China was one of the finest and worst trip I ever took. There is so very much to attempt to relate. On the positive side Annie (so petite I could have easily carried her around under one arm), could not have been better! She was a little mother hen, careful not to lose one f us, always looking out for us and forever providing information. Shanghai was a wonder to behold and the temple there was an exceptional cultural experience - done all by ourselves.
On the other side, we were accompanied by a person who is found by looking up "Ugly American" in the dictionary. The very first tour was on Tiananmen Square. Of course, there still remained tension in the air. There were a minimum of 5,000+ Chinese in a line, 5 wide, to see Mau's mausoleum. It exceptionally hot (August - our bad planning!) and Annie, who only met us shortly the night before is warning us not to leave the group, but should we get isolated, she gave us her name, phone number, the tour phone number, and a place to meet so the group could find us. At the very first stop - and head count - old Ugly A, and his mistress, are missing. Annie holds us inside a niche the Forbidden City, and looks for him. She contact other guides from other tours - and there are maybe 50+ of them. She calls her agency to see if he checked in. Finally, to her disgrace, we hear his name over loud speakers - in Tiananmen Square! We never did find them. So, she valiantly carries on - knowing she is in trouble. He walks in that evening. When asked about his disappearance, he says that he wasn't interested in the Square, so he and his friend decided to wander the city.....
Oh the pollution! Beijing is without a doubt the world's center for pollution. Again, it was August, but the fog-like, smoky air was somewhat difficult to breath and it did form a film and created a smell on clothes. Even when visiting the Great Wall site: there is a "two arrow flight" distance between towers. While standing on one, you cold see the second in line, but lost the third in the pollution!
Thankfully, as soon as we got away from the Beijing area, the air was clear.
OK, until we get to complete a narrative about this trip, we will provide only pictures - which, of course, are much more interesting than what ever we would say. We will get to the narrative as soon as we can, but it will be difficult as we lost 1/2 our journal in Iceland. Memory is inadequate; only a journal can trigger the best memories and truly document names, places and dates.
I hope China in the 1/2 of our journal we still have.
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