specific seats with Air China with no luck whatsoever - they just say "No. You are with tour group. You not pick your own seats". Then they hang-up on me. This has happened three times. They don't even say goodbye.) The good thing about a tour company is they pick us up at the airport and we don't touch our luggage or handle anything on our own again until we land back in Los Angeles. For me, this is truly a vacation. We don't have to worry about getting from point A to point B because someone else is doing all of this for us. This is our first time taking an escorted tour and our tour is sold out so hopefully, we will have a big group of characters to keep things lively!
* Something different about this trips versus our past trips... I have not been researching sites or looking at pictures of…ANYTHING. I want to be surprised and educated while I'm on the trip, not before. That's what makes traveling great for me ~ learning as I go. We do know some of the cultural expectations, we know we can't drink the water, we know to bring our own toilet paper, and we know a bit about the Mongolian/Chinese history and why The Great Wall was built. I don't know much else about the places we are scheduled to visit ….and that's okay for this trip.
* We are taking a river cruise on this trip. Yes, I said a cruise. Besides visiting various cities within China we are going to spend four nights on a river boat on the Yangtze River – pronounced Yang-zeee… we think. I have almost no information about this cruise and what little we do know is we are to bring your own washcloth and we will be walking across wooden planks in the mud to board the boat. I like the sound of this questionable adventure! Hee Hee Hee
It won't be long now and we'll be off. We are ready for a vacation. We are super excited to visit China!! We feel good about this trip and we are finally counting down the days!!
PS : Kamie would like to add that we have been told foreign visitors are usually secretly videotaped in their hotel rooms by the Chinese government so we are to keep this in mind. He is planning a nightly dance for the rooms, just in case.
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