Saturday, May 29, 2004

What to Bring to China

Next week I'll be leaving for China. It'll be the first time I've gone there and I have no idea what to expect. It's going to be in the 80s where I'm going, so light summer clothes will be necessary. When I go to Beijing it'll be hotter so I'll bring sunscreen (my friend wasn't sure if they sold it in China). I need to make copies of my passport and visa and write down the contact information of the U.S. Embassy and the closest consulate. An umbrella and other clothes can be bought in China for much cheaper prices than in the U.S. Since I'm going to be shopping a lot I'll bring one small empty suitcase. This trip is only going to be one week so I probably won't buy a ton of things. For a longer trip two empty suitcases would be suitable.

I'm not going to bring my computer, but I'm definitely going to bring a camera. I'm still not sure whether to take the digital camera or just buy a bunch of disposable cameras. My cell phone plan doesn't allow me to make international calls, so I could buy a cell phone in China, which I hear are cheap. Uploading the photos on the internet for display on this website probably won't happen, but I'll keep that possibility in mind.

The tap water in China is not clean enough to drink or brush your teeth with. This was something I dealt with in Mexico, but the water in the hotel was filtered. Water in the best hotels in China is not safe to drink either. Instead boiled water is provided in bottles in the hotel rooms. I'll be buying a lot of bottled water; I wouldn't be surprised if they don't recycle though.

I also learned that there are restrooms without toilet paper! It can be bought in stores, but why not just provide it in the restrooms? A side effect of being a third world country or Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist thought? Does Das Kapital even cover toilet paper?

There's still more planning to do, but as June 4 nears I'll be more prepared. Actually going there will prepare me better for future trips.