Friday, March 01, 2002

Ahhhhh. Excuse me for my latest absence. I've been busy.

We always say we are busy. It is the universal excuse to why we have not corresponded in a while. So, to utilize the universal excuse and resolve myself of all guilt from this point forward (until the next time I don't write), I will say I have been busy.

Well, I have. My "business" ..... (I think that means the place where you get busy) has been interesting to say the least. One of my client's got the boot the other day and we "counselors" were busy comforting, consoling and calming the other natives who got stirred up in the process. It's been a while since we've had a police car sitting in our parking lot. Made for an interesting week.

Where I have been the busy-est, has been organizing my NEW vacation idea.

I called Adventure Bound Tours and found that I procrastinated one too many days and screwed myself out of a European vacation. Those $198.00 round trip fares were NOT only attractive to me it seems. Europe is booked solid. The lady on the other end of the earpiece said, "Next to impossible," which means to me, "Forget it."

So, I just ran my finger down the list of discount fares and picked the lowest one flying to Asia.

I'm going to Beijing, China.

Once it was official, I began researching the trip and dragging out the calendar and my itenerary. EEK! I have twenty days to get my act together! Naturally, China requires a visa for entry so it finally soaked in yesterday that I had better get my butt down to the post office and mail something out TOOT - SWEET.

Seems I am illegally applying for a visa in that the instructions say you have to apply within thirty days of your departure date. Oh crap. Think they will notice? Hope not. I Express mailed the thing out and it will be in the hot little hands of the Chinese consulate general in New York today at noontime.

Cost? Funny what we will pay for the, "Get the damn thing there yesterday," service. I don't even want to think about it.

Belfast Chris was right . . . . . the real fun in going on a vacation is all in the planning. The damn flight over can't possibly produce the adrenaline this last minute stuff is working up. Now for hotel accomodations . . . . .

The internet has got to be the most useful tool on the face of the earth for trip planning. I experienced this when planning my trip to the Phillippines. Hotels in Beijing are no different than in any other part of the world. From five to two stars.

I'm currently looking for the "one" star hotels.

I found one or two but they do not provide pictures of these hotels or the rooms. I can only imagine. Security is a concern as I plan to take my NEW laptop that I received in the mail two days ago to replace the one that fried. I may have to bite the bullet and swing for a two star hotel. WooHoo . . . Party!

Jeeem the big spender.

I call myself frugal because I don't like the word cheap. "Frugal" has character. Hey, when you're operating on a budget, you don't have much choice. Some people don't skimp when it comes to accomodations but I personally don't care where I sleep as long as I sleep and don't get ripped off.

So, anyway . . . . here I go. Off to see the Great Wall of China. The only man-made structure visible from the moon. The bricks in that wall would span the earth to make a wall five and a half yards high. Incredible. Also going to visit the famous Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City to name a couple.

Was lucky and got an open departure date so I can fly out when the money runs out. Me? Actually I'm going for the rich foods (Fried Scorpion and Stewed Bullfrog) and the back recesses and hutong's where the guts of the city are to be found. Hopefully I can find some transportation out into the further reaches of the countryside to see how the real people live and naturally take a billion photos.

Tourist traps bore me.

In closing, I want to say that my good pal Dominique shared some of her vast red-headed, hot-blooded French Canadian knowledge with me and now I finally know where American beer comes from.

Butterfly wee-wee.



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