China Trip Reflection – Part 1 – Gear

I just came back from a two week trip to China, and I wanted to share with you my thoughts on what worked and what didn’t work in terms of gear that I brought.

What worked

  • Duffle bag used for short overnight trips. The majority of the trip was in Shanghai, but I took two, two-day side trips to Hangzhou and Nanjing. If I were to bring my big suitcase with me, it would have been somewhat of a hassle on the train as the overhead area isn’t that deep.
  • 26” suitcase. I knew I was going to buy things while out there, but I didn’t know how much extra space I needed. The 26” suitcase felt really empty on my way out there, but on the way back it was the perfect size for everything I brought back home. I didn’t extend the suitcase either, so there was still room to spare.
  • Lowepro Versapack 200 AW – I took this bag everywhere with me. The top compartment was large enough to store all the non-camera stuff I needed for that day. It also was able to hold all the various items I bought while on the trip. The bottom section took care of my DSLR and other camera related items. Backpack straps and design made it comfortable to use throughout the trip.
  • R-strap for my DSLR camera. This strap is much more comfortable and easier to use than my op/tech strap.
  • Vitamin C. I took 500mg pills and lots of cough drops with me. Thankfully, I never caught a cold out there.

What didn’t work

  • Bringing smaller US currency. You will ultimately exchange it all, so why bring smaller bills? Maybe a few dollar bills is fine, but no need for $10 or $20s.
  • Original Sonicare toothbrush /w power converter. I love my Sonicare toothbrush, and I brought it with me. The one downside to the original model is that its only rated for 120 watts so I needed a power converter to recharge the device while in China. For whatever reason, it never fully charged which resulted in one session per a several hour charge. This wasn’t a huge failure, but I did have to bring the charging station with me on the side trips. If the device was able to hold a full charge, I would have been one item lighter while on the side trip. I think the only solution here would be to buy the newer model.
  • Wallet designed for US currency. The RMB is a bigger than the USD so my wallet never closed properly.

What I should do or buy for next time

  • Electronic translator. Either a dedicated one, or an ipod touch /w an app. Not being able to speak Chinese in certain areas where nobody speaks English makes things difficult.
  • Emergency items in case I miss a flight. Because of weather issues in Shanghai, I missed my original flight home and ended up staying an additional 10 hours in Hong Kong. Since I already checked my suitcase, I didn’t have much with me so perhaps bring a change of clothes and some various toiletries with me in the case I’m stuck somewhere.
  • Bug spray? I probably got bit over ten times on my body, and I think on my last trip out there, I got bit several times as well.

Overall, I think I did fairly well in terms of gear that I bought on this trip. Next post will have a bunch of pictures from the trip. I just need to process them first.

End of Year Report Card: A-

Like every year, I like to reflect on the various accomplishments from this year. 2008 was quite a good year, but I was also very busy as well. Here are some interesting metrics  from this year:

  • Attended 26 events – a combination of conferences, workshops, and training classes.
  • Launched another startup.
  • Built several applications that are in use by many today.
  • Last year’s startup is gaining more traction.
  • Traveled 12 times, being on the road for 46 days.

Hopefully next year will be just as productive, with less time on the road. Thanks to all that helped and supported me through all my various projects.

Busy Traveling: 8 Cities in 5 Months

I just got back from another business trip, and this time I was in New York. That makes it the tenth week out of the last twenty where I have been away on travel! So where else have I been to during all that time? I’ve been to Myrtle Beach, Kansas City, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Dallas, New York, and San Diego.

The rest of the year doesn’t seem that bad. I have one or two more business trips, and then some well needed vacation time. The hard question is if I want to do more traveling during my vacation time. I enjoy traveling and love to explore, but my body might be exhausted by then.

Las Vegas

I just got into Las Vegas for a 10 day business trip. I did a similar trip last year, and at day 8 I was ready to be home. Anyone want to take bets on when I will break this time?

I finally got a room with a decent view this time. Is this Encore hotel an extension to Wynn, or a separate thing? I’m starting to get confused on all these brand expansions. Venetian has the Palazo, and Mandalay Bay has THEhotel. 

Back From Washington DC

I’m back home from my Washington DC business trip. Overall it was a decent trip, but the weather out there is not fun. I don’t know how people can stand hot and humid weather. This trip I flew out a day early, so I had a free day for once to explore the city. My original plan was to hit up one of the Smithsonian Museums, but I found a pickup kickball game in the park, and I had to join in. I’ve heard that kickball is gaining popularity with adults, and that there are even leagues. The last time I played kickball was in grade school, but because of all my years of kung fu, I could still kick the ball pretty well :) I wonder if there is a league back home.

Speaking of back home, my sister and her family visited me yesterday. I haven’t seen my nieces in a while and they are growing quickly. Here is a cute picture of Ashley.

105 Degrees!

And tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter! Remember to drink lots of water and try to stay cool out there.