Photos of Shangri-La Suzhou Hotel

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These are some photos of the Shangri-La Hotel that I stayed in Suzhou during April 2007. This was one of the Horizon Club suites on the 40th floor. Some of the benefits of being on a Horizon Club floor: free high-speed internet connection; complimentary buffet breakfast in the Horizon Club lounge located on the 48th floor; club floor check-in/check-out; free-suit pressing and shoe-shine service; free daily newspaper and fruits, etc.

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A bump in the road to the Blackberry 8830

Blogroll, Chicago, China, Pictures, Tech Toys 2 Comments »

Blackberry 8830
Well, I was supposed to get the Blackberry 8830 at the Verizon Wireless store in Chicago today, but I found out a few things from the sales representative there:

  • Although the BB 8830 has a slot for a SIM card, you only need to use the SIM Card to utilize the “world phone” capabilities like making/receiving phone calls and sending/receiving e-mails while you are in another country.  If you are in the USA, the SIM card is not required.  The one time cost of the SIM card is around $40.
  • Another catch is that the phone is locked, meaning that you cannot use another SIM from another mobile carrier either from USA or an international carrier.   This is a bummer because when I do go to China, I use a SIM card from China Mobile, so the local phone calls are about $0.05/minute.  If I use the VZW Sim Card, the phone calls will cost about $0.60/minute.  Whoa!
  • Furthermore, in order to use the “world phone” in another country aside from the USA, you will need to pay an additional $14/month for the international phone + e-mail service.   This is on top of the unlimited data service that I’m already paying for, which is $30/month.

So now I’m debating whether or not to get the BB 8830 now, or just wait until November of this year when my 2-year anniversary with my current Treo 700w is up.  If I wait, I can get an additional $100 off the phone price, from their “New Every 2” plan.  Right now, the retail phone price of the BB 8830 is $399, and there is current mail-in rebate promotion of $100 off.

My Top Ten Tips when traveling to China

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I’ve traveled to China over 30 times in the past 10 years, so I’m a seasoned travel veteran. These are my Top Ten China Travel Tips to help you have some peace of mind when you are traveling to the most populous country in the world!

(Tip #10) Bring your travel charger and ethernet cable. Even though most hotels carry them, most will charge you an extra fee per day usage. It is better to bring your own and save the money. Also, make sure you get the adapter to fit Chinese outlets, which have three-prongs, in the shape of a triangle.

(Tip #9) Bring your own US medications. Even though you try to avoid it at all costs, some Chinese food might get you sick. In that case, make sure you have handy your anti-diarrhea pills, like Immodium and Pepto-Bismol. Also in case you catch a cold or flu, don’t forget cold/flu medicine like Tylenol and Claritin-D.

(Tip #8) When shopping for higher-end and more expensive items, always bring an English/Chinese interpreter. In department stores, price negotiation is not an option. However, privately-owned shops do have some wiggle-room on pricing on the goods they are selling. As a general rule, if you are foreign English-speaker you will pay more for an item than a local Chinese-speaker. Therefore, let the Chinese-speaker begin the negotiation on the expensive item that you want.

(Tip #7) Learn some basic Chinese phrases and learn some ettiquette when eating at Chinese restaurants, especially during business lunches and dinners. In most of your encounters in China (i. e. airport, hotel, etc.), most Chinese speak good English, but there are few important phrases you should learn in Chinese, such as “Where are the restrooms?”, “I need a taxi.”, “Thank you.”, “You’re welcome.”, etc. Also, when meeting with Chinese business people for lunch or dinner, be sure to learn the proper way to use chopsticks and also the other nuances of presenting yourself during a Chinese meal.

(Tip #6) Be a tourist, but don’t “act” like a tourist. Treat areas you visit with respect. Most ancient sites have been around for thousands of year and even though you may see trash around, this doesn’t give you reason to litter also. Another thing, most Chinese are friendly and welcome foreign tourists with open arms, but be very cautious of those few bad apples that may take advantage of you because you are a tourist. Watch your belongings carefully, especially if you have an expensive camera hanging around your neck or a cell phone clipped to your belt. Pick-pockets are ever-present.

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Golfing in USA vs. Golfing in China

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I’ve been golfing in USA since I started way back in 1998. As far as China is concerned, I’ve golfed there since 2004. My main place to play is USA, and golfing in China only occurs when I travel there on business. Also, when I golf in USA, I have my own club set that I’ve grown accustomed to. In China, I have to borrow a club set, and the quality of the clubs doesn’t compare to my USA club set.

So here goes the comparison…

In the USA…

  • The cost of a round at a California public course is about US$ 50.
  • You have the option to either walk or ride. This is great because you can walk to get some much needed excerise, although you’ll most likely be sore.
  • BYOB. For those of you who have lived on Mars all your life, this means Bring Your Own Beer 🙂 . Why would you pay USD$ 4 for one beer from the snack shop or cart girl, when you can get a six-pack for only USD$ 7 at the nearby 7-Eleven? Doh!
  • A hot-dog and a bag of chips at the turn. Yummy! Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know that this is not the ideal food to maintain your peak performance during a golf round, but I’ll leave the granola and squirrel food for the old-timers.
  • Since you have no caddy and you’re basically on your own, most carts are equipped with GPS.
  • At the end of the round, there is no way to clean your shoes, except for those stationary foot brushes that they have placed in areas where you can’t find them.

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This is “almost” the correct way to setup before a tee shot.

Blogroll, China, Golf, Pictures No Comments »

Future PGA Tour Pro

This is me about to tee off.  I don’t remember which hole it was, but this is the Sun Island Golf Course in Suzhou, China.  I played in April 2007.

My setup seems okay – wide stance, ball placed just ahead of the center, shoulders tilting away from target.  My head should be more behind the ball.  Also, if you had seen the rear-view of my setup, most likely, my back will be curved.  I know it should be angled and straight.  I think this drive turned out okay – about 250 yards.  Did you know your drives in China travel 50 yards farther than they would in the USA? 😉

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