First wake-up in Guilin. We're only here a couple of days. One day culture; one day professional visits. It's a small, sleepy town compared to Beijing. And it feels just like HOUSTON! We are right across the street from a beautiful river walk. The pace feels slow, and the atmosphere is very laid back--as long as you don't think about the traffic. There's nothing like pedestrian right of way here...every time you step into the street you put your life at risk!
We're scheduled to take a river cruise today. Then, we visit a small village. First, breakfast here in the Sheraton. It's a western hotel and has a beautiful central atrium with restaurants, lobby, etc. I'm in room 2311, which will please my daughter. 23 is a good number for us! And, here, everything is about superstitions and numerology. People pay extra money to get certain numbers in their phone numbers!
It's been a whirlwind. No time to really do the blogging I had hoped to do. I barely made it to the bus in time to leave our first few days. Breakfast was me running into the restaurant and grabbing a roll or chocolate croissant and taking it to the bus. On the second day, I found the cheese, so I got something a little more substantial. The idea of sitting down to the breakfast buffet was impossible. No matter what I did, I was usually bringing up the rear. Not good for the leader of the delegation.
As many of you know, we've been having a lot of trouble getting into our livejournal blog. John Martin, who set it up, says that there's a lot of traffic on the internet about it. Apparently, the Chinese gov't has blocked it. We can access it through VPN lines, but not directly from a browser. So, the blogging there will be sketchy. Never fear, we all plan to catch up when we can!
The role of delegation leader has been amazing. I am truly the focal point of all the professional visits. Much of the time, the leading hosts will only speak to me during their speeches! They don't look around the room, they don't even act like others are in the room. It's unnerving at times. On our second day of meetings in Beijing, we visited CRD--whose definition escapes me at the moment (it's just barely 8 am Sun here & I have to be breakfasted and at the bus by 8:30).--anyway, they brought the province vice-mayor in to see me! SHE stayed only a few minutes to shake my hand and welcome us, but the event was covered by the media! I wish I knew how to find out where and how it was presented to the public--if it was. So much was incredibly formal. Lots of thank-yous and lists of accomplishments. We have had our photographs taken more this week than all the photos taken of me for my whole life. Lots of smiling and bowing and shaking hands and saying sheh sheh!
So, I have so much more to share, but as i said, I'm on a tight timeline. I'm hoping that these two days in Guilin will be a little more laid back than the first 4 in Beijing!
I'll add photos later. they take too long to upload now.