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Jo’s China Diary

March 1-3, 2008

As many of you may know I was quite sick for all of February with bronchitis complicated by asthma and it was a close call to see if I would make this trip. On Thursday I felt dreadful and could hardly walk from my comfy chair in the living room to the kitchen. Since seeing my doctor on Monday I had been using a breathing machine instead of inhalers. I felt better on Friday when I faced my doctor who was telling me if I could go on this trip or not. I didn’t really give him that opportunity as I said I must go on this trip and I need you to help me. He concluded that my breathing had improved since Monday so he extended the use of prednisone for several days and said to take our breathing machine and inhalers. Fortunately I had done pill counting and much of the packing before I had my cataract surgery on February 18th not knowing my limitations after that. Turns out that was good planning though I was still puttering until the last minute to pack and clean up the house.

We were picked up at 6:30 P.M. and flew Cathay Pacific from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. The plane was very tight and crowded and full and I worried that I wouldn’t get any sleep at all but I did quite well. I got one four hour stretch and then tried to figure when to do all my procedures- drops for the eyes and inhalers and taking of assorted pills plus prednisone. I took a sleeping pill and then after that helped for four hours I took a vicodin to help me relax and got two more hours. This had to last me for what was to be a 35 hour day!

We arrived in Hong Kong about 4 A.M. and had several hours wait before our plane to Beijing. I remember walking for exercise, watching CNN in this lovely new terminal, then trying to sleep but couldn’t, and listening to Polezhayev music on my phone for comfort! We spotted out Dragonair plane outside the window. It certainly was decorative and a marvelous flight. Dragonair, I read from the flight magazine, has been voted the best Asian Airline in 2007. All their attendants were well trained, both beautiful and handsome, and very helpful whenever I needed anything. Arriving at the Beijing airport we could not find our person who was to meet us. At last we found him. He wasn’t standing in a prominent spot but eventually rounded up 6 or 8 of us and spoke to us as we traveled along for the 45 minute ride to the hotel.

The building along the way was amazing. No more open fields. All tall buildings. What a change! We arrived at the beautiful China World Hotel probably about 4 P.M. or later. The lobby was not to be believed. Beautiful music playing and chandeliers like the Dorothy Chandler. Our room was very lovely and then everything went wrong! Phil had forgotten the converter for the breathing machine so we called for one. Next we learned the plugs by the desk weren’t working so the computer wouldn’t work. Called for an electrician. When I took off my pants there was a six inch rip in my behind! Called for the tailor. We had all these people swarming in and out of our room while we were trying to take showers and get ready to go out for dinner. In a very efficient way all our problems were solved within an hour. Somehow we found the reserve to get ready to meet Jia Bin and Anita who are the parents of Peter who is a student at Harvey Mudd this year and stayed with our Peter and Linda and family!

Wow what an evening. They were so good to us and had made reservations 10 days ago to take us to the new Peking Duck Restaurant by the name of Beijing DaDong Roast Duck Restaurant. It was gorgeous and they ordered everything for us and explained what is was. Somewhere I tried to write it down the next day but don’t know where. We had course after course and really enjoyed the food but even more the visiting with them both. It is a rare opportunity to visit with a native and we enjoyed them so much. Anita is a substitute teacher in a local high school. They moved to Beijing from Taiwan in about 1993. He has established his own business and has invented something similar to the I-phone and is doing very well. What a fabulous evening. I wished I had been a bit more perky but really enjoyed every minute with them. Bed felt very good that night. We feel very well welcomed to Beijing. What a lovely way to start our trip!

March 4, Beijing

We both woke up early and were at the beautiful buffet breakfast when it opened at 6:30 a.m. I’m sorry now that I didn’t have my camera with me but I thought we’d be eating here every morning. Not so with such a large group we had a large room downstairs that was made up for us but not beautifully decorated as this main dining room was . There were islands of food with pictures and flowers and displays of breads that were amazing. We picked and chose from all of the pods. Delightful and delicious. As we were leaving we saw a younger man in a wheelchair and spoke to him and his wife. I think they were Molly and Mike from some southern state and they were a part of our group. He had fallen off the handicapped curb in front of the hotel and had a sharp pain some times in his hip that had been replaced 8 months before. What a thing to have happen the first day they arrived. They were going to see a doctor soon.

After breakfast we went down to the fitness room and pool to check it out. It was huge and gorgeous. I never used the fitness room but used the pool every morning. As soon as we were in our room I got on my bathing suit and water shoes and covered up with the luxurious bathrobe given us. I carried my water belt and pushed my wheelchair and off I went to B2 where the pool was located. Attendants helped me the entire way and the lifeguard was there to help me if I needed help. I think there were two people already in the pool and one was Kathleen who was very friendly and said she would help me out if I needed it. Turned out she is helping Brett with the Stanford group and she is certainly a very pleasant addition because he rarely speaks. So we became water buddies and swam together most days at 6a.m. before the scheduled day began.

I got back from the pool and got dressed warmly and started unpacking and cleaning up the mess I’d left the day before when I was just too exhausted to unpack! We called Jia Bin at 9 a.m. as arranged and we discussed what we would like to do this morning. He was happy to spend the morning with us and take us out to lunch if we didn’t mind his talking on the phone and doing business while his driver drove. We agreed that would be perfectly fine! We had read about one of the excursion offered to the group that we didn’t have time to do.

Off we went about nine –thirty and it was far away so we got to view the amazing building going on all over Beijing. We were going to a group of modern art galleries called 798 Galleries. It was in the Dashanzi art district. The 798 electronics factory was built by the Soviets in the 1950’s and abandoned in the 1980’s. In the ensuing six years, over 200 studios have been created with support from international benefactors, making the 798 one of the most avant-garde and trendiest art centers in Beijing. (Description from excursion options.) We found the area, though Jai-Bin had never been there and visited a few galleries and walked down a long street to view some very Russian statues. Jai-Bin told us underneath all these buildings was a huge bomb shelter which the Chinese used when they feared the Russians might bomb them. I’m sure we didn’t have the tour that the group would have had but we saw enough to get the flavor of the place. I took enough pictures of paintings and buildings to remember our outing and bought some postcards also. I don’t think it would have been modern enough for my friend Jan Huston but it was fine for us!

Jia-Bin took us to a wonderful place for lunch called Tai Fung. I think he told us this restaurant has one in Arcadia. We had steam pork dumplings, braised bean curd with black mushrooms, chopped pork rib, wanton soup, braised meat ball soup, tossed bean curd with sea weed and bean sprouts. Again he wouldn’t let us pay and was very gracious to order many courses describing each as it came. Very delicious. I tried to ask him questions to learn more about his job and what he does. I think he is a very busy and successful man serving on many boards as well as promoting his own growing business. Another wonderful few hours. We certainly wish to entertain Anita and him when they come to visit their son here. He tells us maybe they will come in July. I would also like to meet his son Peter at Claremont and we will do that when we get home. Anita and he have a second son who is now in high school. She could not come today as she was teaching. After lunch he took time to try to find an electronic store to look for a converter for Phil. They struck out and he had a meeting to attend so back to the hotel we went.

After returning to our hotel we explored the beautiful lobby a bit and sat down and enjoyed the music that is played all day. Different local talent is used and they are always dressed as if they are playing a concert. We also finished unpacking and tidied up our room. Phil went for a very long walk to look for a converter. He had asked for directions from a person at the information desk for our trip. He struck out again but saw lots of the neighborhood while I rested with my feet up.

The group officially arrives this afternoon and our first event is from 6:30 -8:00 p.m. a welcome reception in the Grand Ballroom. Earlier in the afternoon we decided to make a reservation for six in the Aria Restaurant located in the hotel. During the welcome reception we rounded up two couples to join us. One was the man in the wheelchair and the other someone we had just met from Bel Air. I’m not good at remembering names but we had a lovely and most expensive time when we got our bill at the end of our stay! Turns out the wine was quite expensive and as we chatted we consumed several bottles. Service was slow but the food delicious and well presented when it finally arrived. We got back to our rooms at 11:00 p.m. It turned out after several days Mike and Molly finally saw an orthopedist who told him he had a fractured hip so they left to go home as we left to fly to Hong Kong. What a shame. Molly managed to see some of the sights while he rested and watched TV in their room. He always was very upbeat and said he was comfortable until he moved a certain way which then became extremely painful.

So ends our busy first complete day here. Thinking of those at home and we send our love.

March 5, Beijing

I had a good swim between six and seven a.m. and then tried out the hot spa. That proved to be a mistake as I later fell asleep in our first lecture! We had breakfast in the room out through our lobby and down an escalator to the room where the welcome reception was held. Lots of food in long rows. You could have an eastern or western breakfast or any combination you wanted.

I evidently didn’t start taking notes this morning but we had welcome remarks and were told about our lecturers. The first lecture was on “China’s Economic Growth and Challenges” so I will defer to Phil’s lecture notes for that.

Lunch was included in our tour and we dined first at a lovely glassed in modern restaurant called the China Lounge. According to it’s brochure “it is hidden in a corner of probably the most modernized community in the ancient city, the Lounge overlooks the tranquil water and is surrounded by elaborately crafted terrace. It’s décor was a combination of contemporary elegance and oriental chic and it’s foods a delicate fusion of West and East.” Our lunch was lovely and came in several courses with a lazy susan in the middle of the table. We lunched upstairs at a large round table. Amy and Phil, the two vegetarians in the group, sat next to each other keeping each other good! Amy is very cute and is an intern learning her leading job. She tells us she is working hard to keep up!

Our afternoon excursion was to the Olympic site. We could see the bird’s nest (stadium) as we drove along the freeway. Our guide commented that if you stopped to take pictures you were fined. I chuckled thinking of Wendy Yu who had done just that just two weeks before! We saw lots of workers on the drive in moving stones or carrying buckets. Saw some cranes overhead. We headed to a large building that houses the replica of the Olympic site. It is huge. We were spoken to by the Chinese head engineer that carried out the architect’s plans. In the literature sent to us before the trip, we had read the very interesting account by the architect telling us all the hoops he had to jump through to accommodate both the government and the Chinese people. Enough to try the patience of armies! Unfortunately it didn’t make it home so I can’t refer to it. The stadium couldn’t be round because it was a reminder of something not liked. The bird’s nest was evidently a pleasing shape and symbolic of something good. It is built in such a way that the sun is never in anyone’s eyes.

We spent a long while in this room because around the outside of the room were individual models but in the center of the room was a huge diorama of the whole Olympic village with all it’s buildings. It will be something to behold! I’m sure China will make it by 8/8/08 (an auspicious number) but it seemed that there was much yet to accomplish. Certainly it will be wonderful to have for other competitions and events as well after the Olympics are finished.

Next we were driven to a closer site to the bird’s nest and the swimming stadium which looks like it is made of bubble wrap. We viewed the area from a platform and stayed quite awhile. So much yet to accomplish in the buildings themselves let alone the landscaping. I think they will be working 24/7!

There are absolutely amazing changes here since our first visit in 1979. Many highrise buildings have been built and it seems like hundreds more are under construction. The tallest one will be 74 stories. There is construction everywhere we drive. Millions of workers have come in from the countryside looking for construction jobs and I’m not sure they have good housing.

There was an optional shopping trip planned but we declined. Phil walked and I probably got my legs up and tried to rest. It’s so long ago, since I’m writing this at home, that I don’t really remember. I was still trying to get healthy. As it turned out I only needed two breathing treatments. One when I first arrived and one to counteract my sleepiness. I must say we have been very lucky with the weather here. It was cold but not freezing and we had a mix of sun and overcast. There was little pollution. As we left we were told we probably had experienced the best four days of weather in Beijing this year!

Our welcome dinner tonight is being held in the Golden Hall of the Beijing Hotel. There was an amazing amount of traffic and we were held up probably because of the government sessions letting out for the day. Every five years the government has a special session for two weeks and they are meeting now. I was looking forward to seeing the Beijing Hotel once again. In 1979 Phil and I had walked through the lobby and I bought a ring with a blue stone. In 1986 Steve and I had gone for a look and a sundae! This time there seem to be more defined sections so we didn’t go anywhere near the lobby but directly to the entrance to the Golden Hall. It was quite fancy. I was escorted in through more of a shopping section to the elevator so I didn’t have to use the steps. We sat near the stage so we could see the entertainment.

The hall was quite a fancy one in the old tradition with carving on the ceiling and where the walls meet the ceiling. The dinner was good but not terrific and the wine under par. We were sitting with two couples from Texas that knew each other and the other four of us were strangers. I think we were the only democrats though the republican next to me seemed to like Obama which surprised me. The entertainment was very modern for China (at least what I had seen in China over my visits). There were two sets of very slinky dancers. The first were in blue sequined costumes-very tight and long. They did sinuous dances. The second group after dinner were dressed in yellow sequined gowns and used their hands in undulating ways sometimes in unison and sometimes to give a windmill effect. It really was quite amazing. Phil captured it best with the video but I have a shot or two as well.

Returning home we had been given permission to drive around Tiananmen Square which was all lit up. It was a thrill to see Mao’s picture on the Forbidden City and the government buildings and museums that we have visited on past trips. We did a bit of music listening in the lobby before we went up to our room and worked on the computer before turning in.

March 6, Beijing

Today was one of those super fantastic days that rarely comes along. My day started at 5:40 am and I was in the pool by six for 45 minutes followed by five minutes in an oxygen room. I thought that sounded healthy. Yesterday I had made the mistake of going into the hot tub after the pool and consequently fell asleep in the lecture! No sleep today!! Some housekeeping first. Mila Keren if you think Vladimir Merlis would like these messages please forward and Margaret Wang please send to your mother.

There were two lectures this morning at the same time. Phil went to the one on environment and most found it boring. I went to a one on China and the Media and found it terrific! My panel consisted of Jaime Florcruz who is the Beijing Bureau Chief for CNN, Rui Chenggang is director and anchor for China Central TV, Li Xiguang is affiliated and teaches at Tsinghus University, and Jeremy Goldkorn, expert on new media in China, works for One of them was the man who got Starbucks to move their venue out of the Forbidden City. It was challenging and informative and discussed how China is opening up and how it is still censured. This gives you a feeling for the caliber of people we will be meeting.

We turned out to be early for our day trip so Phil walked for his half hour while I sat in this elaborate underground shopping mall connected to our hotel, which included stores like Gucci, etc. I people watched. Our outing was marvelous. Since we have been here before and have seen the must see historical sights we opted for the different. Today was a hutongs tour of the old China and the way many people still live. Our section was about a 20 minute drive from the Forbidden City. Before starting that we had lunch in a quiet and most beautiful restaurant behind the Forbidden City. The Chinese food was excellent and beautifully prepared, as all our meals have been, since arriving. There is a real flair for the aesthetic as well as the tasty. People can’t help me enough which is great with me but sometimes gets on Phil’s nerves! The day was quite crisp but beautiful blue skies and sparkling sun. How lucky can we be? We drove about 20 minutes to our venue where we boarded pedicabs. Just before we got to the cabs—bingo, the probably unofficial Olympic T shirts showed up and we quickly grabbed 7 for grandsons and Brad! Phil got a cap and off we walked a ways to board our pedi-cabs for the drive through the narrow streets of the old quarter. Totally disappointing was the fact that Phil ran out of battery before we left the restaurant so he didn’t capture any of it. My battery stopped as I boarded the pedicab but luckily I had a spare so managed to get lots of pictures.

We stopped at an arranged house where our hostess was 78 years old and looked much younger. She claimed her youthful face comes from the tea she drinks! She has lived in the same spot for 50 years and it came as a benefit from her job of working for a telecommunication company. She lives alone as her husband died 9 years ago and her two children are married and each has a child. She served tea and through an interpreter talked to us. Her children have been good to her and put in a small bathroom in the kitchen. She has a computer she uses to play mahjong and a microwave. Everything was neat as a pin. She uses charcoal to boil water to go through her pipes. This year we hear the government is providing electrical heat to cut down on pollution for the Olympics and it will continue on that way in the future. A new sewer system has been introduced a few years ago so things were much better than I expected to find them. This was a few cuts above a house or two we saw in 1979. She had her two grandchildren prominently displayed along with their artwork. She had a living room, side room, kitchen/bath. She shared the courtyard with two other families. Originally it was one. When she dies it will revert back to the company.

Next stop was the Museum of Ancient Pottery Civilization — one of the first four of private museums marking the further opening of Chinese policy. An amazing collection of pottery, stamps etc going back to 3.500 BC I think. The artist and calligrapher took 10 years out of his creative pursuits to build this collection. We met him and he did some calligraphy for us. He also had done all the paintings in this small museum as well as carved handsome tables and chairs such as we’ve seen near Big Sur. What a splendid way to end our tour! Our guide for the day, Henry, had beautiful English and answered all our questions.

I need to clear up a wrong allusion I made yesterday. The workers gathered by companies to do construction jobs and other jobs required by expanding business due to the Olympics are well cared for in dorms. We learned in a lecture yesterday that the Chinese have the highest rate of savings (40–50%) of any society. They send money home to support their family in rural areas. Those rural people who come to the city and can’t find jobs either go home or stay on and steal and often starve to death and die. This is the reason that many houses of one and two stories now have bars on their windows which was unheard of in the past.

Beijing is a city of 14 million people and I simply can’t fathom the change that has come about in the 30 years since I first visited. The complexities of running this country are indeed mind boggling! We learned that a new apartment runs about $1500 for a 100 square feet. You then have to buy everything else that goes in for maybe another $10,000. So I think a new 2-bedroom apartment with living room, kitchen and bathroom runs something between $200-300,000. Henry has one along with his one child—a boy who is 8. If you live in the countryside and you have a girl first you may try for a second child. If you are a minority you may have a second child. Otherwise you are fined for more. Rich people don’t mind and will have two but two is the limit. If you have twins you are allowed to keep them and the government will subsidize you. Parents save and help their children afford new housing. The old won’t borrow but the young will. Interest rates are high but I don’t know how high that is.

So back to the hotel around four or later. I was quite cold and knee hurting so a vicodin, a hot shower, and elevating the leg helped a lot. Tonight we had been given a voucher for approximately $80 each for dinner in one of the restaurants in the hotel. We chose the Japanese one and had a marvelous time. A saki martini, a bottle of cabernet, a fixed price for each of us and Phil went vegetarian. Course after course and we added less than $1 of our own. The waiters and waitresses were all rushing around like crazy. Turned out our group gave them so much business they had to hire many extra people for the evening. Dressed in obis they looked grand but a little crazed! We went down to the lobby for a bit to enjoy the music. From breakfast we had the first morning at 6:30 am until who knows how late at night there is always lovely music being played on the piano in the lobby. We heard a violinist with piano, single piano, and last night a group of musicians on Asian instruments with a vocalist. All local talent formally dressed. By the way our chandeliers in the lobby are similar to those at the Dorothy Chandler. A surprise stop in the gift shop yielded the type of presents I wanted for many friends so that’s done. I believe we need to buy another duffel to be able to leave excess weight in the Honk Kong airport when we go to Hanoi but Phil doesn’t think so....we’ll see.

Perhaps you can tell my fascination with China has only increased since 1979. Tomorrow we started going through security at 8:15 am to meet and hear lectures introducing President Bush I as well as his first lecture. Tomorrow night is the fanciest dinner at an embassy or someplace. So ends my most remarkable day. It’s close to midnight and Phil is snoring and I hope to wake up early tomorrow for the last day using this wonderful pool! Love and hugs to all. Peter you must come here!

March 7, Beijing to Hong Kong

I believe I used superlatives for yesterday. Well today topped them all. Got only 4 hours sleep. Have to get off this prednisone soon so I can relax! Started reading Friedman’s “The World is Flat” about 5:15 am. Phil and Peter read it years ago but this is the perfect time for me as it really applies to this trip in so many ways and I am finding it fascinating. Perhaps I’ll make this century yet in understanding! Arrived at the pool before 6 am and had a lane all to myself for an hour. How delightful. About 6:30 am I looked up through the pool window and there walking in were Barbara and Herbert Walker Bush surrounded by security. He limped along out of view but she rode the recumbent bike just through the window! I have to admit this was a real thrill to see my first President and first lady so very close! Had a good work out, washed my hair, and ended with oxygen for 5 minutes. I will miss this place and haven’t even taken a picture of my favorite haunt. Up to the room about 7:10 am and Phil was up and working.

Breakfast is always buffet and a really sumptuous affair with western and eastern breakfast. I did both and stayed down and went through security for the first time to get into the lecture. First up was a talk by the US Chinese Ambassador Randt. He was very informative. Our Chinese embassy is the third largest we have. So much has happened today that I don’t remember the details but Phil has it down on the computer. The next speaker was President Bush. We rise when he comes into or leaves the room. I’m a bit slow at this but finally managed. He was a very charming man. At the beginning he explained he was limping because he is just recovering from a tough back surgery. Don’t pity him and he doesn’t want t hear about our surgeries on the ship either! He hopes to do one more sky dive on his 85th birthday (when is that going to be Barbara?) Those that help him do that insist he do it in tandem. He didn’t want to but they told him it was very windy at the time of his last dive. Turned out they were telling him the truth and he did appreciate not twisting in the wind by himself!

It sounds like we will have 3 lectures from him. Today he concentrated on the time he was here from 1974 on. He and Barbara studied Chinese 5 days a week and he gave his farewell talk in Chinese! He is soon to publish a book including his diaries kept at that time and he read many passages from his diary. He appears to be a thoughtful person and one who really cares about relationships and he kept trying to meet the Chinese leaders and eventually became successful in doing this. Barbara and he have been back to China 18 times since then and he loves it. He was personable and full of anecdotes and the time flew by. He looks forward to meeting our group more intimately on the ship. He will be with us through Shanghai so there will be many opportunities to see him. He turned over the technical questions to be answered by our Ambassador and answered easier ones himself. He no longer keeps up with all the details but enjoys maintaining his contacts with the Chinese leaders and hopes to spend some time with them later today.

The Congress is meeting now for two weeks and so traffic is intense. I read part of a local paper today and will bring it home as a souvenir. I believe I learned yesterday that the Chinese press gets most of their info from the NY Times and the Washington Post though they do have some correspondents assigned to the White House. There were articles about women, AIDS, etc. I’m fading fast but I’ll try to keep moving as it’s been a long day and breakfast tomorrow is at 5:30am.

Today is packing day with bags out at midnight so I worked on mine some before lunch. We are a group of about 235 so there is always someone new and interesting to eat with. Lunch was buffet with absolutely delicious and plentiful choices. After lunch Phil wheeled me to the Silk and Pearl Market place about a 10 minute walk away. What an adventure that turned out to be. Traffic is crazy and pedestrians are not favored so we really had to be carefully about getting across the street without being hit! I don’t think I’ve mentioned how very clean China is. You are fined if you spit or litter. They do have extra people on the street with arm bands picking up any litter. We fulfilled our (my) dreams there and bought a flat duffel for heavy jackets, etc., so that we don’t have to hand-carry them to Hanoi. Bought some lovely things for friends. Phil got a bathing suit and a converter, so home to rest a bit before our very glamorous dinner. It was a stretch tonight to make our two duffels shut so the extra one will help us when we leave the ship.

A Federal Judge retired from SF had asked if she and her husband could eat with us tonight so we agreed to meet them at Gucci’s on the way to the bus. As we entered the lobby a Chinese lady rushed us to us to tell us a special car had been obtained for us to arrive more comfortably. We declined because of meeting Joan and husband. Turns out they had the time wrong and never showed up and luckily talked their way in by taking a taxi late. As it would turn out- I had a most thrilling adventure on the bus! Phil and I had separate seats so we each enjoyed a window for the 45 minutes ride to dinner. A gentleman walked by escaping the air conditioner in the front. I saw his name and it was Sidney Rittenberg, the author of the book “The Man That Stayed Behind.” I told him how thrilled I was to have read his book and he sat down beside me and we chatted for 30 minutes. Briefly he was a communist in our south before WW2 trying to help people. He was drafted and talked them into studying Chinese for a year at Stanford and then being sent to China. He never left and met Mao and all the Chinese leaders and often was in the thick of it and often was imprisoned in solitary (total of 15 years). It reads like a novel but it’s his life story. As we drove along I told him of my experiences and how we met with teachers in 1979 and started a writing exchange between Marengo and a school in Guiling. He was telling me what we were passing outside-Mao’s house, the parliament I got married behind there. There’s where you could get baked Alaska etc. My picture used to hang in that building. He now lives near Seattle on Fox Island with a bridge. Later I met his Chinese wife Yulin and I really look forward to other conversations with them.

So dinner was at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse where Nixon was entertained as well as all heads of state. So how elegant can you get? Cocktails first and I was drinking one in my wheelchair when Phil decided to walk around a bit. No sooner had he left me than the President walked by and shook my hand, “How are you Jo?” “Are you drinking my drink?” See you again on the ship and off he walked. So Phil with his camera missed all that. How do you have a day to top this one??

Dinner was an elegant affair with many courses and entertainment by most charming four year old children playing accordions and singing. A day to remember forever. Too tired to even reread but love to all.

March 8, en route to Shanghai

We’re having trouble getting the message out to the group so we will have to reconstitute our group under earthlink and word. A few shallow recollections of Beijing are in order. First the concept of service and the great difference between 1979 and now. In 1979 when we visited the Friendship Stores the ladies behind the counter just visited and really didn’t care about serving us. Now service has been highly refined-at least in our wonderful hotel. They had lots of extra people waiting to greet us in and out of the elevator and along the way in case we needed directions. Always a smile and a hello! My ultimate in service happened one morning on the way to breakfast. For some reason as I stepped down from the escalator one earring fell out and the black stone fell apart from the earring. A young man rushed up and told me not to worry he would fix it and find me at breakfast. No more that 8 minutes later I had the earring back in my ear. I was always helped on the off the escalator and in the spa and the pool. In my case it gave me lots of confidence that if I couldn’t do something, I would be helped!

In 1979 we saw no animals in the country. Now we learned that if you live in Beijing a certain size animal is dictated and you pay maybe several hundred dollars the first year to own it. Because most live in high rises, animals aren’t encouraged but the wealthy or those who can afford them are welcome to have them. I must have seen at least 6 dogs and Phil said he saw one cat.

I also wanted to mention something that Sidney Rittenberg told me on the bus. He said the one thing that the current Bush has done right is to maintain a good relationship with China! He thought it probably had to do with his roommate in college-Sandy? Hopefully we can continue to cooperate and work well together with China or we will be left in the dust (my words)! It is perhaps the most important relationship we have. The one time I was pushed along the street the people were all friendly and smiled welcoming us. The same couple stopped Phil the day before wanting to chat. They tell us they are practicing for the Olympics. Everything is neat as a pin. There is a fine for spitting or littering. A few extra people wearing arm bands are there to pick up any trash. I believe this is typically Chinese and very admirable. I could use a bit more of this!

Traffic is something else again. The pedestrian has no right of way like at home. We had to be very careful watching for cars as we crossed the street. Pedestrians, motorbikes, bicycles all weave in and out with the cars like a huge chicken match!! Really gutsy and there is tons of traffic.

What a wonderful time I have had here from being entertained so thoughtfully by Jia-Bin and Anita and all the fascinating tours we’ve joined each day. A truly amazing city so vibrant and pulsing. The Ambassador told us he wanted to go skiing on his break but his teenage children just wanted to stay in Beijing. There are endless projects to finish before August 8 but I know it will get done one stone at a time!

Today was a travel day with breakfast starting at 5:30am and on to our own chartered plane. China Airlines welcomed the President and us and we had a marvelous lunch as we flew to Hong Kong. Bushes and our important leaders were in first class. We sat in the next section fairly near the secret service folks. At one time Barbara Bush walked down the other aisle greeting her friends!

We had a tour of Victoria Peak and Recluse Bay before boarding the ship about 4 hours after arrival. Security probably needed that long to secure the ship and have our luggage waiting in our rooms.

One thing I forgot to mention was that we had outstanding weather in Beijing. One or two days were a bit grey but most days were sunny with bright blue skies. According the Bill Perry , this was a rarity. It wasn’t freezing either as it was when Wendy was here. Our warm coats were very welcome. In Hong Kong it was disappointingly overcast or what I would call smoggy or hazy. Too bad because the views are spectacular. I felt asleep on the bus on the way to Recluse Bay. It was warm and relaxing. We boarded the ship close to 5pm.

All very efficient as our passports were taken, room keys given and security pictures taken. We went through security to board but it was modest. We couldn’t believe our room or rather suite! A living room with desk and couch perhaps 15 by 10 ft. A deck outside the room that is one that anyone could walk on but I can move my wheelchair out there. I watched as we left the harbor. The living room can be curtained off so later I read while Phil was sleeping. Next is a bedroom with vanity and another curtain possibility. Closer to the front door is a walk-in closet with too few drawers but lots of hanging space. The bathroom is handicapped with bars everywhere including a seat where I could sit down while showering. I did just that and washed my hair and felt really refreshed before dinner. I forgot to mention there was a bucket with a bottle of champagne with beautiful orchid waiting for us in living room. We declined as we had already had champagne and a lovely snack before we were escorted to our room.

We had the mandatory lifeboat drill and a safety lecture in the theater which is where our lectures will be held. We will have in excess of 40 lectures on this trip!

Dinner was a delightful and delicious affair at a table of 8. One couple has a daughter applying to Yale. Brennan take note! Her mother went to Yale and loved it before she went to Stanford Law. That couple lives in Miami. A very good discussion sometimes on politics-we all varied and the trip so far. Finished about 10:15 and I heard music so we followed the sound and into a very large bar we went. A pianist, drummer, sax and electric guitar were providing the music and we had a drink and even danced a bit. I stayed on my pins better than a year ago but it was modest. How sad it is not to be able to dance. And so to bed. Another wonderful day in this privileged environment. How lucky am I. How blessed am I!!

March 9, en route to Shanghai

Today will be my first day without taking prednisone in about 12 days and it will be interesting to see how long it takes me to get relaxed and normal. I guess it’s been good to be hyper to get more things done but the bags under the eyes increase day by day with only 4–5 hours of sleep.

Up at 5:30am and found the fitness room by 6:00am. Only one other man leaving. Not like the crowded one at the hotel. I was most pleased to find one recumbent bike and pedaled for almost 20 minutes. Next I set out to find the spa to see if I could manage it on my own. Happy to say I could and did do some more leg exercises in this warm environment. I push my wheelchair as I go and I balance well and will get lots of walking in this way. Phil was up when I returned and we had breakfast overlooking the sea. A waiter filled and carried my plate for me as I directed what to have.

Today we have four lectures. We took the computer up for help and managed to send the last message to Peter only and when we have time will have to reform the group. Meanwhile I will write in Word and send as an attachment when we can. This is a saving as every minute on the computer we pay for!

President Bush was our first speaker this morning introduced by Don Kendall Sr., former CEO of Pepsi Cola. They are old-time friends. He told us the Bushes are masters of developing and maintaining personal relationships. They really talk to people and get to know them. No President has been better than Bush in his international personal relationships.

I must say it was like having an intimate chat with a President. Perhaps how it would have been listening to FDR and his fireside chats. It was an emotional time. I’m impressed with the sincerity and thoughtfulness of Bush 1. Keeping your word is extremely important to him. Again he was reading from his diaries as well as speaking about his experiences as President. Tiananmen Square was extremely difficult for him as he declared sanctions. He had had a very personal relationship with Deng and he didn’t want to lose that. Instead he wrote Deng Xiao Peng a personal letter which he read to us. He managed to keep the door open when Congress wanted to shut it. Deng replied to him within 24 hours. He was able to set up a second level talk. Phil is doing the content of what we are hearing and I’m doing impressions.

Bush tells us he has a good relationship with Bill Clinton but not Hilary. Barbara chimed in from the audience that Bill talks endlessly. Bush tells us he’s an old man with not a lot to say and he can afford to listen to Bill.

Bush worked hard to restore the relationships with the Chinese government and left the embassy in 1975. As Vice-President he was sent back to restore the relationship. Bush doesn’t fear history’s verdict. There is nothing more important for the peace and prosperity in the world than to maintain a good relationship between China and the US. China has come a long way but has a long way to go in the human rights area. When he opened up to questions he commented I won’t answer it if I don’t like it!

He chided Hilary for using her woman’s rights speech here as important to her foreign relationship resume. He said it was not well received. There are 3 T’s the government won’t talk about here. One is Taiwan and a second is Tibet and the third is Tiananmen. Bush seems relaxed and genuine. He got up the steps to speak using a cane which you can tell he doesn’t like to use. He threw it down on the stage saying I don’t know what to do with that thing!

The second lecture of the day was William Perry speaking on “A Rising China-Friend or Foe?” I always look forward to his lectures as they are multi-media. He often interweaves music and poetry in with his topic. He considers our relationship to China as our most important one. It’s important that we get it right! We had a good relationship in ‘78 to ‘89. When Clinton was elected he did nothing with China his first year. By his second year he realized it’s importance but the relationship was never as good as before.

Perry has stayed in touch with China and has been a part or has led track two government talks each year with China. He played us excerpts from one meeting. We have carefully maintained a strategy of ambiguity with China towards Taiwan. US would defend Taiwan if they were attacked by China. If Taiwan is the aggressor the US would not come to the aid of Taiwan. Perry believes Taiwan should become like Hong Kong- one nation but two systems. He encourages cultural opportunities between the two.

Our third lecture of the day was by Anping Chin on “Confucius: The Man and his Teaching.” I had read her book before we came and confess I didn’t really understand what Confucius was all about after finishing! I learned I was not alone in talking with others over meals. She was born in Taiwan and emigrated to the US in the 1960’s. She is a leading historian and expert on Confucianism, Taoism, and the Chinese intellectual tradition (so says our program) She is currently teaching history at Yale.

Probably the Cultural Revolution was the hardest time on Confucianism. The Red Guards smashed his temple and dug up his body. Now Confucianism is being revived. Young children are once again encouraged to read the historical and traditional. She read some of the sayings of Confucius to us. His sayings are all bits of fragments about him and it is difficult to piece them together. His father died when he was 3 and his mother when he was a teenager. He lived from 551BC-479BC dying when he was 72. His father was 40 years older than his mother and it may have been an illicit relationship. He divorced his wife and had a daughter and a son but was not close to his family.

One saying he has was “Do not travel to foreign places while your parents are alive.” We blew that one! The parent child relationship is the most difficult. He was toughest on moral discretion. The parent/child relationship founded on love and affection. It is the source of our humanity. If a child remembers what he learns at home, he will cope better in the wide world.

Confucius was never a success but he never gave up trying. We know very little of what he thought of women. He thought they were petty yet he gave the most important relationships to the mother. She is responsible for the climate and is the manager of everything!

Confucius had very few followers until he was over 65. At that time he finished his self-exile. She was asked if Socrates knew Confucius. Probably not but both were interested in possessing knowledge. Socrates would want to beat the other person but Confucius would want the other person to understand. She was a passionate lecturer.

Our fourth lecture of the day was by Anping’s husband, the noted historian Jonathan Spence. Phil had read part of his very long book on China. He also teaches history at Yale. He teaches Chinese history from about 1600 to the present. His lecture was “China: the Years of Expansion, 1630–1800.$rdquo; We think of China often as timeless and fixed in space when in fact it is constantly in motion. He lectured using a huge map illustrating the movement. He spoke about the Ming and Qing dynasties. (I’m getting so far behind that I’ll skip my notes of this.) The bottom line was that we credit communism with much of what is happening today when in fact the same issues and questions have been going on for thousands of years.

Tonight was the Captain’s dinner though there was no evidence of the captain! All 8 from our table lived in California and we had a wonderful evening of conversation. The man to my left had taught at South Pasadena High one year in 1965 and then gone on to become a diplomat many years later with service in Haiti, Turkey, Vienna and Rome where he was processing the Jews coming out of Russia in 1989-1990. He speaks 6 languages. His wife is a from Rumania and is also a diplomat. We were the liberals at the table and often abused in good fun! Two gentlemen at the table both had grandson’s recently entertained by Warren Buffet. The coincidences tying us all together always seems to be stronger on these World Leaders Trips than any others I’ve attended.

Earlier in the trip one of the passengers is in the law firm headed by Stephen Neal. I told him I was Stephen Neal’s first grade teacher and he was an imp and my favorite student. That has already been e-mailed to Stephen with a warm greeting back to me. Many of the people we are sitting with have been appointed to do something by President Bush! And Peter somehow it doesn’t seem appropriate to ask the president a digging or tough question. Sorry!

We attended an operatic evening in the theater with a young woman who often sings for the Royal family in England. And so to bed after a very long day that I thought was two days. Another “pinch me am I really here day!”

March 10, en route to Shanghai

I slept much better last night and slept in until 7:20. How nice to feel a bit more relaxed. Our bed is quite squishy — maybe one of those pillow top mattresses that Vladimir described to me. I feel like I’m climbing out of a hole every time I turn over. I’m not really complaining, however. Though I described our room upon arrival, I must say it is really amazing to have a room where you can’t reach out and touch all walls! Now we have several. What luxury! The ship is very comfortable and elegant. Food is amazing and more than ample. I’m helped usually by someone carrying my plate as I go through the line. The staff seems to be from all over the world not as soon many ships that seem to concentrate on employees from one country. Everyone is intensely polite and thoughtful.

This morning we had our final address by President Bush. He was introduced by Prof. Roger Porter who was in the White House for 11 years as Assistant Economic and Business Adviser. Only FDR and Bush 1 have been there longer! He tried to give us a measure of the man. When his daughter Rachel was born she received a handwritten letter from President Bush welcoming her to the world and describing the world he hoped she would live in. Certainly thoughtful and beyond the call of duty. His second story was that he was overdressed when he arrived at Kennebunkport for an important weekend meeting with Bush and his advisors. Instead of embarrassing him, the President walked over to him and guided him by the shoulder to his room and closet where he picked out a few more appropriate clothes for him to be more comfortable in. He has seen Bush demonstrate this kind of thoughtfulness over and over again. He is of the man of character and courage. He told us there is no more powerful job than being President of the US and he has liked to watch how President’s use this power. Barbara Bush is sitting in the wings and needlepointing throughout the various lectures.

I wrap it up today and you can move on to speakers who know more than I do, began the President. You can go on living the good life. Barbara and I get off in Shanghai and christen a container ship tomorrow. We will fly on to Korea where we meet the new President and then on back to Texas.

This morning I will speak about China and then some on personal diplomacy. I tried to learn lessons well from my mother. She told me to listen well and not brag. Mother called me on the phone after Reagan’s first State of the Union Address while I was still in the hall. She said while Reagan was talking to the country you were talking to Tip O’Neill. You ought to have been smiling more. Mother they were talking about nuclear annihilation and I shouldn’t have been smiling at all! He also said his father led him by quiet example. This was a crowd pleaser. I like his self-deprecating humor. He seems to be the master of one liners!

Next he spoke about the Berlin wall coming down and that he had a good relationship with Helmut Kohl and Gorbachev. Sometimes it’s better to be prudent and wait a bit allowing the other side to admit loss gracefully. He did an imitation of Saturday Night Live which also brought laughs. Gorbachev told him later that by his not over reacting to the wall coming down allowed him the space he needed.

It’s hard to imagine that I came to Asia 65 years ago as a combat officer. You have to be careful telling war stories. I was quite convinced my unit won the war but then you meet these other old fellows (some on this ship) who think they won the war too!

Things have changed dramatically over time since 1974 and 75 and the end of the Cultural Revolution. It’s hard to find anyone that believes in it anymore. It was a terrible trip for China. Then Beijing was dusty and dark. Barbara and I used to ride on our bicycles all around town and in the hutongs. All were wearing Mao jackets and their body language was guarded. Deng came into power and was able to unleash the Chinese spirit once again and started the one country two systems. This dark and unhappy time was such a contrast to what we see today. Now we are swept up in the energy and diversity and flexibility that is now China. He’s confident that China will keep moving forward with vibrancy. He believes Deng would be both delighted and amazed by this rapidly changing China.

He spoke on a bit of stream of consciousness — he hopes we will be able to engage China constructively in the future. The universities are doing well. We really have to get this part of the world right.

Thanks for this opportunity to lecture! I don’t get to do this at home. It’s been cathartic! He thanked the Kendall’s for being a part of this grand gathering. This was followed by group pictures. Guess who was sitting right next to the Bush’s (moi) and on the other side sat Sidney and Yulin Rittenberg. Pretty amazing! I had a chance to thank the President for reminiscing with us.

We have to do something about our trade imbalances. There are far more human rights now than there were but there is a long way yet to go. He hopes some groups protesting this at the Olympics don’t try to take over the games. The games should be kept out of politics. Barbara and he have been back to China 19 times since he left office. They are coming back again for the Olympics.

One of the challenges facing China is the massive internal migration to the cities to look for work. It presents both challenges and opportunities. In 30 years China has increased the size of the US! The life expectancy has risen from 62 to 72 years of age. There are fifteen fold more students. Cell phone usage has gone from 2 million to 350 million. The GDP has increased by 50. The trade volume has increased by more than 300%. And so ended our time with the President. But not quite. When I had left our lunch table to get dessert, the President went by and shook Phil’s hand on his way to his own table. So literally we’ve both been touched by this President. My only President at close range and maybe the third President for Phil that he has seen. It does come with an emotional impact!

The next lecture was by Roger Porter “Looking Back and Looking Forward: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going.” He loves the world of public policy. He spoke from the vantage point of 50 years. Most students don’t hear this. He spoke about the end of the Cold War, the spread of democracy, and who was in power in the US in those fifty years and the shifting priorities. The Republicans were in power 30 years and the Democrats 20 years. The Senate was dominated by R for 16 and a half years while the D dominated for 33 and a half years. In the House it was 76% D and 24% R. It was an unprecedented time of shared economic prosperity. There was a shift in government spending from discretionary to mandatory. Porter was a thoughtful lecturer and easy to follow.

After lunch at 3 pm we heard Jonathan Spence: “Shanghai: Years of Growth and Change.” Countries are like living organisms always changing. Spoke about Shanghai between 1840 and 1940. Shanghai is the world’s greatest exercise in rebuilding. One-third of the world’s cranes are active in Shanghai. Shanghai has been the symbol of change and revolution. It’s often been a prosperous town with a good location. Shanghai has taken a beating. Mao never liked it. Deng helped bring it back. I remember learning in 1979 that it was the most Europeanized city in China.

Our last lecture of the day was by Sidney Rittenberg: “The Man Who Stayed Behind.” He is a soft spoken humble man. He’s here because he is a friend of Jason’s mother. Jason is on the High Country Passage staff. His mom and the Rittenberg’s are neighbors in the Seattle area. He was the only American to join the Chinese Communist Party.

We have learned wonderful insights about China and US relationships on this trip. He has been greatly impressed. Now, he feels, the tide has gone away from China being viewed as a friendly country. He feels this is sad. Our general public doesn’t know much about China. This is also reflected in Congress. He agrees with Bush that the Olympics should be kept non-political. Did we know that 44,000 outside journalists will be attending the Olympics! He thought Spielberg was wrong to withdraw his support. By doing so he hurt every single Chinese person. We all need to go home and write and talk to people about what we learned here conveying our insights about how important this relationship is.

US tends to block out reason when it comes to communist countries. We can’t see their leaders simply as leaders but we see them as communist leaders. He has spent his life trying to build bridges between the two countries. It has been the passion of his life. He spoke of his missed opportunity to meet with Mao. He believes human happiness is found in service. He’s now working on a book about anecdotes of his in China. He believes it is still true that you can’t speak freely in the party.

Mao didn’t have any personal friends like the other Chinese leaders. Before he got to Beijing he was the best listener he had every observed. When talking to him you felt his full concentration on you. When he got into power in Beijing he was an entirely new person. He never totally trusted Mao and felt that Mao didn’t like him. The rest he spoke about his prison experiences and life experiences here.

After dinner I was really fighting sleep but made it to the 10:15 pm concert. A charming violinist originally from Chicago who grew up in Australia. Played a lot of gypsy music as well as his own compositions My body adapting more today. Made it through lunch without the need to drink and made it through the afternoon without a pain pill. I took the tension out with a hot shower but still couldn’t really rest.

March 11, Shanghai

I was asleep when we landed in Shanghai though Phil said he heard the anchor go down. We had to be checked by immigration between 7:30 -8:30 am. We had a quick breakfast first and then stood in the line which moved very fast. Had breakfast with a father-daughter combo (the McFaddens) that Phil had already met but I had not. The daughter had both attended school here and taught here and was trying to figure out if they could jump ship and go to the city where she taught tomorrow. She was very interesting and I would like to talk with her again. She was able to travel a lot while here by hitch hiking, train and bus. Sort of a free spirit that was glad we were liberals. Said she hadn’t found many! Amy sort of reminded me of Sandy.

We had a panel discussion at 9 am on “Doing Business in China featuring Chinese CEO’s. Henry Chen from Goldman Sachs; WT Tan from Intel China; David Wang from Boeing China; and Annie Scrivener-Young from PepsiCo China. They offered insights and perspectives on what it was like to do business in China. Phil said he had a difficult time taking notes.

A few interesting tidbits. Many farmers from the countryside can now afford to fly and travel around China. Boeing has a higher safety record than the US. China is 0.03, US is 0.05 and Europe is 0.07. Intel has been in China for 23 years and has 7,000 employees. They have trained one million teachers in technology and have become the China educational standard. They are working on their second million now. Talk about staff development. Hard to begin to reach that many at home! Pepsi Co has diversified into other products and are now the largest potato farmers in China. They have a line of potatoes chips with unusual flavors- cool for summer such as cucumber and warm for winter such as mango. They are coming out with a new flavor for the Olympics-Peking Duck! The talent pool is relatively low and all companies have to recruit carefully and train well and hope to keep their employees.

China is engaged in a lot more change than we might imagine. They will try new and fresh approaches rather than the traditional way. You have to be successful. China loves winners and your business agenda has to match that of China’s. One question was if we have college age children or grandchildren who are interested in business in China how should they prepare? One answer was to study Mandarin but others thought it was even more important to be culturally sensitive about China and its ways. A very interesting hour and a half.

We tried lunch in the dining room and had a relaxed and quiet lunch for six including Tom and Joan who we are scheduled to have dinner with. Off to our tours. Ours was “the people” tour and it turned out to be phenomenal!!

We had about a 40-minute drive and went back by the bund and the Peace Hotel where Steve and I stayed in 1986. I’ve thought a lot about my dear son and the good times we had together here. May he rest in peace! First stop was the community center of the first retirement complex in Shanghai started in 1951. Now there are many centers but this was the very first! In this area live 95,000 with 24,000 retired. There are about 400 living in 3 retirement homes where they need full time care. We had a lovely welcome at the center. A vigorous woman described the complex to us. We also were able to buy things at this center made by the seniors. The oldest senior is 102 and the youngest 71! We bought a scroll with two simple fish-one black and one red. It turns out the lady describing the place was also the artist. She told us the red fish symbolized longevity and the black fish stood for prosperity for us and all our children every year! That sounds quite good! I also bought a beautiful small embroidered picture of children playing in the fields.

We then drove to one living complex where we divided up into five groups to visit apartments. We had bought a present of a book to give to this family about South Pasadena. Unfortunately we left it in the room but may be able to send it tomorrow with the tour.

We were assigned to the Wang family. They had a very nice apartment bought by their son on the 23rd floor. The floors were highly polished and we had to put on covers for our shoes. We chatted in the living room and asked lots of questions Five live here including the Wings and their son and wife and 12 year old grandson. They seemed to have all the creature comforts with television, computer etc. We passed a dining room table as we came in from the entry hall. They made no effort to show us around. I took a fast picture of a small kitchen. Have no idea how many bedrooms they had. She was a kindergarten teacher and he worked for the government, perhaps as an accountant. They were able to travel in the country and were planning a trip out of the country soon.

Next stop was a wonderful school where there were nine classes from 2 year olds through 5 year olds. The kindergarten children met us at the front gate and escorted us in. One rather stout boy insisted on trying to wheel my wheelchair. The children performed for us first singing and then two boys took turns playing the piano. They were quite accomplished for their ages. Next they invited us to dance with them. I got some cute pictures of Phil. The teacher gave us a delightful little book that featured pictures of children and their drawings probably from an earlier class. The children accompanied us to the gate to say goodbye. Phil was getting ready to take a picture when all of a sudden the two boys pushing me put on a burst of steam and I was about to careen into the street so that had to be stopped!

The final stop on the tour was a fruit, vegetable and fish market with lots of indoor stalls. Some of the guides wheeled me so Phil could be independent and take his own pictures. It was a terrific ending to a wonderful tour. We got home after five o’clock in the afternoon. Phil walked while I took a pain pill and crawled into bed to get my legs up.

We put our bottle of champagne on ice and invited Joan Brennan ( a retired Federal Judge) from Palo Alto and her husband Tom Passel to share it with us. We made reservations in the Italian Restaurant where we usually have breakfast and lunch. It was lovely by candlelight and we had a wonderful visit with them. They were on the last trip with us and we both enjoyed each other’s company. This restaurant features Italian food each night from different parts of the country. On the menu are chef’s suggestions and complimentary wines. Turns out she found Russian Jewish relatives that had settled in South Africa in Cape Town. He isn’t Jewish. Between them with previous marriages they have 11 children and I forget how many grands. A wonderful time together.

There was a wonderful program at 10 p.m. by local children entertainers. There were acrobats and one bicyclist who did amazing feats in contortions and spinning plates. They didn’t look very old either. They had amazing flexibility! Most amazing!

I have filled up the first 2 gigabytes chip with 738 pictures so started my second chip. The entertainment was terrific. Phil sat up higher while I sat in the front row. I simply couldn’t believe when he told me he didn’t have his camera with him. The program went on for an hour and the room was only 2-3 minutes away. I shot up pictures like a storm. Undressing in our walk in closet, I lost track of my camera. It’s hard for us old folk to keep up with these very busy days! And so to bed at almost one o’clock. Another wonderful day!

March 12, Shanghai

Today is our last day in China. I awoke early again at 5 am and got caught up in my diary. That’s a good feeling. I feel that I don’t have much of a feel for Shanghai yet. After the build up about it in the “China Inc.” book that it rivaled Manhattan, I guess I haven’t seen that part yet. Hopefully by the end of today I’ll feel better. Thanks to talking with Joan last night we switched our tour to the Shanghai Museum away from the TV tower and the fast train ride.

We weren’t disappointed. We spent the morning at this lovely museum. First we were addressed in a formal room. Two bus loads of us were in attendance. For the first hour we used head sets tuned into the main guide. We were looking at the fabulous bronze collections. Most of them were dating back to 11th to 13th century BC! Amazing detail and very well preserved. It was a very large collection. Some were from later periods but not necessarily improvements over the earlier ones.

From there we took the escalator to the top floor (4) and worked our way down seeing furniture, calligraphy, painting and ceramic galleries. Just finished in time to leave for lunch at noon. The museum is free to all and it was a pleasure to see it so well used by the Chinese people. We also saw several young students working with clipboards on their assignments for school. What a wonderful morning.

We lunched at the China Central Hotel and it was delicious and extremely plentiful. There was a lazy susan in the middle and dishes were added and added and added! Yum! We decided we would neither go back to the museum or to the ship and our leader told us how much money to get to go to the TV Tower as well as a cab drive that would drive us around the taller new buildings before going back to the ship. This worked out well except he was way off on the price of admission to the TV tower so we didn’t have enough money cashed into yuan. It all worked out well because waiting on a bus near where the cab pulled up to the gangway was another Chinese guide that could encourage him to let us pay in dollars and get yuan in change.

I’m really glad we went up the TV tower for the panoramic view. Other than the fact the day was very smoggy the view was spectacular. Our bus driver had given us the fact that in 1978 there were 120 buildings taller than 15 stories in Shanghai. In 2007 there were in excess of 6,800 buildings this high or higher. I think we could see them all as we walked the full circle. We found our driver waiting for us and then drove around a bit before taking the tunnel road back to the other side and home to the ship. Now I have the feeling I had hoped for.

Back on the ship I decided it was time to get some exercise in the pool. I hadn’t been on that open deck since arriving in Shanghai. Guess what I saw from the other side of the ship — the Manhattan view clear as anything. Had I but known that morning when it was blue skied I could have gotten the spectacular view not the murky one. We really seemed to have brought the sunshine with us wherever we have gone.

The pool was terrific and heated much to my surprise and great pleasure. I did laps and exercises for 45 minutes and had no trouble getting out of the pool because I had been able to stash a towel by the pools edge. It was soaked by the time I got out but it did the trick. Had a sit in the hot tub which was ambrosia. Of course all this healthful activity was followed by a gin and tonic watching the skyscrapers as I drank. A bit of heaven on the 8th deck. I went down and got my camera and took a few shots before starting the diary for the day. We sailed about 5:30 or 6 pm.

What a lovely stay we had in China. I would have liked more excursions here but I was most happy with our amended choices. Glad to hear that couples are almost as pleased with daughters now as sons. These children are loved and pampered and develop what is called the “the little Emperor” complex. After being king or queen for the first five years, kindergarten is a rude awakening. They have to be taught sharing and socialization but then that is not so very different from any child at that age. How I do love China and will always be interested in knowing more and reading more about it.

The evening was capped off with a concert by an excellent Russian pianist. She was tall and dressed in a beautiful gown and played romantic numbers. Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Schubert. She had great facility and will give us another concert in two days, Her name was Katya Grineva and she has a CD that we wish to get. We will hear her play again in two days. Another great day. It’s midnight now as we set our watches ahead one hour.

March 13, at sea

I’m sleeping normally now and feel normal and healthy in every way. How nice that is! Today we are at sea so it is a four lecture day and not much time in between. I saw Petra as we left for breakfast and asked her if I could get rid of this soft mattress for a firmer one. She said yes so I am looking forward to sleeping tonight on a firmer foundation.

Dr. Perry “North Korea’s Bombs and South Korea’s Alliance: Why do they matter to the US?” Technically we are still at war with North Korea and it is a nuclear power. He will focus on the events that he personally has participated in since 1950. He graduated from college in ’50 and waited for his reserve unit to be called up but it never was. He first came to Korea to talk about using our nuclear weapons and Atlee from England came to protest our possible using of them against Korea. We have employed both diplomacy and threats with Korea.

Perry recently attended the NY Philharmonic’s program in North Korea. He was the senior US member there and it was an honor and enjoyment for him. It was a very emotional time and there was not a dry eye in the audience at the end. Perhaps this type of diplomacy will serve us better. Too bad Bush 2 had cut off contact with North Korea until after they exploded nuclear weapon. It was a good sign that both governments agreed to the concert. Both the Star Spangled Banner and the Korean National Anthem were played. It was personal diplomacy at it’s best! He now feels some optimism for the first time in 7 years.

North Korea is more of a basket case than East Germany was. South Korea will face their rescue slowly. North Korea maintains it’s power with extremes. They have a brutal secret police and it is the last country to not know about the outside world. They have 2 TV stations. One extols the regime and one damns the US. He gave the personal experience of taking medical supplies to a Children’s Hospital on one of his visits. He was told that the children asked if he was coming to kill them! Lessons he’s learned: Talking is better than not talking; Personal diplomacy can help; and Personal threats can help keep a creditable force. They want our recognition and respect. We need to sign a peace agreement and open relations with them. They are very fearful of us and want a guarantee that we will talk to them. He was told by North Korea that if we bomb them he will find nuclear weapons going off even in Palo Alto! At least they knew where he lives! North Korea needs nuclear weapons to defend itself.

When Colin Powell said he would follow the Clinton way of dealing with North Korea the next day Bush told him to break off all relations with North Korea. Perry thought this pressure had come from Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Our second lecture was by Jim Fallows and was entitled “The Eight Biggest Questions about China: Keys to the Future’s News.” Fallows is a national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and has lived in China since 2006. He was editor of the Crimson at Harvard and a speech writer for President Carter. He’s the author of 7 books. He first visited China 20 years ago with the Esperanto Club. Tonight he will give a slide show before dinner of the China we haven’t seen.

He will speak to us about the most challenging an important questions about China from a western point of view. The first is the paradox over China being a controlled state but at the same time the local police have no rules over the people. China doesn’t like rules. The closer you get to Tiananmen square the more soldiers you see. The government controls the media and the movies. They are draconian when it comes to people forming an organization of any kind. This includes a religious organization. Tibet discussion is quashed. You also can not discuss anything about the corruption of the leading families or about water space or airspace. All else is not controlled by the government. Chinese communism isn’t at all like Russian communism or Cuban communism. Most people can do what they want to do. The question remains is it a strong or weak government?

The second point was to not politicize their political made novelty of economic impact. It is peculiar because so far the impact on the US is more benign than you would imagine. Millions of Chinese have been raised out of poverty and money is coming back to the US. We saw the vibrant parts of China but China is still desperately poor. We get 50% of their national export. It’s now more on its own and US can’t figure it out.

The third point was the strange combination of deftness and clumsiness that is seen here. So far China has stopped just short of these limits and has barely contained the disruptive and explosive parts. There are lots of rich and lots of poor in China. China in not a philanthropic country so the rich don’t help the poor. Clumsiness comes in explaining itself to the outside world. One pop singer recently yelled Tibet at the end of the concert and the government made a big deal and created fear from this. We’ll see how the Olympics go. He’s afraid the government will over react to protests and compound the problem. Foreign correspondents will be given a hard time.

The economy was the next point. Whether, when and how China will take the next economic point up will be watched. Will materials work for China. Will the peasants be enriched by globalization. Will they be able to produce higher value products. This will depend on their soft components. Copyrights need protection. Trust needs to be developed. Their education system is weak because the concentration is at the university level. It’s hard to visualize great development when the press is controlled.

The fifth point was the irrelevance of a lot of US discussion about China. We asked when it will be democratized. This is less interesting to China. They are more interested in feeding their people. There is some small democratization at the village level. We have to learn that we can’t make China do anything.

The sixth point was about the nature of history in China. China is at an old level in world history but their university students have even a shorter memory than ours. They don’t want to be involved in the recent past. One hundred years have been bad. It’s only the last 20 that have shown promise. On the Chinese TV there is always one channel that is devoted to hating Japan. In China’s view we helped save them from Japan.

The seventh point dealt with the delicate nature of ethics. Philosophers are astute about the culture but personal ethical duty to the next person is not strong nationally. Every person getting in an elevator will shut the door and not wait for another to come ! The country is so crowded. At a public level there are no warmer friends than the Chinese but at a private level they care for no one not related. Now there is an ethical revival about studying Confucius. There is also a religious revival.

The eighth point was how is the United States adjusting psychologically to the rise of power in China. China will become more powerful than the US. We need to take China seriously but not become afraid of it. It is not necessary that it becomes a threat to us. The two societies have acted well towards each other and it is hoped this will continue.

He despairs of how the Olympics will be covered. People need to come here to learn. China is now like our mid-west. We need to ramp up our numbers of students coming to China to study. China does little to control their students who have studied abroad unless they want to start a museum!

There will be a slide show at 7 pm tonight.

Our first afternoon lecture was given by John Mroz on “Understanding the Growing of China in a Rapidly Changing World: What Does it Mean for the West?” John founded the East-West Institute 30 years ago and has quietly worked behind the scenes in the hot spots all over the world. He’s worked as a track 2 representative focusing on the US and Soviet Union, with Israel and Palestine etc. He will speak to us about the intention of the Chinese leaders, what bothers the Chinese leaders about the US, and about building trust between US and China.

He described to us a non-meeting as one that we attend and participate in but will later deny that we were even there! There has been remarkable friendship between the leaders of US and China. China wants to have a stable environment with a high GDP and social harmony. The leadership basically engineers who are acceptable.

They are committed to building a middle class. This should be moderately 50% of it’s people. By 2020 the hope is that it’s citizens will make $8-27,000 (roughly where the US was when Kennedy was elected). China does not like our concern with anger and fear. Most people outside the US connect us with being associated with the war on terror. Fifty percent of people in the US think globalization is not good for us. China is concerned about the staying power of our political candidates.

China is an authoritarian nation that denies its people human rights. They believe we have a lack of understanding about China and the world. Why don’t you want to cooperate with us? We don’t give them credit for what they have done in North Korea. They want to be full partners with us but worry about our unilateralism, cold war mentality, and demonization of Asia. China has asked John how they should behave during the Olympics. Their leaders do want to act differently. They put a lot of energy into security. (missed some here as I was dozing)

I had a cup of coffee in the next few minutes to stay awake during the next lecture which was Edmund Mathez speaking on “The How’s ad Why’s of Climate Change and Reasons it will Shape Policy” Mathez was a professor for many years and now works for the Museum of Natural History. He has been studying climate change for years. The climate has been warming. CO2 and temperatures have been at record highs. Sea level is rising. There has been drought and extreme weather. The ocean holds most of the heat. The ocean holds practically all of the carbon. The long term ocean is the 800 pound gorilla in the room! In 1958 there were 303 parts per million. In 2007 there is 380 parts per million.

There were lots of other facts but I’m tired of writing them up and I will defer to Phil’s notes. I always feel that I’m behind. I haven’t had time to write a single postcard or read a single book since arriving!

We had a briefing on a complicated tomorrow with going to Seoul and the DMZ with a special dress code enforced! Had a lovely dinner followed by an operatic evening. I really look forward to ending my day with such beautiful music. So good night. Another wonderful day in paradise! Will we be able to settle for less on the next trip? I think we are totally spoiled. Home all is well on the home front!

March 14, Korea

We were prepared for today by a long list of what we were not to wear to South Korea and the DMZ. Thou shall not were jeans of any kind or any sports clothes of any kind so we obeyed!

What a fascinating day. We left the ship at 8:15 am and arrived back about 6:30 p.m. and in the process added another country — North Korea!

We were in the group that toured Seoul in the morning and the DMZ in the afternoon which was the order I was hoping for. No pictures allowed as we drove by their White House which was a Blue House where their President lives. It took us about an hour and a half from the ship to reach that point. Next we toured the ground of a very large temple and the residence of their royalty. Steps were exceedingly high and courtyards were bumpy so I walked a lot pushing the wheel chair. This venture reminded me of our only other time in Korea years ago where we went to a declared World Heritage site on the trip when we were circumnavigating Japan.

This was followed by an amazing historical and cultural museum. We didn’t have enough time here but zoomed around and did our best. No time for the gift shop so not one dime did we spend in Korea. It was beautifully done. We saw the cultural costume part and all but the historical part. All items were tastefully mounted and beautifully displayed.

We lunched on a hilltop at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Traffic was plentiful and Seoul has it’s share of high rises looking quite modern and beautiful. Seoul has 12 million occupants. The hotel was something. We had to go by many driveways to get to the lunch room avoiding the stairs. We actually saw a very grand hotel lobby that others missed in going this way. Large banks of yellow orchids. We lunched in the Grand Ballroom which had a waterfall outside a huge window. Hard to photograph well because I was shooting into the light. We sat at a table with Spence and Anping both who had lectured to us. At one time the conversation turned to communicating with one’s children. Three couples said they had children working in jobs that they couldn’t talk about which the mother’s found very frustrating. We chimed in with our son who tells us about his job and we couldn’t understand what he was teaching! [Gee, I wonder to whom she refers?]

It took us about another one and a half hours to drive north to Panmunjon. Both high rises and country side with farming land on the way. A bit into the demilitarized zone we switched buses and had an orientation first in a large hall by an officer who spoke in machine gun rapidity! Back into the buses and went through a zone with no pictures and then we could take pictures most of the way. A Lt. Colonel Lee spoke to us at several of the lookout points. We first stopped outside a very modern building. While we were waiting our turn in a small briefing room we had our first view of North Korean soldiers and officers. Guess what two were protecting one who was taking a picture of us even as I shot Phil with them in the background! A mutual curiosity session!!

After a few viewpoint stops we arrived at the place where negotiations have been held. One side in the room was North Korea and the other South Korea. Microphones went down the center of the table. We made sure we took each others picture next to the rigid guard on the North Korea side.

Our guide today was our poorest one to date. She was rather sing-songee and the quality of her information wasn’t so good. Trying to piece together some of her info. It takes 4 German West Berliners to support one Eastern Berliner (after the wall came down) it takes two from South Korea to support every one North Korean. The marriage age in Korea is early 30’s for men and late 20’s for women. They need to work and save $100,000 for the first two years of rental of an apartment. They pay in advance but are able to get it all back after two years. They pay about $150 maintenance each month for heating etc. Most Korean’s move every two years.

After arriving back on the ship I made a bee line for the pool and had about 30 minutes of swimming and hot spaing before showering and getting ready for an 8pm dinner. The pool is heated and delightful. I forgot my life jacket but did fine because it was salt water and I could float. I finally solved my drying my hands before I get out of the pool problem. I take my cane with a seat and park it with a towel on the seat right near the ladder where I go in and out. Thus I can dry my hands and not slip back into the pool! The spa felt wonderful. Joan Brennan and her husband Tom Passell brought their bucket with champagne to our room before dinner. We have one of the largest suites so we chatted a bit before our 8pm dinner reservation in the Italian restaurant. It’s lovely and quiet there and this is our second dinner together. We enjoy them very much. She is the retired Federal Judge living in Palo Alto.

We hustled off for the second concert by Katya Grineva. She plays beautifully and tonight we bought her two CD’S. Phil went off to bed at 10:30 but I had a hot toddy with Kathleen and a few others plus Don Kendall before retiring at 11 pm. Good night!

March 15, at sea

I haven’t finished the day but I can report I’ve fallen asleep in 3 out of 4 lectures today. I’ve spoken with several who say their body can’t keep up with the pace. I suppose mine is telling me that but I refuse to listen! Starting tomorrow I will drink real coffee for breakfast! The group held some power today as the daily schedule reported that there were 5 lectures including at 9:45 pm fireside chat with Perry on the dropping of the atomic bomb. By 9 am this had been changed. One panel was dropped and his talk was scheduled for 4:30 pm with a duo concert with Katya and the cruise director Colin Brown playing four hands. I will be thinking of Yelena and Vladimir at that time!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I have a reserved seat on the first row bench at all times and that I can put my leg up on the chair so I’m really pleased about that. So it’s doubly silly to fall asleep in the front row!

Roger Porter delivered our first lecture on “China’s Economy: Success, Challenges and Realities.” He began by complimenting the audience for being so engaged. He will describe today 3 of his personal experiences with China. He first visited China in the spring of ’83. He came in advance of President Reagan to try to resolve a labor dispute. He met with US business men who were a part of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The Chinese leader gave him a long description of the latest 5 year plan. He finally broke in respectfully to tell him his plans could only be realized if 1) China has several years of political stability and 2) He needed massive direct foreign investors to help him. You will be concerned about being taken advantage of but don’t fear you will be able to set those parameters. He went on to tell him our government doesn’t control our foreign investors. He will need to provide them with a good rate of return or they won’t invest in China.

His second experience involved a trip to see the Great Wall of China. He retains that image to this day. There were no markings on the road, no signs, no center line, nothing. He counted several modes of transportation-bus, truck rickshaw, bikes, cars, oxen carts, pedestrians etc. The rule of the road seemed to be whoever gets to a piece of land captures it! Contrast that today with the traffic we saw in Beijing with all it’s modern traffic signals and what a change there has been!

His third example was the only place foreign travelers could live was the Peking Hotel. He was once in the elevator with writer Theodore White. He invited him up to the room to meet his Chinese wife. He was collecting information with his wife to write an article on Chairman Mao. Collectively they had visited every province. He asked them what was the most striking thing you observed in your travels? The answer was we have traveled all over and we only saw one tractor!

So he has observed that China has had a long rule of political stability. In the beginning people only wore Mao jackets. Now they have many more freedoms. Then they might have graduated from college but they were still assigned jobs. Now that is all changed. There is far more foreign ownership. The internet has helped a lot. His driver spoke English beautifully and he asked him how he had learned his English. The answer was from pirated DVD’s. Now the fear of foreign investment has gone.

China needs to increase the size of it’s farms and allow ownership to make them more efficient. The farms are mostly older generation now and young won’t want to take over without some incentives. Also China needs to invest heavily in their rural education. I believe I forgot to mention that at the kindergarten visit we were told there is no heat in Chinese schools. Shiver!!

China will have to deal with the millions that are moving to the cities. They need to move 15 million a year for the next 30 years to meet their targets. China also has to convert state owned enterprises to the private sector. China needs more transparency if it is to sustain growth. He also thinks China has to deal with intellectual property if they want to join the world leaders. In the long run this will also benefit China. If Wal-Mart was a country it would be the 7th largest country investing in China!

The next lecture was by Professor Jonathan Spence on “China in Western Thought, 1308-2008.” To Phil he is a nightmare to get the notes down because he never pauses or puts in periods. I, however, love to follow his organization just taking a few highlights.

China has received more interest by our scholars than any other country.: 1) The Marco Polo effect, 2) Catholic polemics, 3) Skepticism, 4) Towards contempt, 5) Eroticism and 6) Focus on power and perhaps a 7) on the Cultural Revolution though this may be covered later on a panel.

Marco Polo had a profound effect as a first writer about China. He started a process that has had a life of it’s own. It’s questionable that he ever was in China. He had a house that was at the crossroads of the caravans so he was in a position to gather lots of info from other travelers. His information comes from 1270-1290.

For sure the Jesuit Priests offer the first documentation of China in about 1650. A good account is written in Ricci’s Memoirs. In 1730 there were four volumes of info on China. The Analects were translated in 1650 on the word of Confucius and the word of God. Next there was a battle of the Papacy versus the Emperor in the search for meaning in the Chinese values. How should you combine Confucius with western beliefs.

In the 18th century there was the growth of skepticism about China on the part of France which led to the French Revolution. Another topic of discussion was was whether there was a key to the Chinese language. Was Chinese the language we all came from? It looks like to us philosophers that China was ruled by sheer despotism! Defoe wrote a book about having Robinson Crusoe having a look at China.

In the 19th century there was a move towards contempt of China. In 1784 the US was helped by British traders to introduce them to trade in China. Then the protestant missionaries came and asked lots of questions. They wanted to open schools and educate women. In the 1860’s a Chinatown was developed in the western states. The westerners were not sympathetic to the Chinese and instead were hostile. Mark Twain wrote about how badly we treated the Chinese and pled for more compassion towards them.

In the 19th and 20th centuries there was a search for the exotic in China. China hadn’t changed enough to understand the world. Men wore hair in queues and women bound their feet. This no longer made sense to the outside world. Foo Man Chu springs from this time.

Then there was a renewed focus on power. There was a new nationalism and a new militarism. In the 1920’s we learned about communism and cautiousness. We are still watching for that Chinese power. Mao wanted to get rid of Chinese elitism. It was a horrible period and those between the ages of 14-23 lost their chance for education. I think of our friend Ann Wang who fits in this category and how hard she has worked in the US to catch up. I fell asleep about this time and missed the rest on the cultural revolution!

I decided I would skip lunch with Phil and go swimming and have lunch on the 8th deck or look for a protein bar to munch on. My legs are swollen today and I need to try to rule out salt which is pretty impossible to do here. Imagine my surprise when I found the water freezing cold! I almost didn’t go in but this was the longest time I would have all day to exercise. Someone told me they empty the pool everyday. I guess it hasn’t warmed up enough for my tastes at noon. I plunged in and lasted for 20 minutes and then went into the warm spa for about five. Wrapped in my bathrobe I joined Joan and Tom for a Caesar salad lunch and some ice tea as well as hot tea. I expected to interrupt Phil’s nap but he hadn’t taken one yet. Had a chance to start today’s diary before the next 3 pm lecture.

Bill Mc Shea spoke on “Celebrating Chinese Wildlife.” He has had a career of 22 years with the Smithsonian in the Conservation and Research Department. He gave a slide show centered around the panda but also showed a few other animals and birds.

His projects are privately funded and he works exclusively in the Sichuan Province where the panda are now located. This part of China has a complete range of climate and covers 48,000 square meters. There is the familiar panda that is black and white and there is also a Red Panda. The giant panda has six digits while the Red Panda has five. Most bears have some form of black and white about them. Their babies are born early and they are very small with mainly big lips that can catch a nipple. The wide range where the giant Panda has previously been found has collapsed to a very small area now. They don’t breed very well in captivity. Now there are 275 bears in captivity and the goal is 300 so they are almost there. Once they have lived in captivity they have had no luck in introducing them back to the wild.

Each zoo pays one million dollars to the Chinese conservation fund per year to rent the panda. He’s never seen a panda in the wild because the bamboo forest is very thick and they can hear you coming. In 1998 there was a ban on all logging to help protect the panda. A panda eats 18 hours of every day and only eats bamboo. They sleep 6 hours and have sex once a year. They don’t have the energy to have a baby each year. The greatest aid to finding where the pandas really live have been to use camera trapping cameras which have an infrared sensor that takes pictures of all animals within the view of the camera. This has greatly helped the scientists track them. Now the west only trains the Chinese personnel in how to use these cameras as China does not want the world to know of their statistics on their animal count.

He added that many families in the Washington DC area grow bamboo in their gardens to feed the pandas in the zoo there. I fell asleep a bit towards the end so had a cup of coffee in order to stay awake in Dr. Perry’s fireside chat.

Dr. Perry spoke on “Why did the US drop Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?” He said this was his least favorite topic. He personally was sorry about the bomb being developed and told us the history of that development.

In 1939 and 1940 we were afraid that Germany was building such a bomb. Happily for us many German scientists had come to live in the United States. They decided we should build it. In order to convince FDR that this was the thing to do they enlisted Albert Einstein to write a letter to the President. He paid attention to this letter and the result was the Manhattan Project. In May of 1945 when Germany surrendered the bomb was not yet ready.

Three things happened that led to our using the bomb. 1) The battle of Okinawa was the last huge battle. Perry was 17 years old but the next year he was sent to Nagasaki. We lost huge numbers of soldiers in the battle of Okinawa. 2) Kamikaze pilots crashed into our aircraft carriers. Between 1 and 2 we lost over 25,000 and Japan lost 110,000 military plus civilians. We were intensifying our fire bombs. In one night on Tokyo 100,000 men died. All the wooden buildings burned to the ground. 3) In November of 1945 there was planned a large invasion of Honshu and Kyushu. Based on the figures we lost at Okinawa we felt we would lose one million men and the Japanese would lose 10 million. On July, 1945 there was the first successful test of the bomb. The scientists favored that Truman would demonstrate the bomb with a test that was not in a densely populated area hoping that would deter us from using it because the Japanese would surrender.

Truman was afraid the test wouldn’t work and so he decided to use it for real. The Japanese military was still not ready to surrender after two bombs were dropped but Emperor Hirohito intervened asking them to surrender. They still didn’t want to and planned a coup but ultimately Hirohito prevailed. We backed off from an unconditional surrender and relaxed the rules a bit. Truman agreed to their being able to keep their Emperor. This led to the occupation forces being totally accepted by Japan. Perry was a part of that force. He agreed with Truman’s decision to drop the bombs as a way to force a surrender and save US lives. Many of his colleagues did not agree with him. We can form our own opinion when we visit the museum tomorrow and he will like to hear what we decide. We decided to shift our trip to the Atomic Museum rather than the cultural museum we had signed up for.

Tonight was Stanford night with cocktails in a large lounge on deck 8 followed by dinner in our favorite Italian Restaurant where we have eaten twice now. We had a lovely cello concert from one of our members who had quickly arranged to borrow a cello from the Hong Kong Philharmonic. She played Bach beautifully. We sat at a table for 8 and visited with Lola and Mike Thomas who live in Florida but have a 20,000 acre farm in Nebraska where they are growing corn for ethanol. We enjoy them very much.

We left dinner at 9:45 to make the duo piano concert with Katya and Colin Brown our cruise director. Michael guess what their first number was. None other than Mozart’s Rondo Ala Turca. They played it well but it sounded like a fast race. I like Vladimir and Yelena’s version better. In fact they played several of the same numbers that our cousins played. It was 45 minutes of rare beauty that we have come to expect each evening. Such a nice way to end the evening. It’s now almost midnight and we need to be on deck at 6:30 am to watch the interesting lead up to the Nagasaki Harbor. I hope I make it!!

March 16, Nagasaki

I was awake really early and was up on deck 10 by 6:10 am. Had a couple of cups of coffee and a roll while watching us enter the harbor of Nagasaki! Leslie squired me to the appropriate deck where we snacked together. She is a dear always looking out for me! Love the staff and the passengers. They always smile at the cripple and ask how my knee is. A fire boat greeted us spraying water up a lot. Phil woke up later and took pictures out on the deck right outside our room. He was still in stocking feet when I returned!

We had to go through the fingerprinting routine for immigration entering into Japan before breakfast. Enjoyed breakfast before setting out on our excursion to the Atomic Bomb Museum. In retrospect I’m really glad we changed our venue as Nagasaki is known for its bomb. We had an excellent experienced guide that Gordon, our cruise director, had used before. She was excellent. We were on the first bus to do the atomic tour. High Country Passage gave us each 1,000 yens to spend. It came in handy for my museum purchases because the money Phil had brought from home turned out to be Korean money not Japanese and was unusable!

Our first stop was the Peace Park where we had 45 minutes to tour the different statues and take pictures of the park and its 1000 cranes. A very inspiring place. Later, in a discussion, someone asked why the US never contributed a statue. We could have at least done that in recognition of all the lives that were lost that day. Someone told me at night they had seen a statue from the US. I sure missed it!

Next stop was ground zero before we visited the museum. We took a series of elevators to catch up with the group. There was an obelisk type statue at ground zero. It was a sobering moment to observe this spot. On August 9, 1945, however, a single atomic bomb dropped by American forces reduced a large portion of the city to a scorched wasteland. 73,884 people were killed. 65% were senior citizens, children and women. 74,909 people were injured. In a flashing instant Nagasaki’s invaluable cultural heritage was obliterated. From the “Nagasaki Peace Guidebook.”

Next we had about an hour to tour the museum. At first we stayed with our guide and then eventually split off on our own. Of course, we needed more time here to carefully digest all the material. There was no way we could do this. We opted to see some exhibits and watch two rather long movies that depicted the utter horror and devastation! They really brought the message home to us. We then bought a peace T-shirt for me and a book. We were to look to see if the museum showed remorse in any way or had Japan apologizing in any way or indicating they had started the war with bombing Pearl Harbor. We didn’t find this but Dr. Perry later told us he had seen a 3 minute video in the basement that slightly acknowledged Japan’s role in it all.

Later in the afternoon at 5-6:00 pm we had a chance to gather in the upper lounge and share our feelings and observations about this museum and the Peace Park. The comments showed lots of depth and knowledge about this time period. Phil took the computer and took good notes so I will defer to him.

Meanwhile after lunch and before the five o’clock session we had a ceremony seeing our captain and the exchanging of plaques on this historic day when the Silver Whisperer first docked in Nagasaki. This was followed by a Tyco drum ceremony where the performers were excellent. I couldn’t believe that I was nodding off during this noisy performance but I was!!

After that at 2:30 pm we had a lecture by Glen Fukushima President and CEO of Airbus Japan and former President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. He spent his undergraduate years at Stanford and his graduate years at Harvard. Phil was thrilled with the outline he presented us! I’ll defer to Phil on the notes but I thought the overtones were quite sad about our US/ Japan relationships. The demographic changes in Japan have been quite dramatic. It’s an old population now with more over 65 coupled with a very low birth rate. Health care system is quite good and universal. Life expectancy is now up to 79 — higher than the US. The educational system is showing decline in the last decade.

The role of women needs tackling directly. Of 27 boards of corporations only 2 women are on these boards. One is his wife. Right now you can’t have a career if you want to have children. Last year women board members were up to 5. Many more women, however, work for foreign companies.

A controversy over whether Japan encouraged women to become prostitutes in Nanjing during the occupation there is underway. Japan is reviving its competitiveness with other Asian nations. Japan is hard for others to figure out, including the Japanese!

Japan is financially integrated with China but if the US and China are at loggerheads, this would have an impact on Japan. Japan and US leaders have trust but the Japanese public feels neglected by the US.

As we pulled away from the dock an all-women’s high school band played for us and waved. There were many citizens waving goodbye to us, too. I found it very emotional and shed a few tears. They were terrific!

We joined the Perrys, Brett and Kathleen, and assorted other guests at dinner tonight for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. My neighbor Emily lives across the street from George and Barbara Bush and she was happy to be able to report to them that I enjoyed meeting them very much. She said this was a relaxing vacation for them as they are still in the limelight and his was more reminiscing for him and no responsibility for Barbara. Phil sat next to Lee Perry and enjoyed his conversation with her. I enjoyed speaking with Brett and he was busy asking me how I compared the 3 World Leader Trip.

We bar-hopped upstairs and ran across Amy McFadden and had a great chat with her until she met the young people she had arranged to meet. We danced a few steps and Phil turned in at 11 while I’ve now caught up at 12:50 am. So here it is Yelena’s birthday. Have a great day. Love and cheers to all.

March 17, en route to Taiwan

It’s sort of a gray day and I slept in until 7:30 a.m. Had a bit less to eat for breakfast. Today is a five-lecture day but two are short and are fireside chats. So happy St. Patrick’s Day and happy birthday to Yelena!! Though I was able to order a meal with less salt last night, my legs are still very puffy. I imagine they will stay that way until I get home.

Anping Chin started off the day with “Life In Taiwan.” It turned out to be her own personal story which came with quite an emotional impact. She talked about her grandfather and grandmother that she never met but only read about. She was born in the town of Anping (hence the name). In 1624 the Dutch established a fort in Taiwan. The Dutch were willing to work with the tough Chinese criminal types. The Dutch eventually drove out the Spaniards and Portuguese. In 1661 a fleet arrived in Anping with 25,000 troops. They fought the Manchu dynasty.

Anping’s family moved to Taiwan along with the Nationalists because her father was offered a professorship there. They left behind their families thinking they would return in a few years but in fact they never saw them again. Her father taught western architecture in the 1950’s. He taught perspective and shadowing etc. and was enamored with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Her grandparents on her fathers side came from Manchuria. Her father never heard from them again after he moved. This was very difficult for him. Her grandmother was a peasant and illiterate but stood very tall. She was taller than her husband. She was a very strict person and anyone in her household or those visiting her household were only allowed two meals a day. She was married when she was 18 and her husband was 16. Her grandfather wept when the first child was born worrying about this new responsibility. Her grandfather loved learning but had to drop out of school to become an apprentice to support his family. At age 26 he became a student at Peking University. He became a prominent historian. He also held a government office in the Ministry of Education from 1913 to 1932. He was sent to prison by the Japanese. Her grandparents moved to Beijing in 1948.

Anping never met her grandfather but felt they both shared a common love for history so felt close to him. In the last few months she has been reading the diary of her grandfather which has been published in ten volumes. It was written in classical Chinese and was unpunctuated. His diary covers the years 1920-1960. He died in 1962 at the age of 72.

Her father told her that grandfather always wrote about the previous day at 5:00 am. He kept track of his learning and scholarship this way. His diaries were published in 1993. She waited fourteen years to read it until she felt ready. It included his poetry and letters received as well as those he wrote. It covers events both political and private. It was heartbreaking for her to read about the communist years. He tried to commit suicide several times. In November, 1957 the diary stopped and was not resumed until January, 1960 when he felt better about living. Mao encouraged intellectuals to speak up and analyze and criticize the events that were happening but when her grandfather did he was punished.

In 1957 her father started a new stage in his career when he focused on modern architecture. He was very close to his students and her parents gave many parties for them. They often were lost boys separated from their parents. He was accused of being a communist sympathizer because he wrote in red ink! He weathered it because he had influential friends who protected him from the Nationalist party. When she was 7 she viewed the world through three porthole windows. She saw people bustling along the streets and she heard couples fighting and threatening to kill each other.

In the 1820’s to 1830’s the United States, Europe and Japan had fought each other. She began to learn about what was happening in China and became skeptical. Men were shown with their nails being pulled out. She disbelieved the propaganda. She listened to Chiang Kai Sheik’s speeches and no one could understand them. He was a very brutal man towards activists. There was a distinction between being a Nationalist or not. Her parents never wanted to join this party. From 1895-1945 Japan controlled Taiwan. She noticed a difference between the mainlanders and the Taiwanese. They couldn’t understand each other. They had different religious expressions and had different music and opera. Their women looked different as well. The Taiwanese covered their bodies except for their eyes because they wanted to look white and pale.

She left Taiwan in 1962 for America and didn’t return until 1995 to do some research. She went back three more times to learn more about opera and the relationship of religion to opera. She loves Taiwan but worries about their explosive political situation. On one of her return trips she said colleagues from the mainland and Taiwan drank together, sang and hugged each other. That is the image she likes to remember.

She was asked if she every met her grandmother. She replied she came to China two years after she had died. She lived to be 90. She had a very hard time during the Cultural Revolution. She was made to live in a small coffin room with her own coffin and was paraded through the streets and made fun of. She ended by telling the remarkable story of how her grandfather’s diaries were saved from burning by the Red Guards. Every step of the way he appealed to personal friends to hide them and then had them sent to a research institute library. It was a miracle that they ever were published.

When asked why her family came to America she answered that her family left to protect their children from the very fierce academic competition there is in Taiwan. So many of my students have come to the US for the same reason. Bess and Ben come to mind. They sacrificed being with their spouses for several years to help their children succeed in America. Ben was one day from becoming a Taiwanese General when he brought his twin boys to study at our Middle School. Bess left and came to South Pasadena when her daughter was ready to start high school. She stayed until she was enrolled in Brown before she went back to live in Taiwan.

Our next lecture was by Roger Porter on “Globalization: Boon or Bane?” He started by saying what a delight it had been for him and his family to travel with us. What a different world it is today than it was from 700 to 1700. In those years economic growth was about .011 per year and we doubled in size every 630 years. From then on there were spectacular economic growth rates. There were three times as many people. Education, transportation and communication all improved markedly. Many Americans never traveled more than 50 miles from where they were born. Now you can e-mail pictures. What a changing world we live in!

In the 1930’s we made three huge mistakes. First the money supply was cut by 50% and in part involved taxes. Second the top marginal rate was increased from 25% to 62% because we were eager to generate more money. Lastly we changed the provisions in our tariff laws and the taxation of alcohol in the Trade Act of 1932. Hoover changed some tariffs. The stock market crashed and the Smoot Hawley Tariff laws were passed. It raised the duties on 892 items up to 62%. Many pled with him not to sign it but he did. In one year our trade fell by 30%. It took us a decade and a World War to get us out of this.

In 1934 Cordell Hull went to FDR and proposed the 1934 Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act. It provided that the President could reduce tariffs through negotiation. After the war groups like the UN, the World Bank and the general monetary fund were formed to generate peace and prosperity. We concentrated on reducing tariffs down to one-tenth of what they had been. We had $7 billion in 1950 and there was a growth of 4% a year in global trade. Now it’s 7.9% making us prosperous again. Transportation costs have been lowered along with the rise of multinational enterprises. Now there is about $40 trillion in the global economy and we are about one third of that. What has happened is both astonishing and remarkable.

Three points needed to be considered and we can decide if they are a concern or a blessing.

  1. Efficiency — law of comparative advantage. Let nations focus on what they do well. There is the x factor in trade where participants are more innovative than they are without trade. We have prosperity because we are trading more. More capital and more technology and more markets are needed to give our products to. What is the US doing for underdeveloped countries?
  2. Equity — how will it be divided up? There is equity across countries- every country benefits from free trade. But some countries do better than others. Developed countries have a bigger gain than do developing countries. We would do better to eliminate subsidies and have more open trade. Then there is equity within countries calling for adjustments and transitions. It is painful for workers who lose their jobs. What should we do for those that lose their jobs due to trade? Should they be treated any differently than those losing their jobs due to technology? (this question never was answered) In 1980 246,000 people were mining coal and in 1990 140,000 were employed in mining coal. Efficiency took over. Legislation includes trade adjustments. It has made it better for trade workers than technology workers. Another form of equity is the equity between private goods and public goods. Public goods affect environment, health and safety. There is the argument by those that oppose globalization that we have shortchanged the public goods. Some say it is a race to the bottom meaning that there are lower environmental concerns. He believes it is the reverse. I wanted to get his evidence on this but questions were stopped before I could ask. From the book I read called “China Inc” it suggested so far Chinese factories keep moving to cheaper cities and working conditions and pollution aren’t thought of. Maybe in the long haul that will change.
  3. Legitimacy — Some people are wary that by becoming more intertwined with other countries we lose our own sovereignty. Where do we go to seek our just do? We are lucky because we have the rule of law. How do we do it internationally? All countries want it settled in their own courts. A neutral place to solve disputes is needed. One of the great advances in this is that Bush and Clinton worked on dispute panels into the World Trade Organization. There is no way of blocking this. You do cede a bit of your sovereignty but not all. He is a big optimist in this regard. He believes we are on the right path. If we want to maximize our growth we have to learn how to facilitate these adjustments.

Our third lecture was a slide show by Bill Mc Shea on “People and Wildlife in Asia.” There are five parts to wildlife conservation- exploration, science, policy, education and management. He works in the science end. More problems show up working in education and management. The root cause is 6 billion people. What worked when we had 2 billion doesn’t work as well with 6 and may not work at all when we have 10 billion.

Governments need to set good policies to protect wildlife. He is worried especially about protecting endemic species. It’s all about habitat, habitat, habitat and protection.

There are some problems that interfere with the protections of wildlife. One is that traditional medicines in Asia use animal products. Another is the restaurant trade. Also there is trophy hunting for tigers and bears especially. The last one is wildlife damage to crops. The first three generate income and the last two need to be solved.

There are a few international agreements. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) was established in 1973 and adopted by 172 countries. A group called TRAFFIC monitors compliance. China is the source of many violations mainly because of their medicine use. China signed on in 1991 and their first law came in 1999 to protect the pandas. Any poacher will now be shot! Have gone from 200 items to using just 6. Bear bile sells for $!,000 per ounce (?) and is used for kidney infections. Tiger bone sells for $400 per kilo and is used for impotence and old age. Tiger pelts sell for $5,000 or 50,000 have been used in art. Ivory (Asian elephant) sells for $400 per kilogram and is also used in art.

Habitat loss has been a problem due to overgrazing. Dam construction to sell energy has also contributed to losing habitat space. Crop damage that sets snares and poisons also contributes. In 1998 a law ending logging has helped the wildlife. In 1999 there was a grain to green law passed that pays the farmers not to build on steep slopes. Both laws are up for renewal in 10 years.

There are three ways to sustain wildlife. The use of ecotourism, natural products and trophy or sport hunting. They haven’t worked too well in China. Science has helped the panda who mate very poorly. Now most babies are born due to artificial insemination. Their population has gone up since 2000.

He also spoke about the Xenjiang Wild Horse Conservation Project and the Asiatic Black Bear Project. We need to have China attending international conferences. There is some hope in Taiwan. Religion has a significant role to play in Asian conservation. Wildlife usually lives in the mountains on lands around monasteries. That land is protected as sacred. China needs to build up a moral system to match these values. There is some hope from the younger generations.

The fourth lecture was Dr. Perry on “Why is the Current Political Situation in Taiwan So Explosive?” We are unlucky in arriving just before a very volatile election. He hopes we aren’t greeted with any protests or disruptions. The Issues: During WWII Chiang Kai Shek and Mao were united in fighting Japan. After the war they fought each other for the rule of China. The US backed Chiang Kai Shek. We had them both sign a treaty with Marshall that neither would invade the other. Truman had a hands off policy. Probably Mao would have invaded Taiwan but the Korean War happened. We backed Chiang Kai Shek because of what Mao was doing in Korea.

In 1972 Nixon sent Kissinger to China. He wanted to offset them against problems that we were having with the Soviet Union. The result was classic double talk. We agreed to the China one policy and China and Taiwan were to work this out peacefully.

In 1979 Carter decided to recognize the PRC so didn’t send an Ambassador to Taiwan. Carter wanted to play the China card. He sent Perry. Congress was not happy and passed the Taiwan Defense Act to provide Taiwan with arms. Now there will soon be a big arms order including some submarines. Deng said it’s one China and Taiwan will come under China but he was in no rush and could wait fifty years. We are still within that time frame. In 1989 the Cold War ended and we no longer needed the China card. Chiang Kai Shek was a dictator until he died. He was replaced by his son and following him there was an election. Lee Dong Wei was elected and he was a Taiwanese. He was accused of being Japanese. He got permission to visit the US to give a graduation address from President Clinton at Cornell when his daughter was graduating in exchange with careful guidelines of what he was to say. He promptly violated this agreement. When he was up for re-election in 1986 he was opposed and only won by a narrow margin because China had fired missiles at Taiwan.

In 2000 the Taiwanese formed a new party and that candidate was elected. He was openly for independence which had China upset. It turned out that government was very corrupt. He ran again in 2004 and was shot at twice. He went from behind to barely being elected on a sympathy vote. Later he was accused of staging his own assassination! In 2008 he is not eligible but the party has a candidate. It got a referendum on the ballot that Taiwan should become a member of the UN and again China is angry. Taiwan figures that China is busy with the Olympics and won’t do anything to them. Emotions are running high in Taiwan. People fear another dirty trick. Maybe China will attack.

In the last two months both governments learned that Perry was visiting Taiwan shortly before the election and they assumed he was coming to influence the election. He has been dogged by both medias to give interviews. This is the reason he’s not getting off the ship with us in Taiwan tomorrow. He doesn’t want to be misquoted.

Our last lecture of the day was an important one given by Sidney Rittenberg on “Surviving Solitary Confinement.” It was announced that the passengers had requested this lecture so once again we did have some flexibility in the schedule as we have had on past World Leader’s Trips. Please don’t think my survival meant that I am different than you. I’m not a tough person. We all have the means within us to survive. It’s about being able to draw on your educational training and inner resources. You have to decide quickly what business you are in in this life. If you don’t you have no meaning of what to hold onto. You need to have a challenging but attainable purpose. Most students don’t do this. Then you need to think about the method that is available to attain your purpose. He believes he has found that happiness is found by contributing to the happiness and freedom of other people.

His cell was 6 paces long and 3 paces wide. There was a solid door with a peep hole. A window was high up in the cell and he sometimes could see a patch of sky. He slept on a wooden door that was on two sawhorses. The first time he was in prison for 6 years and had no water in the cell. The second stint of 9 years he had a wash basin and commode with no seat. His main problem was being totally isolated for months at a time. Aloneness was his main challenge. In the interrogation they said if he didn’t talk (confess) he would be shot. He had nothing to confess so he didn’t talk. He worried about losing his mind. The only way to keep rational was to keep learning. He knew he must make this experience positive not negative and he must never give up.

After two years he began to wonder if he could interact with others and function on the outside. He got depressed when he believed that he couldn’t be normal. He got better when he realized this was just a story his brain had made up. He had to watch these stories and use reason to change his moods. They kept telling him if he confessed he would have better living conditions- he could interact with others but he would never get out. He felt down. He decided he worried too much about himself when his life’s purpose was to help others. He needed to sharpen his ability to know what they were telling him were lies. He had to keep clear and know what was going on around him.

He later found out that Stalin had requested that he be locked up. His first year was in a completely dark cell. They gave him pills to keep him from sleeping. He broke down and the pills made him delirious. They helped him to come out of this by giving him an amphetamine. He had panic attacks that his condition would return and that gave him post traumatic syndrome. The worst thing for him was hearing others being tortured especially a woman. He would have a panic attack. Then his inner voice would make him analyze how he was feeling. After that he had no more panic attacks. When you see through your problems they are gone. He learned being afraid doesn’t help you. He remembered with truth in my heart and peace in my hand I’m a free man. He learned not to be afraid. “This above all, to thine own self be true — ” His recommendation is to learn lots of poetry before you go into solitary! He was able the second time to get lots of books thanks to Chou En Lai. Most prisoners didn’t get this. He ended by saying that he felt ashamed that Bush vetoed the prohibition of water boarding. How I enjoyed meeting and visiting with this man. It was one of the highlights of my trip! We had dinner with Yulin and Sidney one night and really enjoyed learning about their family and their business. I admire them both very much. He was cute when I approached him and asked if it was possible to have dinner with him. His response was, “I insist that we do!”

I got in about a half hour in the pool and hot tub. I would always like more time to exercise but figure some is better than none. I take my cane with a seat and put a towel on it and I can wipe my hands and get out easily.

We had a nice dinner and it was followed by the opera singer putting on the evening concert. I enjoyed her more tonight and her mannerisms didn’t seem so pronounced. And so to bed. Another remarkable day!

March 18, Taiwan

Dear Family and Friends,

Alas I had hoped to finish writing up the day of March 17th with its five lectures but I’m only up to lecture 4 so the rest of the diary will probably have to be finished at home. Tomorrow we leave the ship at 6 am and go on our way to Hanoi. We will be home sometime on Easter Sunday.

Days have no meaning here and they have all been wonderful. I can’t imagine a more perfect trip. We heard this afternoon about the next trip studying women’s role in Islamic countries and that whole part of the country. Oil and terrorism and you name it. The topics are long as is the speakers list. We’ve signed up already for next March! Who would like to join us? It’s on the smaller sister ship that is going to be refurbished between now and then. I put in a request for a handicapped suite if they have one. It’s made such a difference to me.

We had a fine stop in Taipei though being shortchanged on their wonderful museum was too bad. Our good luck on weather everywhere ran out as it rained most of the day. We had lunch in the Grand Hotel where I had stayed by myself after leaving Steve in China. Again I thought about our good times together. I’m so glad I got to have that special time with just him before he died.

We’ve had the last lecture now and we attended them all. I only missed one day in the pool and that was yesterday because the Captain’s cocktail party started soon after we had returned from Taipei. I made up for it today with a longer time. I even had a drink while in the lovely hot spa after. Now what could be better than that?

We have to eat faster tonight as the entertainment starts at 9 pm. We are almost finished packing. Hope all goes well on the home front. Hope Geri’s 3rd treatment went well and I’m looking forward to catching up on all of you.

Much love,


March 18, Keelung (Taipei)

It appears that I never typed up the real 18th and 19th so now after I am home, I will go back to my notes.

We arrived in the harbor of Keelung which is about a 45 minute drive to the city of Taipei. It was a rainy day and I saw lightening out of the bus window just before driving by their highest building. There are 23 million people in Taiwan and 350,000 are considered Aboriginal.

Our first stop was the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. It had a very impressive hall of lanterns and many pictures of Chiang Kai Shek with world leaders — FDR, Churchill, Johnson, and Reagan. There were also many portraits with his wife. He was considered a benevolent leader (not the way he was described by Anping). Our guide was Albert and he said his family moved here in 1949 and he was born here. His brother received a doctorate from MIT and works in the government. About 85% of the government leaders received their education in the United States.

After we left here we drove by the largest library in the country which houses things from the Qing Dynasty especially an encyclopedia that was moved in 1998 in six trucks to Singapore. Taiwan spends a lot of money on National Defense. The military is still compulsory for boys at age 20. They spend two or three years. Some islands near China are still fortified. Chinese can still not visit here though Taiwanese can visit China if they go through Hong Kong. He thinks the Chinese will be able to visit in another year. They have more and more friends but few countries recognize them. We have culture, land, and a government. Doesn’t that make us a country? He thinks it does. The communists are very tricky His father and his uncle met after forty years of being apart. It was a very emotional time for his family.

We saw lots of parked motorcycles as we drove along in the bus. I remember my impressions of the 1986 trip to China and Taiwan. China was all bicycles and Taiwan had motorcycles or mopeds. Now China has everything and I suppose Taiwan does too. Albert told us that each person born in Taiwan has two names- one given to them by their parents and later one chosen by themselves.

They have five branches of government but I didn’t record them all. Taiwan is sending a baseball team to the Olympics. It was a pretty drive with camphor trees on both sides of the street and lots of shoppers. Michael Jackson came here and caused lots of traffic jams! He tells us our group is unlike any others he has led because we wear earphones so all of us can hear him in museums. We know more about Taiwan and ask more questions as well. He doesn’t usually talk about politics but he has today. People work five days a week which is down from six. He rents because he can’t afford to buy anything. He owns an apartment in Shanghai that he bought for $12,000. Taiwan is more expensive. Mc Donald’s is called the American Embassy here! There are 350 of them in Taiwan. You can vote at age twenty and drive a motorcycle at age eighteen.

Next stop was the Martyrs Shrine. Soldiers that did important things are remembered here with their name on a wooden plague on the wall. We watched the changing of the guard. It was a beautiful shrine patterned after the Forbidden City. There were red columns and roofs with well manicured gardens. It was built from 1967-69.

Next stop was lunch at the Grand Hotel. I stayed in this hotel in 1986 and it has a magnificent lobby. We ate in the grand ballroom and had bamboo shoots and lotus soup and a menu printed for each of us on a scroll! The waiter encouraged us to take home the chop sticks so I put them in my pocket. On our way out it was announced we should not take them but I had too many layers on to get them out! Shame on me!! We were entertained at lunch first by women playing traditional instruments. The second act was done by Aboriginal Dancers doing two different numbers. The last one was called “We are Family”. The dancers came from Taroko Gorge which I had visited in 1986 and found very impressive.

Then off to the museum which is world renown. I could hardly wait to show Phil because I had visited it twice in my two days here in 1986. Well it was a new museum and didn’t have that timeline that I had found so fascinating and well displayed before. Our time was very short here so we decided to stay with our guide who pointed out the important pieces. I guess because we felt so rushed and we didn’t have time to do things by ourselves, we really enjoyed the Shanghai Museum more. I snoozed on the ride back to the ship.

All in all I would say the parts we saw (which were not many) appear that the physical buildings are in decline as well as we have heard there is a brain drain because students leaving aren’t coming back. I probably shouldn’t make this judgment after seeing so little.

The Captain’s Cocktail Party and farewell dinner started soon after we returned to the ship so I didn’t swim and took a rest instead. My ankles are as swollen as they have ever been and I was able to order a salt free meal in the main dining room. Had an apple martini after meeting the Captain. We invited two Chinese women to eat dinner with us and Amy and her father. Amy was busy but her father agreed. However we could never find him so we ended up hearing the stories of the two women who had both been born in China. It was a very interesting visit.

We hustled off to the evening entertainment that started at 9 p.m. It was the singer and the singer comedian. Both played the piano well and were very enjoyable. It’s hard for me to remember the meals and entertainment because I don’t usually take notes. Like I know we had one memorable dinner with Sidney and Yulin Rittenberg yet I don’t remember writing it up. So much for being so busy and trying not only to do it but record it for later enjoyment! And so to bed. They put the Captains dinner a day early to give us time tomorrow night to pack our bags!

March 19, En route to Hong Kong

Today we are en-route to Hong Kong. After breakfast our first lecture was by Edmund Mathez: “Projections of the Future Climate, Energy and the Role of China.” This is difficult terrain. I last talked about headlines and about matters of observation. We have to do something about it.

Projections of future climate in the 21st century are determined by emissions, and we have the ability to control them. It also is about risk management and temperature. We need to consider solutions. We need a modeled climate (may not simulate the truth). It’s hard to test. We can simulate past climate better. In the 20th century climate-1900-2000 there are many models that reflect the actual climate.

For 2100 there are three emission scenarios that tell us how the future may unfold. We can see how medium, high, and low emissions might play out. We have the ability to manage it. Climate has inertia. There is 0.6 of committed warming. If we held at the 2000 level we still would have warming. What we do today affects 20-30 years ahead so our policies must understand this.

How do we manage? Uncertainty and risk management have to consider the cost of negative consequences, cost of mitigation, and the probability of its outcome. There are reasons for concern. 1) Unique/ threatened systems 2) Extreme events 3) Impacts on regions 4) Impacts on markets 5) Large scale singular events. The probability of each has to be charted.

Say that there is a 50% probability that regions are affected and productivity will decline. There are huge uncertainties in assigning risks. There is no one temperature above which climate change will be dangerous and not dangerous. We can only talk about probabilities. For example a 3 degrees change in the temperature says risks are too great to accept. Energy comes from oil, gas, coal and it equals 87%. Renewables are less than 1% of energy, hydroelectric is 6% and nuclear energy is 6.3%. Electricity is mostly produced by coal: the oil goes to transportation. Though I took more notes their meaning was over my head so I will defer to Phil’s lecture notes!

Dr. William Perry was our next lecturer speaking on “Nuclear Weapons: Are they still an existential danger?” In January, 1993 he received an unwelcome phone call asking him to become Deputy Secretary of Defense. He didn’t want to leave his family, friends, job and stock options. Lee helped him turn it down. But eventually he decided he had made the wrong decision and took it. One year later he was made Secretary of Defense where he was a high target of the media. Before his hearing the Washington Post reported that he was soft spoken and humble and they wondered if these qualities would make a good Secretary of Defense. Senator Byrd noted that humility was a quality held by George Washington, Robert E. Lee and Jesus. He concluded that humility might be an asset though he had never before seen humility in a cabinet officer. Perry reported that his hearing was surreal. He was voted in 98-0. He reported it was all downhill after this!

He was sworn in February of 1994. The Cold War was finally over and the Russians and Americans were euphoric but this happiness wouldn’t last for long. Before there had been a policy of deterrence and containment but he would have to develop a new strategy as these were no longer relevant. He saw that there were six challenges: 1) Loose nukes over 40,000 of them, 2) Nuclear proliferation- needed to control before terrorist got to them. Many countries were threatening to become nuclear- India, Pakistan, Iraq, North Korea, 3) Regional conflicts- Weimar Russia, Rising China, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania and Pakistan and the need to deal with them, 4) Weimar Russia had abandoned communism and was in chaos and we needed to help them, 5) China was exploding in growth and we needed to work with them constructively, and 6) How to maintain the quality and morale of our military. He went on to specifically detail his work in each area but I will leave that to Phil.

Perry is a master at weaving in videos, music, poetry and literature to illustrate his lectures. They are always very moving. One illustration of this was his four visits to Pervomaysk between 1994-1996. He showed a video with him and the Russian and Ukrainian Defense ministers. First the silos were shown, then they were shown being blown up. Next a garden of sunflowers were planted and the last view was of the beautiful field of sunflowers blooming. By the time Perry left office 10,000 weapons had been dismantled and Belarus and Ukraine were nuclear weapon free. He knew at the end his decision to take the job had been a correct one.

It was a mind-expanding experience and he met some of the best people in the world and the military. The Chair of the Joint Chiefs said he had been the troops’ secretary doing more for the enlisted personnel than any previous secretary. That comment meant more to me that receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. There is a lot of richness I leave to Phil’s notes. He did say that his experience as Secretary of Defense did not cure his humility. When he returned home and was walking down University Avenue when an old friend stopped to chat and said “Hi, where have you been lately?” After a few weeks he returned to Stanford and it took him only 5 minutes to readjust. Technology and National Security is what he teaches. He continues Track 2 dialogue with the Chinese and frequent testimony with Congress. He’s teamed up with George Shultz, Sam Nunn and Henry Kissinger to eliminate weapons, size of forces and security of weapons and halt production of fissile material. What a pleasure it has been for me to travel three times with this remarkable man!

Don Kendall started giving us disembarkation procedures. After lunch there was one final panel of all the lecturers and their spouses. Their topic was to speak on was “What Advice on Asia Would You Give to the Next President?” I didn’t take notes but it was fun as well as factual. I smiled when Anping said she was surprised how easy it was to talk to a Republican! She had worried about this. Lee Perry matched up all the speakers as new cabinet members. The audience could participate as well.

There was a short meeting for those interested in hearing about the next World Leader’s Symposium. It will go to the Middle East and we left our name at the desk that we are interested in going. It’s next March.

The last group event was put on by the “Perry Players” and has become a tradition that is so very enjoyable. Lee Perry does a telephone conversation about what it was like to be the wife of the Secretary of Defense. It’s very funny and he insists it is based on actual experiences. I think she made it shorter this time but all were laughing. The point being nothing ever goes according to a predictable schedule! Then their son Mark gives us a quiz. Last trip he had a day to prepare but this time he was planning for it for the entire trip. It’s a multiple choice event with projections on the screen. Also very clever ad witty. What a talented family.

We had a last enjoyable dinner with Joan and Tom. Most of our packing was completed before dinner so it just took a little bit of effort to finish and put the bags out before going to bed. I think I stayed up and typed It’s sad in a way to see this great trip come to an end. It’s been delicious, luxurious, and intellectual all in equal measures. It certainly sets a high bar for future trips. We don’t have to be too sad because we are going on to the extension trip to Hanoi tomorrow so we have another adventure to look forward to!

March 20, from Hong Kong to Hanoi

Today was partially a travel day but all went smoothly. I got very little sleep waking up about every hour but I didn’t feel us dock so I was sleeping at 4:00 a.m. Woke up at 4:55 a.m. and the alarm hadn’t gone off so up we got! Had a mini breakfast up in the Panorama lounge. Coffee and tiny muffins and goodies. We were the first group to leave at six a.m. I must remark that it is a sad day to leave all this comfort. We never felt a wave. It was remarkably smooth but we saw several people who wore bracelets and who knows how many wore ear patches.

Gordon, our High Country Passage tour leader, is accompanying us to Hanoi. He’s British and it will be nice to know him better. Also the head lady from Harvard who is a young chic by name of Trearty is joining us so we will continue to be in pampered hands. We are a group of 26 some of whom don’t look familiar to us!

Airport went smoothly and was a group check in so we didn’t have to pay overweight. Yea!! Our new $7 duffel bag already showed zipper problems but it didn’t rip en route so we aren’t opening it. It has most of our bulky and heavy clothes items. As we walked through the airport on our way to the bus we were greeted by local maidens who put beautiful orchid leis around our necks! Very special.

We thought the traffic was bad in Beijing but it’s even worse here! Most people are on motor cycles and they don’t even seem to care if they are going the right way in traffic. One young thing crossed in front of our bus and going down on right side blind and could have hit someone head on going the other way but didn’t. We asked about the rate of traffic accidents and were told they were high.

We checked into the Metropole Sofitel, which is supposed to be the most famous in Hanoi. It was built in 1901. It’s quite lovely but we’re back to a single room not quite the size of our ample suite on the ship. I know have to hold the bathroom door to get up off the toilet and if I want to shower will have to make it into a very high bathtub first! I’ll probably just use the swimming pool.

Our bags arrived just a few minutes before lunch and we changed into something cooler. The weather isn’t as hot and humid as we had thought it would be. We continue to be so lucky bringing good weather wherever we have gone except for our rainy day in Taipei.

We ate in a far restaurant in the hotel and it was very lovely except it took several steps to get there. It was a buffet and all beautifully displayed. We certainly won’t go hungry here! Wine drinkers were penalized so I didn’t drink. Beer was free. How discriminating! I’ll have to chat with Gordon. Getting back to our room we went by a lovely pool which has shallow wide steps but nothing to hang on to Hmmm. I’ll probably need help.

After lunch we headed to the Temple of Literature which was a bit dicey for the wheelchair but we made out okay. We had a marvelous lecture by a 92-year-old man named Huu Ngoc who is now a writer but has been a soldier and I forget what else before he became a writer. His book on Vietnamese Culture was a bestseller in 1995. He spoke for an hour on the history of Vietnam and covered an entire whiteboard with his writings. Eventually I had a difficult time understanding him and let Phil take notes and he has typed them up already. He is so much better than I in keeping current!

We had an interesting bus ride back to the hotel. Phil went for a walk while I went for a swim and exercised an hour in the pool. A very nice waiter serving drinks to those around the pool came over to offer me a hand and when I got out I flagged someone down to help me too. Imagine my surprise when this pool wasn’t heated and it was quite chilly. I persevered and only shared the pool with two splashing little girls who enjoyed diving from the deep end. Could not open our heavy door but I learned from Phil you have to take the card out of the door after it flashes green so will try to do better tomorrow! We had a rest before we met the group in the lobby to walked to the Press Club Restaurant not far from out hotel. After being warned that you had to look people in the eye and be aggressive in crossing the street, we were led by our guide who found just the right moment after a bus passed to dash across.

The restaurant was just fine but several of us, including me, were fading fast by 9:00 P.M. I also used Phil’s fan to cool off and it was terrific! By the end of our three days here we should be able to master the names of the 26 that are with us. I have taken so many pictures that I need to dump one chip on the computer in order to persevere tomorrow! This, which should have been accomplished in two minutes, took us a rather frustrating hour and while I was working Phil was misplacing his electric toothbrush while he was trying to change the batteries. I was more awake when we got to bed but decided to give up for this very interesting and different day. We certainly haven’t been in another country like Vietnam on this trip! So time to sack out!! Another fascinating day.

March 21, Hanoi

Slept well and found Phil up reading in the bathroom when the alarm went off at 7:30 a.m. Turns out he’d only been up 8 minutes! Tried the closest restaurant, the Beaulieu in our hotel. Only one step and we found it terrific! We breakfasted with a woman archeologist that we had met earlier on the ship. Her work was done in China Town LA which she found very fascinating and could set her own hours while her children were young. She is traveling with two daughters and we met them as we were leaving breakfast.

After breakfast I figured we might connect with Peter on video cam and we did on our second try. They had just finished dinner and we were able to have a quick chat with them all including a bark from Bixie! They were so clear and it was so great to chat with them!! They were just as clear as if they were home. Ain’t technology grand!

This morning at 9:00 A.M. we headed off to the Ethnological Museum and an explanation by Mark Rappaport who turned out to be terrific. He is an ex-pat that has lived here for 7 years and has become a collector of items. He talked a mile a minute and I tried to keep up in the note taking and looking and taking pictures all at the same time. The patter, of course, follows what we were seeing. Phil has written up a short summary on this but I may add a bit more here. Many of the exhibits were about minority arts, crafts, and living styles. There are 53 minority groups living in Vietnam making up 14% of the population or about 10 million people. They have had their own holocaust losing 5-7 million people. The southern part of the country doesn’t have minorities. The central highlands up to Da Nang have totally different minorities coming from pre-Islamic Indonesia. They are animistic.

We saw exhibits of different kind of fish traps. There was one unusual exhibit of some breasts showing while planting in the fields. We were told Vietnamese people are very conservative like our Amish people. They burn incense every day and visit the temple twice a month. The women wear high necked long dresses with slits in the side and pants underneath. Next we saw an exhibit of people chewing beetle nuts. He said that it is a little bit like chewing on dial soap! He’s a child of the ’60’s and tries everything. It makes the lips red and the teeth dark and gives you a buzz. He learned that it isn’t the beetle nut that makes the women’s teeth dark but actually resin applied when they are very young because they think dark teeth are a thing of beauty. Men end up having six white teeth and women have twenty black teeth. This practice must help preserve the teeth. We saw a bronze making exhibit and how to make iron with bellows as well as pottery. Vietnamese are famous for their ceramics. We saw traps and snares and looms and crossbows from the past. We learned that the government won’t let people have rifles but they can have muskets.

We also learned that between 1975-1985 were the hungry years when 200,000 people died of starvation. Another interesting fact was that women aren’t allowed to attend funerals because they bring life into the world and shouldn’t be associated with death in any way. Saw some beautiful, bright colored minority costumes that were Tibetan Burmese clothing. Mark was a fabulous fund of information.

We went on a two minute or perhaps five minute shopping binge at the Museum Gift Shop and for less than $30 got 16 book marks, a weaving and a little red purse. That will probably do us for Vietnam!

We had lunch at an artistic and charming restaurant and we shared a table for four with two Episcopalian Priests of the female persuasion. They share a house together in San Diego and once they saw Phil was a vegetarian commented that it is difficult to feed all their own children and grandchildren because of their various eating habits! Upon returning to the hotel we were given about 10 minutes to dump our large bags and walked about a half a block to catch a Pedi cab which they call cyclers for an unbelievable hour riding around the narrow streets of the French Quarter! I took over 100 pictures which I later edited down a bit. We saw haircuts, workers of all kinds, women carrying all kinds of goods balanced on poles, bikers, buses, cars, motor scooters and motorcycles all just inches away! Absolutely marvelous hour!

Came back home and started writing up the day. I took a break and planned to nap when Phil did but was actually virtuous and went to the pool instead. I lasted 45 minutes. Actually I shared it with a one year old little girl who kept waving and didn’t seem to care it all that it was freezing. Her mother wasn’t flinching either. Wish I had my camera to take her picture. An Indian man dove in and came up with “Jesus it is cold!” Another young woman with a bikini sat with her legs in the water for a minute or two but she was a pro and obviously was swimming to keep fit. She lasted for 15 minutes. Every time I go in a pool I naturally think of Andrew and Michael and all their devotion to this sport. Miss you both as well as Matt and hope his baseball games are going well! I must report that I am a greater mess than usual. Flying here I had, I thought, the brilliant idea of taping up my compression stockings to my legs with Phil’s electrical tape. On the flight over they kept falling down. This didn’t work well either but they didn’t fall down so it was partly successful. Consequently now I have black tape marks about three per leg that I can’t get off! When I get out of the pool I put on the all too small bathrobe and cover myself with a towel. Today I stayed on watching the others swim or dunk while I enjoyed a gin and tonic! When I returned to the room Phil was typing away after his nap.

I wore my long African dress tonight to a cocktail party at the Green Palm Art Gallery. We really enjoyed the art gallery. It showed us a variety of painters which represented Vietnam. We were told by an art critic and painter that they all painted about their own experiences while living here. We priced a few and the cheapest we asked about was $2,100 so we settled for a $10 catalogue plus I took several pictures. I have winnowed down my pictures for the day to 300!

While we were waiting in the lobby to gather for the gallery tour, Phil asked our fine leader Hwang which restaurant he would recommend to us for dinner. It was called Club Opera and is across the street from the other side of our hotel. We walked there after leaving the gallery. It seemed safer to push myself across the busy street with Phil flanking me. We lived to tell the tale and had a marvelous dinner in this tasteful restaurant. Perhaps the most exotic serving was Phil’s spring rolls that were served with the bottom cut out of a pineapple with the spring rolls attached by toothpicks with additional open holes to show off the glowing candle. Reminded us of Halloween! We also enjoyed chatting with a younger couple from Melbourne. Thought of Chris and Garry. We really enjoyed our time there.

I got my legs up for awhile while Phil spell checked a number of his lectures. I read the local paper and found it so very much more informative than the China News. Will bring a copy of both home.

We are both so glad we came on this extension trip. Phil has been snoring for some time so I’ll turn in too. We have an 8:30 a.m. lecture in the hotel in the morning. Another fantastic day!

March 22, Hanoi

Today is our last day and it was a really full one. We had rain much of the day and how happy I was we had had our Pedi cab ride yesterday because today we would have been wrapped in plastic and pictures would have been difficult.

We breakfasted in the nearest dining room and I took pictures of the hotel to help remember it. After breakfast Phil returned to the room but I worked away at finding the lecture room. I had to carry my wheelchair up three stairs and that is about the maximum I can do by myself.

Our lecture was given by Le Dong Doanh on “Vietnam Economic Reforms and Development: Opportunities and Challenges.” Our lecturer was the former President of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM). He was also a member of the Board of Institute Of Development Studies. He has traveled extensively and has lived in Germany. He is a member of the Think Tank here. He met Bush 1 for talks in Indonesia a number of years ago. Bush gave him a tough morning so he recommended a swim in the afternoon so they could relax and know each other. Sounds like his personal diplomacy is alive and well!

In 1986 reform was implemented and Vietnam moved from a central planning economy into a market economy with socialist orientation. They developed and diversified international economic relations. They started reducing poverty with gradual democratization. These were the pre-conditions to be integrated into the regional and world economy.

In 2007 the population was 82.6 million and the GDP was 71.3 billion in US dollars with a growth rate of 8.5%. This is a modest GDP per capita but they are catching up slowly. Every year they are increasing by 1.1 million people. In the wealthy districts people have one to two children but in the countryside there are many children up to 11 in a family. Basically everyone is free to have as many children as they want when they want though one to two are suggested by the government. It is not enforced as in China. One mother in the countryside was asked how she kept track of her children. She replied that she counted 22 feet at night and felt to see if anyone had a fever!

In 2007 Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). They are sixth in the world for foreign investment. In December 7, 2007 the US in one year had invested 5.4 billion dollars. Now in the next 12 months the US will invest 21 billion dollars or a 28% growth. Poverty has declined from 18% in 2006 to 14.7% in 2007. Vietnam is 105th among 177 economies in 2007. There are many poor people in the mountainous regions. Those working in agriculture are declining as industry in the private sector is gaining. Vietnam is a country that has reformed gradually without outside help until 1993 when the US started helping them. They now have a market friendly system with high economic growth.

They have always had a difficult time with China. China has attacked Vietnam 13 different times. In 2000 there was a bilateral trade agreement with the US and in 2007 they joined the WTO. Negotiations on FTA with Japan and with Indonesia are only beginning now with an integration process. Now there are 260,000 registered companies. The size and sophistication of them is increasing rapidly. There are many problems in corporate governance. They pretend to be smaller than they are. Their share of the private sector is now 60% of the GDP. Only 50% can get bank credit. Most businesses still have a family-type management.

There are 8 state owned “conglomerates” directly responding to the Prime Minister who shares 80% of the total assets of the state sector. There is a very low return rate. There are unclear legal status and monitoring regulations. The infrastructure needs to improve. Yesterday we saw huge ditches being dug for a new sewer system.

The young population wants to earn more money. They are software and fashion conscious. There is a long tradition on the importance of education but the system is poor. There aren’t enough schools so some students attend in the morning and others in the afternoon. There are 64 provinces all with the same laws but there is a great variety in the implementation of the laws.

There is a strongly growing security market that exports shoes, oil, and ?. 24% of it goes to the US. Vietnam has a big deficit with China. Vietnam wants to expand it’s borders. They have had bad relations with China for 2000 years. Mao was tricky to work with but he did provide two corridors to give Vietnam connections to seaports. Vietnam mainly exports clothing, crude oil, coffee, and pepper. The US exports aircraft from Boeing. Vietnam has a trade surplus now.

In 2007 inflation was getting worse. Now they are stronger on foreign investments. About 35 out of every 100 people have telephones. There is a higher internet penetration. In the cold season this year 60,000 to 100,000 buffalo died and they lost lots of vegetables. In 1980 the poverty rate was 70%. By 2002 it was down to 29% and in 2004 it was 2%.

Some weaknesses are in law enforcement and transparency. There is slow progress but we are still under the international level. We need to improve our educational system. There is low efficiency of SOE’s slow reform and equalization. We must improve in the time it takes to start a new business. Our labor costs are too high. Construction workers are immigrants. The price of real estate is high. Our infrastructure needs improving. A worker in the clothing field makes $110-140 per month. Those in electronics make more.

A question was asked about the qualifications needed to serve in the diplomatic service. You must graduate from the university, pass an exam, and speak one foreign language. They have offices in 128 countries. A question was asked about their relationship with Cambodia. It is friendly. Vietnam helped get rid of Pol Pot and is now withdrawing. They produce similar crops so are in competition. Cambodia is growing faster and now have discovered oil. Question about oil refineries here. We have found oil offshore but China is claiming it and is trying to work through British Petroleum to freeze Vietnam out. We may build a refinery in central Vietnam. Now we import from China, Singapore, and Cambodia.

Does your government encourage investment from China?

China is moving some factories here because it is cheaper. But China is diversifying to other countries as well.

Does the average Vietnamese own property?

No they lease the land for 50-90 years from the State. Buyers are plentiful and private parties are connecting.

Our next event was to board our bus and head in the rain to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. It was like approaching Tiananmen Square but not as large and there were long lines of people waiting in the rain. They sort of poked around my wheelchair and said we had to use theirs. Finding someone to bring it was the issue. We sat around for quite a while. Finally our guide returned to see what had happened and one was found and the exchange was made. It offered our group a place to store all their bags and backpacks that Gordon had to watch for us while we went into the building. You could take nothing with you. Once inside four guards carried me up and down many flights of stairs in the wheelchair! I felt sorry for them for all their hard work! I also felt a bit like a pampered queen! Viewing the body was akin to seeing Stalin and Mao. This man is revered here so I’m glad we got to come. We could get our cameras out at the other end and take a few pictures back while we were waiting for our group. We’d been given preferential treatment.

Then we walked through a park-like setting to view from afar the Presidential Mansion that Ho Chi Minh never lived in. He was a simple man and we saw the very small house that he did live in plus the garage with his two cars. We walked past a pagoda-like temple that is where young couples come to pray for a baby. I said a prayer. Phil went back to go through it while I sought a squat WC. Pat came with me in case I needed help. Turns out I didn’t. Bought a postcard showing Ho Chi Minh and off we went to catch the bus to the Hanoi Hilton.

The Hanoi Hilton is the prison that John McCain spent 6 years in. As we toured the grim cells I thought of Sidney Rittenberg and his experiences. The cells are small and I remember he had to sleep on his back on a board without moving all night. That would be torture for me. They had rooms with models of soldiers sitting on the planks. Other rooms displayed pictures and write ups of the prison. There was also a picture of John McCain visiting. The doors are very heavy. A grim and bleak place and more dreary in the rain.

Next we took the bus to a new restaurant and it turned out to be both beautiful and delicious! We haven’t had anything but excellent meals here. Phil got his own menu printed up with his name on it!

Several wanted to skip the History Museum so we dropped them off on the way. The museum was well done and had artifacts that were from years BC. I enjoyed it very much but my body was tired and I didn’t climb the stairs to the second story. Instead I found the outside gift shops and spent all our dongs plus $4 or a total of $14 buying chop stick holders, a woven shawl, a panda fan, and a lovely lacquered box with coasters inside. Quite a bargain. We had about an hour’s rest before we went out to the last supper. I even did a bit of packing.

This time dinner was up a flight of 73 stairs: more than getting to Eliyahu’s house! I made it with a rest a one landing to let most of the group go ahead of me. We had cocktails under a roof at the top with open sides. It was pretty and Phil had saved me a seat. Trearty, our Harvard guide, saw to it that I got two gins and tonics so I perked up and enjoyed the evening. We had musical entertainment — five musicians on oriental instruments played through out our dinner and five dancers who danced with fans and hats did just a few dances. Very festive for our last night. The dinner was terrific and I started down ahead of the others taking pictures as I went!

We finished our packing and I got only as far as the lecture notes before going to bed. Was up practically every hour and got up at 5 to finish this up. The alarm should be going off soon. We depart at 8 a.m. for our first flight to Hong Kong with a 3-hour layover before our flight to LAX. We should be home around 3 p.m. tomorrow.

We enjoyed this fast trip to Hanoi and enjoyed our activities here. It was quite a contrast from the other countries we visited. It’s a city rising out of poverty and having to build everything up. The people look good and are clothed well. They whiz around on their scooters that can cost from $1,000 to $7,000. Cars are beyond the means of most families. So goodbye Vietnam and South Pasadena here we come! It’s been a fabulous two trips!

March 23

Up early for breakfast. What an amazing choice of foods all beautifully displayed. I’ve enjoyed way too much of it and will have to get back to a bowl of cereal or some yogurt. What a come down!

We left at 8:00 a.m. with our favorite guide for the airport. Of course we asked questions all the way so I have some more info on Hanoi and Vietnam.

The average income is $800 a year and the average rent for a two bedroom apartment is $100 per month. It obviously takes more than one employed person per apartment to survive. Our guide Hwang, doesn’t own a car because he has no space. I also wonder if he has the money. I asked about the prices of bicycles. You can buy a used one from China for about $30 or most new bicycles cost between $100-700 and most people can afford bicycles.

We were passing lots of beautiful green rice paddies. He told us women do the easy work like weeding, planting, and we saw them dipping water from one section to another. He told us most farmers in the last five years have been able to afford to buy scooters and maybe in five years more they will have cars. I saw mostly bicycles as we drove by. He told us a weak buffalo is better than a strong cow for plowing the field.

We drove over a very long bridge over the Red River. He told us this was a cooperative venture with the Chinese who first helped them and then it was completed with Russian help. It was built in 1985. Four more bridges are planned to help control the water.

We spoke a lot about education. He feels the Japanese are the most competitive followed by the Koreans. Not many Vietnamese get to study in a foreign country. You have to be either extremely smart or extremely rich. Vietnam needs a lot of improvement to catch up even though education is highly valued in their society.

We saw masses of wires strung together and someone mentioned they had never seen so many wires in any other country. He said it would eventually be underground but it will take time. After we got home and watched Phil’s video we noticed that wires are everywhere in Beijing as well but I think not as many as here.

I have a lot of images of this trip that would perhaps be a way to end this diary. I’ll start with Vietnam since it is the most recent memory.