Nee hao, dear readers.
I went downtown a couple of days ago to do a little shopping for our pending trip to China. I bought a new pair of blue jeans and a pair of light weight cotton pants. Then I browsed three stores for some new, lightweight walking shoes. I must have been in my typical shopping haze (I hate shopping for clothes), because it was in the third store that I realized what all the clothes and shoe labels had been telling me - almost everything I was looking at is Made in China. "Duh! Why don't I just shop for these items in China?" I realize, of course, that I might not see the exact same items in China that I see here in America, a lot of items might be made just for the export market. But I'm guessing that I'll see a huge selection of clothing and shoes at prices that will amaze. (In fact, we'll be in Suzhou at the beginning of the trip, where there is a Wallmart, and several Starbucks within a few blocks of where we'll be staying.)
This trip will last about 3 weeks. A large advantage we'll have is the spare bedroom and bathroom at the home of our American cousins who are living in Suzhou, the Garden City near Shanghai. We'll stay there for the first few days of the trip to get acclimated, learn a few things about traveling in China and some cultural customs, get familiar with the money and a few helpful words, etc.
Then we'll start a journey that will have us for a few days each in Beijing, Xian, a Yangtze River cruise, and back to Suzhou. We have tour guides lined up for Beijing and Xian; not group tours, but a local guide who will take us to the places we want to go and be our informed travel companion.
I intend to post to the blog when I can during the trip. I'll have my trusty Wi-Fi enabled pocket pc, and if it works, and I can get through what our cousin calls "the Great Firewall of China," you'll see some posts from the road. I'm assuming that I can post from our cousins' computer in Suzhou.
For those of you of a certain age, I'm looking at this trip as a Bob Hope - Bing Crosby "Road to China" trip. I'll have a pocket-size camcorder with me (is everything I own pocket-size?), so look for a feature length film (maybe a musical?) soon after we return.