With a bit of a lull at work this week, I've had time to think about, obsess on and otherwise kick the wheels on this trip to China. The nice sales dude from Access China sent me a nearly-finalized itinerary that is pretty sweet, while sort of frenetic, it does get me to where I want to be in fairly good form. I spoke with Wendy Wu's place today and they didn't seem nearly as clued in as she was when she and I spoke on Sunday. I am waiting to hear back from them. I wrote the third provider of these panda volunteer tours and haven't heard back at all. He's losing my trust rapidly.
In the process of researching hotels on Trip Advisor, I came across two reviewers of hotels that mentioned they were on this same trip last year, so I wrote to both. One wrote back almost immediately and really sold me on the trip. She said things about feeding the pandas and getting to play in the panda kindergarten and holding them twice (once at the Chengdu Center and once at BiFangXi, the place she volunteered at). I am nearly ready to sign on the dotted line for this. So I'm not spending as much time in Beijing as I'd like, I am hitting the main sights. I should settle for that and go back if I need to.
Damn, did I just say "go back"???
I realized Chengdu is very near Tibet, as one of the hotels is Hotel Chengdu Tibet. Hmmm.
I made the mistake of looking up airfare just to see what the fares and routes are. It's about 17 hours with 1 stop going over, but mother of god, it's about 23 hours coming home. I will need drugs, lots of drugs, to get through that!
And speaking of drugs, I looked up on the CDC Website what I should get for vaccinations before this trip. Don't tell my mother, please. I need to get: Hepatitis B (remember, I already had the Hep A vaccine for Russia), Typhoid, Polio booster, Japanese encephalitis and Rabies "if spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas...and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals." Bingo, that's me. Shoot, I've heard the rabies vaccine is painful! So off to my doc I will go shortly, as the Hep B set of three shots takes six months. That was the first time I wondered if it's really worth it, but you know I figured it is. I'm still writing.