Chapter 1

by Brent Gill


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September 6, 2006 1:00am

This starts with the final packing process, and follows along on the flight to Shanghai, and ultimately on to Beijing.
The China Eastern aircraft that took us to Shanghai.
Late in the night of the second day we first met Jason, our Escort while in Beijing. He was a very friendly and pleasant young man.


7/25–AUDIO: The dog days of July

7/18–AUDIO: Stubborn as a… bull

7/11–AUDIO: Life with dogs, or, watch where you step

7/4–AUDIO: The case of the purloined grain

6/27–Brent Gill returns!

9/1–Falling Underwear Can Be Revealing

3/19–Sightseeing on an 8N?

1/29–Gardening On The Whitehouse Lawn?

1/29–Windy Texans and Other Tales

12/8–A GPS for finding ... a BATHROOM?

11/28–Serious Sports Fans vs Serious Shoppers

11/24–A Bare-faced (?) Exaggeration

11/18–A Robot For All Ends

11/13–A Real Green Machine

10/15–What The Judges Needed

10/9–High MPG Commentary

10/3–The Eagle Gets Bothered by Crows

9/30–Common Sense in New California Law

8/19–Technology can be a pain


9/14–Chapter 7

9/13–Chapter 6

9/12–Chapter 5

9/11–Chapter 4

9/8–Chapter 3

9/7–Chapter 2

9/6–Chapter 1


8/1–Another Unwelcome Visitor

6/5–A Visitor To The Shop

4/3–The View From The Office

3/20–Houdini is at it again!

3/8–The Case of Houdini is Finally Solved

2/28–Houdini and The Cohort in Crime

2/27–View From The Office Windows

10/26–The case of the missing calf

7/28–Could this be a new plum variety?

(These are the text from a series of e-mails sent to friends and family while we were on a trip to China)

I sent one e-mail out to the group as a whole before this one, verifying that they wanted to receive their e-mails on that address, etc. Since it was more housekeeping than informative, we’ll start with this one from Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, July 16 – 10:45 AM

I should be able to send out my first e-mails either late Tuesday night, or Wednesday morning China time. We are supposed to arrive at the hotel in Beijing at 11:00 PM Tuesday night. That will be 8:00 AM Tuesday morning PDT. If I am up by 5:00 Wednesday morning, that would be 2:00 PM Tuesday afternoon PDT. One of those two times should see an e-mail coming winging out.

There is a fifteen hour time difference. If it is 3:00 PM PDT, then flip it to AM (3:00 AM) and add 3 hours. So that would be 6:00 AM tomorrow in China. If you are figuring from 8:00 PM in China, that would be 8:00 AM PDT, minus 3 hours, or 5:00 AM PDT. Got that? Good.

OK, sending this off to you all.

Brent and Sharon at home, but packing!

Later Sunday, July 16 – 7:19 PM

Son of a gun! Sharon is just almost there! We are down to putting names and addresses into the inside of the bags, not on the outside though.

We have to get up at 2:30 AM. I will shut this down after I send one final note out from Springville. Then it will be time to load and go.

(Note: Our youngest son, Justin, sent us two wonderful big duffle-bags with wheels. This was our first time to use them, and they turned out to be just exceptional)

LOVE the big bags, Justin! Neither one is bulging, and we have packed almost everything. (Seems like everything in the closet!) Both big duffels have a smaller empty duffel on the bottom of the bag, under all the clothes and stuff. Not that we will NEED the extra room ... of COURSE not! But, just in case.

Better get some rest. 2:30 AM PDT Monday, to 11:00 PM China Tuesday is a total of 29.5 hours. Put a twelve-hour flight from LAX to Shanghai in there, and moving and exercising a little while on the plane will be mandatory!

Brent and Sharon in Springville

Monday July 17 - 3:01 AM

Well, we are up, have had a cup of coffee, eaten a little, and it is time to shut this computer down, pack it away, and get ready to roll.

We both were in bed by 8:00 last night, and were both awake at around 2:00, though we did not get up until 2:20.

So ... the adventure begins!

Stay tuned. About 30 hours from now ( it is 3:00 AM PDT) we should be in the hotel in Beijing, China! There is a layover in Shanghai, or at least a STOP-over, but not sure how long it will be, if there will be any WiFi connection, or even if there will be any time to do anything. By Wednesday morning, China time, lets say 6:00 AM, I should be able to get a note out to you all. That would be 3:00 PM PDT on Tuesday afternoon.

Brent and Sharon finishing up with the packing

Monday July 17 - 12:17 PM PDT

This note is at started at LAX.

The trip to LA was uneventful, once we got started. We were scheduled to leave Porterville at 5:00, but one couple could not get the car lights to come on. They could see to drive down the mountain from Camp Nelson, which held us up until 5:35. But, no problem. After all, we’re on vacation.

We rolled into LAX, unloaded, and got lined up at the China Eastern ticket counter by 9:00 AM ... only to find that they did not START ticketing until 10:00 AM. So we stood and talked, visiting with others in our group who were also stuck in line as we were. The girls went on a potty run but returned with coffee, so all was not too boring.

They did a very strange thing with the baggage. We got our boarding pass, then they said to grab the bags that we were going to check, (and had already placed on the scales under the counter) and take them "over there to that line." So, we hauled them "over there" and sent them in for screening. When the bags came back out, a group of employees loaded the bags on carts, and they carried them (we could not touch the bags) BACK across to the China Eastern counter ... and passed them through to go to the plane. Just seemed strange to me. But then again, ... we’re on vacation … whatever.

We went up on the patio in Tom Bradley Terminal, bought some lunch, ate, visited and enjoyed the company.

Finally it was off to Gate 103, go through security to get out to the gates, and here we sit, waiting. Since there is plenty of time before we board, I thought I'd get a note started.

I am told that I will pay for Internet connection at the hotels, and that it is rather slow. But, we shall see. Ah well, whatever.

Currently it is 12:15 PM. We can load onto the plane at 1:15 but it is not scheduled to depart until 2:00 PM.

Looking out the windows at Gate 103, here comes our big China Eastern plane, taxiing in. Not sure if it is bringing in passengers or just coming in to load up.

This will get sent out when I have a chance to hook up to the internet.

Brent and Sharon sitting in LAX

Tuesday July 18 – 2:10 AM PDT

This may be the last e-mail unless I can get my power supply problem solved. I cannot get my power supply to light up. Amazingly, there is a 110v plug in the back of the headrest of the seat in front of us.

But, I cannot seem to get it to light up and start charging. Not entirely sure if the 110 v plug is not working, or if my power supply is having a problem.

So, if I cannot get it to recharge, this is it. Sorry.

Brent and Sharon flitting along at 38,000 ft.

Tuesday July 18 – only moments later

Better news. Apparently not all the plugs work in here, so it is entirely possible that my power supply is working fine.

At this moment, it is 5:11 PM China Time. We are just over an hour out of Shanghai ... finally. May I assure you ... a 12:45 airplane ride is LONG! My rear is sore, and it has already been a lengthy day.

Brent & Sharon still at 38,000 ft.

Tuesday July 18 – 10:16 AM PDT

We are finally in the hotel in Beijing. And ... my power supply works just fine! Amazing what a little INPUT will do for the OUTPUT.

It is 1:16 AM here.

Someone from the Bell Boys will be up shortly with my internet user name and password.

The Power Adapter was brought up very quickly. The poor guy spoke no English, and of course my Chinese is nonexistent.

OK, bags have come, the bell boy with the internet information came and helped me get online, and the waiting e-mails have gone out. This one will go out in a few minutes.

It is time to get a shower and get to bed. I am not overly tired. I slept some on the plane. But I’ll tell you one thing: my rear-end is really tired. The seats on that plane got so blasted hard.

OK, time to turn in. We have to be on the bus by 8:00 AM but I will check for incoming e-mails in the morning. Already drove past Tianenmen Square tonight on our way to the hotel.

We have a great tour guide, Jason, who speaks very good English, understands our culture well and is most proud of his country. This should be good.

Brent and Sharon ... very tired in Beijing

(If you have questions about anything you read today, contact me through the web site. Click on Advertising, and in the middle of the page is a direct link to my e-mail.)

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