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China 2014

My wife finally convinced me to go to China. I had resisted for four years. In the end, I am glad we went.

I should start by giving an unsolicited shoutout to China Highlights Tours.  They listened to what we wanted to see in our very abbreviated trip and arranged for seamless in-country travel to cover the distances between our bucket list destinations. Working with them and our agent Christy Lou was wonderful and easy.

Of course if you go to China, you will  probably start in Beijing where you will want to see the Great Wall.

Great Wall

Mary Ann on a solitary walk along a small part of the 5000 mile Great wall

Then of course Tiananmen Square.


The image of Mao looks out over Tiananmen Square as if to say, “don’t forget”

While you are there, the Forbidden City is right next door and should not be missed.

Forbidden City

One of dozens of buildings for you to gaze upon.

Our list included the Terracotta Warriors outside of Xian.

Terracotta Warriors

These are just about worth a trip to China if they are all you see!


And no one should miss the cute roly-poly Panda bears in Chengdu.


Passive, well fed and bored of tourists.

I will cover each of these in this and some later posts. To do them all in one post would diminish the enormity of China, even though we saw but little bits of it.

Let me start with the outgoing travel experience.

Our first flight was from Sharjah to Doha on Qatar Airlines. Due to technical reasons, it was going to get to Doha an hour or more late, and our flight to Beijing would have taken flight before we got there. But then, when we were all loaded and taxiing to take off,  two women refused to use their seat belts. We had to return to the gate so they could be escorted off the plane. A policeman came aboard and they would not go with him. They demanded a policewoman, which was hard to find in the airport. Eventually they found one, and the two women were whisked away. If you are asking “WHY?’, I cannot figure it out, even with Google. The best I can guess is that using a seatbelt would accentuate their figure, even through the Burhkas they were wearing. We were now definitely stranded in Doha, arriving 2 1/2 hours late, at 3 a.m.

Anyway, sure enough were were stuck in Doha’s brand new airport, which is huge. The best Qatar could do for us was an early morning flight to Dubai, and then a connection with Emirates to Beijing. We arrived in Beijing twelve hours late, our luggage did not arrive at all. After spending an hour filling out forms with English translations from Chinese, and speaking to an unfortunate woman who was working with us as best she could in English, we were resigned to the fact that most our clothes were probably made in China anyway and we would need to go shopping.

For two days we touristed around the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the forbidden city and visited restaurants in clothes that were now ready for a toxic waste dump.

The excellence of  China Highlights Tours took over here. Our guide, either out of pity for us, or because he could no longer stand being in the same car with us after we had spent three days in the same clothes, really worked on the airline. He spent a lot of time on the phone. After many “maybe tomorrow” responses, his smile broke out, as he told us our luggage was finally in Beijing, and would be delivered that night.

So, now we could be tourists who would be welcome in restaurants. It was time to see some stuff. The next post will cover the Great Wall. Stay tuned, share with a FB friend and enjoy.


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One Response so far.

  1. Dorreene says:

    Ohh Forrest, you forgot the watchword of air travel…carry on luggage!

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