This is my first adventure, would be nice to get to know people before we go!!
Please get in touch
Am thinking of going on this trip but probably the 1st September departure.
Have you travelled with Exodus before? I haven't a friend recommended them to me.
Not quite sure what to expect i've only ever done package holidays before, I'm really excited though
always wanted to do some proper travelling.
I havn't travelled with them before but from research they seem to be very good. I have now changed to the 9 September trip too as I am in France till mid August and want to give myself more time to get my Visa. I am awaiting Exodus confirming that a single supplement is available for this trip.
I am booking my own flights as I want to stop-over on the way there.
My daughters say they dont know how I will cope as they think I am only used to 4/5 star hotels but I believe I will be ok.
I believe there are 7 confirmed bookings at the moment.
Oh I'm glad you've changed your mind on the dates, at least I will get to know somebody before we go :-) I assume you are the 7th confirmed booking as I enquired last week and was told there were 6!
I am flying from Manchester, it's closer for me and was a bit cheaper! I am just doing the arranged flights as I haven't done this type of travelling before and I didn't fancy finding my own way to the starting point :-s
I'm sure you will be fine with the 3* hotels lol, apparently the worst accommodation is the final train journey. Surely the hotels and everything are part of the whole experience :-)
Still waiting news about single accommodation maybe later today, so I cant book my flights yet. There are 7 excluding me at moment.
Yes agree hotels will be fine and read similiar about last train, maybe bring a liner for it and plenty of wipes.
Food wise I pretty conservative but cant imagine there will be too many TGI Fridays. One of my daughters was in Vietnam on uni programme and I visited her for 5 days so have some experience of culture and eating habits. I survived that so will be ok in China too I hope.
Your pretty brave with your 1st holiday alone being such an adventure but I sure it is much better than sitting on the beach reading a book.
It will be my second holiday alone :-) I went to Egypt last year on a Nile cruise for a week, was really hard at first but really enjoyed it. I probably ended up speaking to nearlly everybody on the boat at some point during the holiday. Was a great confidence booster to enable me to book this holiday.
I'm not sure about some of the food, but I'm usually fairly adventurous and like to try new things (would prefer food to be dead and cooked though :-S lol) A friend who went on the trip several years ago has suggested taking some dextrose sweets just in case of sugar dips with the different style of eating.
Will certainly make change from sunbathing & reading, although after 3 weeks of intense sightseeing might just need a week on a beach lol!
All confirmed and booked now so that makes 8. I arrive Beijing 40 mins after the main group so that works well. Are you aware of the make up of the group?
I prefer my food dead and WELL cooked Three weeks supply of sweets might put me over the 20kg limit as I tend to take too much clothes.
This will be my 1st trip alone as I have always travelled with family before, but I am pretty easy going and mix well too. I think a good sense of humour will get you through most situations.
There is alot of travelling and sightseeing so it probably is home for a rest.
I'm glad you've been able to book on the trip ok :-)
The mix of the group last week was:
We currently have 6 people confirmed and 3 people holding an option. There are 5 females and 1 male. Two ladies are booked together and there is one couple. 2 people are in 40s, 3 people are in 60s and one person in 70s
Yes a good sense of humour is always a good thing :-)
I'm usually a light packer but i'm worried about not having enough space for 3 weeks of clothes, although you can get some laundry done quite easily i've been told.
I usually use a suitcase but have been told a large holdall bag is better for this trip so I have taken advantage of the latest tesco offer and got myself a nice bag quite cheap.
I don't know about home for a rest, will be straight back to work with not many holidays left but well worth it.
It is nice getting to know somebody else before we go :-) Would be good if some of the others joined us.
I believe there is another person in their 70s and me in my 50s. I persume your not the other lady in her 70s lol! I thought it would have been a younger mix but at least we will not have to find a disco in Beijing. More females than males, are you a more adventurous breed? At least I'll be ok to get my shirt ironed.
Yes a traditional suitcase may not be the way to go as I think its everyman (or woman ) for themselves regarding carrying luggage. I'm glad mine has wheels on it.
It would be nice to here from others but I suppose not everybody is into electrionic communication.
As a now part-time lecturer I get lots of holidays so it is maybe home for a rest for a few days after.
You will have the advantage of already knowing some of the rest of the group from flying out together but I will be more over my jetlag I hope. It seems we are up and running from early the next morning.
Have to go pack my suitcase am off to France for a week
Lol! No I'm not in my 70's :-D I think I'm going to be the baby of the group :-s I'm only 40 but will be closer to 41 when we travel! I like to think I'm quite adventurous, probably wouldn't book a holiday like this if you aren't. As for ironing shirts I'm well out of practice :-) and enjoying it that way lol! Yes I thought it might have been a younger mix, but age is only a number I'm sure we'll all get on fine :-)
I'm not sure about getting to know the group on the flight as I'm flying from Manchester not Gatwick but I think we all meet in Dubai and fly together from there.
I'm quite lucky I get 6 weeks holiday a year and I have some overtime saved up which I can use as well. It's a good job with using 3 whole weeks for this trip, but it will be well worth it and I might not get the oppotunity again.
I hope you've had a good week in France, I'm sure the weather has been much better than here!!
Yes nice weather although it was A chilly 30degs today.
I will just have to make sure I take all my wringle-free shirts instead.
How are you organising your visa? I live in N Ireland so difficult to know which is best. Plan A is Im in France again till 16Aug so need my passport till then but am coming home through London as I'm invited to the cricket for a day, was going to go to Chinese embassy leave paperwork and get them to post it back to me. Should be back before I leave on 5 Sep.
Hope we don't have to babysit the baby. lol
Hope you didn't catch a cold in the chilly 30degs lol! (not jealous really!!!)
Somebody else might take pity and iron you a shirt or 2 :-)
I only looked a little bit about visas yesterday so not sure what I'm doing, probably the cheapest way. When I'm next at work I need to print out all the info (not got a printer at home) so I can decide what is the best way.
I'm really excited now can't wait. Will come round quite quick as well, the weeks are flying by at the minute as I'm really busy at work. I just hope they don't go as fast in China!
Are you sure you can fit a holiday to China in with all this other travelling lol! I've always wanted to travel perhaps I chose the wrong job, but i do love it so wouldn't change it :-)
Hopefully I won't need babysitting :-s I'm well behaved (most of the time!)
Hi Les & Ruth
Lovely to hear from you! Liked your post, made me laugh, I'm sure we'll all get on fine :-) Some great advice in there so nice to have some expert travellers with us, I'm sure you've got plenty more tricks up your sleeves as well! Can't wait to hear them and tales of your previous travels.
Would never have thought to post purchases home, was wondering how I would cope if I saw things I wanted but couldn't pack them in my bag.
Some of the optional excursions sound very good and I'm hoping to do most of them (not sure about the cycling!) after all can't travel all that way and not see and do as much as possible would be a waste.
I'm OK with chopsticks but not very fast with them. Apparently the food is nothing like the Chinese food we are served here! I'm really looking forward to trying the real thing, although like the idea of losing some weight.
HI Anita, Rushed home to see if you were there and delighted to get an answer. Ruth will be mad that I found you first cause she's better on laptops than me. No doubt she will pop up soon. We have not done a trip like this together before; went to Belfast for 3 days and shared a room, then said what about 3 weeks! I like to mix and sit anywhere, with anyone, be flexi and see ups and downs as part of a trip. Went to Bosnia, Serbia/Croatia with Christian Aid after the War to learn about helping victims and how the Army works, and that gave me a true understanding of starvation and BASIC living. Ruth has slept on floors in India and been to Japan! Have been reading lots plus all reviews for this trip. Some tips learnt from others -Take a cheap or second small camera in your day bag incase your good one jams. Buy postcards for self if weather bad. Take tissue and wipes (suitable for ALL parts of the body) since Chinas' people have different toileting habits from us (enough info)! Try to have £1,000 spending money that you can get at if necessary 'cause so many chances for extras. If you can't or don't want to do something, don't be scared to tell someone, we make our own choices in life. Take earplugs incase someone snores when napping!, cheap English magazines or books to swop or dump, sometime hard to find when everyone speaks and writes Chinese, some music to listen to, wash you clothes 'on you' while in the shower, its is so easy and they get rinsed as well (Auzzies taught me that). Remember a mosquito net for bed, a tiny bright umbrella for the sun- NO shelter at the Great Wall. Try TKMax and Pound stores for cheap things and leave jewelry at home, take junk -we were once mugged in Paris! I chose a small group tour cause felt it much easier to meet locals and see real China, been with large groups and so much time wasted in queues and quibbling! Now your turn to chat, and where is Brian?
PS I do enjoy quiet times and my own company as well.
Hi Lee, will look forward to meeting you both if you book, the more the merrier!
Hi Les, I know the feeling lol! I keep checking when I get chance to see if anybody has left a message. It makes it even more exciting. I hope everybody comes on who is going on the trip, I think this chat room is a fantastic idea.
You certainly sound like you've done a lot between you. So far I have bought some new shorts from Primani at least they won't take up much space in my bag and will be easy to wash especially your Auzzie way! I've also read that clothes are so cheap you can just buy new while you are out there.
I've already invested in earplugs! Had a city break in Warsaw a few years ago the traffic never seemed to stop all night and didn't get any sleep :-( so learnt my lesson, just hope I don't forget to pack them.
I will certainly be taking my ipod, can't cope without my music and will definately need it on the flight. I am happy to share it with people but not sure my taste in music will suite all!
A tip I learnt a few years ago is if you are suceptable to insect bites take vitamin B6, it emmits an odour from the skin that insects don't like. I have been taking it for the last 3 years and rarely get bit, if I do it's only a small pimple that doesn't itch! It takes a week or two to get in to your system. They are only about £2 from Tesco for 120 tablets.
Hi Anita, Les & Ruth
Havn't gone missing just back from France last night and logging in. We have a big golf tournamnet here in NI this weekend so rushing off to see it. Glad somebody else will be able to understand my accent.
Les I see you are well travelled and have lots of good advice as to what to bring. I hadnt thought of a mosquito net though I'm not sure about showering fully clothed.
I also see you like fine wine, don't think we will find much in China but I'm sure we can share a smalll chinese beer instead.
If your company is as good as your messages I think we will enjoy the trip and get on well together.
My daughter has a kindle so I might borrow that rather than carry lots of paperbacks and I have plenty of music too on my iphone I think Anita maybe an ABBA fan.
Ok better rush off they will be teeing of soon, check in later.
Hi there Lee - Would be good to hear from you if your able to join us. Contacting people seems to make the trip a reality, and i am reading so much just now, like cramming for an exam! Are you able to recommend any maps which actually show the roads and areas in closeup. I expect we will be be given so much, but I like to follow for myself and since I have been wanting to go to China since I was a girl, am preparing for this trip much more than I have done for others. Lesley.
This is really good having lots of people to talk to :-D makes it all seem more real, and also my friends at work are probably fed up of me banging on about my trip!
I don't think I'm going to take my iphone :-s I might just get a free pay as you go sim and put it in an old phone. I'm a bit worried about losing it or getting a massive bill when I get home for data charges. I don't have much music on it but I've got a couple of books.
Maybe I have some Abba on my ipod, but that would be telling ;-) you'll have to wait and see and borrow it if you dare lol!
I also like a drop of wine (preferably red) but also like a nice cold beer especially when it's hot!
Les have you looked on the Stanfords website? I used it to but a guide book for China (and take advantage of the 5% discount off of the holiday) they also had lots of maps but didn't take much notice of them so can't suggest a specific 1
Hi Lee, so pleased you can make it (by the way, who is "we"? Delighted to hear you have been to Vietnam etc. 'cause it's a trip I would love to do - will be pumping you for impressions when I meet you.
Thanks for the reading tip - think I might go with it! Just don't want to appear completely dumb! Ruth has mentioned biking so you never know - she is the really fit one! I broke my leg 2 years ago and there are times when I have to be aware of some limitations - at least that's my excuse when climbing about or anything. Have a feeling this lot will not let me off with too much.
We arrive from Abereen at 13.05 and leave Heathrow on Flight BA039 at 16.40 and arrive Beijing 09.30 +1. Where are you coming from?
So glad you could make it Lee! Look forward to meeting you both. My flight gets into Beijing at 15.10 +1 If everybody is going to go on the bikes then I'm up for it :-) was just concerened about the helmet issue! Certainly don't want to take mine as it's valuable space in my bag!! I suppose also it would be a missed opportunity.
Sorry can't chat much now :-(
Hi all, Seems like I have nothing to do but write on here, but it sort of grips you to see who comes on next. Ruth text to say she has found the page and is just catching up with you all. I leave in 8 days for a wedding and a weeks holiday nr, Ludlow, Shropshire, so will be absent for a while. Beautiful area with lots of coffee shops, something I will crave for in China I think. My caffeine addiction can cause me stress when abroad! A very English Wedding so been preparing my husband's Scottish Kilt and all the trappings, one needs to fly the flag on these occasions! He really suits it.
Thanks Anita for the tip about bites -will be trying it 'cause I'm usually flavour of the month where insects are concerned -perhaps they know good stock when they find it! Will also try for the maps as you suggested. If they hire bikes, they will have helmets, the Chinese probably make them, like everything else! Got a feeling we might not all meet up until the meal in the evening on the first night.
Brian, good to hear from you. Sounds like your daughters are like my sons, getting the 'old folk' up to date with modern technology. Graeme 36, lectures in Graphic Art, and uses computers for artistic work, has travelled and now-a-days colour,light and sound is much sought after for visual effect. I love Art and Theatre and I go far and wide, even if I can't get my husband to go. We only live once -something I learnt when illness' struck.
This is my third time trying to get to China. Three years ago we and were booked and the company went bust! Last year was booked with Exodus and the week of the trip Neil took ill and we had to cancel - thank goodness we took Premium Insurance, which is why I have the money to go now. He has chosen not to go at all, which is where Ruth comes in. Needed a friend who can role with the punches and enjoys life. Not all friends make good holiday companions, but we can only try. Just joking Ruth!!
Nice to see you are booked now for the trip. I have made my own flight arrangements as I want to stopover on way to Beijing. My flight arrives 15.50 slightly later than the main group, although Exodus are giving me a transfer to the hotel.
Anita, I too intend to do the cycle tours as I prefer activities to too much culture, but will be going with the flow. I have to check about helmets, may have to bring one and just fill it with socks etc.
Les I was recently at a wedding in Edinburgh, lots of kilts on show so i'm sure your husband looks well in it. I'm not too sure about your 'old folks and computer comment' as I taught computers and have a weakness for electronic gadgets ( will be bringing my ipad as I like to keep up to date with what's going on at home,so hope some wifi areas)
I also enjoy travelling and have visited most continents except S America ( that might be my next trek adventure)
Brian, don't you know that once they get to Uni they all talk about the "old folk", sorry didn't mean YOU were old. Ten years can make a lot of difference to ones 'comfort zone'. I know. My daughters-in-law keeps saying silly things to me, like "read the instructions", might as well be in Chinese!
Dont worry Les its only my sense of humour. Have found a good book, not your usual tourist guide. "China Survival Guide" Larry & Qin Herzberg. Chapters on Toilets, Taxis, Standing in Line, Shopping, Etiquette and basic language amongst others
Have learnt there are 4 tones when speaking Chinese and the tone changes the meaning Eg ma can mean Mother, marijuana, horse or yell at. Wen can mean ask, smell,or kiss. So I think we need to be careful when trying to speak to the locals
Oh good Lee, we will have to have a 'secret signal' !! to pick each other out when waiting for the plane. It will be good to meet Phyllis and yourself.
You have done well Brian - You can say - "Mother has a horse she yells at after marijuana"! and to ask someone to "smell and kiss you" might be fun. But I'm sure we take your point.
I am really loving all of these conversations :-D it is making the whole experience so much more exciting!
Congratulations Brian on your gold star, hopefully by the time we go we will all have 4 gold stars each.
I have also bought a similar book to yours Brian it's called China A-Z and is by a German (translated to English) bloke who lived out in Beijing for a few years. That mentions the ma ma ma ma phrase. So far it is making quite interesting reading when I get time to pick it up. I might have a try at learning a bit of the lingo before we go from a Chinese friend. He grew up in Hong Kong but has lived here for several years now. However I he speaks Cantonese not Mandarin so might not be of any use :-s
It looks like I might be flying the whole trip on my own, I'd best make sure that I have plenty of music on my ipod and some good reading material.
Seeing as you are a bit of a techno guru Brian I might bring my iphone after all, might not be able to cope without it!
Really looking forward to Ruth joining us :-) and hopefully some of our other fellow travellers. I think that there are possibly 10 of us now booked on the trip.
I suspect you are right Brian, I think they will do 1 pick up, by the time people have collected bags etc there probably won't be much in it time wise.
Does my gold star mean I have advanced from mopping floors in McD's terms ;-) lol
On my iphone I have some apps in nice little folders, but not all. I find that because I have to be really organised at work my private life isn't as organised (probably the rebellion in me coming out) I don't have my email account set up on my iphone either as I receive too many junk emails!
After I booked the trip I re watched the episode of An Idiot Abroad where he is in China, there's a funny bit with spitting in there :-) also a work colleague went travelling last year he told me about the spitting :-s should be fun!
I thought the whole point of travel books were to read them before you go to a place :-s anyway the speed I'm reading it at I won't have finished it before we go! Never have much time to fit reading in these days.
Best get back to work now, dinner break over :-(
yeah, was never one for doing much homework, just enough to get by.
Anita, i think u have moved on to chopping salad, 2 more stars and u get to flip burgers :p
Oooh I like chopping :-)
Just logged in the long wided way istead of the link via my email, we have gained "hot topic" status!!!!
Only 1 week to go before paying the final balance, just need to sort out my visa then :-) it's all happening so quickly and I still can't believe I'm going.
Well going to read a bit more of my China book before going to sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I wondered what that little symbol was for, think we gained it after 15 replies.
Yea balance due soon but it does mean the holiday is getting closer.
Anita I bought my daughter that DVD last Christmas so will have to borrow it back and watch the China episode. I agree you should read your travel books before you go but I had meant your 'Mills & Boon' novels.
Lee a little knowledge is a dangerous thing so dont worry about us "experts". A quick viewing of "an idiot abroad " does not bring one up to speed on the culture.
Just received email with accommodation itinerary. First impressions are good I intend to put hotel names into agoda travel site ( specialises in far east hotels) to get more information and some reviews. The cruise ship President No2 also gives a good impression ( english information at yangtze-river-cruises.com/ships)
Must go and send a scanned copy of my passport.
Brian, i also looked at hotels and various reviews on different sites, I dont think they will be to bad.
all paid and passport scans sent just need to sort visa when i,m home this weekend :)
Congrats on the gold star Lee :-D
Don't worry, I certainly won't be an expert on China :-s there's far too much to learn and to be honest would rather leave a lot of it to surprise.
Only had a brief chance to look up a couple of the hotels, they look really nice :-) thanks for the address for the river cruise Brian, just managed to have a quick look. Looks good :-)
I've also resent my passport scan (already sent a copy a couple of weeks ago) just need to pay balance :-( and sort my visa. I've filled in the visa form and printed it out just need to sort everything else :-s
I'm so excited now, been bouncing off the walls at work all day :-D even downloaded a countdown app for my phone, only 58 sleeps to go!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo hoo
Gold star Lee you must have done your homework.
Anita when you read the hotel reviews they all mention hard beds so you better get 57 good nights sleep, although a hard bed is good for back problems. I watched the DVD think I will become a vegetarian if all we get is fertilised eggs and toads to eat. Tripadvisor's best hotel in Chengdu is run by an american couple will be booking a table :-)
I think its good we are going on the cruise in September cause there seems to be fog /smog for the rest of the year.
Anita if your excited now what you going to be like on the night before you go!!!
Still haven't had chance to look up all of the hotels, had a very busy weekend :-) I have discovered though that there is a Chinese Embassy in Manchester so I can apply there for my visa. Luckily I am going there on Thursday anyway :-D
So Brian how many bags of Monster Munch will you be packing lol! Hope you enjoyed the idiot abroad appart from the food, I take it you won't be trying any scorpions on sticks either ;-)
My friends at work were jealous when they saw the photos of the cruise. Did you see the photo of the huge Dragon boat, I know it's not the one we're going on but how cool! The cruise was probably one of the things that was drawing me to booking this trip so what you have said about the smog has made it sound even better :-)
Well only 54 more sleeps to go!! and the question is not how excited will I be the night before we go but how excited will I be every night in China ;-)
Seems a new itinerary needed for visa hope Anita you successful in Manchester. Back in France now to escape UK summer. Hot and humid today. I prefer sour cream and onion pringles but they take up alot of room. Only thing will be chicken on a stick def no insects. Yes nice scenery and culture in DVD.
Only need 2 innoculations and they can put them into 1 syringe so thats good.
A few drinks and earplugs might overcomethe effect of your excitement:-)
Trip to the embassy went really well :-) hopefully I've filled all the forms in correctly and it will all come back OK
I wish I could escape this poor excuse for a summer we're having :-( I think I might have SAD!! can't seem to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. Good job I've got a great holiday to look forward to :-)
What jabs do you need? I think I might be OK but just need to double check with my doctors.
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