Thursday, July 26, 2007

getting ready for china

Yesterday I had some extra time freed up so it become my designated "running around getting stuff" day. So I thought today would consist merely of leisurely packing. Nope. Except for a relatively quick trip to the office, I have spent the entire day so far at my computer. I have been stuck working on financial records, emails, and other busy work. I probably have a couple of more hours of busy work before packing.

Packing for me is usually easy. A couple a years ago I bought a very large wheeled suitcase so on a long trip like this, I could just put everything in it and not have to worry about multiple bags, where to put stuff, etc. It was a brilliant idea.

That is, it was until the airlines reduced their luggage weight limits. Now I usually have an extra light-weight duffel bag inside in the roller in case I get called for too much weight. For tomorrow I will have to pack carefully, usually nothing except clothes in the large case, with an extra travel bag for books, papers and other heavy things. The little extra bag will end up weighing almost as much as the big one!

Tuesday night I used Chinese travel sites to find a nice three-star hotel in central Shanghai. The travel site where I made my reservation even had the name and address of the hotel in Chinese script to print out and give to a taxi driver. The websites had excellent English versions, even better than most US travel sites. Using the sites was very easy except for trying to find where the possible hotels were located. However, the pop-up maps showing locations were entirely in Chinese.

The hotel is quite inexpensive for Shanghai but probably the most expensive and nicest we will use during our trip ($21/room/night). We are traveling a very tight budget.

If you think I am fiscally conservative (i.e, cheap) you should meet the students: two Chinese woman and a Nepalese guy. They each not only know more about China than I do, each is also much smarter than me. My only edge is I still know a lot more about economics. Initially, I'll also have the intimidation factor that goes with being a professor, but I'll lose that. Familiarity eventually wears away any sense of awe.

They are great kids and I am really blessed to be traveling with them. I put 80 to 90 percent of the preparation/organization/logistical work on them and they are doing great. Two are in China now and the other will be traveling on the Chicago-Shanghai leg with me tomorrow (Friday).

I do not look forward to 24-hours of travel from home to hotel, especially the 14 1/2 flight from Chicago. I do not look forward to the weather. (As I write this, it is in the middle of the night in Shanghai, the temp is 86 but the humidity makes it feel like 99.) However, I expect to have a good time. I expect to learn a lot. I also expect to enjoy watching the students learn, to apply and expand their understanding of economics.

Be blessed!
RB

1 comment:

thisrequiresthought said...

how exciting!
Someday I would love to travel to China again. Please blog about your travels; I am interested to hear your doings.