December 24th, 2012


Happy belated birthday!

or a belated birthday celebration we had a family dinner on Saturday night when I got home. We had prime rib, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, salad and rainbow cookies! (Yes, I didn't want a cake, I wanted rainbow cookies!) Happy belated birthday to me! 

NYC at Christmas time!

Yesterday we went into NYC to see "Dead Accounts" With Norbert Leo Butz and Katie Holmes. Good acting, strange play. I didn't really get it. Afterwards we went around town and looked at lights! We saw the tree in Rockefeller Center, the Macy's windows and the lights all around town. A lovely evening indeed!



Going to China!

Tomorrow I head to China! That's right, China! Here's our itinerary:


DAY 1 Depart USA. Your magical journey to China begins this afternoon as you depart on your wide-body jet flight bound for Beijing.

DAY 2 Arrive Beijing. After crossing the International Date Line you arrive late this afternoon in Beijing, China’s lively capital and recent host to Summer Olympics. You'll be greeted at the airport and travel to your upscale hotel centrally located in downtown Beijing, within easy access to Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a welcome dinner and briefing Penta Hote (D)

DAY 3: On today's exhilarating included excursion venture outside the city to the legendary Great Wall, which extends nearly 4,000 miles. Time to view and mount the well-preserved ramparts of this ancient wonder before proceeding to the Ming Tombs, burial site of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (B,L)

bustling shopping street in ChinaChinese pavillionGreat Wall

DAY 4: A day at leisure to explore at your own pace. Your hotel is ideally located for independent exploration. We suggest an optional ($65) full day excursion with lunch to the Forbidden City, the former seat of the emperors throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is a true architectural masterpiece and home to the National Palace Museum. After an included lunch, proceed to the Summer Palace, a former royal retreat and now a lovely park. Here, enjoy a scenic boat ride on peaceful Kunming Lake. This evening, delight in an optional banquet ($50) featuring the famous “Peking Duck” and attend the famous "Legend of Kung Fu" Show. (B)

Chinese OperaXian terracotta warriors

DAY 5 Beijing/Xian: Morning at leisure. You may join an optional excursion ($40) to Beijing's ancient back alleys (Hutong) by rickshaw and witness the way the Chinese have lived for centuries. You’ll also visit a home of a local family and have lunch with them. Later today, fly to Xian, ancien capital of China or eleven dynasties and historic gateway to the old silk trading route Grand Metro Park Hote (B)

each terracotta warrior is differentDAY 6: On a guided morning excursion visit one of the world’s most amazing archaeological discoveries: a life-size Terra Cotta Army of soldiers and horses guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi. It was unearthed in 1974 after being buried with the first Qin emperor for 22 centuries! The afternoon is at leisure to discover independently. Your hotel enjoys a superb location and you may wish to explore on foot and visit the intriguing Shanxi Museum to view stone carvings and precious art treasures from the ancient Han and Tang Dynasties. On this evening’s optional outing ($45), savor a delicious dumpling dinner, a local specialty, and delight in a Tang Dynasty spectacular folklore show. (B,L)

Shanghai BundDAY 7 Xian/Shanghai. Today fly to Shanghai, often described as “Paris of the East”. An intriguing, dynamic city, today’s Shanghai weaves the seaport legacy of its past with impressive new 21st century architecture. Upon arrival, embark on a guided orientation drive and stroll down the Bund, the bustling and exciting waterfront along the Huangpu River Crowne Plaza Fudan Hote (B)

DAY 8 Start our day with a guided walk amidst the scenic ponds, colorful pavilions and walkways of the 16th century Yu Yuan Garden, a delightful reminder of old Shanghai. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore at your own pace. You may join an optional excursion with lunc Acrobats in Shanghai($38) to discover the acclaimed Shanghai Museum displaying exquisite ancient Chinese art and artifacts followed by a visit to the famous Jade Buddha Temple which houses exceptional Buddha statues carved of a single piece of white jade. This evening you may join an optional ($40) dinner followed by a mesmerizing acrobatic show. (B)

Grand Canal in SuzhouDAY 9 Optional Suzhou Excursion. A full day at leisure to explore Shanghai as you wish. We recommend an exciting optional ($65) excursion with lunch to the charming, canal laced Suzhou, often called "Paradise on Earth". Here you embark on a boat ride on the ancient "Grand Canal" and visit two of Suzhou's most famous gardens as well as other city highlights. Return to Shanghai later this afternoon. This evening join your fellow travelers for an included festive farewell dinner at a famous local restaurant. (B,D)

DAY 10 Shanghai/USA. Today china sampler maptransfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA. Your memorable journey comes to an end as you arrive back in the U.S. later today. (B