On the way back…

Last night was great… Best dinner of the trip, and the followed up with a wonderful cruise on the river that runs between the old and new sides of Shanghai… Even though it rained a bit, and was a bit wet all night, it wasn’t too wet and we had a great time talking about the week… The architecture on both the new and old Shanghai is amazing… Barely believable that the new part of the city has been mostly built since 2000… And in the early 90’s it was a rice farm…

Then we went back to the the hotel for maybe the best night’s sleep of the week, and didn’t have to get up until about 7:30 to go to breakfast… Great breakfast buffet at the hotel, with all kinds of interesting Chinese dishes that would not normally be found at that time of the day (or any other in some cases…). Then a few of us took a short walk to the Pearl Tower, and went to the top where there is a glass floor that you can walk out on that you are looking down 90 floors under your feet… I couldn’t go out, until finally a few Chinese tourists sort of forced me out to take my picture with them… (the four of us were the only Americans that I saw the entire time there…) Then the barrage of photo taking started with group after group asking us to have our picture taken with them… Caught us off guard, but it was fun… Then after coming down, we walked by the Shanghai Apple store, and of course, I had to go in and look around… Then back to the hotel, a quick shower, and then off to a very nice lunch before the bus to the airport left…

The airport was pretty easy to get through, and all of the lines moved quickly… Got on the plane (it is an older 777 that didn’t have the great pods the other did in business class, but still very comfortable and infinitely better than coach…) and the off to home…

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Last two days…

Yesterday, we got up in the morning and flew to Weihai and drove to the CCT plant to have a business meeting and the tour the factory/warehouse at CCT… The facility is impressive, and incredibly neat and clean… And getting to see the warehouse full of Roadmasters was interesting also… The CCT team was great, and the hospitality was, as it had been all week, wonderful… Then a drive to the hotel, clean up, and another incredible dinner… After dinner, we went to the karaoke bar, and after a few too many shots of JD, I actually participated for the first time… We stayed there until pretty late, and had a blast… Hoban did his usuals, and pretty much everyone joined in at one point or another…

This morning, up again to drive to the airport, and then to Shanghai… Stopped at the pearl market (basically a massive amount of shops with knockoffs and jewelry…) and picked up a few things to take back. Then a short drive to to the hotel, and dinner in an hour or so… Then off tomorrow morning to the airport for a long, long trip back…

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The Great Wall…

Got up around 7, had a nice breakfast, and then on the bus for a 1.5-2 hour trip to the Great Wall… As on all the other bus rides, our guide talked incessantly about pretty much anything that he could think of on the way… Must be something that they teach in guide school, that you have to talk about something all the time… When it is on topic, it is interesting… when not, not… And either the average person needs to hear the same point 5-10 times to have it stick, or the guides use that technique to fill the time… anyhow, he is entertaining for the most part, and I even got a short video of him in the Forbidden City just so that I could remember the experience…

The Great Wall is impressive… easily on par with anything I have seen yet… Just trying to imagine how it could have been built in the mountains, where just climbing up to the site where it is located would be incredibly difficult, in the time that it was built is hard to get your head around… We took the cable car up to the entrance point, and decided to go as far as we were allowed… I think the marker numbers they had there were from 14 to 20… We were on the Mutianyu section of the wall, and I don’t know how far the stations were, but everyone seemed to think it was at least a mile… Longest, hardest mile I have ever done… period… The last section, which was around 450 steps, was over 45 degrees up… and on top of it, my lack of liking heights came up often where you could have easily slipped and broken something at the best… and God knows how long you would wait, or if anyone would ever get there… But I did make it to the top… (couldn’t stop even at the last 25 steps or so that literally went up at 80 degrees, since a 70-80 year old chinese woman did it…) And going back was almost as hard, since station 20 is not much higher than 14, but it just keeps on going up and down, and not gradually… Took a lot of pictures since I’m pretty sure I won’t get back there again… But even though it was incredibly tiring, it was one of the most enjoyable sights I have ever had the opportunity to see…

Then a quick lunch at Subway at the entrance (yeah… Subway…) and then the bus ride back… Instead of going to the shopping tour in the afternoon, about half of us decided to go back to the hotel, clean up and rest before dinner tonight… And we will be shopping at least one more time this week…

So now off to dinner… Peking Duck…

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First Day of Sightseeing…

Today was a pretty long day… up at 7 (well, up at 1,3,5, and then finally 7…) and then a light breakfast (not that it had to be light… anything and everything that you could want was there…) and then off to Tiananmen Square… Interesting, and people everywhere… (well, there are basically people everywhere all the time… 20M in Beijing means that…) and then off to the Forbidden City… Long, long walk (I think he said about 4 miles…) and it just seems to go on forever… The Emperor was one ambitious guy… 300,000 workers for 14 years to get it done… Took lots of pics (will post when I get back… too much of a pain to do with the phone…) and learned all about that part of China’s history…

Then on to the bus, and a short ride to lunch beside the Bird’s Nest (Olympic stadium…) at a TGI Fridays, of all things… Then another short ride to the Summer Palace (as if the Forbidden City wasn’t enough for the Emperor… he apparently needed a summer retreat for him and the wives (loosely used term there…) We climbed up to the top (in which everyone had to take a breather after…) which had to be a few thousand steps… at least as hard as 20 min on a stairmaster… and then down and a ferry across the lake to the other side… All of the tourist attractions are pretty much one entrance and one exit, and they are miles apart… Very nice there, but it was also very much like the Forbidden City… (big surprise…)

Then a ride to dinner at a very interesting restaurant… “Classic” chinese cuisine… Not what we are used to for chinese food… I tried -almost- everything, and was one of the few that did… the abalone and the sea cucumber not that bad (at least that is what I thought… needless to say everyone else didn’t feel the same…) but the best I can say about the rest was that it was interesting… not bad, just different… very different…

Then finally a short ride back to the hotel, a shower, and off to bed to get ready for the long day tomorrow on the Great Wall… Beijing is a fascinating place, and the people are incredibly nice and polite… Other than the typical peddlers outside the hot tourist spots trying to sell anything and everything (postcards, hats, food, Rolex watches, etc…) it is very nice to walk around… and some parts are very much like a chinese NYC… very crowded restaurants and shops in some areas, and traffic is pretty much a mess… but generally clean and I guess if you knew what you were doing wouldn’t be that bad to get around…

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Location:Beijing, China

30 hours and out…

Got into the hotel around 4 Beijing time ( which is 12 hours of of EST… ) and cleaned up and went to a nice dinner, but am beat from the long day… Should easily sleep soundly through the night and should be ready for tomorrow… Forbidden City, TSquare should make a good day…

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Flight to Beijing…

Figured I might as well type a bit… Flight left 6 hours ago, and the map shows that we have gone 3282 miles so far, with 7 hours and 3620 to go… Fortunately, business class is incredibly nice, and I didn’t have to rent so many movies, since there are at least 100 to choose from… Watched Captain America (yeah, wanted to see that for a while… okay, not great…) and Devil Wears Prada (yeah, yeah… I seem to watch it every time I have the chance to…) and then listened to a bit of music to try to sleep… Since it is only 7 pm, I’m really not tired enough to sleep now, so I think that I will watch a movie or a few tech videos on the iPad and then maybe try to get a bit of sleep… I thought that maybe the great dinner (shrimp cocktail, salad, a nice cabernet, wonderful steak with asparagus and potatoes, cheese and crackers and finally ice cream… God it’s nice flying this way…) would make me tired, but it just made me full… even with about a half bottle of the cab…

A few movies later, and finally after a bit of on and off sleep, we are almost there… Really not that bad considering it was such a long flight… Just hoping that I’ll be able to get some decent sleep tonight for the walking around tomorrow…

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Getting ready to leave…

Heading off to China tomorrow morning… Long flight (almost 15 hours…) but looking forward to the trip… All packed (I think it is the lightest I have ever packed for a week, thanks to the suggestion of getting a RedOxx carry on bag and watching some good packing videos…) and for the first time, I won’t be dragging a laptop along… Just using my iPad 3 with a Bluetooth keyboard if I have a lot to type…

Now just to watch the rest of The Open on a great father’s day, and the off to Beijing…

JH

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