So I Went to China

So I Went to China

14-hour budget flights are miserable. A googolplex more so with the unwanted souvenir of a sinus infection. Never again am I repeating this exercise without enough packed food and iDistraction battery power to last me through a nuclear apocalypse.

The rest was worth the ordeal, especially as a springboard to Nanjing and its 2000-year-old urban landscape with the pervasive greenery and down to earth splendor that had drawn me there in the first place. And its connection to the Three Kingdoms era – it was the capital of Eastern Wu.

The King and I

Our trip was arranged through Rewards Travel China. We had a fun tour group of thirty, a Friends ‘n Family subgroup of ten, and an excellent guide. Eric kept us informed, entertained, hydrated, on schedule, and as happy as possible within the constraints of the tour – including the obligatory souvenir showrooms relegating disinterested folk to a long game of Salesperson Avoidance Shuffle. Shopping spam is a necessary evil of big bus tours, and it does keep them affordable. Even so, Spousal Unit wondered when we would get the time share pitch.

I got many great pictures, a few small purchases, and more understanding of China’s industrialization, urban culture, and current challenges. I went through the Three Gorges Dam locks during a cruise ship beer bash. I learned to play mahjong with helpful onlookers backseating. I saw an acrobatics show with muscle men and motorbikes, opera music performed in a historic estate preserved among high rises, and a sex museum.

I can think of no better followup to that last bit, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Hangzhou – November 11 – 16, 2013

Yangtze River Cruise – November 17 – 21, 2013

Nanjing – November 22 – 24, 2013