Planning, packing, and preparing
31.07.2013 - 04.08.2013 83 °F
I admit it; I'm a technogeek. I have spent the last few days largely focusing on making sure that I take advantage of things that might be useful in the event of unexpected happenings. One thing one can usually be sure of when traveling is the unanticipated and Mr. Murphy's law. (I'll have to find out if there is a Chinese name for Mr. Murphy) I am not saying that I expect "bad" things to happen, I'm simply saying that I want to have as many tools available to deal with sudden changes or the need to pivot to Plan B, C, and so on. (The Chinese have so many more characters in their alphabet; is this why? )
Laurie has done a lot of thinking along the same lines and several days ago presented me with a wonderful notebook full of our reservations, information on possible excursions, and even some Chinese phrases that I should get to know. I must admit that I am not too good at languages (a frustration for my wife who is excellent at them; I wish she was coming!) So...I came up with my techno response: Google translate!
I am bringing my iPhone 5 and have already gotten it "unlocked" (so that I can put a China Mobile sim card in and use it in China on their system!) and have added some nice apps, most of which are free! I have some Seoul apps (even one that helps you find a public toilet!) a Seoul tourism app that does maps, and some other tourism maps that cover sites in Hong Kong and each Chinese city we will be in. While most of these work offline (so you don't need data connections...and roaming charges!) my China mobile sim will give me some data connection. Woo-hoo! I can still iMessage my bride back in the States! I also expect to make use of whatever WiFi my hotels or restaurants have. Portable batteries to charge the phone, my camcorder, plug adapters, a myriad number of other electronic items are joining me on the trip. I really want to make sure we document this. Of course, this blog will be an important part of helping those at home continue to experience it in a small way as well do our "Today is Tuesday, it must be Chengdu" tour!
Finally, I will need some clothing. Yes, even the Chinese don't like to see nekkid foreigners. This part of the planning has been going on since June. I'm using lightweight clothing that can be sink washed and dried overnight. That includes "underclothing" and then keeping the toiletries to a minimum. Most areas in Asia still struggle with their water systems because it will take decades to replace old piping, not because modern water purification systems are unknown to them. I expect a lot of bottled water, even to brush teeth in, but I still hope to find some acceptable swimming pools in order to keep up my "conditioning." I know this will be a physically energetic trip for a couch potato like myself, but I have been working to get myself into a little better shape in order to be a help and not a burden.
I'm getting excited about the coming weekend. Sunday, I leave for Boston where Bruce and the girls are participating in a reunion of those who went over in 2003 when Hayley was added to the family. Monday morning, we leave Logan for a flight to JFK in NYC. Then it's 14.5 hours in a Korean Air Airbus Jumbo for the initial flight to Seoul. I'm getting geared up and ready for this wonderful opportunity to be part of a blessing...