|I was up at 9:00 this morning, and for breakfast had a whole wheat bagel with one half of it ladened with butter and the other half with cream cheese and jelly, along with some most excellently ripe cantaloupe and some RainForest-flavored coffee.|
I took minutes for our one-hour Tivoli Editing Council meeting, and then spent about two hours making them fit to publish.
|People have begun picking their flights. We have a choice of a one-stop (in Shanghai) flight out of Los Angeles or a direct flight (to Beijing) out of Chicago. So far, three people (actually one person, and one couple) have indicated that they'll be flying out of L.A. I'm the only person flying out of Chicago so far.|
Who's in? Who's out?
|As our final payments come due on August 20th, the last chance to bail is quickly approaching. One person dropped out yesterday saying, "After sitting on the fence for a long time, I've notified P2P that I won't be going on the trip. I really have been wanting to get another China fix, but have had trouble justifying the $6000 cost. I don't think I'm really classy enough for a $500-a-day vacation." I guess that means the rest of us are that classy.|
|One person who's coming as a guest (Val's husband, Greg), has come out as a bona fide foodie, and asks, "I am coming on this trip as a guest—in addition to the planned activities, as a registered "FOODY" I am extremely interested in exploring the culture through the cuisine. NOT the "cuisine" for Americans at the hotels, but the real food. Are there other participants that would be interested in some serious food exploration while we are there?"|
Learning the Language
|Several people in the delegation are diving into language and culture books. Some noted so far include:|
|We've been asked to hold off on applying for our visas, as there evidently is a back-up in processing them with everyone trying to get there for the Olympics. Since our trip isn't until October 20th, it makes sense for us to hold off. Personally, I'm happy to earn interest for another month or two on the $200+ it's going to cost to get it.|
|We've been informed that we need to plan on one checked suitcase weighing no more than 44 pounds. I'm not too thrilled about that, as we're talking about 12 days and needing both business clothes and sightseeing/tourism clothes. And I'm not one to pay a hotel $2.95 per shirt to do wash.|
|This, perhaps, has been my favorite question to date: "Does anybody have any experience regarding bringing electronics such as laptops, iPods and phones into China? Since we are gone for so long, being able to keep in touch with work, having a place to store photos and communicate with the world is essential. Will the hotels we'll be staying at have Internet connectivity? Cost doesn't matter, it's the connectivity that counts! I am assuming that bringing iPods and other small electronics would not be an issue. [Two things in here that I do not relate to are: (1) That being able to keep in touch with work is important, and (2) that cost doesn't matter when it comes to connectivity. I would add that it is essential to be able to update my blog while gone. :-)]"|
Toilet Paper and Bathrooms
|The subject of toilet paper and using the bathroom has come up a couple of times now. The first person said, "Also, word to the wise, although the hotels will be just fine, I’m told by Asian travelers to be sure to pack a roll of toilet paper. You take the cardboard tube out. There are sights to see, and the hygiene amenities range from wonderful to beyond description, and it is wise to be prepared," and another person said, "By all means take TP. And do expect to encounter some unpleasant bathrooms. But the Asian squat toilets are not all bad, just different. If you're accustomed to squatting over toilets anyway, as I was taught to as a child, they're easier. (Start your exercises now.)" At first I thought she meant Kegels as the exercises, but now I think she means just squats in general.|
I hope that if the "grandmother" who was reading my blog still is, that you'll comment on all of this rumination that we are doing about this trip, since you've already done it once. Are we worrying about nonsensical things? :-) Do tell!
Kevin (av8rdude) and I worked out today. It was an upper body day for me, and I chose to do cardio instead of crunches today. Stats were:
Tonight I attended a "Luau" at Rum Runners in City Market (my second night in a row out in that area), and with nothing at all against my friend who won it, it was kind of lame. When you win, you can invite as many of your friends along as you want, who are all invited to a complimentary buffet, followed by live music and party-type games with the piano players and other "partiers" in the place.
What's lame about it is that this "buffet" consists of some tortilla chips with a choice of salsa, sour cream, and some jalepenos, some Swedish-type (Sweet and Sour?) meatballs, and some slices of ham and pineapple that you can put on a roll if you want to. Okay, that's not really a buffet. Appetizers or hors d'oeuvres maybe, but not a buffet.
I mean, I do appreciate the free food, but just call it what it is: appetizers to entice you to buy drinks and more drinks and more drinks.
That aside, it was also interesting to see such a large group of gay people at one of these obviously straight events. Of course, all of the guys, of which there were about 7 of us, sat together, and all of the, about 25, Lesbians sat together. At one point, one of the piano players was singing some sing-along song about being horny, and he made a gesture, looking at the huge sea of Lesbians, sticking his pointer finger into a round circle made by his thumb and pointer finger of the other hand, as if indicating fornication.
This is what I mean by the round circle made by the thumb and pointer finger:
I was so tempted to yell, "I think maybe two of those ring gestures rubbing up against each other might be a better choice for this crowd." Then again, there are strap-ons, I suppose. But I digress...
My next stop was at Edge Office, which is always a good time on First Fridays in downtown Raleigh. I had—I think it was—four beers there, and I don't drink beer. Hmmm, that's what I said about wine last night.
I said hello to the owner, Michael (a.k.a. @mdherr on Twitter), and had great conversation, as usual, with Jason (@dimambro) and Jess (@jessmartin). Jason introduced me to a very nice couple, Matt & Cynthia, who are spending a few months down here from New York, working on a project.
I had a really nice chat with them, and encouraged Cynthia to join us for some co-working at Edge Office sometime. I gave her one of my Moo cards, which doesn't have my official Twitter ID (@nematome) on it, but does have that sniglet noted in the first part of my e-mail. :-)
I sure hope I have your name right. It was Cynthia right? (If you're reading.) :-) [Update: Yay! Just got a Facebook friend request from you, so I know it's right.] :-)
After about an hour-and-a-half stop at home, Kevin and I headed out to Flex for 120 Minutes.
It was quite festive out tonight. Kevin knew about 100% of the songs for the first hour or so, and then things took a serious turn to the dark side. He recognized one song, by Nine Inch Nails, during the next hour or so.
We left at about a quarter-to-one accepting the fact that birthday boy, @kitch, was not going to make a surprise visit. Totally understood, though. Hope you got laid, my friend. :-)