Monday, January 5, 2009

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

Well this is going to be the last post for a while. I've spent the last few days getting ready to be on the road for basically a month straight. Me, Dave and Ken are going to be going all over the place and I'll try to make some good notes along the way. I was describing the idea to my Dad as, "live blogging into a notebook," to which he answered back, "we used to call it a journal, son." So I'll be keeping one of these "journal" things I've been hearing so much about and we'll see how it works out. First, starting tomorrow, I'm off to the the great cold of the North. It'll be a 29 hour train ride from Changzhou to Harbin which to put it in perspective is about a north as northern Japan and more north then most of Inner Mongolia. Harbin is known for it's outdoor ice festival, which with average lows about -20, they have for a few months non-stop. From there I'm going to a nearby city called Jilin which has some of the best skying in China, which apparently is pretty bad. We just were able to get a plane flight back to Shanghai which saves us another 29 train ride back. After about one day home in Changzhou I'm off again this time flying to the beach weather of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. From there are plans get a little hazy except that we want to visit Laos, Hanoi, and back in China Maccau and Hong Kong. The whole trip is supposed to take about three weeks since Dave has a friend coming right afterwards. I'm pretty sure we're going to get stuck for a while along the way since it will be lunar new years, in Vietnam Tet, which means every worker in the country will be triyng to get on a train somewhere. In China last year they had a big snowstorm which shut down power and trains throughout a huge swath of the country which means it's possible we'll spend all four weeks sitting on a train somewhere north of Beijing.

One other interesting bit of news is that I got a Skype US number and call fowarding so that if you call 202-657-5057 you should be able to call my Chinese cell phone while paying US rates. The connection isn't great but it works. Again the best rule of thumb is if it's morning your time it's OK to call me. Finally, starting the 26th is the year of the Bull, the same year I was born in, which is supposed to be good luck. I was advised to wear red underwear, but I don't think that's going to be happening. Since I'll be on the road I won't be able to post at all probably until the 6th of Feburary so with any luck I'll see you all then.