Friday, April 30, 2004

Off to Qinghai province so I will be out of contact for 4 or 5 days (I think). I finally posted a few photos, but more interesting ones will appear once I return from Qinghai.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Jet lag is over and finally something of note was on the agenda today. Early this morning I was met by Summer, a friend here who is so generous as to act as guide and translator. We hailed a cab (this alone can be interesting) and by cab I mean a sardine can with a motor.. no Lincoln town cars here.. The cab took us to the light rail station, about half an hour away (no one uses milage or other distance measurements, just travel time). This was a new experience for Summer as well as the light rail is only a few months old. The light rail took us across town ("town" being misleading for a city of 9 million) to an industrial area near the seaport where my father works. From there we took another taxi to BHA. Since we were early for our tour, we wandered through a makeshift market area, well it appeared make shift to me, but for all I know it has been there for decades.

Finally we made our way to BHA where we met with my father and were treated to a tour of the factory. The company makes composite items for aircraft using graphite, fiberglass, and chemicals well beyond my own understanding. Lunch was provided by the company, as it is for all of the employees, from the janitor to the CEO, they all have the same choices for lunch. One of the exectuive assitants said that lunch today was not very good, which explained her not eating much (she ate at least as much as I, though she is quite thin! No envy here, no..). If this was a poor lunch then I would be quite interested in having what she considered a good lunch, for the food was delicious as far as I was concerned. The seaweed (yeah I know that it was some specific kind that has its own name, but I have no idea what that name is..) was of special note. Needless to say the food is nothing like what we are used to in the states, but thus far I have no complaints at all. That said, the CEO has decided that I must be initiated, just as he was, with a fried scorpion. That is for tomorrow night's dinner...

After taking the train back to the center(ish) of town, we went to "walking street" an area where cars are not allowed, and there are hundreds if not thousands of little shops. Most of this seemed to be clothes for women. There were a few men's clothing shops, but those of you who have met me already know that it would be pointless for me to bother to look for clothes in these shops. THat said, there was one shirt that was nice enough to make me ask (through Summer) if they had it in my size. Everyone laughed.

Lots of other shops there as well, just about anything you can imagine. The alleys were the best for they were packed with barely enough room for two people to squeeze past one another, which if this was accomplished they were well acquainted. :)

It was strange seeing some of the western stores there, like JeansWest, 579, McDonalds, and KFC, but they are just as easy to avoid here as at home.

After miles of walking around there, we made our way back home via taxi (Taxis are inepensive here). A full day.

For those who have sent email, thank you. I am having some difficulty with sending email, so do not take offensive if I have not responded. All the best to everyone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Well the connection to the net is less than ideal (10mbps this morning), and limited time, but I will make the most of it. I plan on posting a photo or two from each area, trip, occassion or what not. Then when I return to the states and am reassimilated into the borg that is our home, I will update each file, filling in all of the photos from that event.

Jet lag is still with me some, but I am quickly acclimating to the time shift. I woke this morning at first light, but other than that, I believe that my schedule is in synch with local time.

Last evening we ventured out to what is essentially a sort of farmers market. Several small stalls and shops selling all sorts of food: vegetables of all varieties, many of which I could not identify, meats cooked as well as ready to prepare.

We returned to a wonderful meal fixed by a local woman who comes in to clean and prepare one meal a day. She does not speak English other than to say hello so we were on equal footing and completely unable to communicate, so do not expect any names for the dishes we enjoyed. Following the dinner was sliced fruit, in this instance pineapple and some melon. I can honestly say that I have never had such a tasty pineapple. Since all of the produce is provided by small local farmers, it is allowed to ripen before being picked. As a result the pineapple was sweet and juicy, as was the mellon which reminded me of honeydew.

Another uneventful day ahead of me, as we allowed a couple of days for recovery from the travel here. That said, we are planning on going to dinner with Summer, a very nice young lady here who will also be accompanying us on the trip to QingHai province in a few days. I am told that the restaurant we are visiting is known for its sushi and sashimi, and since we are in a coastal town I expect that this will be a real treat.

For any who have sent email, bear with me. I am having to create some workarounds to get mail, as well as to post photos on the site, so this may take some time.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Good News! I am safe and sound in Tianjin China! Nothing unexpected in the trip over. Door to door it took just under 30 hours travel time. I managed to get about 3-4 hours sleep on the planes, but with any luck even that is for the good since I was able to sleep last night and should be close to being on Tianjin time now.

For the moment there is nothing else to tell, as I just got moving around and have planned today to be just a recovery day hanging around Dad's house here. Perhaps later I will go into some of the pleasant aspects of the flights.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Under a week now until I leave. The last of my major jobs is completed, and I have received payment. Now all that remains is a couple of small jobs, and the final push for organization to be ready to leave. And of course now begins the process of getting mentally prepared for a number of new experiences: first lengthy flight over seas, first time in nations where I do not speak the language at all... these are the two biggies that are on my mind.

The Flight: I leave Austin around 8:00 am local time and arrive the next day at 8:30 pm Bejing time. The travel time will be around 24 hours, including layovers in Dallas and Tokyo.

I do not know exactly what form this blog will take, but I welcome comments and suggestions as to how to improve the final product.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

This is the first of what I hope to be many posts concerning the upcoming trip to China. As the time nears, and certainly while I am in country I will be posting more to this site for any who are interested.

Currently I am finishing up projects so that I will be free to leave with all of my business taken care of. My departure is set for April 25th.