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Getting "Into" a Country

First, try and get an introduction to someone in the country, no matter how obscure, I have asked people that I only met via email, who I know have connections in a country, for an intro. Then I email this person and say that...introduces me, etc. In this way I have had marvelous adventures, in places such as China.

For example, my "host" at the University in Chungdu assigned a car and driver to me. The driver way a very attractive lady in short-short blue-jean shorts and a baseball cap who drove like a bat-out-of-hell over a road covered with rocks the size of basketballs. She illustrated what a professional driver she was. The man at the Univ. (who I actually never met) had arranged a banquet for us with the people that knew the location of the building I wanted to see.

The only thing I could figure out was that, in order for me to be shown the building, he had said that I was a visiting dignitary... so I was treated accordingly. (The bldg. was a school that I had attended as a child during WWII.) I found that 2 of 3 bldgs. of the campus were still there, much as in the 40's. The boys dorm still had the same paint on the inside walls as in the 40's (I was told) but I could not verify this, since I had not every seen the inside of this bldg. when I was first there...

A story for your "best hotel service"...when we (boyfriend and I) were in Chungchong (Chungking to us old timers) we had to get up early to get on the ship to go down the Yangtze (3-gorges trip). I pressed the button for the elevator about 6:30 am, when the door slid open, much to my surprise an attendant was just getting up off the carpeted floor (no pad, blanket etc.) rubbing her eyes. She immediately took up her task of pressing the button for the first floor for me!

This was a hotel that I had arranged through the Chinese national travel agency, all these hotels are excellent, and much less costly than those arranged through American travel agents. Only drawback, they do not speak English. Everyone is willing to try, what is required of you is some effort to speak Chinese from your little guide book. What you do is look up the word you want and point to it...everyone is very helpful. I have many stories, will write some other time. Such as pushing the car out of the mud on the Burma Rd.

Worst hotel room, with bath...only when I looked under the sink I saw that the pipe for the waste water ended 6 inches below it...I could have washed my hands and feet at the same time! We also could not leave our luggage in our room, each time we went out everything had to be packed and checked at the front desk...needless to say, the cost was low $18.00 for 2 of us. There was a lower priced room available, I found out the next morning why this was so...when I saw the chamber pots lined up outside each door along the hall way.




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