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Article 1: Business Leaders Make Contacts in China
Article 2: Inland Empire China Delegation mixes business, pleasure
Article 4: Anaheim Chamber mission to China 2002
Article 5: Corona Chamber trip to China
Article 6: China tours big lure for local merchants

Article 3: March China Trip Lisa Bailey, Senior Assistant Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce May 2002

We've just returned from the latest Inland Empire Chambers China Trip. This trip had a new itinerary, so many of us who went on the prior trips returned to China once more. It was another wonderful experience. On this trip we only had one full day in Beijing, the capitol of China. The day was started out with a quick visit to Tian An Men Square where we took a group picture. We spent two hours at a different section of the Great Wall. There had been some reconstruction to level the stairs on the lower levels and to add handrails. As you went higher the steps were not redone and you had to be careful as the steps were worn down from millions of feet stepping on the same spot. The height of the steps was not made uniformly either. Some steps were four inches high; others were closer to two feet! There were many vendor stalls near the parking area, where many of us contributed to the Chinese economy. The rest of the day was spent visiting various factories and stores to see demonstrations of cultural craftsmanship including jade carving, cloisonné and a Chinese medical clinic. That evening there was a Peking duck dinner where officials from the Chinese government were our hosts.
Click to view enlarged version
Reception banquet by Hangzhou Municipal Government.

Early the next morning we flew to Xi'an which is near the Gobi Desert. The weather was hot and dry with lots of dust in the air. During our two days in Xi'an we learned that the local government resisted (thankfully) Chairman Mao's directive to destroy all cultural sites. Therefore they still have the original city wall and gates built in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) which surrounds the city. We enjoyed seeing them outlined in lights at night. We saw the Banpo Village Museum - Discovered in 1953. It was first established in 4000 or 5000 B.C. as "Half Slope" Village. This female dominant society believed that everyone was of the same class. Women were heads of the family. Children took the mother's name. They shared everything except children. We also visited the Dayan (Big Wild Goose) Pagoda and Buddhist Temple. The grounds were lovely and architecture beautiful.
Tiger Hill, Suzuo
Tiger Hill, Suzuo

The Terra Cotta Warriors left many of us speechless. For those of you who aren't aware, the Terra Cotta Warriors were hand crafted over 2200 years ago to guard the tomb of the first Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi. He established a common monetary system, weights and measures, code of law, written language, and began extensive building projects that included roads and the Great Wall. While it is unknown who crafted the pieces, they are each unique and life size. They were discovered in 1974 by three farmers digging a well during a drought. One of the farmers upon finding a clay face, thought there was a resemblance to his family and showed it to his nephew who worked in a local museum. This farmer is credited with the find and is considered a national hero in China. He is now employed at the museum gift store where he autographs books about the site purchased there. He was there during our visit, so many of us purchased a book which he signed as a unique souvenir. There was an evening flight to Guilin which is in the Southern section of China. The dramatic karsts landscape was very different from anything else we had seen in the other cities (on either trip). The climate is sub tropical (humid), and everything was lush and green. According to our local guide, the area is 10% water, 10% land, and the rest is made up of the large jutting hills; which were incredible to see. We took a 3 hour boat ride on the Lijing River. We were fascinated by the water buffalo that were everywhere. They plow the fields for the farmers. This was also a wonderful way to view the hundreds of rock formations, huge bamboo groves, and local fisherman. At Fubo Hill, many of us climbed to the top (296 steps), which allowed us an incredible 360 degree view of the city. At the Reed Flute Cave we were able to walk through a large cavern with fantastic stalactite and stalagmite formations, which were colorfully lit to enhance the visual effect. We were also allowed to visit an elementary school while there, at the request of many of the tour group who were in the educational field. The school was six stories and had over 900 students in grades first through sixth. As we visited a first grade classroom, they demonstrated their English skills by singing a song and answering questions in English. I was very impressed with how well behaved these children were. They sat quietly, straight up in their chairs, and raised their hands when they wanted to speak. We also saw the music classes, computer classes and the art room. I observed two little girls escorting another little girl to the office during the recess break, because she had skinned her elbow. It could have been any playground in the United States. I smiled when I realized that kids are kids regardless of race, creed, color, religion or government.

We landed in Shanghai late on Thursday and were surprised to find that it was cool and raining. On Friday, we were given the option of what was available for us to do. We could stay with the tour and visit the Jade Buddha Temple, spend two hours shopping in the marketplace, have lunch and see more sites or we could hire a taxi at any point and do as we pleased. Many of the group opted to do their own thing for the day. My friends and I spent the morning with the tour and after lunch, took a taxi to do some more shopping. The taxi ride was a new adventure in itself! We defined the ride by how many near misses we had. As I was in the back seat with no seat belt, I didn't want to know! We took a second taxi back to the hotel, rejoined the group for another banquet, and then went to spend some time at the Hard Rock Café. It was fun to see a Chinese band, sounding very much like U2, Pat Benetar and others. Early on Saturday morning a few of us brave (crazy) souls decided to take the subway back to the marketplace for a few more items. Two subways, a long walk, and a taxi ride finally got us there. We shopped for 30 minutes and then took a taxi back. We made it back five minutes before the bus was to head to the airport to come home. Due to crossing the International Date Line and various time zones, we arrived at LAX five hours before we left Shanghai.

Please read the accompanying "Things You Should Know" if you think you would like to go on any of the upcoming tours. I do recommend these trips to anyone that has an interest in China or seeing another culture.