Subject: China and Mongolia
Hi Sue,

Read your post with great interest. Between yours and the Coleman's, you may start a whole new wave of tourism to China. I think it's true that many people do not understand how easy it is to travel there. Even when I was there (it seems like ancient history now), they really welcomed the American tourist, but we were oddities. And, oh how they wanted American dollars. But you felt they had lived in a closed society so long that they would welcome anyone new. Even at that time there were quite a few Chinese visitors to places like the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, etc. The guide explained that they had only recently been allowed to visit these places; in fact, the Forbidden City had not been open to any outsiders for very long.

On a motor trip between locations, laborers were breaking up rocks with pick axes and putting the pieces together jigsaw puzzle style to build a new roadbed. When someone questioned if that wasn't women swinging some of the pickaxes, our beautiful female guide said, very enthusiastically, Oh yes, in China, we are all equal. Needless to say, some of us changed our minds about how equal we wanted to be.

It is truly a country of such contrasts. To see that kind of road construction and a few days later see the excavations at Xian and imagine the magnificence of that army and all the chariots when it was first done and painted with all the bright colors centuries earlier.... It made one wonder if they were going forward? Of course, China has changed in so many ways since I was there, and how I would love to experience the China you and Barbara did.

Just during the two years my relatives had been there, the younger women (like the waitresses in the hotel restaurants) had started to wear makeup and knee-high hose (though their skirts were above the knee)apparently to westernize as much as possible. Our guide in Xian had learned English from a Bostonian, and I can't tell you how strange an accent mixture that was, but he was a very bright, interesting young man. He was so proud of his new son that he had the driver stop at the end of his street so that he could go get his baby and his wife to present them to us. How I would love to know how he has fared in the new China.

Obviously, my nostalgia goes on. Hopefully, we can visit at the GTG in Toronto. I would strongly encourage anyone who can and has an interest to start planning a trip to China. Thank you again, Mary and Jerry, for starting this thread.

Lou Matthews Lakeway, TX