Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Countdown Is in Single Digits

I agree with Catherine - when I first looked at the USA Softball schedule, starting in February, the final game in California last week seemed so very far away; and in the middle of it all, time just seemed to drag. Suddenly we are 8-9 days from leaving. It's heeeeeerrre! ;-)

All the visas are done, doctor's letters for medications are collected, pet care is lined up, and now we start the little tasks like making sure the papers and mail are stopped or taken care of, getting the lawn taken care of, going through clothes and shoes to make sure we do not need anything additional, etc.

China has never been high on my list of places to visit, but as I read through the two guide books I bought and the suggestions our host has for little trips, I find myself looking forward to the trip more than I expected. Language will always be a barrier, it was in Athens. But because it was the Olympics, people seemed to go out of their way to really try to communicate or help find help. (It also helped to know the Greek alphabet to describe signs as we drove!) Looking at a few of the Chinese symbols in our guide books...I feel helpless. But it will be a grand adventure!

Our host has assured us that the Chinese people will be the same as we found in Athens. They sincerely want to put their best foot forward and make it an enjoyable stay for everyone. They will go out of their way to be as helpful as possible. The only real drawback with this trip is not having our own transportation. We have a driver who can take us to the train station or to the nearby store, and public transportation can take us to the Olympic venues, but not having our own car will be something completely different. How we take that for granted here, the ability to just pick up and go whenever, where ever.

We leave the 8th and spend the day in NYC with the boys. We had to connect to Beijing through Newark no matter what, so we decided to take a day and see a little of the Big Apple. We land around 11AM, and will most likely take the boys on the Staten Island Ferry, then on to Times Square. We will try to hook up with some dear friends and old neighbors for an early dinner, and then we will go see Phantom of the Opera that evening. Noon the next day will find us Beijing bound, landing around 10AM the next day.

We have a couple days before the first softball game to acclimate and also to see what other tickets might be available. This Olympics, it has been near impossible to get tickets for any other sport other than softball and that was questionable at first. But we do have guaranteed softball tickets, so that is one more item crossed of the list.

Until next time!

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