This afternoon was the perfect way to end a great trip. We spent the last hour at a side walk café people watching and having a glass of Pinot Grigio. We toured Hong Kong this morning and it hasn’t changed that much since I was last here in 1968. The British influence is still very prevalent. It is a very clean, safe city full of great restaurants, and friendly people. Tonight we are going to dinner and have steak with a couple we met on the tour and then spend tomorrow shopping so I think it is time we sign off. We have an early morning flight on Tuesday arriving back in Orlando at 8 PM Tuesday, April 16.
China is an amazing place and one that you must do when you are healthy enough to climb hundreds of stairs and step over twelve inch thresholds in all of the entry ways that are intended to keep out the evil spirits.. We are extremely glad we came to China, but this is a trip we will probably not repeat anytime in the near future, plus there are too many other places that we haven’t been. Being here is a lot different than what we expected. The Chinese people are extremely friendly, love taking our picture and having their picture taken with us. Never once did we ever feel threatened or unsafe even when walking around at night. The Chinese people have totally embraced capitalism, as exemplified by the farmer that produced 25 bushels of rice on his land when he had to give it all to the communist government and now that he can sell what he doesn’t need produces 100 bushels of rice. But China needs to get the pollution under control if they expect their tourism to continue. China has grown so fast that they have not been able to keep up. Ten years ago every one rode bicycles in Beijing, now everyone has one or two cars. They are working on controlling pollution by limiting cars, limiting the days people can drive, and plan to build 14 more new nuclear power plants over the next few years. The money in Chinese banks draws very low interest, so a lot of people are making big money by buying and flipping condos, after they decorate them by adding inside walls, plumbing and electrical wiring. Sound familiar; this works great until the housing bubble bursts. The one child policy is also starting to have an impact with a lopsided balance of boys to girls. China represents 22% of the world’s population and they have discovered that they like the western lifestyle. We have only met the middle and upper class Chinese, there is also a huge lower class that we have been kept away from and that will probably have a major impact on the future of China as they become more and more dissatisfied at being ignored by the government. As our guide told us everything on Chinese State TV is happy news but more and more people are getting their news off the internet and social media, even though the Government is trying desperately to control what can be viewed over the internet. The unlisted Youtube Videos I have linked to our web site were blocked in China but could be played in Hong Kong. We have stayed in hotels all over the world and the hotels we have stayed in here in China have added new meaning to the word Five Star. These are the most opulent and luxurious hotels that we have ever stayed in. They are all new and each one is more luxurious than the previous one.
China in one way or another is going to have an impact on the future of the United States, they are already a bigger consumer of oil than we are and are contributing to the increase in gas prices at home. We are very glad we got to see China first hand. We are in that rare window of opportunity in life where we have the money and health to do exotic travel. When we were younger we didn’t have the money and although we are fighting it with everything we have unfortunately some day we won’t have the health and places like China are not handicap friendly. Now that this trip is over it is time to start finalizing plans for the next adventure, 24 May, 2013. We are taking an eight day cruise on a National Geographic Ship through the inside passage in Alaska. It is a small 50 passenger expedition ship and we ride zodiacs and kayaks off the ship to get closer to the wild life. We then fly to Fairbanks and stay at the North Face Lodge in Denali where we do daily three and four hour nature hikes. The wild life photo opportunities should be fabulous.
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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.Mark Twain
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Tom & Holly