Truncated China Trip

A few months back you published two articles on the pros and cons of visiting China and the ways of doing so. The many responses resulting from those articles seemed to berate the gentleman who stated that the best way to go was to see China from a cruise ship. We recently returned from an extensive tour of China. Our first rude awakening came when we were bumped from our first night's stay at the Great Wall Hotel in Peking, ostensibly because of Vice President George Bush's arrival with a much larger group than anticipated.

Our Yangtze River cruise was at first to be cut in half because of overbooking, but was then changed because the plane we were to fly to the ship was grounded because of bad weather. The change squeezed 24 people into 14 spaces on a 26-hour train ride. The plane change deprived us of about three days of our tour; we missed Canton, Guilin and almost a day of Hong Kong.

We were not prepared for these changes in itinerary and the discomforts from sleep deprivation, inadequate food and filthy toilet facilities. We ate from dirty tablecloths in dirty restaurants and even saw rats scurrying around. For those who do not mind these things, we recommend seeing China by land tour at your risk. If all this is not to your liking, go by ship or perhaps wait and hope that China International Travel Service gets to operate a more efficient and dependable system, probably in 5 to 10 more years.



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