Thursday, June 29, 2017

Best laid plans

My flight to Beijing is delayed, and I was scheduled for the last flight to Weihai. This means I will have to spend a night in a hotel and fly to Weihai the next day. Don't ask me which day that will be-- when you're flying to the other side of the world, things are very confusing.

Oh No!  The Truffles.  They're securely packed in an insulated bag, but I'll need replace the ice. Is my Chinese up to it?  I'll need to say " 我想要冰"  Wo yao bing. "I want ice."

Location, location, location

After two years of renting, we bought a townhouse here in Northern Virginia. I miss the Appalachian Mountains, but traveling from here is way easier. Here are some pictures of our house:

 We live only five miles from Dulles Airport, and I can get a nonstop flight to Beijing. When we lived in Johnson City, we had to pick up the flight to Asia in Detroit or Atlanta, and stop over in Japan.
The trip takes about thirty hours.  The Air China jet flies across the North Pole, and I clear customs and immigration in Beijing.  The flight to Weihai is short-- only an hour and a half.

I leave shortly.  When you hear from me again, I'll be on the other side of the planet. The speed with which we transit the earth never ceases to amaze me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Transporting truffles

Seventeen year old Iris Zhang, whose family is hosting me in China, asked if I could bring some Godiva truffles to China.  Her program of studies is grueling, so I thought she could do with a bit of spoiling.

But  how do you transport chocolates to the other side of the planet?  Won't they melt during the 17 hour flight?
I suppose I can pack the truffles with ice packs in an insulated bag. Gotta be sure the ice packs are sealed.  We'll see if it works.


Sidestepping the wall

Chinese censorship is exceedingly robust.  I am told the Beijing government employs hundreds of censors to read people's email. Sometimes, when I'm over there and writing something controversial, the screen freezes.  It happens to other people, so I don't think I imagine it.

The Google company has refused to aid with this censorship, which is why the Chinese government blocks google searches and gmail.  Yahoo is more cooperative, so I'll be using a yahoo address while in China:  My Gmail will be forwarded to this address, but it's probably best to use the Yahoo address. You can also reach me at my George Mason address,

Blogspot is a Google product, so I won't be able to view this blog while I'm in China.  I'll be sending postings to my good friend Dennis Cope, and he'll be managing this website while I'm overseas.  I leave tomorrow afternoon.

Below:  Dennis and his wife Marie


What does tomorrow mean? It is 5:30 pm here, but at home it’s 5:00 in the morning. I leave Weihai tomorrow and make a stop in Beijing. ...