CHINA: Mixed reviews for trip
My husband and I were in the first group of travelers to leave Coeur d'Alene on the China trip. We spent a night in Seattle and the actual trip started the next day when we were bused to the airport to land in Beijing, China many hours later. We arrived quite tired from all the sitting in very uncomfortable seats, which we were grateful to be out of.
From that time on our next 10 days were fast and furious. We expected to be a bit hectic but not as rushed and grueling as it turned out to be. Anyone taking this trip needs to have stamina and be physically fit. We were not that fit. There is a lot of walking and a lot of times going up and down in the steep steps of the bus which is very hard on the knees.
Mr. Kruh mentioned he had done quite a bit of traveling to many places and his son who is familiar with China warned him of the commercialism, so why did you go on the trip anyway?
We found the visits to the factories quite interesting. Once we said, "no" the people left us alone. I would have liked to have gone to the furniture factory and the china (dinner plates, etc.) factory, but they were not included.
The five- and four-star hotels were beautiful and their breakfasts were fantastic and beautifully presented with everything Americans love to eat and then some. Our lunches and dinners were another story; they were the same food, the same taste, and the same look all served the same. It was served in the same manner at round tables for 10 people. Every time we sat to eat made for lots of comments, conversation, jokes and laughter. It was like a dream repeating itself. It was boring but also fun.
The "holes" were the other funny thing we encountered. Mr. Kruh didn't mention them so I take it he didn't find them funny. I will say even though we were told about them and to bring paper or Kleenex with us they were still surprised when we did meet up with one. The most surprising thing about "the hole" is that on the wall of the cubicle there is a flush button. What amazed me was that with all that plumbing how much more expense would it have been to install a toilet? Remember to balance oneself over the hole takes strong knees!
Shopping in the bazaar was not very interesting. Most vendors had the same merchandise with all the same things we can buy in the U.S. and their American prices were higher. Remember it can all be purchased at Walmart.
I found the people of China didn't seem unhappy with their way of living. Their faces slow lots of character anyway, the older generation. I enjoyed photographing the people and all the varied modes of travel they use. They don't seem to get overly excited. I found them to be warm and willing to help; anyway they were to me.
Would I do this trip again? Maybe, but not in the near future. But I would like to see Japan and do some comparing. I would recommend that this trip and the price can't be beat. The chamber did a beautiful job putting it all together. We met many people from all over the U.S. on the same chamber package and everyone seemed to voice the same comments, but they all ended up saying that in spite of the thing they didn't like, they like us were glad they made the trip. They had an enjoyable time. We made new friends on this trip and would travel with them anytime.