Xiamen, China


Update:   I’m going to China in April but will miss SMX China.  Xiamen was harder to get to than I’d originally thought given the rest of our schedule and China contacts are popping up in other places, so the new trip is Hong Kong April 1-4, Shanghai April 5-8, Beijing April 9-15, home to Oregon. 

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Still planning the trip to China for SES  SMX China 2008 in Xiamen, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.    I am running into the internet challenge of really old information though.   For example I’d heard about a really cool ocean ferry that goes from Hong Kong to Xiamen.   It’s listed in my very new guidebook but some online sources say it’s not running anymore.   I got hopeful with this online blurb:

Hong Kong – Xiamen 1400 0800 Weekday 7245 from China Hong Kong City Pier  Xiamen – Hong Kong 1500 0900 EveryMon, Wed, Thu, Sat to China Hong Kong City Pier

Only to find the page was last updated…in 1997!

Google’s travel listings are pretty challenged in the USA so I should not be surprised that finding accurate China info could be trouble.    I’m online most of the day but have to admit the best sources of general China travel information so far have probably been word of mouth and my guidebook rather than online, though I’ve been using all of them together for best results.

The plan as of now is to fly to Hong Kong and spend about 3 days, then Train to Shanghai (20 hours, sleeper) for about 2 days, then to Beijing (13 hours by train) for about 3 days, then to Xiamen for Conference (which I’m hoping will be at the Xianglu Grand Hotel because it looks simply awesome!) then back to Hong Kong for the flight home.   But we are coordinating 3 schedules so we’ve still got some logistics to go.

China Visas appear to be a bit of a challenge as you can’t get them by mail.  I think most travel agencies will do this for you, but we are not planning to use one so somebody may need to go to San Francisco Chinese consulate.  Not a big deal as Charley lives down there and I’ll be near there later in January at the Web 2.0 Conference.

Joe Duck – Chinese Edition


Click HERE for my Chinese Edition.    Cool?

Actually, any web page can be auto-translated in this fashion by Google.  It’s a really cool feature though I’m guessing the translations must leave something to be desired.    My understanding is that you still need humans to pull quality meaning from one language to another.    Still, this is a huge step forward and the advent of hand held translation units, online translation, and a lot more global travel is breaking down one of the barriers to international understanding – language.

China is expected to be the world’s top travel destination by 2020 and I don’t doubt that estimate.  It is one of the reasons I’m anxious to get over there to SES China in Xiamen, the Xianglu Grand Hotel (though I’m not clear if this is the SES China venue or not), The Great Wall of China, Beijing and the Forbidden City, Hong Kong Harbor, Hong Kong, Kowloon, and much more of the amazing China Travel landscape. I want to start exploring and understanding the nation and culture that may eventually eclipse the USA in terms of global influence  (I’m not predicting that – just noting it is a possibility.  What is a certainty is that China will continue to be one of the most influential nations for some time to come).      One of the most interesting graphs I have ever seen showed the global GDP of about 1850, noting that India+China were over half the global totals, and the USA was not even in the same league.    The USA’s remarkable industrial rise since that time led us to the global economic dominance we now enjoy, but things could change … again.   I don’t see this shift in Economic dominance as a negative, rather more an inevitable balancing and levelling of an increasingly globalized playing field – the world Tom Friedman has described so well in his book “The World is Flat”.