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SAT, 5/26: Bed 9:40PM, not PACKED yet! Up at 10:10 to PACK. Bed 10:45. NOT take jacket; if I need one, BUY one in Hong Kong! NOT take slippers, SOX OK! ALMOST forget DEODORANT. Bed 10:50, only 6:05 to 4:55 alarm! Change undershirt to TEE shirt at 10:55! Check weather to 11:05---mostly CLOUDY. Full moon 6/5, check 11/1 and 30 as only two full-moon month to 11:10PM.

SUN, 5/27: Take one diphenhydramine at 12:05AM! Add Rolaids and more talc to 12:15. Pill WORKS: wake to 4:55 alarm, feeling dizzy at first, but it quickly passes as I have quick oatmeal and finish last items and ready at 5:15 to no car. PHONE Academy: "One minute." Arrives as I come down at 5:20AM. Misty. Scale says 11 pounds blue and 10 pounds A&K. Cab arrives at airport at 5:55, no traffic, check in by 6:12, but our reservations made UNCONNECTED to each leg by Grand Circle. END check-in at 6:30! Card gets wet and doesn't accept my pen-writing, so I shift to card 2. Board plane at 6:45! Empty plane. 5:30 flight, arrive at 10:14AM. SF cloudy. 7:33 STOP at end of runway before takeoff at 7:38, into and out of clouds. Bumpy, but 39,000 feet smooth. Pee at 8:10 and there's a VIEW of Finger Lakes. 8:23 CLOUDS again and back to my three-seat BED. 11AM still SNOW near Caspar, Wyoming. 11:44 try to photo Salt Lake and my BATTERY runs out! GREAT purples and reds and greens. So one battery does THIRTEEN rolls. 8 Turkey and 5 Mexico. Good I brought TWO and may BUY one in SF for flight, since spares are in checked bag. "Multi-meal" indeed: 1) fruit and muffin, though Fred says he chose AWFUL artificial eggs, and 2) ham and cheese and sun chips, which I get two of. Big DEAL. Small CRATERS, copper mine and tailings, snow-topped hills, and no camera. 12:22, starting down: can see TRUCKS moving on highways. Forest fires above Lake north of Reno. Lassen huge to north. SF in VERY low cloud. Land, past a school of FISH in bay at 1:14, local time 10:14AM. FIND battery for $10.49 at 10:57. Poke around and sit and do puzzles and board 1:30 ON wing-back in row 40, JAMMED plane! Start at 2:02! 12:08 flight. Off at 2:29, circle SF, and fly WAY inland! Out to sea at 3:29. "Dinner" at 4PM and take Sunday PM pills, at 7PM NYC time, 14 hours from 5AM pills. Very cloudy, but over land STILL, #1 5:55 Aleutian snowcaps! #2-7 of DENALI on horizon at 6PM in MANY overexposed tries. PILOT actually STOPPED "Crouching Tiger" to tell us to LOOK. And this after Kahlua on ice and THREE glasses of (warm) Dom Perignon. #8 Alaskan abstract art at 6:36PM. Do COMPLETE Actualism, but no nap possible. Clouds thinning at 8:26PM, HALF WAY at last. 9:10 over RUSSIA! #10 Kamchatka at 9:25PM. #11 mountain and FIELDS at 9:28 in FAR north. #12 jewel-like city on northern Kyushu. 11:46PM map FINALLY on at 12:22: we SKIMMED west of Kyushu ALL WAY DOWN, I saw ALL coast on my side, and Fuji was too far EAST to see. Pee and shit and wash FACE to great relief at 12:45AM. 1 hour to go at 1:30, clouds ABOVE 35,000 feet and clouds below. 5:19 on the go 24 hours! Land at 5:31, grey-brown dim day. INSTANT docking. Off at 5:43. Get the SLOWEST passport check person---finds things WRONG. Then 5:55. Final airport pee at 6:23. #13 misty airport "up" photo at 6:27. To hotel 7:30, room 4419. Tomorrow: breakfast at 7, first floor; briefing 8AM, ground floor restaurant: hand in emergency form, passport, and plane tickets. China guide Steve Lu, local guide Eric. At 8:15 unpack only a bit and CANCEL any idea of a walk before sleeping; leave 6AM call, expecting to be up in 8 hours. Exhausted. Take whole melitonin and one diphenhydramine at 8:23 and BED at 8:25, tossing only a bit before sleep.

TUE, 5/29: 3:50AM: My first dream at 12:20AM I forgot, but the 1:30AM dream involved my starring in an off-Broadway play which would get better notices if I had a sex-change operation that they knew about and publicized. Then woke again at 3:45AM with a dream about working for IBM (again that dream!) and being forced to take a lesser position, one that denied me use of an upstairs office I used to use temporarily: when I tried to take my phone up the stairs as I usually did, it seemed to have a thicker, whiter, less transparent wire (it used to be like the one I have on my phone at home now) that only reaches to the DOOR of my office at the foot of the stairs, and I think "How could they have DONE that: clipped off a bit of my wire?" And then think that I can simply find a whole roll of wire and cut myself a NEW full-length piece without bothering to ask anyone. Take my laptop to the john to record both of these, hoping to get another dose of sleep before getting up to unpack about 5AM. Get up about 4:48AM, not able to sleep any more, but deciding that I HAD, as close as made no difference, eight hours from 8:45PM-4:45AM. Shower with lovely loofah and direction-adjusting (left and right) soft slippers to take to the ship til 5:15, and Fred wakes as I unpack and reorganize everything, content to live out of bags in my blue bag on the floor, with "past and future" bags outside on the floor. Get EVERYTHING together for a trip to the Bund, visible to the left from the top-AND-side-opening window (but the curtains are glued together at the top to prevent the vacant windows next door from seeing us), and type this as the wake-up call comes at the DOT of 6AM and have dressed to get out to the Bund before an eagerly anticipated breakfast at 7AM. Leave catching up on the notes til later. Out at 6:10AM, getting 161Y for $20 (and a receipt to keep). #14 Peace Hotel and annex at 6:20 with still CLOUDED lens! #15 down Bund: fog, taichi, skating flagger, people at 6:22. Green TREE-dropping mats (later found to be growing ALGAE!) on "local" river, off Yangtze. Jogging, kite-flying, stretching, sitting, taichi in many forms, boats, foggy Pudong, fairly dry cool comfortable air! Great introduction (not VISUALLY, but CONTENT-wise). Cleaning people sweeping and picking up, bicycling, shoppers, tourists. Dragon-worm three inches long: worm with centipede legs and two waving antennae! Sock-walking pebble paths in gardens. 7AM GREAT breakfast: congee (rice soup), bean soup, soy tofu, watermelon, lychee, fried and steamed dumplings, Shanghai noodles, hot donuts, cold cuts (no boiled egg) and chemical-but-good orange and tomato juices and AWFUL-tasting bean juice. Up to type to 8, getting second key at desk. Briefing starts at 8:06AM: 28 of us, 12M, 16W, and then 29 shows up at 8:12! Lots of REPEATING info. ONLY Bank of China ATM machine returns card! 5% tipping for meals. 5Y postage for post cards "which arrive in one week." Bus for tour at 9:15AM. I make note I want a window NOT OVER WING for Vietnam flights, but he says the window may be OK but wing is problematic. Ends at 8:54 and I get up to room and finish typing this at 9:08, caught up to date, feeling nicely fed, impressed with the Bund, comfortable in the weather, not looking for umbrella or vitamins as Fred is, and now ready for anything. He suggested I take over the ENTIRE desk for my bag, off the floor "because of the bugs," he added, and now everything's set for the start of a wonderful trip, although the constant repetition of information and the constant jabbering of the awful woman (Wanda), who unfortunately handed in her passport so she's coming to Vietnam too, and we get them back tomorrow morning. Bund truly magical: nice people, many of whom nicely shut up after I ignored them or put my finger to my lips when they started talking to me, and then Steve said "Sometimes they pretend to be students to sell you something later, so never follow them anywhere," and I tell Fred to note that well! Now down to bus-tour at 9:11AM. This is the Huangpo River, green is pollution algae. Start Bund walk 9:25-9:50. Bus off 9:55. 16.7 million people and three million "floating": farmers, not locals. Chungking has THIRTY million, newly "enlarged" to be biggest. #16 "Chinatown" at 10:13. #17 fish at 10:28. #18 200-year-old teahouse at 10:30. #19 IN Yu Garden at 10:37. #24 11:12 Jade Stone Peak: water trickles top to bottom, smoke rises bottom to top. #25 tower in fog between Chinatown buildings. #26 Shanghai Old Restaurant at 1:03PM after good lunch with many courses and lots of banal laughs at table. Water lily not poisonous, Steve tells me with a laugh I guess I can believe. Bus 1:18 to carpet factory. Boring, at 1:40PM, and leave 2:50, reading lots of time. Meet at 5:30. Onto subway 3:53, to Pudong on line 2 for 1Y each in machine and out in rain to Jin Mai tower. Around building to Hyatt entrance, up to 54, then 56, and drinks in atrium, sho-cho and apricot (not that great) for 45Y. Out 4:40 and back on crowded train to hotel 5:15 in more rain. Up and wash face and out with jacket. Yung Cheng Sichuan Restaurant at 5:54. NOT that great food OR table company. Out to bus in small rain at 7:15, finding I did NOT bring binox for acrobats. To Portman Hyatt at 7:25, huge atrium, into GREAT 6th row seats in center in COLD theater with 22 rows and crowded with tourists. Hope I get good shots for some of the great stunts with plates to head and knives across foursome. Starts 7:30 exact and ends 8:58PM to faint applause. To bus, down block and across street because a VIP stopped busses entering atrium cover. Bus leaves 8AM tomorrow, probably in rain, to Shuzhu. Onto bus 9:15, TIRED at last, with bits of fatigue during the day, but nothing greatly annoying. Hotel 9:38, don't type anything and bed at 9:50, leaving call for 6AM, realizing that THAT will be only 8 hours anyway. Think a bit and sleep.

WED, 5/30: Shit and pee at 2:30 and take 3mg melitonin to sleep again. Start Actualism but get back to sleep, wake again 4:40, toss a bit, thinking, then up at 5:55 to shower and listen to phone ring 12 times, Fred admitting he came out of deep sleep. Put on foot-salve again to combat what may be left of athlete's foot. Look out window and find low CLOUDS obscuring top of TV antenna, but not raining very much. Finish this at 6:30AM and get back to reorganizing A&K bag and getting ready for breakfast as Fred stops writing in book and gets up to shower. Totally ready for breakfast at 6:40, and get out passenger list to try to identify people, with help from Fred. View from 54th floor impressive, but tall buildings are so scattered, Bund is so small compared to the sweep of the city, a few buildings across from Pudong are as high as the 56th floor, and the omnipresent fog and grayness make it less than spectacular, and I mope out the window while Eric is giving a background on the carpet factory with the sort of thought "What am I doing here, there must be a BETTER way of doing this," but then something NICE will happen, like good seats for the acrobats, which many confessed to sleeping through small parts of, and the guy SINGING while balancing a wine glass on the bridge of his nose that supports two more tiers of wine glasses and a wedding cake with four or five lit candles atop it is so fey as to make Fred convulse with laughter at its sheer absurdity. But how anyone can get FOUR dishes to nest from ONE foot-throw is quite beyond my comprehension. The only real "novelty" was the spring-suit with rising and falling crotch, extending and retracting arms and legs, tumbles and flattenings, but oddly the twist of a shoulder going into a tumble was a dead giveaway as to the actual situation of the body inside the concealing suit. Light-show from the 50s could be updated, and the music was the typical clash-and-clatter. Got to brush my teeth after breakfast. Obviously I'm vamping, and probably don't have space to spare, so I shut off at 6:46. Down early to breakfast at 6:55 and get started eating at a table for two, saying "Good morning" to many. At 7:20AM the omelet man enters and I follow to have a first omelet with mushrooms and ham, tiny portions, small soft omelet, odd egg-taste and "new" kind of pepper for interesting experience. Up to room to brush teeth and leave at 8AM. Loud hassle on seat-rotation, leave 8:08AM. Chung Guo=China=Central O with | through Kingdom, which is jade, meaning people and land, surrounded by a square, which indicates the Great Wall. 9:20 pit stop, to 9:35, buy 5Y awful lemon Suntory Ultima. Xia is FIRST dyansty now, with Shang being called the Second. Arrive Suzhou at 9:55. Eugenia talks of canals and old (60-100 year) houses. Two boats. Off bus at 10:02, boat starts 10:15. #31 Suzhou Grand Canal at 10:26. #35 moon-bridge from Ming Dynasty. Roll #2: #1 at 10:40. U-turn at 10:37. In one dim door, old woman pulls up pants from toilet. #4 temple of one of the Eight famous immortals. Lots of HOVELS. Off boat 11:10. Into Silk Factory 11:15. Tell Fred "This is my last GCT trip." Feel HORRID in scrappy "silk quilt" factory, made from TWIN pupae that can't be spun. Eugenia's voice gets on my nerves. Now NOON and dozen other groups clear out. Even FRED is pissed! Now 12:40 and bus isn't open YET. FINALLY pull away at 12:55. In Suzhou: "Mysterious Holy Things Shop." Lunch at Suzhou Hotel stop at 1:15. "China Suzhou Wu Music Palace Theater Restaurant." Out at 2:15, music hardly heard from trio with viol, flute, cymbalon. Leave 2:20. To "Nets" garden at 2:30. #9 "Good Fortune, 8 children": at 2:41. many, awful, LOUD groups and voices THROUGHOUT, some amplified. Roof end: "Flying Eave." Garden COPIED in Astor Court in Met: #12 slightly DIFFERENT from Met. Leave 3:20, seeing maybe HELP? To hotel pit-stop 3:38. TELL her, before 3:50 departure: "I'm clearly NOT customer for GCT, any tour that comes to Suzhou and spends MORE time in silk shop than on Grand Canal and garden COMBINED is NOT a tour I'm interested in!" I felt FURIOUS, though Fred said my face WASN'T red, as it FELT. In China, if you FINISH food, host is INSULTED because he didn't serve ENOUGH for you. Steve talks on Falun Gong: "Founder became very wealthy and moved to US. He predicted disaser in 20th Century and only Falun Gong members would survive. Many suicides because they thought they could FLY and jumped off buildings. It also tells people not to see doctors because Falun Gong practices could CURE them. Li said government hated his RELIGION. That's what I learned from my uncle. He stopped or it would be a disaster for my family." LOTS of "Grand" canals, some busy, some NOT. 7PM dinner in ground-floor restaurant. Bags out at 10:30PM tonight. To Peace Hotel at 5:30. Really tired, so I lie down and Fred shuts off the cold blast and I wrap in quilt and recuperate to 6:50, when I put on long-sleeved shirt for dinner of frozen shrimp cocktail, a mysterious orange pumpkin/ squash soup, rather tough juiceless pork in sauce, and ice cream and watermelon for dessert. Finish about 8:15 and out to walk six of our group to the subway across to Pudong and continue west on the Mall, up the last escalator at the end before it shuts down at 9PM, and impressed with the colors, cleanliness (as was Fred) and variety of lights and signs, including the millennian Swiss clock, a huge TV-news screen, some sexy guys in sports ads, cheap stuff, lots of "Hello, how are you?" that I ignore, and a sweet "Hello" from a prostitute, young but not pretty. Somewhat tired, To Adult Shop for awful tawdry exhibits of AIDS, sex-aids, and fancy underwear, and up to room to put bag out at 10PM, and back to Bund for lots of tourists and a VERY different, crowded, feeling from the morning taichi atmosphere, to 10:10PM, and across to the old Peace Hotel to go to the basement Jazz Club, crowded with AWFUL music, and then up to the "closed" 11th floor roof garden that is closing down and I ask "May I look around?" and she says "Yes" curtly. Out onto balconies, THIS is the time I should have my videocamera! Down at 10:30 and get to bed almost instantly (Fred ready, too) at 10:50PM.

THU, 5/31: Shit and pee at 1:45, up at 4:15 and 5 and doze to 6:05 and shit LOTS. Fred wakes and says he won't come out with me since the view from the window is still foggy. Down with camera and take #14 at 7:10, Two Peace Hotels (ours dated 1906 outside) and China Bank with "Chinese" top. Pebble-path HURTS at 7:22. Look for "worm" but can't find it: AGAIN, take it when it's THERE! Back to top of Peace at 7:37 but it's locked, to south 6th floor to locked main meeting room and nothing much under the eaves. To room at 7:45, Fred gone, and to breakfast next to him with omelet and a waffle with honey and lots of watermelon and orange juice and pills and back to room to start typing to catch up at 8:31. Get to this point at 9AM, content if this would be my last trip to Shanghai: went to extreme south of Bund, past Kodak-towered Diamond Restaurant center, lots of tai chi variations with swords and rings and flags and handkerchiefs and music, including couple-dancing. High-school group-photo shanghaied by me also. TV doesn't have much on, except last night's Amman/Oman travelogue with elaborate hotels. Got lots warmer and brighter on the Bund, hope it's cooler and less humid inland. Now ready to pack this into my A&K bag and get down for 9:15 bus-ride to Hangzhou. Down at 9:07 to check out, no bill. "Hurry and wait" at 9:12, with FOUR newspapers in my bag to puzzle out. Bus comes 9:22. To museum 9:35, back to bus 11:40. We START with telephone-guide and free entry to Tibet exhibit at 9:50. One container for "rare black millet wine." GREAT Tibet exhibit, and book for 180Y seems a bargain, particularly since INSIDE it seems to be marked for 360Y. Then to bronzes, paintings, calligraphy, statuary, seals, native costumes, surrounding elegant stairways and escalators, lots of people, native and tourist, and lots of children. #27 Miao lady at 11:05. Buy 15Y Shanghai Museum book from shop, had bought the 180Y Tibet book for $23, giving them $25 and they return 22Y. Then see an enormous book on Dunhuang, which seems to include ALL paintings, and the price is 380Y, which at first they say is $49, but then agree it's $45 and change, so I give them $50 and they give me five singles and 2Y. Only when I get back to the room do I find the entire book is in FRENCH, while I thought it was bilingual. GREAT museum and absolutely fabulous, incomparable pieces. Leave 11:45 and owe Fred $5 which I get to tip Eric, who's leaving. Off at 11:50, to restaurant at 12:10, for AWFUL mish-mosh of Mongolian barbecue which I take as metaphor for entire tour: previously, the barbecue was comprised of individually seasoned pieces meticulously turned on a grill and served with vegetables and more sauces, but this was everything piled into a bowl and sloshed onto the grill, liquids spewing off to the side, totally ridiculous, and then they're passed from cook to cook so we lose track of them, and I get someone's with bean sprouts and someone else, I HOPE the woman next to me that I switched with, got only lamb, which was pictured as goat. I dash out at 12:35, hating the shouting of the people and the inanity and stupidity of the comments and questions, sitting next to Hoteh, the happy god, while chinese women climbed into his lap and smiled for their cameras. Back in for dessert, good pound cake, and more beer, three glasses in all "but the manager can't see." Leave at 1:22, waiting for Eric to get back from some bank where he was checking someone's credit-card overcharge of $1, so someone said. To station at 1:30. Onto train at 1:40, leave at 2PM, sandwiched across from the birthday couple in a hot jammed car on the lower level of a double-decker. Farms and houses and PENThouses and cupolas with three silver balls that even the guide has to admit was "done just for fashion, because someone else did it." Arrive at 3:45 at last and on bus at 3:56 after going through enormous just-built-last-year train station that functions as an airport with luggage and busses outside. 4PM leave for the Radisson at 4:15, room 1353 given to us ON THE BUS, a wonderful touch that means we go straight from the bus to the ROOM-elevator! Strange desk-wing and two huge windows over the foggy town with a tiny piece of West Lake out the right side of the right window. 1.2 million in Hangzhou, 7 million in district. Was capital for 250 years of smaller states at the turn of the millennium. We leave at 6PM for dinner, temperature will be 82 degrees tomorrow. Breakfast on floor 2 from 6:30-9:30, leave at 8:50 tomorrow because streets will be crowded for 6/1 Day of the Child. Horray! Wen Wen is in 1139. Undress into robe and look at books and wash face and pack books into bag and down at 6 to bus for dinner. East Hotel at 6:16, looking across street to $2500US for each square meter of most expensive apartment house in China. WORST POSSIBLE table: next to Wanda, with tiny women, Mike constantly joking across table, Irv dropping his hotel-card, wife Susan saying nothing. Rather good food: green beans in black-bean sauce, scrambled eggs, tofu and peanuts, I GUESS no meat, with some hot dishes avoided by removing red pieces. Out at 7:30 and back to hotel to watch TV and feel sorry for myself. Bed at 9:55, leaving 6:15AM wakeup call.

FRI, 6/1: Wake at 1:30 to pee, 3:45 to shit, 6:05 to shower and breakfast 7-7:30 with Fred alone, only french toast and fruit and yogurt and bacon and a bit of the Japanese tastings. Type this to 7:55 and get down for 8AM free-market walking tour with Steven. #32 ribbon fish 8:16. Meats, fruits, vegetables, spices. Back at 8:30 to brush teeth, get NEW key card since mine wasn't there, but I left it in LIGHT slot! They had to give us TWO new keys and reprogram the door from downstairs. Lake tour will be in FOG. Leave to bus at 9AM. Bus stops 9:21, almost late. #34 FOGGY West Lake at 9:32AM. #35 Su Causeway bridge at 9:38. #36 Color Stripe bridge. #37 Pao Chung Pagoda. Roll #3. DEPRESSING to get info from Spanish-speaking Chinese guide for Venezuelan. #4 Xiling Bridge at 10:35. To Lingyin Temple 10:20-10:30, built 326AD, 16 reconstructions, last 100 years ago. Jao en Lai SAVED it during Cultural Revolution, says Wen Wen, which Fred contradicts by saying his brochure said it was mostly destroyed during the Revolution. #5 Hoteh in entrance at 10:40. #8 laughing Buddha at 10:53. #10 1000-year-old stone column. #11 upper hall at 11:17. #12 outside Hall of Medicine Buddha (the third hall, photos inside forbidden). Incredible PEOPLE-steles on SIDES, ignored, and former temple-rooms used as storage areas. Leave 11:30. #15 entrance gods 11:48. NO BOOKS available, even in Chinese, since Steve said they were available in temple and they weren't. To bus---not there! We mill in the dust, hot. Bus arrives at noon. Wanghu Hotel lunch 12:54-1:26. GOOD chat with Texas unmarried couple and table. To tea plantation 1:47. #16 hills at 1:49. Tea: one teaspoon, one glass. Hard sell charmingly done. But 200Y for 12.5 ounces? 2:36 suddenly we're in CLOTHING store! To bus in disgust at 2:50. Leave at 3:10. 6th floor Valentino restaurant at 6:30PM. No pagoda today! Tomorrow: bags out 8AM and leave 9AM, showing passports at airport for Beijing. To hotel at 3:40. Down for free drink with Fred at 3:50. Most interesting drink offered is Sprite, to 4:08. #17 Happy Baby show at 4:16. At 4:22 pay 15Y for Exhibition Hall. #19 people parade 4:35. Leave at 4:45. #20 military/child displays. Back to hotel 4:50, pee, watch awful TV a bit, then start typing at 5:05, telling Fred that our tour (and the weather) is making sights such as the Suzhou Grand Canal and gardens, and West Lake, trivial and not really worth seeing. He barely sympathizes with me. Now 5:30 and have to last another hour before dinner, gratifyingly hungry, hopefully as successfully "nice" as lunch. Cheered by the fact that I'm not even out of File 1 and it's 6 days already. Watch part of "The Sixties" on HBO and then finish this at 5:45PM. Bored. Dress and down to dinner at 6:30, wonderful with mushroom soup and a grand filet nicely rare, though I avoided the salad, and a zabaglioni-like dessert, and left them talking at the table at 8PM and came up to do this and watch TV. Nothing really on, and I switch channels until Fred comes up about 9:30 and I get to sleep about 9:50PM, putting in wake-up call for 7.

SAT, 6/2: Wake 11;30PM to pee, then 3:10 to shit, 5:30 to shit again, then up at 6:20 to shower, interrupted by Fred who HAD to shit (but not diarrhea, he insisted), so I told him to shut off the room AC so I could dry myself without getting pneumonia. Pack things up and my bag weighs 27.5 pounds! I come in at about 197 ponds with only a bathrobe on. Good National Geographic Special on Skyscrapers on TV. Finish this to 7AM (forgot to deodorize, maybe I'll sneak Fred's, but then remember it's in my A&K bag, so I do it) and put it away, ready to leave. Then Verdi's "Te Deum" comes on, which Fred loves and cries during, and then on comes "Va pensiero" from "Nabucco" and we listen until 8AM, then large breakfast to 8:50 with rawish waffle, then omelet, with hot chocolate, rather thin, and apricot and tomato juice. Quick up to room to get bag and down to check out and pay for the 113Y wine with Visa. Bus at 9.  Borrow $5 from Fred for Wen. (EVERYTHING goes wrong in room: the noise is coming from the repairs to the Karaoke room on three, two floors below us; Fred messes up the safe and has to get one person and then a second assistant manager in to fix what he had done. THEN he finds that a strap is off his suitcase and there are four large tears in it "and can't be used." So he asks the assistant manager to get Steven's number AND asks how to get HBO because we have the schedule but not the channel in the regular run of channels. A woman comes up and shows Fred how to go to the menu and [4:56PM 6/2] contact HBO.) And to confuse things now, have to go to another file and add stuff "between" later. Steven comes to the room (after a bit: I tell Fred "He's showering before he gets here.") and talks for a long time on the phone to someone who responds so loudly that I can actually hear the voice across the rather large room here in the King Wing Hotel, which doen't have much of a view and very dirty windows through which to look at it. Fred sits and tries not to get too annoyed when Steven responds that "they noticed a tear or two before," and Fred explodes that's NOT the response he wanted to hear. I get tired just typing these current words, and decide now at 5PM that I might as well lie down, or finish the puzzles I started, or maybe just unpack. Then I take over the remote and find that you have to press Ch+ before the number to get to HBO, and as I do it, "Jawbreaker" comes on with a truly obscene popsicle being pushed into a humpytoot's mouth by a woman, while Fred exclaims that HE should be doing that to HER, and then the bell rings AGAIN and Steven goes to the door to confront a bellman with whom he has a LONG conversation, referring to a sheet of paper with some kind of comment about the previous condition of his case, and there seems to be negotiations about whether the airlines, the hotel, or maybe even Steven should pay for all or part of a repair or a new suitcase. To make things worse, Wanda is directly across the hall and the door's been open with comings and goings for the past half hour.) Six Harmonies Pagoda is one of two National Treasures in Hangshou, the first being Lingyin Temple that we saw yesterday. This was built in 1153, of wood and brick, to subdue the tidal bores on the local river, which is shaped like a trumpet with a mouth that's only six feet deep but can produce primary tidal bores of up to 9 meters at the mouth and 3 meters at Hangzhou. To the pagoda at 9:27, supposed to leave at 10AM. 10Y to get to climb to the top. I start up at 9:32, get up at 9:37. Look around and don't see much of anything, and start down at 9:41 and get down at 9:45. There are ONE HUNDRED pagodas in the park in miniature, with dates of construction and heights and materials, and many of them are set wonderfully in groves of pines, but there are also lots of tourists and few connected paths, so I had to follow a few Chinese down a dirt path to get back to the bottom of the park to find the group gathering at 10AM. Take photos to #27 in FABULOUS park, where we spend half an hour this morning when we could have been here TWO HOURS yesterday instead of mooning around in the hotel before dinner. We're STILL waiting, while I do puzzles, until 10:22, when the couple who'd gone to the GARDEN ON TOP came back to the bus, with Wen breathless because he had run to the top to try to find them! #28 stairwell-top houses from bus. Area ALL built up. Stop at airport 10:52 and give $5 to Wen. #29 Hangzhou airport at 10:55. Board at 11:40, get left window at first but it's GRAY out, then move to right when the sun comes in the left, and the haze is enormous over Hangzhou, but when we get up higher it gets brighter and I can look out while trying to enjoy part of the rather awful lunch, odd having two chicken legs, getting very sticky fingers, and thought I discarded a chocolate bonbon which Fred said was a preserved EGG. Ate some of the rice and most of the crispy green vegetable, and finished with the yogurt Fred suggested I save from breakfast, with the plastic spoon that I got from the lunch-bag at the time I said I wanted a spoon. Tried for a beer but they could only serve Sprite. We back up at 12:04 and off at 12:15. #32 is half-hour south of Beijing, dry farmland at 1:35. 35°C (96°F) in Beijing! #33 BIG city at 1:50PM. Land at 1:59, good views MOST of way, but smoggy. Dock at 2:10. Guide is Lili. Bus goes at 2:43. It IS 37°C or 99°F. Tomorrow leave at 8AM and tonight at 7PM at second floor Chinese Restaurant. Caught up by 5:30, Steven still here chatted up by Fred who's trying to be charming while he's angry about the bag, about which nothing has been decided yet. Steven tries out this laptop and leaves at 5:35. Watch TV and feel "psychedelic" when channel 36 seems to be replaying the same ad for China Airlines with slight differences and interpolations at random spots. Down to dinner at 7PM in the Chinese Restaurant on the second floor, and start the last table to which the final arrivals, Seago and Cairns, are really the assholes of the group: even FRED says he doesn't like him at ALL. Scanty appetizers, then they bring out ONE Peking duck for 30 people, which is ridiculous, though I manage to get two rolls THINLY filled with duck with lots of fatty skin. Mike goes on and on, when he's not saying "What?" because he's hard of hearing, and I enjoy the quiet irony of Geraldine Hauf next to me. We get a tiny glass of wine at the start, which is taken away, and when I ask for beer, they say it's 25Y for a small bottle! I don't take it. Someone ELSE asks for a glass of wine, and they don't SERVE glasses of wine, only bottles. WHAT A DUMP! Out at about 8PM and upstairs to watch the end of a silly (with Hilary Swank?) "The Fury Within" which is a ripoff of "creatures from the id" genre pictures. Fred comes in at 9, at the end, we get to bed at 10, leaving call for 6:15. I drop off quickly.

SUN, 6/3: Wake at 3:30 to pee, feeling comfortable in the warmish room with almost-100° outside, then wake at 5 and doze with a few dream-memories of a rather pleasant, accomplishmental sort of which I remember no details, then up at 5:59AM to shit almost normally (didn't take the half-mg melitonin yesterday, though still took the goodnight one last night) and shower just in time to pick up the two wake-up calls, both of which Fred doesn't hear, though he wakes easily when I call at 6:15. Move things back and forth across the long room with my bed at one end and the desk and chair with my stuff at the complete other, with a view out to a crowded apartment across the way which reflects the morning sun, and two construction sites at either side. Feel that the trip is a semi-disaster with SOME nice things seen and an AWFUL group, though I still want to talk about Tahiti with the small older couple who were last yesterday from the Pagoda hill. Finish this at 6:40, with my "ballet" tee-shirt on for the first change of the trip, after seven days. Breakfast 7-7:30, thin hot chocolate, another omelet, up to brush teeth while calling help to tell me I shut off the TV at the BED console: that's why it won't go on. Bus at 8:05. Five old capitols: Kaifung (northern Song), Hangzhou (southern Song), Loyang, Xian (western capital), Nanjing (eastern capital), plus Beijing the current, northern capital. Off bus 8:28---I ENJOY stepping on pushy salesmen and hearing them yelp! This is a different tour: walk up the outside eastern side of Tienanman Square, taking a group picture at 8:54. To Forbidden City at 9:03, record speed for the square! #34 WATER in front of the wall for cooling at 9:06. Pass third gate by 9:23: the FIRST one was taken down for Mao's tomb and extended the city south, but not east or west. Forbidden City is 960 meters south-north, 750 meters east-west. Largest in world. #35 central, highest building: Tai He Dian, Hall of Great Harmony, at 9:44. We go to the west/concubines at 10:15. SIT to 10:23, and then to Chang Chun Gong Palace, which contains Yi Kun Gong. #37 inside Cixi room, flash at 10:37. Roll #4: #1 interior corner, flash at 10:44. Leave at 10:49. #2 pavilion ceiling, flash at 10:54. To shopping at 11. Jewelry hall is separate ticket and extra for overshoes. Open til 4PM. Back to shop at 11:20 and we're to leave at 11:30! Pee and they don't even STOP me (turns out all pees ARE free!). Out to wait to 11:30. 11:40 I blow up and STAY inside, telling Lili she's talking bullshit when she can't give me my ticket to let me return inside, but Steven says I AM inside, and instead of coming to lunch and then coming back in, Fred suggests I just STAY, and I HAD noticed the air-conditioned snack shops which would obviously have cheap food. Pay 10Y for ticket and 2Y for overshoes and I'm in at 11:49. #4 three-story theater at 12:01. Jade eight-foot mountain at 12:07, when I ask southern woman, "Where's the jewelry" after seeing lots of chunky "Ching Dynasty mementoes" in a few pavilions, and she says "It's in that building, and it's beautiful." #5 ivory MAT at 12:17. "Endless knot" translates to intestines? #7 Buddhist palace. #8 gold dagger inlaid with diamonds at 12:31. #9 embroidered-with-pearls dragon-emperor's robe. Exit at 12:40. #16 seven of nine-dragon wall. #12 Buddist relics from Tibet hall at 12:48. #13 Lha Mo, from 1745, ODD woman with COLORS. Tibet (China, of course, for purposes of the exhibit) includes India and Mongolia! Sutras piled INCHES high, up to nine inches! #15 Sumeru Mandala at 1:16. Out at 1:25, INCREDIBLE exhibit, and great brochure for 2Y! CLOCKS, pulled by elephant, made in England for #17 at 1:39. Jewels, pinwheels, spirals, sunbursts, "rotating-column-as-falling-water" sticks, animals, real water, doors, dragons, fantasy! Robot writing Chinese characters! She demonstrated ALL NINE clocks at 2PM when it said she'd do three: flowers spinning, parades passing, pagodas growing, woman fanning herself, lotuses opening to show buddhas in their hearts, ducks circling, pinwheels from 2-2:05. To ceramics at the west at 2:18 to 2:32. Buy great PLAN for 5Y and 7Up with 4Y. Pee IS free at 2:43. To Yang Xin Dian, WAY west to Tai Ji Dan at 2:54. Like looking in people's windows to see their bedrooms and possessions and display pieces. To Yi Kun Gong at 3:04, 5Y more for sour plum cold drink, rather tasty, feeling tired at 3:20. Go out back exit and get smart aleck offering me a ride for 100Y, then 75Y, then 50Y, and I doubt he had a taxi, and one drives off to let three guys out, get told "there's no leg-room in the back," and when I ask "How much," he points to meter. Into taxi at 3:25, starting at 10Y, which lasts for a LONG time, and we pass the old gate so I know we're going in the right direction and we're on and off highways and to hotel at 3:40. Meter shows 24Y and I TRY to tip him 2Y but between him and the porter insisting that my 26Y change is OK, I say "Shei-shei" and go up to room to drink ENTIRE half-liter of cold water I'd luckily stashed in the fridge, chatting nicely with Fred who's been watching TV and napping, saying it was a GOOD thing I did what I did, Steven ANNOUNCED to the group that "Bob Zolnerzak was so interested he stayed at the Forbidden City," and Fred brought up my bag, which I'd totally forgotten about, and Bob was telling people what I told him: that they were really short-changed at the Forbidden City. However, I had to agree with Steven when he said the older people had to have their rest. Undress to be cool, and finish this at 4:58, ready to dress and go down for the 5:10 bus to dinner, followed by Beijing Opera. Down and all are interested in my adventures of the day. All board by 5:20. To Sichuan Restaurant by 5:55, GOOD food, and woman next gives me HER beer and I buy another for 10Y which Fred and I share. I feel GREAT and I talk with Galen from another GCT group in lobby waiting for walk to theater in General Gong's garden, being renovated. #19 garden at 7:06PM. "Opera" 7:33-8:43, poor, except for General's makeup. Tomorrow 8:30 for AM tour, 2PM for PM tour. Call Frank, who tried to call me but couldn't find my name or room number. A friend of a friend's mother had a heart attack and he can't meet us, but he suggests the Confucian Temple and the Dao temple for us to see. Bed 10:11PM, getting to sleep instantly.

MON, 6/4: Pee a lot at 3:30, amazed to have slept so long. Wake briefly at 4:30, seeing light out, then at 6, Fred showering, and I do without washing hair and put salve on my sore athlete's foot. To breakfast 7:30-8:15, tell porter about our out lights, but Fred's in the john when he rings. Finish this at 8:21, ready for another hot day. Bus leaves at 8:36, to Hutong at 9:30. #24 Hutong rickshaws at 9:40. To Drum Tower at 9:47. Climb 69 STEEP steps but SCREENS for reconstruction block views. #25 is biggest drum in world: 2.61 meters wide, whole hide for drumhead. #28 63-ton biggest bell in China at 10:15, 10Y to climb for view, but NOT the axis of the Forbidden City, which would have been best, so I take a picture of the Dagoba to the side. Leave at 10:25 and to kindergarten at 10:35, one kid puts red-arrow sticker on my arm, second kid plucks it off. They sing Chinese "Twinkle, twinkle" and Fred mimes for them. Leave at 10:55 to bus and dance at 11:04, then to house 11:15-11:30. Lili gives 10Y BACK for the ticket to the Bell Tower, and pulls me aside in the hotel to say that the tour is set, not her doing, she didn't know about the non-view at the Drum Tower, nor that the Bell Tower was open. I apologize for being rude when angry, but it's clear I don't want another Grand Circle Tour. It's 40°C or 105°F, but maybe that's only a prediction or a past reading, since it doesn't feel that hot at ALL. GREAT drought here, hasn't rained since February, young trees dying, street-trees being watered by city "but they have survived and will survive." Back 11:40-12:04, lunch of minestrone, spaghetti and meat sauce, mediocre, and fruit (Fred says "None of them ever heard of Spaghetti Bolognese."); up at 1, noting that Shirley had been with OAT to Africa with an extension to Victoria Falls, so we should talk. Room not done yet, but bell rings with girls at 1:52. I pack up and go downstairs, since HBO is flickering uncontrollably. Leave 2:08-2:47 to Summer Palace. Hall of Benevolence and Longevity at 2:53. Pee. Don't recall THIS entrance. Eunuch's quarter at 3:08. More "just-moved-out" rooms through windows. At bedtime Cixi took one teaspoon pearl powder to purge system. Lili talks ENDLESSLY! Hall of Happiness in Longevity at 3:19. #33 inside of above at 3:20. #34 WINDY lake at 3:29. Walk OUTSIDE long walk. #35 Buddhist tower on Longevity Hill at 3:30. To stone boat at 3:40, NEVER above lake-level. No one allowed ON boat now! #36 stone boat taken into sun at 3:44. #37 bridge at 3:45. Roll #5. LONG walk past endless souvenirs to bus at 4:02, me carrying Lili's umbrella at end. SILLY tour of 75 minutes! DOG-mothers for baby panda's milk and nursing. #1 Seas and Sauna 4:22. Bus stops at AQUARIUM at 4:44. #2 aquarium at 4;54. Walk WAY to pandas at 5:03. #3 panda at 5:05. There to 5:22, start back at 5:26. To bus at 5:40, talking to Shirley about Africa. Tonight dinner on ground floor at 7:15, tomorrow leave 8:15AM. To hotel 6:20 and up to room to find two new lights in bathroom, full container of water, and HBO currently works. Take off socks to relax feet. Finish typing this at 6:59 and get ready to unpack and change shirt and wash face for dinner. Down to find people at tables for 4, and since we rode down with the Fischers, we sit with them and have a delightful series of conversations, made better by the red wine that we order for 140Y, including 15% surcharge. Up at 9, leaving last, and type this to 9:33 after looking at China book and noting that I want to see Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong. Really feeling VERY tired! Bed 9:50, exhausted. 11:30 pee.

TUE, 6/5: 12:30 pee and brush teeth because they feel increasingly sensitive somewhere in the back where things could get really ugly if an attack hits in the midst of China or the South Seas. Then pee again! 4:10 shit a bit and pee, and wake at 5 and doze and again at 6 and 6:20 and up at 6:30 to pee, getting a phone call even when we didn't ask for one---but it WAS only ONE call. Fred showers and I'm up at 6:43. Down to breakfast at 7:10, Steven not down, and Fred shows me the suitcase in the hotel that might be his when they replace the one ravaged by either the hotel or the airport. Back up at 7:45 and type this, ready for a full day out now at 7:52. Shirley gives me a USA Today puzzle! 7:57AM: Fred goes into the bathroom for an emergency and at the same time I feel a buildup for a shit. Good thing the bus is at 8:15 rather than 8AM! Shit a bit and on bus at 8:16. #8 Olympics sign at 8:40. #9 Nationalities park 8:50. Japanese killed 35 MILLION Chinese between 1937-1945! "They remember Hiroshima but not 35 million, 7 times Jews; their memory is selective." Nationalists killed ten million people in civil wars and ended in Taiwan. Communists won hearts of people, but starting in 1958 they ran VERY POOR economy with rationing, communes, "Great Leap Forward" all mistakes, and then came drought and then 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. #11 castles at 9:34. 9:42 pay 50Y for round-trip cable car from different parking lot to the TOP. 9:45 stop for tickets, first/lower parking lot, to the top lot 9:48-9:55. #12 Cable cars at 10:01. Start on wall at 10:12. TOTALLY different for me! #24 "horizon castle" we got to in 1997, at 10:38. Great views though hazy, and I went down past everyone else to be smilingly photographed by young Chinese who then posed for me, and one grabbed me by the arm and jokingly "helped" me up the stairs and then held onto my hand and shook it, saying "Pleased to meet you," and I could do nothing better than repeat what he said. Good views from the top, but the "array" of walls much better from the "horizontal castle," and now I can put the both of them together. How about showing TWO sets of slide shows from two different years with TWO projectors focused on the same screen??? Appalling thought! Up to highest point, then second-highest point, then down a bit on both sides. To cable car at 11:15 and down by 11:25 and LAST to bus, buying GREAT Wall book for $3. Bus leaves 11:30 on the nose! HUGE reforestation projects. Last "clear" months were in 1990, best SEASON is autumn, mid-September. #35 unfinished Wonderland at 11:59. PLEASANT road in; NO one on Beijing International Country Club golf course. To Nine Dragon Pagoda Restaurant at 12:24, GREAT lunch, good cold beer with a big bottle for 5Y which I share with the annoying Ziggy, who tones down a bit for this lunch. Leave 1:38. To Changling tomb at 1:50, the same I'd seen last time. #37 empress's crown in main hall at 2:08. I DIDN'T recall all gold and jade and crowns inside---though in fact I DO remember the crowns! Roll #6. #4 jewelry from Ding Ling at 2;23 on the way out to the bus. #5 gun attire of Emperor Wan Li, duplicated by Suzhou Embroidery Institute at 2:26. LAST on bus, to smattering of applause and some "just made it"s at 2:32. To Stone Animal Avenue at 2:40. #6 Ming Tomb map at 2:43. #7 taken with "landscape" setting as opposed to prior with "regular" light-recognition. Enter shop and dicker (poorly) for 60Y Ming Tomb book and to bus at 3:13. To cloissone shop at 3:40, sit in bus and read. Leave 4:55, thank goodness the visit was short. Tomorrow Temple of Heaven leaves at 10:30, but I ask for directions to Lama and Confucius Temples and get told the taxi will be about 25Y to the temples and less than 20Y from the Temples to the restaurant at 1PM, from which we leave for the airport for the 4:30 plane to Xian. Bags out tomorrow at 9:30. Back to hotel at 5:30 and I dash up to the room to shit, but nothing happens, and then Fred enters, followed immediately by fellow trying to give him a smaller bag to replace the one "destroyed" on the previous flight. Fred pulls a scene, and Steven comes in to get another bout. I look for water and it turns out Fred put my small bottle into the freezer, saying it fell out, and I said it was exactly what I was wishing for, and he says again how happy he is we're traveling together. However, I'm CONSTANTLY aware of how my socks stink at the moment, dreading the time he'll mention it with his complaints of lung congestion from the air conditioning, or maybe an allergy to the feathers in the pillow? Fred's willing to take care of my bag at 9:30, pay for the bill, and he's only been to the Temple of Heaven once and would be concerned bopping around by cab on the day of a plane flight. Now at 6:47 Fred calls Susan and Irv Katz, from New Jersey, who suggested to Fred that we dine together at the Chinese "dine-around" restaurant to share our 100Y coupons to get more dishes. They try to ask others, but NO one wants more Chinese food, and Fred suggests we tell future guides not to be influenced by others on our tour who might say they want more western meals, but I reply that it's probably STEVEN who's in charge, and Fred reminds me of his trip to Bulgaria for monasteries where the 41 Jews said the 3 Christians should be denied any more monasteries because THEY were bored with them, but Fred and the other two Christians had THEIR way because that was the way the tour was advertised. Finish this at 6:52, not changing for dinner: fuckum! Just as we're about to leave to dinner, the phone rings from Steven with Fred's new luggage, and it's GREAT: large, wheeled, handled, new, "Super Star." He's very pleased. Then Susan and Irv come by and get their picture taken with Fred with his new bag. Then to be the ONLY four from the trip at the Chinese Restaurant for a VERY good meal which just HAPPENS to be priced at 100Y for each of two, for two meals! So we get them, and the table is soon filled with food, most quite good, and because for 25Y we get a SMALL bottle of beer, we again get a red Chinese wine for 120Y, or 138Y with tax. Talk for a long time after we finish, and get back to type this at 9:16, VERY tired, but willing to let packing go until tomorrow. Watch TV a bit and chat and get to bed at 10:15, no wake-up call.

WED, 6/6: Pee at 4:15, six whole hours! But then stay awake about half an hour with coughing and the inability of one sinus to clear to the other side. Doze on and off, having dreams that I quickly forget, nothing terribly dramatic, and up at 6:34 to shower without washing my hair, and when I get out at 6:55, Fred is awake and asks if I'd mind his having breakfast with me, which delights me. So I type this to 7:02 and begin packing. Breakfast and get map and brush teeth to 8:23, deciding to give 70Y to Lili. Leave 8:35, get taxi at 8:40. Taxi SLOW, 31Y and I give 33Y. Off at 9:14---at METRO stop! Down street and in at 9:18, only OPEN at 9---lots of busses! Buy 20Y entry ticket and 20Y audio tape, leaving my driver's license as security. In at 9:25. #14 incense burners at 9:30. #15 female lion at 9:39. #16 Sumeru at 9:45. Drums and cymbals and chanting in Falun Hall and esoteric buddhas in East Side covered in silks. This is MAHAYANA Buddhism. THEN Falun Hall, drums, horns; blessings with sutras, beads, icons, pages, hands, bands. Into Qian Long EXHIBIT hall at 10:15. "Drew lots from Golden Urn" for new lama?! Mountain of 500 arhats at back of Falun at 10:30. three-day Emperor-wash basin. Sandalwood statue 18 meters ABOVE ground and 8 meters BELOW ground: my head not even to KNEE. To 10,000 Buddhas/happiness Hall at 10:34. #17 can't GET height of Wan Fu Hall at 10:40. Finish 10:45. Cell phone rings in EXOTERIC Hall! Whole place is called Yonghe Gong. #18 leaving at 10:51. Buy good book for 8Y. Leave 12:00. #19 street at 12:02. Confucius 10Y at 12:05. #20 bronzes and Yuan Dynasty steles at 11:13. #21 Confucius and title-granting stele 11:16. #22 700-year old cypress and hall at 11:21. #23 Forbidden City and AROUND it at 11:40. #24 plan of Dadu City, NE of Jin Dynasty's Zhongdu, built 1267-1276! Follows ritual of Zhou, Confucianism, at 11:50. BIG exhibit of art. #25 dusty sages in Bacheng Palace at 11:57. #26 Gnarled tree at 12:06. Real MUSEUM on side: #27 1795 plate: colors! #28 ALL Beijing at 12:15. Leave 12:30 after a SIT. Into taxi at 12:35 and get to restaurant at 12:55 and they're there, I paying 16Y + 2Y tip. #32 pink-fringed castanets at 1:13. Dancing after SPARSE lunch with two beers, long tea-spout which causes wet table! Baby captivates grandmas and mass dance to 1:45 in photo #37 and into bus at 1:48. Roll #7. To airport 2:15, early. To gate at 3:15, doing puzzles. Off at 4:43 for 90 minutes. Fred switches window seat at 5PM. Cloudy with some glimpses of hills and fields and roads and bridges, and land at 6:07 after many disquieting bumps and flimsy clouds. 32°C=90°F, but dust-storm dark sky turns into a few scattered raindrops as we dash for the bus at 6:45. Xian has seven million people. Ben SWALLOWS half his words! Describes TEN museums and FIVE places we WON'T see. How SILLY! We leave tomorrow at 9AM. To Hotel at 7:38, and it's the one with the big sculpture behind the lobby to which we came for a show at the theater in 1997. Up to wash hands and look at small room with decent view, then down, as ordered, to second floor, only to have to walk down the stairs to the lobby, across the lobby, and up the stairs for the second floor restaurant on the OTHER, inaccessible from this, side! Minestrone and salmon and veggies and cake for dessert with a glass of beer with the meal and 18Y for 20Y and change charge for a second bottle, while Fred buys a bottle of red for the table for 120Y. Talky dinner: Turkey, Antarctica, Greek Islands, Tahiti, and many other places. Upstairs at 9:15 and do this until 9:45, rapidly tiring. Small room makes unpacking a problem. Bed at 10:15, Fred still watching TV.

THU, 6/7: 3:25 pee, after dream of biting HARD on a woman's finger after she'd just KILLED someone in order to have her own way. 6:35 pee and shit a bit after thinking of lying in bed and thinking how [7:03AM 6/7, twelfth day of trip] bad the trip is: pearl factory yesterday and quick rush through Temple of Heaven, bumpy plane-ride with almost no view yesterday, and the promise of more shopping this morning as our "all-day tour of the terra cotta warriors" turns into a HALF-day tour "because all the tourists and Chinese go to the terra cotta warriors in the morning." Another dream here: grade-school class reunion in a huge restaurant where I try to get a seat on the side but someone seems to have taken it after I reserved it. Someone looks at me and I think "Leo Wehrlin?" and it turns out to be someone I didn't care for at all. Can't recognize ANY of the faces, and when Bruce Campbell says it's him (regardless of the fact that he was in high school rather than grade school), I can't believe the lowering black hair and bushy eyebrows to be HIS in fact. Another embarrassing moment when I leak a bit of pee and realize the front of my tan pants are wet and stained (like the back of them at present) and try to cover it up and have no idea where the john is. Shower with a head that "goes from needles to pins" as I tell Fred, and throw the ever-more-green loofah away. Out to see that it's 6:58 and open the curtains, which wakes Fred, and there's actually BLUE SKY above, though it's still smoggy, but flocks of birds fly above the buildings also. A little girl appears to be staring at the hotel windows from a low building a block away. Wakeup call for 7AM comes at 7:02 and I finish this at 7:09, ready to dress for breakfast. Wallet down to 55Y and $42. Make it $82 and only have $185 left in total, which I don't even bother to put into the safe which now calls for a SIX-digit code. Fred says Ben announced yesterday that we go to a Lacquer factory this morning! Someone else says she's sure he said we were going to a neolithic site! Another says the Terra Cotta Factory. I'm totally pissed at breakfast when they try to seat 29 of us at a table for 12 closely-spaced seats. I wait in ONE line and a Chinese woman goes in a SECOND line for the SECOND pan and gets her order in. Then when Fred's waiting behind a girl at ONE pan I go to the OTHER pan and piss him off completely. I'm in the FOULEST mood, so that when someone asks how I am, I say "Terrible" and explain WHY. This is going to be a POOR day, and I keep thanking God that I've SEEN most of this that the others aren't seeing. 8:50: Fred's clearly pissed; I'm clearly pissed, looks like it's going to be an AWFUL day! Board bus 9:01, some rooms not cold overnight. Stop at city wall, west gate, 9:11, 8Y charged, I don't go up. No one says anything great about it. Leave 9:41. Off at Lacquer 9:45. #1 ruined decor 9:55. Lacquer ships to PORT, you pay duty and shipping to home, about $150! People, sadly, seem HAPPY. OAT 21-day tour is TIBET and NOT Suzhou or Hangzhou, so THAT'S why I didn't take it. MORE than one hour at Lacquer! Leave 10:47. Sign to "Terra Cotta Worriors Museum." To parking 11:41. Poor lunch to 12:30. Leave 12:37. To museum Pit #1 12:47-1:03. Still "No photo" signs, but ALL take photos. WORKERS set up on BACK platform of pit #1. Circle movie starts 1:15, but recorded music has stops and the SOUND is just AWFUL: deteriorated? Lots of souvenirs and NEW CD-ROM for English. SWEETIE from Washington chats with me about his college in Chengdu, Lhasa, Chungching's bright-blue sky, and the great Yangtze River tour. Out 1:35. #6 from BACK of pit 1 at 1:46. #7, SMALL pit 3 at 1:50-1:56, INCLUDING CD-Rom stations. #8 pit 2 big at 1:59. #11 Pit 2 diagram at 2:08. Out 2:42. 2:43 INTO museum, meet upstairs in 30 minutes. Watch LOTS of CD-ROM, but it all begins to seem TRIVIAL! Am I getting TIRED? Nanyue Han burial is NEW to me and thus more interesting. Ben collects us at 3:23. Back to HOT bus at 3:27. Hotel at 4:30, colorful streets and a shot of a new building going up. Bus at 6PM should be dressy for evening. I go to Lanhua Park, leaving hotel at 5:05, walking about 8 minutes, paying 1Y for entry, and seeing boating, refreshments, kiddie park, fishing, orioles(?) in cages talking to each other supervised by smiling older men, and kids crooning from telephone booth-top. Hot and humid, not many people, lots of kids. Back to hotel along road filled with kids just out of school, some staring at me. Back to hotel 5:50, dress quickly and thankfully NOT last on bus, past bell tower to corner restaurant for dumplings, cheap, some maybe spoiled, and two extra bottles of beer from Mike and me---when is FRED going to treat? Shirley buys another bottle for us three, also. Leave 7:55, picking up a brochure that says restaurant was founded in 1936. Very slow traffic, most often exiting the city walls to travel on the roads AROUND the center of the city. Wonderful lights all along the crenelations of the wall, outlining all the elaborate flying eaves of the corner castles. Long walk to the Tang Show past dozens of busses, and into an enormous hall (did it REALLY say it could seat 5000?) along the last row, but fortunately I was following Ben so I could slip into a ringside table from which I had an unobstructed view (except when the assholes in front got up to take a picture or to dash four or five times to the john), moaning that I had NOT brought my binoculars, though the women seemed ludicrously unsexy with their gold-covered-up bosoms rimmed with pink feathers, with pink crotch handkerchiefs, echoed with black-leather dewlaps in front of the men, who promisingly came out in tight black Georgian-style boots, but did NOT dance on their toes, though they incorporated Kabuki, Las Vegas, Olympics gymnastics, Little Egypt, Bolshoi leaps, and Radio City lines of elaborate costumes. The flute-player was an elaborate camp, tootling out oriole-semi-sounding trills while running the apparatus so fast past his lips I expected to see them steaming when he took the flutes away. The Japanese koto-experts weren't that great, the ramie-costumes owed a lot to Olympics-gymnastics banners, and the beginning drum-and-symbol sounds and yellow light was the best of the lot. Awful free glass of almost bubbleless champagne, and it's over about 9:35, just barely making it over the advertised hour. Long line out to the bus and back to hotel with the announcement that the bags should be out tomorrow at 6:20 and we leave at 7:40, so the wakeup call will be at 5:40AM! Since we get to the hotel at 10:05, I get to bed as fast as I can, but it's still 10:15, so the most sleep I can get is 7:25. Fred laughed a lot when I called the show "Chink kitsch." Fred also laughed a lot with the other men in the john when he started singing, to the line of men at the urinals "He's got the whole world in his hands," and then rocked them further with the next line: "He's got the itty-bitty baby in his hands." To which Bob's wife, when Fred told her, retorted, Bob's not itty-bitty, to which FRED responded, not thinking she picked up on it, "I know," referring to my citing his "double-handed slap" to dry off his sausage early in the trip. He ALSO seemed to smile when I punned on someone's job in "risk analysis" as "bris analysis?" Get to sleep instantly.

FRI, 6/8: 12:05 pee and shit, feeling I might have to take a rolaids, lots of gas and gut pressure. But get right back to sleep and wake at 4:25 to pee and shit AGAIN, this time unfortunately quite yellow and somewhat loose, feeling slightly feverish, but that's just because the air conditioning in the room is quite minimal, though not anything near hot yet. Had to flush twice to get all the crud down. Couldn't go back to sleep, counting the last 14 days of this trip, 14 days of the Vienna trip, and 40 days of the South Pacific trip as the last of the year. Don't even think I doze when I get up at 5:33 to shower and get out at 5:50, Fred up and watching TV. Pack as well as I can and STILL have to massage the sides of the blue bag to get it closed, but my A&K bag is still virtually empty now that I've included my pill-box and jacket into the blue bag. Get the bag out at 6:10, well before the deadline, and settle down to catch up with most of this before Fred agitates that we go to breakfast at 6:35, thankfully getting THREE tables for our rushed group instead of the insisted-on 12-seat ONE table yesterday morning. No egg-man yet, which is good, though I have lots of watermelon (which, oddly, is the only fruit that gives Fred the runs), and a buttermilk pancake with honey and butter, lots of nice ham and pastrami, a poorer sesame dumpling, and a roll and two glasses of juice. Mike and Margaret are sitting away from us because of "germs", but he asks if I'm writing my book, and I say I'm starting on my second one already, and she says to make sure I put the TWO Ls into "O'Neill." I laugh. Back up while Fred pays the bill, taking 21Y for my two beers in Chinese, making us even for that, and start typing this at 7:14. Goes well, though the woman comes up to check the mini-bar and LOCKS it so that we can't take anything out of it when we leave, and I get this out by 7:35, having noted RAINDROPS in the pool outside! Fred takes BOTH roomkeys down as I finish this. Nice to feel caught up after a lot of catching up! Onto bus at 7:41, Ziggy still EATING? Ziggy on at 7:45. #28 fires at 8:18, airport at 8:33. To gate 5 at 9AM, Fred gives me WINDOW! Board 9:30 and whole BACK is empty, so I'm back to 27F. 6-7 men enter at 9:43, none for my seat. 50 (I must have misheard her when she must have said 60) minute flight. Off at 9:58, clouds thick, trays up at 10:40. Only soda and unshelled pistachios. Bumpy down and land at 11AM, wet, 20°C=68°F! RAINING! First time I DIDN'T carry on my jacket!! Have to GET luggage---GOOD, I get my coat and my red shirt is DAMP, and I worry about my books, but can't do anything until we get to the ship. Mill around outside at 11:30. Small walk to bus at 11:32; Bus goes to town 11:37. Only four municipalities: Beijing, Shanghai, Chungching and Tianjin. Chungching only in 1997 for Three-Gorges relocations. Chungching the municipality has 30 million people. They make cars---was capital when east was held by Japanese in "Anti-Japanese War"/World War II. This is known as "mountain" town, "hilly" town comparable to San Francisco, and "foggy" city, which it certainly is. Lunch at 12:20 in Dragon and Phoenix Restaurant until 1:22, not that good, with Ziggy making pest of himself over "spicy" food that "he called GCT to make sure the trip offered." #29 Chungching skyscraper from bus at 1:28. Stillwell Museum at 1:42. Stillwell 1883-1946. Served Chiang Kai-SUCK's government, but left when he disagreed with him---Fred says that he turned out to be right in the long run. #31 Chungching from Stillwell's at 2:17, very foggy, but I hope something comes out. #32 Burma, Ledo, and Stillwill Roads on map at 2:27. #33 from stairs above Stillwell's, still pretty poor. Leave 2:39 along incredible corniche road which would have a great view in clear weather, with great vistas from narrow alleys between buildings down to other apartments or real slums. To Grand Hall at 2:57, in rain, having to step over a banner they're putting up, except that half the people step ON the banner: can't they SEE? #34 Great Hall interior, impossible to get scope of 55 meter tall and 45 meter wide hall built in 1954, photo at 3:01. Look quickly at art "exhibit" (surely it's permanent, for tourists) to 3:16, much better done for much less money on Times Square. #35 view down from Hall to hills at 3:28. Then down to square and #36 to Temple-of-Heaven-like Great Hall in the rain and back to the bus at 3:29 to hang up umbrella and wet shirt and type this until 3:45, when the people, shouting and talking, come right back in and we're ready to go. Leave at 3:50. 5-6 get off for massage, $15 for an hour, which they all like. We're off at Harbor Plaza Hotel, where we're to meet at 5:20, and get off to wander the town square, which Fred loves, getting me to take his picture in front of a KFC, and I look for change but can't find anyplace that strikes me as OK, and keep looking for booze, which I can't find. We start at Metropolitan Plaza, with an eight-floor atrium astounding in the center, but ask for alcohol and wine and get told "downstairs" but can't find the stairs "to the right" and the elevator only goes to -2, which is the parking lot. I feel terribly stupid not to be able to perform the simplest tasks. Out to the corner and take pictures of the umbrellas (oh, Fred had packed his umbrella and was reluctant to buy another, but finally succumbed to my urging and got out $1, at which point he was surrounded by a flock of shrieking umbrella-women hoping to satisfy him, and he got one which he said broke on the first closing, and which he finally gave to Shirley, along with $1, for his tip for the day.) Meet Greg, who leads me back to the wine and liquor section, and for a bit I think it's only wine, but find some "52%" which seems to be by volume, which means 104 proof, and it's only 36.8Y, which I try to pay by credit card, but they don't take any, only yuan. Out to the entrance to find a bank, and there's Fred, who offers me 40Y, which I take back and buy it with. Back to hotel and eat peanuts, because I seem to be hungry, and go to the john. Sit and rest until we get on bus at 5:25 and get across "longest" (because it takes a whole year to cross from Spring and Summer nearly naked man and woman on one side to Autumn and Winter man and woman on the other side) to Friendship Hotel at 5:45 to ride down to fifth floor restaurant in private room from sixth floor entrance. BORED without Ziggy to pep things up: he'd contracted with Steven to eat in a separate room, paying the excess himself, to have a Sichuan hot-pot. I go upstairs for the view, trying to get a picture of the enormous cliffs in the fog, and get to bus at 6:49, not raining at last. To boat 6:53-7:10 and down long flights of stairs (at high flood, the river rises 30 more feet) to the Princess Elaine, taking a photo in the dimness with the lights of the city across the way. Into TINY room 359 and bump buns with Fred unpacking until he goes out of the room to the loud library only two doors away in the front of the ship and I stash everything away, acutely aware of the smell of my socks, which Fred wrinkles his nose at the "stinky" smell in the room "without knowing what it is." Then he comes in to unpack while I sit and listen to Mike hold forth with his "stewardess knocks on the john door and says "We're landing in Ireland"" series of jokes, which I really hate. Can't seem to find the layout of the city with the confluence of the rivers. Want to go to bed at 8:30, having finally taken evening pills, but Fred says it's too early and we go for a walk around the ship, first arrivals of the final crowded number of 288 onboard. Loud Chinese holding forth on the stern, where the engine noise is quite loud, making us happy we're in the front. Back to room for 9PM "Three Gorges" TV show but find it's my mistake: the program is for TOMORROW, not today, and I make the mistake again when I expect a 7AM wakeup call, but that was for YESTERDAY. Turn down the music in the room so I don't hear the announcement for breakfast until the last moment. But "Message in a Bottle" interests Fred and he watches it, but at 10:10PM I can't stay awake any longer and we both get to bed, assuming there's no shade on the window to keep out the light, but there is. Rather quickly to sleep, considering the tiniest bed yet.

SAT, 6/9: Pee at 3:45AM, and again at 5:55, shitting a tiny bit. Lie thinking and feeling sorry for myself (RIDICULOUS!) and up at 6:58 to shower, getting out to find Fred awake and saying he didn't sleep very well. Put on clean socks which I hope don't smell, very much aware of sounds coming from adjoining rooms, and finish this at 7:33, ready to dress and get to free-seating breakfast on either the third or fourth floors, hearing our group in the hallways already. Don't wash hair, and the shower is of course the smallest yet, and don't find the bathmat until I step out and remember Fred put it in front of the door when our bathroom floor was wet when we entered. Re-read the agenda for today, hoping I can keep a copy of all of them. To breakfast, all the good tables by the windows taken, and we start turning to head downstream as breakfast starts at 7:30. Good scrambled eggs, great bacon, tasty ham, but the sesame dumpling was TOO mooshy. Fabulous-tasting tomato juice, and then I want to see the view as we leave Chungching and get to the aft deck to see two TABLES set for breakfast with NO ONE there! Back to order a ham and cheese omelet and take a tomato juice out and a waitress asks if I want tea of coffee. Tell Fred to come out, but he does only later, after two awful youngish American women come to the next table. He joins me and we LOVE the views, though he missed the nearly-joined longest bridge across the Yangtze as we leave city. Woman finally asks "Where are you from?" "Brooklyn." "Are you with Grand Circle?" "Un hum." And silence. Fred writes on napkin, "And you?" And I laugh. Later a Chinese woman from Taiwan who grew up in San Antonio chats. One sexy salt-and-pepper hair in shorts walks past and nods hello. I leave for orientation at 9:15AM. 9:16 orientation. Ships originated on VOLGA River. EMERGENCY announcements OVERRIDE volume control! Curtains CLOSED at night-sailing times. Ext 251 for ice or water, or get free ice from the bar. Laundry bag outside cabin door before 9AM. Princess Elaine is 130 meters long, this is Sailing No. 010140, and the bar is open 6:30AM-11PM. This goes to 9:41. Then he talks about river: four hundred million people, or 1/15 the people in all the world, live along the Yangtze (which is called "Long River" by Chinese, and Yangtze doesn't really mean anything, only the LAST part of the river, near Shanghai, is called the Yangtze Kiang, which British took to mean the name of the whole thing). Yangtze grows 70% of the grain, 50% of the cotton, and 40% of all agricultural produce in China. Navigability starts at Iping, about half-through the length of the river, a couple hundred miles upriver of Chungching. Our boat was able to make it as far upstream as Chungching for the FIRST time this season for THIS voyage. We'll travel 840 miles on this third-largest river after the Nile and Amazon, even though satellite photos "show" that the Yangtze is actually LONGER than the Amazon, but they don't want to annoy anyone with the news. First gorge is passed in only 15 minutes, maybe 6AM tomorrow, though tomorrow's agenda shows it at 8:30AM. This goes til 10:13, after which I go outside, sit, and look at the coasts in the rain. Lunch is GREAT from 11:30-12:l5, and Fred was right: they DO serve lots more good meat. Out after three beers, look at the views to 1:40 when I put on shoes and get mosquito sprayed for Ghost City, and sit in lounge waiting for departure at 1:52. Fulien's three million passed during lunch. #10 Jade Emperor at 2PM. "Get your body parts outside" turns out to be "Get your boarding pass outside." #17 Ming Shan Mountain at 2:12. Three bridges: 1) health on left, as many steps as possible, which I take, 2) love, get over in THREE steps for success, 3) wealth. #20 Jade Emperor at 4:40. #24 from Fengdu top at 2:52. #29 DOWN on temples and river at 3:20. Start back 3:38. I'm exhausted, almost ready to sleep. #31 three Buddhas: past, present, future. At 3:55 THE loveliest guy NOT on our tour! He's so good-looking I tell Fred he HAS to go back in and see him. To bus 4:20, boat 4:40. DIFFERENT "Ghost City" on TV to 5, end of panda show to 5:30, then Captain's welcome party on deck with champagne in wine glasses, shrimp chips, celery and carrots on sticks, and cookies that most take two or three or even four of at one time, to 5:55, then to dinner, equally good, and sit out on deck again to see bridges, low-lying croplands, boats, cows grazing on vanishing islands, people waving to boat, and loud Chinese on deck vying with loud Germans on deck, and at 7:25 in to the "Elaine talent show", with me in the side spotlight, until 8:35, then start typing this when Fred finally returns to room with key, until he calls me out to share a bottle of wine that Mike bought, sharing with four others, and I'm back in at 9:25 to watch end of "Three Gorges" program to 10, while brushing teeth thoroughly, having to replace a toothpick AND a broken proxi-brush, replacing it with I think my LAST one, and finish this at 10:18, watching an American Tom and Jerry cartoon while Fred reads a China Fodors. Took yesterday's Agenda off the wall and have to get a copy of tomorrow's somewhere. Window shade all the way down. Tired. Bed at 10:30PM.

SUN, 6/10: Pee 12:12. Pee 2:25. 5:45 up to shower by 6:15. Fred up 6:20. SEVEN rolls of film LEFT, so #8 must be in camera. 4 pair socks @ 10Y, 3 shorts @ 10Y, 2 tees @ 20Y out at 6:40 for 110Y or $13.75! To breakfast at 6:55. To room for pills and camera and shirt and out at 7:35 to top. 8:30: #36 hydrofoil; Hungying NEW city replaces OLD. River will be only 1 meter higher at Chungching. #37 pagoda with 175 meter sign for 2009 high 8:34. 135 meters up by 2003, both meters above sea level. Water will be raised 270 feet on average. Roll #9: #2 5Y note gate at 8:40AM, start of Gorge 1. #5 characters in lower right at 8:42. #6 walkway at 8:23. #8 OLD 5-mile path and NEW above it on electric tower-sign. #10 highest peak at 8:50. #12 DOWN arrow means one-way for downstream boats, upstream boats WAIT. 8000 excavation sites will be underwater. 8:56: in 50 minutes we'll enter second gorge. Cowherds watch over herds of only 5-6. #13 Wushan City of 40,000, all under 175 meters at 9:42. #14, 1998 flood up to WINDOWS of long building, and normal high to first level of pillars. #15 start of second gorge at 9:45. Gorge 27 miles long, in 1.5 hours, so 19 miles per hour for boat. #16 biggest cave, holds 1000 persons. #17 PEAKS of Wu Gorge at 9:43, to left. #18 cliffs to right at 9:55. #19 gorge at 10:02. #20 eroded rocks at water level at 10:03. GUILAN-type hills and rocks and clouds. TOO BIG to photograph. 37 one-way zones in 800+ mile stretch of river. #21 27-foot tall lady/finger rock in closeup. #22 same as before, no closeup at 10:11. #24 bridge was under flood one month normally, but under three months in 1998. Trackers pull boats on walkways. This water is the dirtiest of year; in winter it's clear, in autumn it's yellow. #25 Tracker's paths built in 1888. Boatmen NEVER turn over a fish: means a capsized boat. #26 Only few feet of water under hydrofoil at 10:24. Water 30 meters deep in gorges; shallow outside. 10:30 END of Chungching municipality and start of Hubei Province. Chungching BIGGEST city in China at thirty million people. #27 boats at Badong at 11:15, mooring for afternoon tour. Back to room at 11:30, too early for lunch, getting key from Fred eating alone in dining room. But then I don't feel like typing, so I got back to lunch at 11:35 and Fred's at crowded table, but two move to window "for only $10" and I move in for light lunch with Sharon and Fred, and back to room at noon: earliest lunch ever, and start typing and finish at 12:21, after announcement of our group gathering in library, right outside our door. I've had to get a new roll of film, but will remove shirt, not concerned about sun on very hazy day. Glad to have caught up: felt VERY good sitting in front-center seat for the first two gorges, looking at the two humpy English-speakers both with Chinese wives, and I thought Fred had gone out but he was only in the john. Finish at 12:23, Fred left door OPEN!! But then we leave for ferry, which leaves boat at 12:30. To peapods at 12:45 and FABULOUS narrow, cool, rapid canyon with LOADS of pictures from roll 9's 28 to Roll #10 #20! Back to ferry at 2:38. Ferry off 3PM. To boat 3:15, drink water and wash face, then up to front to view more of gorges at 3:30. #21 waterfall at 3:33. #22 Princess Sheena passes at 4:15. #23 Tuscany at 4:40. #24 Fragrant Stream at 5:09, at start of gorge 3. #25 smog in gorge 5:11. #26 hanging coffin at 5:13. #27 highway building at 5:14. First ship through Yangtze without trackers' help took 17 days by Captain Cornell Plant in 1900. #28 at 5:33. Building dam to 1) control floods, 2) provide 10% of China's electricity, 3) improve navigation, and 4) supply water to North China: in 1998 Yellow River STOPPED FLOWING, so dig canals to Yellow River from 1) Tibet, 2) Wuhan, and 3) reuse Grand Canal!! River raised 20 meters in 1989 by first dam. OLD dam is 24 miles downstream from new dam, to reduce 300-foot difference in water levels, the 90-foot water drop between dams. #30 future shiplock at 6:06. #31 major part of dam at 6:07. #32 ship channel, to be blocked later, at 6:12. #33 top of dam, 185 meters above sea level at 6:13. #34 front of dam, all BELOW here will be saved, at 6:14. #35 Xiling bridge, towers 185 meters high, same as top of dam, and 2300 meters (?) in total length at 6:18. Tomorrow 6AM wakeup call and 8AM to bus tour. #36 city BELOW dam at 6:24. To room at 6:30, exhausted from poling and building dam today. Type until 6:45, when the girls come in to make up the room for the night. I'd expected Fred to come in at some point, but decide to go to dinner, finding him at the table, saying he'd gone to the room, not found me, and left his stuff with someone and just went on to dinner. Oh. Wonderfully tender pork, delicious beef, good duck, and absolutely fabulous American cookies, of which I ate about a dozen, happy when they brought in a new supply at 7:23, when [7:56PM 6/10]: dinner was just about over. Take a packet to the room to eat while reminding myself to take pills and refill water containers. Had put laundry away earlier, all looking and smelling good. Finish this at 8PM, Fred having gone to the library "to work on his journal," but of course the sound of raucous laughter led by his roar soon fills the halls. He comes back in and I ask if they're ready for Mo Tai, and he says he'll call me when they're ready. Hear Steven's voice, so Fred will be having no thoughts of me soon. Music comes from somewhere, will avoid the Bingo Night at 8:50 in favor of "The Mummy Returns," scheduled for 8:30PM if they really mean it. Will watch TV til then. But then Fred calls me in at 8:03 and I listen to their jokes for awhile, until they start talking about Depends, and as I get up to leave they protest, and I say "I've got to change," and I vanish in a puff of their uproarious laughter at 8:29. Switch channels but can't find the movie, though channel 5 is blank. Watch tiny bits of "The Last Emperor," which had started at 8PM, and keep switching channels until at last see a snippet of "The Mummy Returns." Go call Fred back from the library and his gang, and he actually comes in, though he writes in his journal throughout the movie, missing some of the "plot," which is essentially simple---everyone's against them, including their son who does the stupidest and cleverest things just on the whims of the script-writer (assuming there was such a thing), and not a BIT of Brendan Frazier's body is shown, and what else was the point of watching the movie, which had a convenient earth-shake when needed for no discernible reason, and a few good special effects, but, as noted in the reviews, there's no logic, plot, reason, or sense in the movie, and the "couple" hardly seems like a couple and the son has no PART of their looks. It goes on and on, finally ending at 10:44, which may have been two hours. Get to bed at 10:50, moaning that Fred wants up between 6:15 and 6:30.

MON, 6/11: 3:40 pee and shit a bit. 6:20 as I get up Fred says "Good morning," and I pee and shit a bit and get out at 6:30 as Fred is up and bustling about the room. Look out the window to see a somewhat clearer day with the temperature about perfect for breakfast outside. Type this to 6:40 and get ready to eat. Room-temperature outside. To library 7:51. Have day 3 agenda XEROXED for me. We all wait til 8AM and board bus, which goes at 8:07. Yangjiawong is town. 900 meters between towers of bridge. #37 shiplock at 8:16AM. Roll #11: 5-step 2-way shiplock with gates open. 113 meters in steps. Three hours for maximum 180 meter ship, as many as 4-6 at same time, but 35 minutes by ship elevator, maximum 120 meter ship (so ours couldn't go). To observation tower at 8:24. Bus number 2, back in 50 minutes from 8:26, at a height of 262 meters. To tower at 8:27. At a height of 185 meters, dam will be 2309 meters long at top, 18 meters wide at top, and 124 meters wide at bottom. 23 bottom sediment dischargers. 14 turbines on left, 12 turbines on right. 87 trillion kilowatt-hours. GRANITE foundation rock at site. Natural ISLAND formed BANK of diversion channel, 350 meters wide, diverted to temporary shiplock at flood-stages. At end, temporary shiplock will clear sediments. #2 and #3 Three Gorges Project plans from billboards at 8:38. #4 across future dam-top at 8:45. #5 shiplock construction at 8:50. #6 sidewall of shiplock at 8:51. #7 upstream shiplock, with "big white wall" from FIRST picture in EXTREME upper left at 8:52. #8 bridge in GREAT big downstream of shiplock. Ship elevator is on "dam-side" of observation tower, "permanent hill" obstructs view. #9 ship-elevtor cleft at right, from a down, closer view at 9:05. Buy 30Y "green book" of data, probbly 10Y below! #10 MODEL, almost missed, only because they called Bob back from there at bus's leaving, but guy BUMPED me as I took photo at 9:10. Bus goes at 9:11. #11 FRONT of dam from moving bus at 9:14. #12 elevator at LEFT, and rest of dam at 9:17. Coffer dams upstream and donstream from dam---to build base of dam on. 630 km long lake to Chungching, but average only 1.5 km wide. #13 work at 2001 chart at 9:23. #14 front of dam from top at 9:33. Bus goes 9:37---my 30Y book was 50Y! 28,000 workers on dam, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, three shifts. Four countries (US, Switzerland, Germany, and France) share production of 14 first turbines, China hopes to produce second 12. At the dam average daily summer temperature is 48°C! 100,000 square meter rockpile is biggest in Asia. Concrete is COOLED: with ice, with spray, with piping. To boat 9:50; buy two books and 10 Gezhouba-dam cards for 70Y at dock. Ship turns around to sail at 10:20, so I stop typing and go to SECOND row in front of deck 4 at 10:25. #15 two sedan chairs (bumped?) at 10:50. #16 tea house and #17 Monkey King pillar and Pigsy and Monk at 10:53. #18 Three Visitor's Cave at 11:08. #19 gondolas at 11:19. #20 Gezhouba [4:10PM: What EARTHLY purpose could a play and film like "Quills" serve? An exercise in masochism in which the audience is made to suffer from frustrated desires to see images more erotic and stimulating than any they've seen before? An exercise in sadism in which the audience writhes with pleasure to see the blood, the burning with the iron, the cutting out of the tongue and drowning in the washing basin, the floggings, the beheadings, the cutting with glass to write with finger-aching blood? Merely pornography for those who don't care to frequent a dirty-video shop? Why flaunt a body as ugly as Geoffrey Rush's? Why show ugly naked women writhing at the fire at Charenton? Load the film with words for fucks and quims and shits and slits? Say he has a perpetual erection without bothering to show it? Making him cry when he's only poorly acting? Simple disgust, useless and futile, follows from a disgusting film.] dam shiplock No. 1, started 1971-1989. #21 shiplock No. 2 and 3 at 11:28. #22 ships out at 11:49, line to go IN. Move to lock at noon. #23 entering lock at 12:08. #25 back gates closing at 12:30. #26 front view 12:32. #27 floating ballast 12:34. We drop 70 feet in ten minutes. #28 doors open 12:45. Everyone leaves. FUTURE tours probably will NOT travel east of new dam. #29 Gezhouba dam at 1:02. Lunch 1:05-1:40. Back to put on TV and distribute pills to 2:20. Fred leaves. Type to 2:28, when "Quills" comes on. Watch half in agony (see comment, above) until 4:30, when I start looking for "Challenging China's Yangtze" that comes on from a 1986 ABC Sports special that runs the first hour in 46 minutes, with incredible rapids and even more incredible Chinese "pillbox" rapid-shooter in which three Chinese are killed in their effort to run the river first. Then to dinner and find to my astonishment that Wanda's sitting in the seat across from mine! Get good asparagus soup to avoid the line, then one meat and one dessert and three beers and finally all but Fred leave. We go up to watch the sunset, and I say I decide not to go to the 7:30 "talent" show, which Fred said was capped by the sexy guy-married-to-Chinese who did a Mr. Hulot pantomime of a man on a beach who took off his shirt and---his shorts---to reveal a boxer-style bathing suit and a bit of a pot. Sorry I missed THAT. I talked with Elaine until Fred went in, then she started talking with an older I-think-dyke blonde, and I decided to go to the front of the fourth deck, which was totally deserted, and watched the ship sail into the twilight mists, broken only by car headlights on the road on the left, house lights on the right, and the green guide-lights on the left and red guide-lights on the right of the channel, and an occasional ship. Three solitary guys pass, none of them clearly cruising, and I get tired of dreaming of my trip up the Atlantic, or my trip down the Amazon, and go back inside at 8:30 to find the Germans singing in the library! Take a shower until 9, when Fred enters and says they were rehearsing for their presentation. Whew! Finish typing this at 9:35, feeling tired enough to get to bed and wake up at 5:30 to see sunrise on my last day on the Yangtze. Fred and I jointly fill out the boat's evaluation form, giving mostly highest ratings, and I get to bed just before 10PM.

TUE, 6/12: Pee at 12:30 and 4:20. Wake at 5:50 with dream: multiple components vaguely related: I'm out for lunch, but look at an exit stairway labeled "Antiques" and carefully place my feet on the tiny open area at the side of each step which is crowded with souvenir items, but when I get to the bottom I'm somehow disturbed the whole stack, which I try to balance while trying to balance myself, and the owner comes over with an impassive face and I give over much of the merchandise, which seems to be mostly pillows in the shapes of buildings or pyramids now, to him, who seems to be used to repairing such damages. As I walk to the front of the shop it turns into an expensive men's apparel shop with one or two items on each table. Out onto the street in what seems to be Washington, D.C., and they're taking down the "Happy New Year" signs in some unfinished federal buildings, and I'm surprised that it's so warm here now, that I'm comfortable walking down the street in my short shirtsleeves, but then I realize I've left my jacket behind, probably in the restaurant, and I'm momentarily tempted by a very lightweight blue-hooded jacket like mine that I see on a fence by the sidewalk, but it seems newer and lighter than mine, so I put it back, wondering if I can find the restaurant again and claim my jacket, when I wake with the sense of relief that it was only a dream. At one segment, I was following Fred out a door, but was stalled by something and he got lost on the way to wherever we were going. Something about an office in here, too, that I had to telephone someone---ah, another batch of dream-memories returns: I'm working in an IBM-like office and don't know which buttons to press on the telephone (like me with the remote last night when I seem to have lost the sound, after having lost channel 7 that afternoon, fiddling with the Chinese-labeled buttons) and one button started some sort of timer ticking over, like the stopwatch on my wristwatch, and another seemed to be a kind of reminder alarm, and I pressed it until it seemed to be nullified: couldn't have an alarm going off in 10 or 20 minutes. Then a little adding-machine result-paper seemed to spew out the back, which I managed to stop, but in tearing off the paper I'd wasted I somehow got involved with a larger printer, and I feared ripping off someone's results, but when I got my paper out of the way, a woman on the other side seemed to have no trouble inserting her coded-pink paper into the feeder and getting her results printed almost instantly. I was happy I didn't mess anyone up. Decided that I'd remembered enough details to record this, so I picked up the laptop and my notes and sat on the toilet with a towel around my shoulders for warmth and finished this at 6:05, ready for my last morning on the Yangtze River. Dress and out at 6:12. Front too sunny-hazy-hot, back deck 3 too low and smelly from smoke, back deck 5 has LOUD Chinese holding forth, so I take chair to sit at stern on deck 4, alone now at 6:20AM. Just over half-moon above in BLUE sky haloed by small clouds, then cloaked in red-gray smaze. Embankments, white, slide past between uninterrupted green. A loud-radio river-ferry with one blue truck on passes across. Cargo boats move upstream; we pass slower downstreamers. Comfortably warm and only a bit humid. Red Chinese flag, one big star and four small, wraps around wooded stern pole. River calmer below dam: no eddies, no rocks rising, some floating white plastic jetsam. Carolyn look-alike nods "morning" on her deck circumambulation at 6:26. Still surprisingly LITTLE shore-side building on MAIN river NEAR large towns. Flood plain? Boat turns north, putting sun on left leg. Long string of 8-9 boats going west. 6:33 sun "rounds" to ten o'clock, hot and bright, so I move chair to right, around corner. Rail-cleaner comes, then gutter-mopper-up. Treeless horizon to port. Garbage in river reminds me of Elaine's remark last night: "Four people saw a dead body floating in the river above the dam." Hardly ANYONE (1, I saw) has shades down; few (2, I saw) had windows open. One man sits in bar as I round to shady front. At 6:45 we sail into a particularly dense patch of haze, little visibility, so I return to cabin to find Fred still snoring. LONG line for checking out, woman says she waited ten minutes on line. Many passengers now wandering around. Take laptop to library with Rick Rickerson, or Nick Nickerson, and catch up with the last notes until 6:55. Decide Fred would want to be wakened by 7AM, so I finish this up and return to cabin. Fred grumbles that he'd wanted to be up at 6:30, saying he'd had many dreams, which I say I've had too. He gets up and goes to bathroom and I start packing at 7AM. Almost finished when he comes out of the shower, but then he says we should go to breakfast early to get a good table, and I still want to eat outside, so go to dining room at 7:25 and the lines are so long I merely get cereal for the first time---Fred was right, the milk DOES taste fresh---and then scrambled eggs and then a plate of fruit as the Fischers join me for the end. Out at 7:20 and find a very short check-out line, and Fred and I get one two lines and get to desk simultaneously, which is good since they ask whether we want together or separate, so we get separate and I dither about spending 110Y of my last 136Y on the bill, then decide to card it, which annoys her because "it's so small," but finally accepts the just-under-$14 charge. To room at 8:30 and Fred goes to the john "for the third time," and wonders whether I'm going ashore, seemingly surprised when I say we're still on our way to Wuhan. Hallways were full of luggage, now they're all bunched according to groups in various corners. Lots of things still to do at 8:34, now. Brush teeth while watching a Chinese soap opera with many elements of "Crouching Tiger" and kung-fu films. Fred bumps around dancing to the Chinese videos. I want to leave the Chinese liquor on the bed, but Fred says the maids will be accused of stealing it, so I should give it to Steven. Look in the library and dining room and find him with the Dough Girls and he verifies that Fred was exactly right and says the bar would be happy with a gift from me. Later Fred meets him and he says he gave it to the girls, which Steven verifies when I meet him in the hall: HE is ubiquitous, I tell Fred. Put the evaluation form into the large box with an American $20 and Chinese 50Y, so that's just over $26, my evaluation of the suggested "$8/day" on the guidelines for the three full-day and a fraction trip. Pack up the rest of my stuff, having had to take out the pill case just to be able to close my increasingly difficult blue bag, which I see lying atop the grouping of our luggage. Now 9:22 and the Chinese version of the jazz-Zarathustra with the circle-lit glowing irises of the "singer" has finished, and there's a motley-vision, vaguely "New Age" video on the little-selection-in-morning in-house video. So, what do I do NOW? Last pee, wondering at the fact that I haven't really shit yet this morning. Wash eyeglasses, put on nametag, put last stuff into A&K bag, put the cold water out to warm before it wets my bag. Nonsense on TV, ending with sports on so Fred can watch his asses playing soccer. Now 9:36 and more industry and factories along the riverside, so we must be nearing Wuhan. Sorry to see the 440BC museum "depending on time." Nothing more to say, so pack this at 9:37AM. 9:47 in library: Tuotuohe river, far NORTH of Lhasa, considered source of Yangtze in Geladandong, becoming Jinshaijiang before becoming Yangtze in Yibin. #31 tower, bridge, and Wuhon buildings at 10:02. #32 Wuham at 10:08. 10:20 docking. Pee at 10:30. "McVeigh executed." Off at 10:35, onto HOT bus at 10:40. Preparing for really bad flood early in July. Wuhon was Chiang Kai-Shek's capital in 1937 for 3 months. To Holiday Inn at 11:16, to 27th floor for rotating restaurant with two pictures over the city, supposed to be back in the lobby at 12:40. #33 Wuhan main street at 11:22. Great gossipy lunch to 12:22, Ann (Bob's wife) hinting at a deeper reason for Shirley's dislike of Margaret but it was "privileged information" that she couldn't divulge (until she got drunk?). I walk around the block to 12:35, seeing flower vendors and construction work and lots of heat. Leave 12:46. Poplar fluff fills the air. Fred: WE'RE only FIVE in Vietnam: Wanda and Shirley and sullen Margaret and us two! Wuhon City Bonsai Garden and rocks and crystals. To garden 1:03. #34 INCREDIBLE crystal at 1:07.  #35 ROCK at 1:16. #36 Platybaladon, 12 million years old, form of elephant. #37 "Three Gorges" model at 1:25. Roll #12: #1 and #2 garden, out at 1:52 after they spend LOTS of time in the shop and I see the Ryukyu(?) rock-art on the balcony on the second floor and the Hall of Fossils that the others don't even see, also the hall of cave-crystals. Absolutely incredible; they even put on the lights in the side cabinets when I requested them. To 440BC Museum at 2:27. #4 wine cooler at 2:50, absolutely the most incredible bronze anywhere. #25 gong from 440BC. 20Y for concert: 19 on top, 33 middle, 13 bottom = 65 gongs. 3:05: stone museum and this---TRULY mind-boggling! Players play on ORIGINALS until five years ago, when they started using these copies. Into concert from 3:05-3:23, instrumentalists and a long-arm dancer. Buy GREAT 150Y book on Visa. Out at 3:48. SECOND great thing today! To airport at 4:40. Give Tony, the local guide, 20Y, hoping he'll show these great things to other early boats (we were scheduled in about 11:30, got in before 10:30). I'm TIRED! And I'm WORRIED about "us 5" in Vietnam! Get seat 17C at 4:58 at airport. We all crowd out in RAIN at 5:57 to board bus, on which I sit until EVERYONE gets under the sheltered steps, and I'm the last one on, so the steward has no problem giving me 4F(!), lovely window seat in front of the wing and next to a very handsome, masculine face on the Chino-Japanese on the aisle across from me, who keeps noticing that I'm looking at him. We're off at 6:25 for what's announced as a 90 minute flight. Nice fields below, and rivers and paddy fields, then into clouds. Then ABOVE clouds to sun breaking through even higher clouds! Drink wild lotus root juice, order noodles (awful, with two little bits of beef, while Fred said the rice was loaded with meat), and what looks to be paté wrapped in chicken. Fly BETWEEN cloud layers---LOVELY white anvil-topped clouds and streamers momentarily obscuring and revealing the setting sun. At 7:13 we're starting down? Did I hear wrong and it IS only an hour's flight? Down through MANY layers of cloud, "Land at 7:48," she says. Started down WAY early. Total dark below but for city lights at 7:39. HUGE multi-forked lightning RIGHT OUT WINDOW!! ANOTHER huge flash, almost blinding, almost enveloping plane, at 7:46! ANOTHER, distant, multi-multi-flash over the suburbs. Land at 7:53, raining, 75°F! Stop rolling NOT at a gate at 8PM. Lots of yellow-light-whirling cars; could something be wrong?? Off and get own bags, out FAST, mine wet AGAIN at 8:18, having gone to the john to pee, but feeling I need to shit, as I'd feared this morning. 8:36 to bus, WAY off, walking 1) WITH cart in the rain, and 2) WITHOUT cart with carry-on, in the rain. Off at 8:39 to third accident (this with a truck having forced a motorbike to the curb) (the second was in some city where two cars appeared to have collided when one came out of a driveway) (another I've forgotten). Guangzhou, where we're at the China Hotel by Marriott, has 9.5 million people. They're silly enough to give choice of leaving for hotel before dinner, and of COURSE Shirley wants to leave at the hotel AND wants her carry-on which she checked in below the bus. She leaves at 8:57. To restaurant in a huge hotel to the second floor at 9:10. Mike isn't talking to me for some reason, and dinner is pretty poor except for the mushrooms in the sauce and in the soup, of which I seemed to have selected the only bowl that had any, when I first feared that the hard white stuff might be octopus. Fred orders a second bottle of beer and offers it to Mike, who almost empties it, and then at length Fred motions that I can have some too. He says it was 13Y. Leave at 10:04. Tomorrow, bags out at 8:30 and meet for tour and lunch and train at 9:30. Breakfast starts at 6:30 on second floor. Train leaves at 2:30 and takes about two hours. We meet our Hong Kong guide at lunch tomorrow. Fred insists we have to use our welcome-drink tickets TONIGHT, and though I'm tired, I can't pass up a free wine, so to Cafe Lounge at 10:27 and order a house white wine, pretty good, and Irv and Susan order red and Fred's announcement that he'll take the chits from those who don't want the drink had yielded only ONE, to his displeasure. Eat peanuts and wasabi-chickpeas, and then Jim and Margaret finally appear and I want to leave, but Fred almost insists that I be in the pictures too, so I stay while the waitress takes the six of us with Fred's and then Jim's camera. I plead fatigue and leave for the room at 10:50, accepting both bags from the cute porter who starts spelling Lasker "L-A," and I say "Excellent!" Shower without loofah from 11:05-11:20, having taken evening pills, and start typing at 11:22. Fred comes in, saying that each couple tipped $1 for the free drinks. I catch up with this at 12:08, disgusted to hear Fred putting in a wake-up call for 7:30, so I don't even get 7.5 hours tonight! He also put on TV, bless him! GOT to finish this later. Bed 12:10AM!

WED, 6/13: 4:37AM: Dream: John is taking Spartacus and someone else, maybe Fred, to a new orgy-club in the space that used to be Eastern Athletic Club, but he insists that they be blindfolded so they won't know where the place is. I sit musing how to turn them around in various ways to make the nearness seem far, and how to avoid a place with a particular noise from giving away the location when I wake, needing to pee, and type this sitting on the john til 4:41. Pee at 7:17, feeling slightly DIZZY, as if still on the ship: the floor vibrations both in the room and in the breakfast room heightened that feeling. Up at 8AM and get bags out and down with Fred to breakfast, having two fried eggs, waffle, and fruits with hash browns, and back to room at 9AM to shit a very good shit for the first time in a long time, and now at 9:10 write the DREAM I had: someone very like the angular ugly old fart at M.A.N. has the hots for me and is willing to lie behind me naked in bed to get hard. He starts trying to fuck me, and I say "I don't do that," and he pokes me in the small of the back with his long hard cock and starts coming with incredible fountains and spurts and gouts of orgasmic jism, lump after lump after lump, until I begin to think it MUST be artificial somehow, and as I ponder this condumdrum (ha!) and he continues to spew dots of sharp-peaked cum, like little white whipped-cream dots on a wedding cake, I wake and smile at the dream. Fred insists on taking over the typing table for his letter to Steven, he likes mine, and I finish this and put out the missing breakfast ticket to take down on my way to the lobby with my carry-on now at 9:15AM, rather late. Enclose two twenties and write: "Dear Steven---Thank you for your services. You get ***** for 1) enthusiasm and smiling face, 2) patience with difficult people like Ziggy and me---(and Fred?), 3) knowledge of China. You get XXXX for 1) allowing Xi'An local guide to take us to lacquer salesroom rther than Shaanxi Provincial Museum or Ban-Po Village, 2) giving TOO MUCH shopping. Best wishes, Bob Z." Check out 9:25, no receipt, after giving ticket to breakfast room that I'd forgotten first. #8 baby-adoption bus 9:35!! 45.7Y left. Bus goes 9:38. SUNNY out, but RAIN in HK. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial at 9:45. #9 hall. HOT and SUNNY and HUMID at 9:49. #10 inside hall, cooler, too-dark picture at 9:54. His motto: "Whole world belongs to people." #11 monument on hill at 10:11. Back hall has only photographs and Chinese captions. #12 laying pavement at 10:14. Leave 10:22. Chen Clan Temple, to worship ancestors, now folk art museum---shop? Fred: one couple is giving (Michael and Margaret, Fred confesses, which makes one wonder) Steven $100 EACH. Canton = Guangzhou = food = languge. Hong Kong ALSO Cantonese. "Foreign Chinese" in Canton spek MANDARIN, which Fred was learning. Pearl River HERE is start of SEA Silk Road to India, Ceylon, etc. THIS is a silk city---must be shop! Arrive at 10:35, leave at 11:40! #13 entrance to Chen Clan Temple at 10:39. INCREDIBLE wood and ceramic carvings. Built in 1894. #14 lintel inside. #15 INTRICATE pavilion inside and out at 10:44. Crafts: paper-cutting, shop, change-color cups, porcelain, #16 bone carving at 10:51; wood carving, god-sedan in late Ching. Coconut carving from Hainan; shell, brick, horn, etc. carving. Museum, rooms, ???, silk, paint, ???, ???, scrolls, rugs, chops. Buy GREAT 3.5Y book at 11:20. #17 inner court at 11:21. WHO taught YOUNG men to stand SO FAR BACK when urinating? Computer won't WORK. Back to bus at 11:32, wet and cloudy, leave 11:38, and at that instant it starts POURING rain, a real DELUGE! Panxi Restaurant for lunch [9:50PM, 6/13] is over 100 years old, for dim sum lunch at 11:44. CLOUDBURST at 11:41! Last night was the Landmark Hotel Restaurant. #18 Panxi restaurant at 11:50. Three beers among four of us. Rich, Hong Kong guide, here at 12:52. Onto bus at 1:03. To Guangzhou East Station, which is new, at 1:35. To immigration at 1:50. Through at 1:57---are we really leaving China for Hong Kong? Look through Airlines magazine and leave it on the chair when I've finished tearing out the pages I want from it. 2:09 panic as train boards. We wait. Leave at 2:28, right on schedule, and another cloudburst at 2:56, rain streaming down windows obscuring everything outside. Not very impressive entry into Hong Kong by 4:10. Through immigration by 4:29. Onto bus at 4:37. Breakfast is in Patio Restaurant on fourth floor from 6:30AM on. He'll be leading a tour to Nathan Road at 5:40. At 8:25 tomorrow we leave on a tour of five hours. To orientation on third floor at 4:56, and to room 1408 at 5:15. Unpack, look at tours from brochures, discuss them with Fred, but he wants to go on the tour tomorrow AND the next day, so only an afternoon harbour tour would be of interest to him. I go down and find I have to get a NEW visa to go to Shenzan, and can only go on Friday because they have to GET my visa ahead of time. Price the tours and take the all-China duo. Then get the Ocean Park tour for tomorrow, leaving at 8:25 from the lower lobby. Total comes to 1000HK and I pay by visa. Back to room at 6:45 and Fred's willing to join me at Ruth's Chris Steak House, and I type a bit while he dresses and then we're out at 7:05PM. Walk along a heavily detoured walkway, looking over most of Hong Kong across the Harbor, and cross a walk-over bridge populated with prostitutes who whisper to us. Have to go an extra two short blocks because the corners have been Giuliani'd and are impossible to cross. Into the elegant restaurant and the service is divine, but the fixed price of 650HK has too much food and we order the small filets at 240 apiece, and asparagus hollandaise for 60 and sauteed mushrooms for 65 and a house Merlot "from France" for 240. Everything is fabulous, Fred loves it, the waiters are wonderful, the food totally luscious and we're both VERY pleased: in fact, when he goes to the john I feel HAPPY for the first time in a long time, partly because of being away from that awful GROUP! Have chocolate sin cake with espresso flavor for 50 and it's truly one of the best chocolate desserts ever, and his fresh berries for 60 is pretty good too, though on the skimpy side. Sit and relax and gossip about people and confide about sex and leave to walk back along the main street, stopping in to look at the Shangri-La, passing in front of the enormous Regent dining room, and then around the corner to little us at 9:30. Up to the room and I start typing at 9:38, feeling VERY tired, and happy when I finish as 10:07, delighted with the thought that our 6:45AM wakeup call will leave me 8.5 hours sleep if I can get to sleep by 10:15PM. Eagerly looking forward to it. I'm just about to go into the bathroom when he asks if I want him to get his underwear out of the sink. Unfortunately, I say OK, because at 10:23PM he's STILL in the bathroom with no HOPE of seeming to leave, and I just can't WAIT anymore, type this, and just get to bed AS IS: no washed face, no piss, no shit, NOTHING! But then he comes out and I decide I'd BETTER get up and at least take my pravachol, so I pee and wash face and hands and take pill and get back into bed at 10:30PM.

THU, 6/14: 4:33 up to pee from dream of 1) racing around with a folder and my "Indexers and Indexing" book, having left it in a restaurant while Fred is waiting for a bus that's coming in just a few minutes, and I'm hoping he'll be able to hold the bus for me until I get there with my stuff, and I keep running and running, but more and more delays make it seem that I'll never make it. 2) I have some kind of second make-up test that, if I fail, I won't have any kind of a career (is this in the AIR because so many guides have explained that this time of year is the worst for students because they have three days of tests which WILL determine if they can ever be a financial success in their life), and I know it's a physics test for which I haven't studied, but the testor draws aside a dark-golden curtain on a stage and presents me with the first question: if I mix sulfur into a beaker of calcium, where the liquid turns a vinegar-red, what is the substance formed. I hazard "calcium sulfate, CaSO4?" and though I'd HEARD him say "calcium hydrogen sulfate," I'm still annoyed when he says "No, it's CaHSO15." And I know I've failed and look forward with dread to the next question. Fred did NOT know how to put on the night light, but I sleep through the brightness anyway. Note that our house clock is about ten minutes slow. Up again at 6:29 to shit what doesn't feel like much, but on study proves to be an enormous turd, so I should be OK for the day's tour. Look at the clock just before the wake-up call comes, and Fred goes into the bathroom first at 6:45 and I lay until 7:01 and get up to type this until 7:10, ready to shower. Out at 7:30 and down to breakfast and up at 8:05. RUSH! Watch TV and brush teeth and pee and put on shoes and organize stuff and Fred comes up and I DASH down at 8:23, getting to desk at 8:25 and she's waiting for one MORE who never shows up. I'm onto the pickup bus at 8:28 and off at 8:29. To central point at 8:35. Hong Kong streets are characterized by signs ALL across the streets, very colorful but messy: unique! Couple is he-black and she-white from Scottsdale, Arizona. To another bus at 8:40. Stop at Kowloon Hotel at 8:49 and pick up a newly-wed couple, possibly speaking Italian, but it sounded strange, so we're eight in group. Through the Cross-Harbor Tunnel to Hong Kong and into the Aberdeen Tunnel at 9:10. Ocean Park opens at 10AM so we go (ha-ha) to the Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturing Company at 9:15. Guide at least tells us that Sep/Oct/Nov is the best weather in Hong Kong, not hot and not raining; we appear to be in luck today in having no rain promised. I look at stuff as in a museum to 9:35: nice diamonds and an enormous cut aquamarine in a necklace. Three of us don't shop, but five do. I read "New York Magazine" and we leave at 9:56. Into Ocean Park at 10:05. Get told where to meet at 3PM and given 150HK ticket (later see sign that locals over 65 can get in free!) Up the second-longest outdoor escalator in Asia to the non-suspended iron Runaway Train from 10:19-10:21, two-minute ride exactly. Fun, NOT extreme. 10:28-10:32 on Roaring Rapids, WET! Lots of flowers and butterflies and HAWKS. Stuffed deer, too. GREAT harbor seals and sea lions at Pacific Pier. Seventy-meter Ocean Park Tower at 11:03. Top is 191 meters above sea-level. #19-21 park from the top of the tower at 11:05. Down at 11:06. #22 LIVE sawfish at 11:18. Great sharks to 11:21. Japanese garden to 11:27. Atoll coral reef 11:29-12:02! #23 coral reef at 12:34. #24 Banggai Cardinalfish, raised HERE, and endangered, at 11:37. "Pterpogon Kauderni." Incredible octopus INTERACTIONS with me! And color-changing cuttlefish. #25 LOVELY reef at 11:53. On Dragon line at 12:05. Two-minute ride starts at 12:11. Off at 12:17. Ferris wheel 12:22-12:26. Cable car 12:33-12:45. #27 cable car at 12:35. #28 looking down at the far side. Film Fantasia starts at 1PM, English ONLY 3-4PM---though it turned out to be bi-lingual in my time. So I take the ten-minute wait to buy a PETRIFIED ham and cheese sandwich from Maxim's for 15HK and eat it before line at 12:58. Out 1:15 from six-minute "Meteor Attack." #28 Garden at 1:20. DIVING! to 1:27: cute guys, but they never posed frontally together for me, and I was too embarrassed to take a picture of them at the end when they came out to pose. Ancient World: orchids, macaws, butterflies, bronze komodo, stuffed monkeys, spiders, noises, kudus. Like a fun house! That to 1:37. Butterflies to 1:43, "only" 6-7 kinds: maybe more OUTSIDE! Dinosaurs sort of tacky, though I did do it backward, to 1:50. To pandas, having been chased away from coming in exit, without wait, at 1:55. #29 Jia Jia, the female, at 1:56. An An, the male, came out as I watched, walked to the front; a woman horselaughed like Wanda, the keeper shushed, and An An went back to sulk, sitting at the doorway with his back to the crowd. Fred said they couldn't stand each other so they had to be kept separated. #30 crane in garden at 2:07. To Goldfish Pagoda 2:09-2:16. #31 Red and White Crown Pearlscale Goldfish at 2:11 OUTRAGEOUS! #32 Calico Bubbleeye at 2:14. To cable car at 2:18; on ALONE at 2:23. #33 "Balcony" houses at 2:27. BIRDS all over! Off at 2:34. Onto escalator at 2:40. CICADAS in trees! Off at 2:47, walking part of the way. Bus 629 to Admiralty Station is only 12HK and subway connects near hotels. On bus at 3PM EXACTLY. In Cross-Harbor Tunnel at 3:14. Off at 3:22, almost exactly seven hours, as advertised. Strip off hot-wet clothes in room and drink cold water until 3:32. Start typing at 3:42, Fred's in about 4, uses desk, so I flick TV back and forth, seeing good cartoons and great Hong Kong promotional films, until 5PM. Back to typing at 5:03, pause to shit ominously BLACK smelly turds, and then finally finish up to date at 5:55PM, debating starting at least ADDRESSING postcards so I know how many I want to send. Also a way to spend my last Hong Kong dollars, since tomorrow's the last full day and I have over 120HK left. Write EIGHT postcards to 6:50 and go down to the concierge and find that 28HK covers all eight, with each being 3.1 and she charged 3.5HK: "service charge" being the difference. Down to encounter five others going to Jimmy's, and when we get to Ashley Road we find that Buddy's is CLOSED, which is why Fred didn't get any answer when he tried to phone them from the lobby twice. So we follow the five up to the second floor for Jimmy's, but manage to sit with the Chinese and not with them. I order the veal Zurichoise for 165HK which isn't bad, but isn't good, and Susan has the Chop Suey and both Fred and Irv have the Sole Florentine, which I find boring. Then we share two desserts: the Strawberry Pancake with Flaming Cointreau and the Strawberry Millefeuille, and both go together quite well since we'd shared two bottles of NSW Australian Shiraz for a total for Fred and me of 730HK and them of 630HK, and we all seem happy about 9PM as we make our way past the Peninsula, and Fred asks the way to the top and we're told we don't need jackets for Felix, on the 28th floor, and go up in a special elevator with corrugated wooden walls whose lights DIM as we hit the top floor and we exit to a dimly lit hallway giving onto a Philipe Starck designed main room of flowing lines and starck black and white patterns and lines. We try the bar up a few lighted steps, and everyone gets my top hat request as an homage to Fred Astaire, but the tables are full and it's only afterwards that we see people sitting on the railings of the room. But we're willing to sit at the bar, scattered with white and green "jewels" which are the inserts put into flower-pots bearing fresh flowers in water, and I have a Tiramisu Martini for 110HK that turns into 120HK with the 10% service charge, and ask for the men's room, and it's at the end of the hall, but to the RIGHT, so that the glass wall in back of the urinals is NOT looking over Hong Kong, but the northern depths of Kowloon, and the urinals are not on the WALL, but three green-jade stalls extending to chest-height into which I pissed after watching the slender Chinese to my right (three in a row is all, behind a white curtain outside which waits a flat sink with an attendant) carefully milk his extraordinarily pink member while I try to urinate SOMETHING. Back to the bar and order a mango vodka which soars from 85HK to 95HK on the bill, and Fred gets pissed when I ask the waiter for a separate check, but I ask for my bill BEFORE theirs, though he brings theirs TOO, and I pay and get back to my room at 10:30, to shower until about 10:50 and then sit down and type this until 11:06, getting the notice that SATURDAY'S wakeup will be for room service for breakfast for 4:30AM and departure for airport at 5:15AM, TWO HOURS BEFORE my 7:15 departure TOMORROW, which, if I'm lucky, I get 7 hours sleep before my requested 6:15 call comes in tomorrow morning. Let it to Fred to close the shades and finish this at 11:08. Bed 11:20, DRUNK. But still sleep quickly.

FRI, 6/15: Wake 3:15 and 5:20 but don't get up, and dream of Fred's having told someone that I find very hot that "I don't do that (fuck or be fucked)," and I say "That was very sweet" to him, and as a reward start caressing his back and ass very sensuously, and he starts to respond erotically when I wake. Think to myself, "It would be perfect if I look at my watch and it's time to get up, and JUST then the phone rings and I answer and take my laptop to the john and my clock just turns over to 6:15AM. Write this to 6:18. To breakfast at 6:30, but the BUFFET only opens at 7AM, but they graciously give me hot chocolate and I fill up on fruit and ham and yogurt and muesli, and Margaret comes down at 6:40, looks at me and the food, says "The selection's not very good," and leaves, and then Irv and Susan come down about 6:50 and say Fred "took up" with the two Germans and the Chinese across from us, and he left me a note that he got back at 12:45AM. I said, "I know Fred, and I leave when I have to." Up at 7 to shit a SECOND time, somewhat loose and quite smelly, but nothing to worry about (I hope). Catch up with this at 7:07AM, still on the pot but will be downstairs early this time. [4:13AM 6/16: Dream of helping someone far above me look analytically at some phenomenon by connecting two wires connected to a ring to a stabilizing platform, first by pressing down on a flexible rubber torus, which I managed with success most of the time, then by screwing a nut onto a central dome, which was more difficult and with which I succeeded only after great maneuvering. Then woke at 4:06 and debated getting up to shower just as the phone rang and I got up to shit a tiny bit and then relinquished the bathroom to Fred while I typed this until 4:16, feeling somewhat OK but rather shaky, including an awkward pain in the sole of my left foot which made my walk into a limp.] Three to Macao waiting, and guy comes at 7:15 EXACTLY, to Mody Road point at 7:23. On to Shenzhen bus 7:30, LOTS of people. Leave 7:44, 25 in group, but part with some who are going to Canton (which panicked me for a moment when they mentioned the Chen Clan Temple, fearing I might have to return, but that wasn't for my group). Guide pushes his map/stamps/coins/ money packet, maybe 20HK at MOST, for 100HK! Few buy at 8:24. Bus number 4196. To border at 8:26. Forgot to bring water! Out of bus 8:35. JAMMED immigration! Stamp at 8:40. Back in bus 8:43. Bus goes 8:48. Shenzhen has seven million people. To China immigration at 8:50. Through at 9:02, to bus 9:03, bus goes 9:17. Shenzhen was first Special Economic City, started with a Hakka village in 1979. 20,000 Hakka paid LOTS for ground. 19 on tour. They could see Hong Kong and a fast swimmer could SWIM there in 40 minutes and escape. Rains at 9:30. PASS "free markets." (Now, anyway.) To kindergarten at 9:43. To bus 10AM, mercifully quick: "Spicy Girls" who fan their mouths and "Kungfu Boys," who go into total split; try for photo, but I think it's poor. Then the group dances and I'm the only holdout, pleading a sore hip. No one really cares. To "Terra Cotta Warriors Museum" at 10:05. We're in Shekou, FAR from center of Shenzhen. Coins and SOME stuff from Xian in museum. Sky clearing at 10:30 and three shop. To bus 10:38. Say "I want photo," and he says it's 68 floors and 370 meters high. I say "I thought we'd spend time in city." NOW to free market at 10:45. Get fresh lychee---no big deal. No black millet wine, "only in North China." But she writes it for me. Leave 11:04. Shenzhen Bay Hotel for lunch: 7 of us vegetarians. Indian woman makes INCREDIBLE fuss about what's in what food, though she consented to eat at a "meat" table with her husband, from Queens, who'll even eat PORK. The pretty daughter is majoring in Economics at Baruch, and she was born in the USA. We'd stopped at Windows on the World for photos at 11:18! #34 and #35 of entryway at 11:23: NOT allowed up the stairs, he says, without a ticket, but I bet I could have done it had I tried. #36 "Main (European) street," and #37 Niagara Falls backed by the Grand Canyon, a "model of a model" at 11:27. Roll #13 starts! To Hotel 11:30, and back to bus at 12:30. To fresh-water pearl factory at 12:37. I guess 24 pearls (down from my in-bus intuition of 26, because all the initial guesses were so low, but the moment I said 24, someone else said 26) and get two pearls for my guess. When I see I somehow missed the plastic packet, she took me to another desk for it and tried to sell me something else. #1 Kungfu porcelain 1:01. Then, when I complain this wasn't on the itinerary, Joseph searches and reads and rereads and has the NERVE to say that pearl factory is "downtown shopping area" on itinerary! Note that this was the Shen Tai Precious Pearls and Present Factory," and I'd NOT be surprised if it WAS Joseph who decided on it, and NOT Grey Line, as he kept insisting. At 1:20 a girl who'd been sick when she got ON, curled with her fat legs in her chair through the drive out, may want an AMBULANCE. I don't envy Joseph his job! Leave 1:25, so in for a miserable 48 minutes! To "Windows" to drop part of the tour off at 1:35. To "Splendid China," which turns out to be RIGHT next to hotel, at 1:39. To be back at 4:40, first at anonymous stop at curb, then he changes it next to the central dragon. Into EIGHTY-THREE labeled sites at 1:46. #2 their map-number 39 at 2:21. #3 their map-number 26 at 2:23. FABULOUS stuff! #4 their map-number 23 at 2:29. #5 their map-number 43 which we SAW: the "net" garden in Suzhou at 2:33. #6 their map-number 50, only a small part of it. #7 their map-number 10 (?) at 2:50. #8 and #9 their map-number 65 at 2:59. #10 the Potala and a circle-train at upper right at 3:10. VERY hot, dripping sweat over my map, agonizing that I didn't bring water, almost masochistically denying myself buying what I should have brought, and hoping not to get sunburned, though the sun is almost directly overhead. Maybe the most wet and uncomfortable time of entire trip, partly due to pressure to see as much as I can in the limited time after shopping! Out at 3:20. #12 sedan-parade at 3:22. Into China Folk at 3:23. The Buyi exhibit (map-number 33) had a "native" woman peacefully sleeping in the air conditioned comfort of her home, and I made sure not to wake her. #16 Bridge and rope-hand end at 3:54. CAVE to 4:01, incredibly intricate and lit. #17 just MISSED climb knife-ladder at 4:06. Mother held kid to PEE into "recyclable" barrel. Two Sunkist orange @ 6HK, however she took the opportunity to give me two Chinese Yuan, unacceptable in Hong Kong, as change. #18 Kwanjin at 4:23. #19 Gaoshan Village at 4:26, beginning to panic because I try one of the pagodas "on the way out," but it's a dead end and I have to backtrack and I know it'd be a disaster if I missed the 4:40PM meeting. We're ON bus at 4:41, Portuguese guy waved at me. #20-24 aimed at the tall building that actually convinced me to TAKE this misguided tour, around 5PM. Bright and lovely clouds. Indian woman behind me CHEWS constantly, so I move. Out at 5:18 for immigration, back in bus at 5:43 (13 minutes to get INTO China, 25 minutes to EXIT China). Bus moves at 5:53. #25 at China/Hong Kong border river at 5:57. Out of bus at 5:58, tired and CRABBY on long line! On bus at 6:30 (15 minutes to get OUT of HK, 32 minutes to get back IN.) Won't make 7:30 (that was actually 6:30!!!) dinner. Off into Hong Kong at 6:32, and he named my hotel first. Off at hotel 7:25. Search MADLY and buy two Tsingtao for 32HK at 7:30, and up to dinner at 7:37 and find it started at 6:30! Margaret says she demanded they keep my mushroom soup hot, and it's so good and hot that I pour in two creamers so I can finish in order to start the main course of chicken cutlet that they saved for me. They applauded when I entered, and Rick volunteered to open my beer for me after I tasted some of the white wine which had been going around, and downed one bottle almost at a gulp. They joked that I'd been taking all my time changing clothes, or that I'd been arrested and Fred got a call from me in China begging to be released. I kept eating as Mike started singing, urging everyone to join him, and when Bob wouldn't, leaning over and KISSING him full on the mouth! Bob shouted in dismay and started clinging to Anne while the place broke up. And then he did it again! Mary sang "Amazing Grace" with a wonderful tremolo, though "Dumpling" made a mess of whatever she tried. I finally got to the end and said goodnight to everyone with a final glass of red wine because Fred finished off the last of my second Tsingtao: it seems no one else had brought beer. I get upstairs at 8:30 to TRY to organize: 57HK left, but we're coming back for a day. Fred up and I take HEAVY bag down to bell captain for checking at 9PM. Fuss to 9:20, NOW, and get to BED after putting bag out at 9:30. Bed at 9:39.

SAT, 6/16: Agonize for Fred to get out of bathroom by 4:24. He's out at 4:25; I take quick shower to 4:40 and skimpy breakfast with cup of tea goes to 4:55. Down at 5:13 after brushing a bit of tooth, Rick fusses to 5:19. To bus at 5:23. "Checkout Counter C" for our group. To airport across many bridges whose grandeur doesn't really add up, alongside a slow-moving express train with absolutely no one on board at 5:55. PART company at LAST with others in group. Through check-in by 6:20, at 6:28 shit for the THIRD time, loose-ish, but no problem? Type from 6:40 to 7:10, boarding called. Board at 7:22, NOT full, though it gets pretty close, and get FOUR English newspapers. 2:11 flight. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is one hour earlier. Read all papers to 8:07. I picked WRONG side! Vaguely OK breakfast of omelet (Fred said Chinese noodles were fabulous, but he would) at 9AM. We went NORTH to Hanoi and SOUTH to HCMC, when OPPOSITES would have been MUCH closer. Set watch back one hour at 8:21AM. No photos near airport! But I get camera out again for #26 and #27 landing in HCMC at 9:24. Land at 9:25, so I WAS close to airport! And I DID sit on the right side! Dock 9:37. Through immigration by 9:54. Beautiful colorful tablets in the urinals: lemon, peach, lavender. They all tasted the same, though. Into van at 10:14, SON is our guide. He says to meet at 11:45 for lunch. Into room 1710 at 10:55, great room with fantastic Saigon River view, and unpack into DRAWER. Start typing 11:30-11:40. Down to change $5 = 73K dong, so $1 = 15K dong. Tomorrow breakfast at 6:30, tour starts 7:30. All sign for BOTH tours, so with 5 passengers the Mekong Delta tour is $39 and the Cu Chi Tunnel tour is $36, for a total of $75, and we've told Son we want to pay with credit cards. To van at 11:58. To Blue Ginger Vietnamese Restaurant for mediocre lunch 12:05-1, to the hotel 1:05, up at 1:15 for a talk from Professor Thu (two) to 2:25. Historical Museum at 2:44, with water supplied, and then we get a short water-puppet program from 3:31-3:45, with NO cat up tree and NO parade, only four operators looking vaguely poleaxed as they take their bows to us five only. Museum has a Jean Cocteau plate! #30 lion boner: Quang Nam Province, 10th Century, Tra Kian site. HUE must be seen for antique sites. #31 temple at 4:10. #32 museum at 4:12. Cyclo 4:20-4:29, getting to hotel just as rain starts, for 8K tip, where Fred and others give $1---outrageous. Watch bit of TV while switching a chair around to watch the rainstorm over the city, with cyclists queueing for the ferry, raingear coming out instantly, and dense clouds obscuring parts of the city while the occasional lightning makes the television gulp and freeze. Fred's going to dinner with the three women to a local Vietnamese restaurant while I've decided to check out the BBQ at poolside on 21st floor. Start typing 5:36, pausing to shit a bit before Fred showers, and finish at 6:26, colder in room than really needed! Up to the 21st floor at 6:31, but when I ask where the BBQ is, she says that since it's raining it would be transferred down to the Riverside Cafe, but would I like to see the pool? Up another flight of stairs to a roofless room, with huge arcades looking over the river and over the city, with droplets dappling the green-lit pool. It would have been fabulous. But down to the ground floor and into the cafe and be told that the barbecue would be transferred down in about twenty minutes. I look around the lobby, look at menus, and listen to the piano, violin, cello trio in the lobby, then decide to accept the window table she'd said she'd reserve for me. See the BGI beer for 28K for .45 liter, and order that. They bring it, but she suggests I could start with salad. Well, OK. A bit of salmon with lots of capers from the condiment tray, a small bit of cold cut from the three or four possible, a cut from an enormous scallion, two snowpeas, a bit of chicken with mango salad, and I eat that down without seeing any indication of barbecue. OK, next to the duck soup with bean curd, quite good, though I wonder about the double-band effect of what sounds [7:55PM, 6/16] like guitars intermingled with the piano-string trio. Could they be playing a tape in the restaurant? No, they move what appear to be twin guitarists to chairs right next to my table, where I'd been observing the taxis, trucks, bicyclists, walkers, and motorcyclists barreling past in the rain with raingear flying, often covering two or even three people riding behind, morose pedicabs looking for fares, their plastic seats covered in plastic covers. Ah, had forgotten the wonderful tiny slivers of white asparagus. SO, back for two squares of skin from the suckling pig, served with tiny pancakes, bits of cucumber, sprigs of parsley, and what looked like a small spoonful of hoisin sauce. Delicious and perfect crisp texture with very little fat. If I'd had more room, I'd opted for some of the meat, but the fellow-waiter came over with a selection of meats and fish from which I chose a lobster tail, salmon, and lamb chop, which in due time they presented with a melange of roasted peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and a LARGE lobster tail which improved its dryness when I asked for and got about a quarter-cup of melted butter in which I finished off the lobster and much of the rest of the two enormous pieces of salmon they surprised me with. Nothing but dessert could follow, but everything was cut into enormous slices, so I took tiny corners of orange-mousse cake, blackberry-mousse cake, peanut butter cake, and avoided the six or seven others because I didn't want to deface EACH dish, and took a scoop of cookie, lime, and strawberry ice cream with a dollop of kiwi and orange sauce and finished my beer with the pills, and asked for the check, which came to ONLY the 174K of the buffet, and when I asked for the price of the beer, the waiter said that the powers that be said that my drink should be free. Should have had the bottle of champagne for 750K. Raining even harder as I got up to leave, smiling at the twins who had massacred "Mem'ries" but had done rather well on Pachabel's "Canon." Up to the room at 7:50, and typed this up until 8:05, perfectly prepared to climb into a cold bed and wake up well before the 5:45AM wakeup call Fred left before our 6:30 breakfast. Feel FULL but not stuffed. Bed at 8:25 and to sleep quickly.

SUN, 6/17: Pee at 1:25, happy to have slept five whole hours before my first wakeup. Wake again at 3:30 and don't get up and doze off, then again at 5:35 to shit a few small pellets. Fred left me some prunes with a note saying I should take them because I'd complained last night that "While everyone else is complaining about diarrhea, I always seem to be somewhat constipated on trips." He, of course, offered the immediate opinion that it was because "You eat so much meat, which is very hard to digest, and nothing of fruit and vegetables," which of course isn't right, particularly the fruit part, except I now recall that yesterday's quick breakfast in the hotel had no fruit, and there were only a few small pieces of melon in the airlines breakfast and only the tiny piece of watermelon and mango for lunch, and actually NONE for dessert last night since I concentrated on the fruit cakes and ice creams at the buffet. Put on the bathrobe (which we had to order, since there was only one when we first arrived) and open the drapes to look out at the sliver of sun rising redly into clouds which bedeck the sky in varying strata. Fred mumbles "Weather?" from bed, so I reply "Cloudy. Are you awake?" And he says "No," and proceeds to ask how my barbecue was last night, which I tell him in some detail, then ask about his dinner, which he loved, particularly having to pay only $5 for it WITH drinks, and the conversation with Wanda was reasonable because he did most of the talking. Then, almost without a pause, he asks if I saw the note in the bathroom: he may be very kind, but he DEMANDS a response to EACH bit of kindness IMMEDIATELY. He's up and moving around, so I ask if I can go to the shower first. He says I should wait for his bowel movement, which "usually takes three to five minutes after I wake up." It's 5:53. Earlier, when he asked "Did the phone ring yet?" I said, knowing it was 5:44AM, said "Right now." and it did. "Very good," he commented. So I started typing when he finally moved into the bathroom, taking his underwear which he had to search for, his morning pill which he had to search for, and his morning tea, which he had to make before going into the bathroom, while I took this out at 5:57 and started typing madly away until 6:05 when he got out of the bathroom and I could go in to try to finish in time for going to breakfast at 6:30, which he said was just $1, which I somehow doubt, but maybe not. Into bathroom at 6:10, for the first loofah shower in three days, so I'm out at 6:30 with the TV blaring and Fred saying, "It's just the volume when I put it on," blaming it onto me. Down to breakfast at 6:35 and get sat apart from Wanda and Margaret, but Shirley moves next to us and says last night's dinner was the best meal of the trip! Up to room at 7:11 after getting too much of a loud single-mixed-marriage child. Do this and brush teeth. Down at 7:29; change $20 to 294K. Off at 7:32. 9AM Long An pis stop and I try to take #34 and #35 of the gibbon and something-like-spider monkeys in the dark at 9:15. Huge place set up for maybe 150 place-setting with no one in sight. Leave 9:20. GOOD countryside: rice, shops, fields, ducks, temples (mostly Cao Dai, which he'll tell us about day after tomorrow), villages. #36 faces at the dock as we start our motorized boat-tour of the #37 river at 10:13AM. We started in Cai Be Town, stopped first nearby at a factory. Roll #14: #1 puffed rice and black sand heated over fire, and neat boy's body stirring it, also #2 at 10:21. #3 of the carmel-coated rice having been flattened with rollers which seem to have amalgamated flies, which landed on the sweet substance, into the very heart of the confection. #4 of the table with five goodies on it: sweet potato chips, popcorn and poprice, peanuts in caramel on rice paper, and sesame slabs of somewhat softer substance. Out at 10:47, with bags of popped stuff. Then it starts to RAIN, and we speed down the river alternately lowering side-shades and pulling up ponchos over the knees and shirts and sometimes heads of those sitting in the front rows, usually Fred and either the local guide Tony, or Wanda. #6 river in rain at 10:50. We pass the floating market and I take shots up a street that flows down to the river, boats with cute smiling people, all of whom seem genuinely pleased to see us and wave back at us (though some do gloomily stare straight ahead as businessmen too important to indulge in friendliness). #13 South Mekong rain squall, where we'd gone off course to prevent water slopping in over the side which panicked Fred, but then we had to tack back UPRIVER with the rain blowing in before our entry into a side-channel made the going easier. Passing lots of loaded boats going about their business, which may have included only having lunch or waiting patiently for the rain to pass. Pass a boat-maker's shop, feel wild wind-spray, and stop for tropical fruit at 11:45. They bring out rambutan, longan, and thumb-sized bananas, with tea. I put a card under the glass table and bring out the fruit around it to take a photograph, hoping to be able to identify it on a slide. Then stop and get off the boat and walk past many shops and over a few bridges and get to a lovely pavilion next to a Bonsai garden with 12, 13, and 14-branched trees, for different degrees of luck or not luck. Lunch is the usual stuff: spring rolls, rice, decent soup with shredded chicken, though the fish set up on a tripod with red peppers sprouting from its mouth was interesting when wrapped in VERY tough rice-paper with cucumber and basil and mint and dipped into a vinaigrette. Then there were the jumbo prawns, which were put into a lime-moistened black-pepper-white-salt mixture that ended up much too salty, and Fred wouldn't even touch my prawn-head to suck out the part he liked so much. As we leave, we're shown around the trees that supply the fruit, and then Mr. Tiger, per the printed page, or Mr. Muoi, per the marked map, came out to say in French that he'd been here for three generations, stayed here during the war, and wished us a happy trip. Back to the boat to cruise down ever-narrower channels, extremely colorful, very happy it stopped raining, not terribly hot, and VERY authentic-looking, with people in the water fixing their boats, or just swimming, or washing their hair (which DID seem more like a photo op than reality: why would they be washing their hair at 2PM?). Dazzling smiles, slender bodies, waves, boats loaded with pineapple, rambutans, potatoes, lumber, and bags of rice. PILES of stockpiled rice looked like heaps of dirt, and he said the outside WOULD get wet, but inside would still be OK. Kids running along the omni-present paths, over small concrete or wooden bridges between islets, some elegant new houses (which could be built for $12,000, he said with what seemed to be seriousness), and falling-down picturesque still-lived-in shacks. Then to another stop for Mr. Sau Giao's place, where the fruits were as above, but added were pineapple and sapodilla, a brownish, sweetish fruit that I don't recall having had, and wedges of Dragon Fruit, black-dotted white flesh vivid in its crimson coating. Snake wine was then served, and I cracked Fred up by glancing quickly down at my crotch after my first sip. Had maybe two glasses of it---ah, forgot that at lunch there was an anise-flavored liquor that he said was 80 proof which was QUITE good: had three or four of those with the beer which cost 12,000. Then there was the tip-hassle, ending at 14,000 apiece, to which I added a 10,000 note because I was VERY happy after drinking two glasses of plum wine, lots of tea, and enjoying the translated conversation with Mrs. Giao, who was 84, responded cheerily by saying they were there four generations and the restaurant had been open for 20 years. Took a card. Then back to boat and another wide river crossing: the Mekong was first, then the channels of An Binh and Binh Hoa Phuoc Islands, then the Co Chien River, where we finally docked at 2:47 and got back into the van for the long ride back to the city, asking about words and customs and some freezing in the air conditioning, and finally back at 5:55, though he didn't seem to think he could come up with an idea satisfying everyone for tomorrow's free afternoon. I flick through television after peeing and shitting a fair amount, clearing the deck for dinner. The four of them decide on Lemongrass, near the hotel, and I start typing about 6:50, Fred leaves, the maid comes in to turn down the beds, and I finish at 7:15, ready to put on my shirt and CLEAN pants to get down to the same buffet I loved so much last night, hoping this time to taste the suckling pig MEAT as well as skin. Leave at 7:25, get told "It's not like before," when I order BGI beer, and I say "I understand," that I'll be charged for it. Sadly, the selection does NOT include Suckling Pig, and I eat as much as I want and get billed about 230K and get upstairs at 8:10PM to take off shoes and put on TV and watch a BBC special on Tutankhamen, saying that Ay killed him, Anekhaspaten his wife, and her future husband from Assyria. That's over before 9 and I type this in. Find and put final roll of film, #15, in my bag, leaving 55 slides for the last three days of the trip. Gave Shirley a spare battery, priced at $6, so tell her $7, and find I still have TWO more spares! Bed 9:50.

MON, 6/18: Wake 12:28 after intense dream of jerking off and coming closer and closer, feeling better and better, and wake with an erection which quickly goes away. Wake at 3:40 after dream: two actors are rehearsing what might be Dickens' "Christmas Carol," talking together, but their heads getting closer and closer so there's obviously some other kind of relationship between then, and I'm amazed because this is taking place in what seems to be a Catholic high school or college, and their heads come together and their speech more intimate until they actually KISS, and I'm surprised that no one in the audience reacts negatively, and I succumb to the possibility that people's reactions might actually be improving over time! Up at 6:15 and begin thinking about how many days left, what's to do when I get back to New York, but then at 6:30 decide that this is getting me nowhere so I get up to shower, having to get out at 6:53 because Fred has gotten up and needs the john, later telling me that he HATES the smell of matches even worse than that of farts, and I am NOT to carry matches in the van to neutralize the horridity of Wanda's farts in the enclosed space. He encourages me to find a tiny aerosol that he'd seen in some shops. Then back in to finish combing my hair and swabbing my ears and dressing for breakfast at 7:31. He's ecstatic about the dim sum which I find not at all special, and have a small mushroom and cheese omelet and toast and hot chocolate and fruit and cold cuts. Back up at 8:25, turn on TV again, and type this until 8:35, ready for the tour which starts at 9AM today. Down at 8:53, start at 9AM. #19 "Miss Saigon" gate and former palace helicopter roof at 9:12 (of course it was from the American Embassy, which was since torn down and replaced, so that's not strictly true). Big siren/military mass car-parade passes on street outside. NORODOM Palace (family name). Out at 10 to Communal house: #20 house at 10:02. Wander WAY around to van at 10:10, and they're not there: they'd gone to the first floor to see the private quarters, which Fred said weren't very interesting. Leave 10:20 and 10:25 to War Remnant Museum, with writeup about how "this should teach lesson that it will never happen again." I note at 10:56: "Like all wars, ANY is too much." Self-burning, murder, torture, Agent Orange as defoliant and deformant and death. Protests and poisonings. Flinging from helicopters and napalmed corpses and pieces of bodies and lots of guns and planes and tanks and rifles. Photos and tributes to killed photographers. Maimed children and siamese twins and landmine victims. To bus in disgust at 11AM, then get told of the #21: Tiger Cages at 11:06. To bus at 11:12. #22 US tourists at memorial to Vietnam War disaster caused by US, at 11:14. Leave 11:17, with stilted conversations: Fred thought the Viet Cong did just as much dirty work as we did. #23 French Cathedral and Post Office in one shot at 11:40, hot and tired, but pay 6K for 10 lovely Mekong Delta postcards in the Post Office. Back to hotel at 11:55, Fred and women going to lunch at 12:30, no one willing to come to the places Son found for me to visit: the Art Museum and the Jade Pagoda. Up to room and read Remnants brochure and laze while Fred scurries about, and I get up at 12:30 to type this and finish at 12:40, deciding to walk to the somewhat-nearby Art Museum just to SEE some of the streets, taking only hat and camera, leaving bag behind. Leave at 12:46, oddly reluctant to be on my own, yet happy to be away from group! 1:14 I walk through fairly simple-to-find streets, on a smaller scale than I would have thought, to the Art Museum, but the second floor was locked and only a woman's exhibit was available on the ground floor. In to awful modernist stuff and get told that the Art Museum is CLOSED on Mondays. Just like France! Grumble, but later see that the second floor isn't very good, and I'm not interested in an announced June exhibition of Vietnam-Japan art. Across the street, pushing off the pedicab and shoeshine people, and get into a cab who at first wants "Five," but when I pull out a five-thousand note, he says "Five dollah." I point to the meter, which goes up to 48K for the longish trip, and give him a 50K bill, just over three dollah, to the Jade Pagoda. #24 Clan altar at 1:35? #25 is upstairs at 1:38, clearly someplace few tourists go. #26 Jade Emperor Pagoda from the outside at 1:54. Guy tries to get me into his pedicab for a ride back to the hotel, but I take his Vietnam guidebook and find that this is the Jade EMPEROR Pagoda, the most-described in the city, and most of the other available sites to see are other pagodas, so there's not really THAT MUCH HERE. Give him 5K, since I don't have a 2K bill, for the use of the book. I sit idly and watch the people and few tourists, and at the end go to the enclosure that the guides have pointed to and the tourists have looked at: turtles: big, small, one on its back trying to turn over, and large fish in a tiny alcove of the pond. Walk to the circle and get a taxi for 17.5K on the meter and 19K with tip, with a driver who speaks pretty good French, saying "most of the elderly speak French, the busiest month is May," and he thinks HCMC may be busier than Hanoi, misinterpreting my question, because of "Economics." Back to hotel at 2:35. Ask at the Guest Relations desk for boat tours, and they're all for various sized groups to various destinations for enormous American dollar-amounts. Decide to try the top of the Caravelle Hotel for some kind of bar-lunch, but when I get there I find, at 2:55, that the 10th floor Saigon Bar doesn't open until 4PM. See many references to the Lobby Lounge in the booklet, AND pick up a tour booklet that they do NOT have available in our hotel, so I go in there, snag a choice window seat, and watch the pedicabs and cars and shoeshine boys and occasional tourist walk and ride by as I eat perfectly dreadful nachos (soggy) and chili (sawdusty) and a 333 beer that ends up costing 42K! Total bill of over 150K is so big I pay be credit card for $10.59, and then go up to the Saigon Bar to see a thatched-roof atmosphere with whirling ceiling fans and OPEN-AIR balcony with tables which would OBVIOUSLY be very hot. #27 from Caravelle Hotel lobby at 3:06. Sun came in window at 4:04PM. I'm TIRED. Back to find Fred watching TV, and "Mother Night" is clearly Vonnegut with its overall darkness leavened with audacious humor: "I'm not your wife, I'm her sister." Fred leaves to meet the women at the Saigon Bar, where he says they have a WONDERFUL time watching a sunset from behind the shutters which they closed because of the thunderstorm which made the air cooler. Uh-huh. Then at 6PM start watching "Stepmom," and the KIDS are quite wonderful, unusually, and shut it off at 6:35 and dress for the UPI photographer's dinner and the five of us sit in a talkless circle around the playing trio until Son arrives at 6:50. Quick ride in sporadic rain to junky street next to a mosque where we go up three VERY narrow flights of stairs (visions of abduction and robbery!) to a close-fitting dining table with his war photographs on one side and his wife and son coming from the mirrored-so-they-can-watch-us hallway to serve us a prawn-and-pork vegetable entree, then eggrolls stuck on toothpicks on a lighted-from-within hollowed-out tower of a pineapple, with a decent dipping sauce, and then a beef soup with bread for dipping, and the beef is tough and fatty but the broth IS good when the french bread is dipped into it. Wanda goes ON and ON and ON, and Fred keeps asking "Robert" this and that, trying vainly to get me into the conversation, but even when HE'S talking SHE interrupts ALL the time, and I KNOW I'd just tell her to SHUT UP AND LET ME TALK if I ever got started at all, so I don't get started. Shirley is obviously miserable, too, telling me so in the elevator afterwards. The agony ends about 8:40 and we're to drizzly van and to hotel at 8:50, where I dash upstairs and Fred goes off SOMEWHERE. I watch the end of "Falcon Down," with a campy William Shatner and lousy special effects, to 9:30, and get to bed at 9:45PM. Fred comes in just after, but I sleep anyway.

TUE, 6/19: Up at 2:25 to shit two tiny turds and pee, and then wake at 5:05 and debate getting up, almost doing it at 5:25 except that HE beats me to it, but then he's out and I'm in at 5:30 to shit quite a bit, but still not QUITE to the point of worry, though I paranoidly throught the SECOND glass of water was NOT purified because of the RANCID taste to it, hoping we didn't ALL get sick. Then shower, not washing my hair, and out at 5:55 for Fred watching TV, and I start typing and finish this at 6:19. Fred leaves at 6:26 and I record that after the dinner he just went to the lobby where the three of them sat and requested American music, playing "Miss Saigon" and singing along, leaving one part vacant for me and Shirley, who were upstairs together "making it" as Fred said, and I said, "With your enthusiastic encouragement, I'm sure," to which he replied "Oh, no." He "needs more than 45 minutes for breakfast" so went down early, and I finish this at 6:29 and am all ready for the day when I go down to join him at a SEPARATE table, I hope! Have fruit yogurt, order a waffle with syrup and butter, have fruit, and that's it with the hot chocolate, but we have such a lovely time talking that it's suddenly 7:11 and I remind us that we're due downstairs at 7:15! Dash through last drinks and upstairs to finish to get back down at 7:20, but Shirley "had to go to the bathroom" and probably needed to make a statement by being last. Leave at 7:22. #29 Ho Chi Minh and former City Hall, now People's Communal Building at 7:28. HCMC changed the name to War Remnants Museum in 1998 from "War Crimes Museum" after Clinton did something good with trade. Along Route 22, which will eventually run from east to west from Vietnam through Cambodia and Thailand, though he thought Cambodia wasn't doing much about their part of it. Arrive in Cu Chi tunnels (actually some OTHER place, northeast of Cu Chi itself!) at 8:58. What India calls the Flamboyan tree Vietnam calls the Summer Tree because it blooms when the schoolchildren are on vacation. Amused to find that "Len Xuong Can Chan" the "clan data" I recorded from the Jade Emperor Pagoda, actually means "Be careful with your step." #30 Cu Chi diorama at 9:03. #31 map: Tansunhut Airport lower right, blue=US posts, red=Vietcong controlled; black lines=tunnels; yellow=civilian holding areas, pink=fighting zones which are controlled by Vietcong at night. Cu Chi is below red area, we are at light on right of red. The whole area used to be rubber plantations under the French, then it was defoliated. In 1966, 200km of tunnels, which were rebuilt when destroyed by bombs. Deepest were 8-10 meters down, 80 cm high, 60 cm wide. Up and down to combat US putting in poisoned water. Also booby trapped. Left-hand water on diorama is a well---they could stay 10-12 days under. Son talk to about 20 tourists until the video starts at 9:16. We're on the Saigon River. Video comments: "US, thousands of miles away, wanted to put its foot into this peaceful country. Like a crazy bunch of devils, they fired into children and temples. We created heroes of the war, those who killed US soldiers. Little farm-girl destroys US tank. Every person is soldier, making bamboo traps, rifle in one hand, plow in other." Video to 9:32. #32 bamboo-spiked booby trap. #33 20x40cm entrance at 9:42. Trip-wire fire-crackers add to reality. #34 ARRAY of spears, knives, mines, traps for feet, body, leg, at 9:54. #36 me at 10:01 at exit. Guard room bigger. Tunnel awful and then a BAT flies by. Fred put off by the #37: millipedes, which I photoed near my foot. at 10:06. Roll #15 (last): #1: "health room" at 10:18. Leave at 10:27. Cao Dai religion started in 1926, on Foko Island 150km southeast of Saigon, had Japanese support during "American War." The Communist Party tried to suppress them but it didn't work. Started with 20-30 thousand, now about two million followers. He said lunch was not included at first, but then phoned in when confronted with the lunch-included clause in the description. #2 Cao Dai gate from a fast-moving bus at 11:50. Bus arrives at parking lot 11:53. Shoes off at 11:56. #4 orchestra at 11:57. #5 nave at 11:58. #6 start of ceremonial procession at 11:59. #7-#9 to 12:03. #10 person-cross: Sakyamuni, Chinese saint, Christ, Chinese saint; to left: Kwanyin, Dao leader; red-gowned Confucius and red-faced Mandarin on right. Leave second-floor balcony at 12:16. #11 founder from first-floor balcony. #12 facade at 12:24. Stop for lunch at 12:32. Good soup, ordinary eggrolls, two beers for 30K, good french bread, other ordinary stuff. Out at 1:28. #14 Cao Dai shrine at 1:38 along road. #15 rice-field workers at 1:55. #16 fishing-net supports and ducks on canal at 2:22. To office at 3:40 to pay $75+3% Visa charge, or $77.50 for two trips. Out at 4:01. Need to pay $12 for exit tax with everyone argues with. To hotel at 4:20. Watch TV for awhile, as Fred writes in his notebook. I start typing at 5:26, interrupting to watch nothing-much on Sulawesi, shit a bit, contribute to Fred's evaluation of our trip in Vietnam, discuss my paying $4 and he paying $20 for our exit tax tomorrow, and I finish this at 6:37PM, ready to get ready for farewell dinner tonight at 7PM. Down at 7, last, and Shirley, waiting by the door, says she thought we'd forgotten the time. Walk a few doors to "Cool," as Son calls it, and get a glass of red wine with six or seven dishes that are actually pretty good, and the place is noisy, so Wanda isn't as awful as usual, and I have a Carlsbad beer for 16K and at last it's over at 8:40, when Wanda breaks a glass and hollers about having to pay 40K for it, saying "It's not worth it!" I leave before the others [1:20AM, 6/20]  and get back to the room by 8:50 to pee, and Fred quickly turns on the "season premiere" of "Sex and the City," which we watch til 10PM, and I get to bed about 10:10, knowing I'll have less than 8 hours sleep before our wakeup call at 6AM tomorrow. Sleep quick.

WED, 6/20: 1:17AM wake, Fred's left the drapes partly open so the lights from across the river partly fill the room, and I sit on the pot and shit while I record my dream: I'm working somewhere, and someone says I'd better protect Dennis from those who don't like him, or he'll be fired, but Mom has been made Queen of the Night, so Dennis comes up and says that he's having his lunch now, at dinner time, so that anyone who wants to join him can do so, and I figure now I can talk to him about how to keep his job. Back to bed at 1:29, NO FULL DAYS TO GO! Up again at 4AM and shit again, not able to go to sleep with thinking about the horrendous series of three flights, the twelve-hour time-change, the agony of the flying, the wanting to be finished with it all, the fear, and I suddenly think that I MUST find some Rohypnol in Hong Kong to let me sleep though most of it, put me out of my misery temporarily. Try to start Actualism, but it fails miserably. Doze off a bit because I remember an odd fragment of dream in which a baby near a doorjamb is turned slowly upside down, laughing, as his parents try to keep him quiet. There were other circumstances that I thought I would remember, but I don't, only wake again to see it's 5:05AM, and the sheet that was dripping wet is now fairly dry, and then the phone rings at 6AM and Fred asks if I want to go first or "rest," and I say "rest" and he goes into the john and I lay, tortured, for a bit and then get up at 6:08AM, get out all my Hong Kong coins to spend there, an envelope for Son's tip, and puzzles to hopefully occupy the two-hour flight to Hong Kong, opening the drapes to see a relatively clear sky for a change, and type this until 6:30, just hoping to SURVIVE today so I can SURVIVE tomorrow and GET THROUGH THIS! Agonize when Fred comes out the bathroom, trying to combine our $12's into his $20 and my $20, but I have 125K left, and Fred simply says, "Add $4 to that $8 and give it to Son," and when I empty the safe, I have many ones that I'd forgotten from Anne, so I put ALL my remaining Vietnamese money (except for a souvenir 2000 and 500 bill) into an envelope for Le Son at 6:37 and NOW I can go pack my bag and go to my shower. Divert my mind by packing and getting out the HK hotel bag-check, but put the bags out at 6:45 and Fred announces he's going to breakfast and I haven't even SHOWERED yet at 6:48. To breakfast 7:05, feel stuffed already after a waffle. Up at 7:35, having forgotten pills, and pack up last stuff at 7:50. Down at 7:56, find others' bill on ours, and pay the 434K bill with Visa, and leave WITH bags (he did NOT tell us to put them in the hall at 7AM, as Fred insisted he did!) to van at 8:04, last. To airport through HEAVY traffic, by 8:30. NO porters, envelope to Son, nothing to driver, though Fred says the others tip lavishly. Check in by 8:45, starting a new line for us, and I get seat 37A. Boarding card says 9:35 boarding. Give $22 and get two fives back for departure tax, to be complained to Grand Circle about when we get back. Fred finds his wheels broken on his "new" suitcase. Bored stiff at 9:10, no booze I want. To SECOND waiting lounge at 9:30, and boarding call at 9:56 while I do puzzles. At 10:05 we hear "Delay for connecting passengers." 2:10 flight. Move back from the gate at 10:45, change watch to 11:51. Off at 11:54AM, with the slightest bumps making me VERY nervous, cursing myself for being so self-destructive. #17 dam and river and city at 12:44. #18 coast which may be DaNang at 12:45, spectacular. Then over blue waters with varying clouds as we get served a decent fish-lunch (out of beef) with about four glasses of white wine, which CALMS me---thank God. #19 Hong Kong from circling, waiting for landing, at 2:12. SPECTACULAR array of buildings and coves and swimming pools and bridges. Land at 2:21. Stop at gate at 2:32. Pee. To immigration at 2:50. Get both our bags off the carousel at 2:55, and wait for Fred to complain about his ruined wheels, though he has to continue his complaint in NYC, to 3:10. We get Rick again, and Wanda and Marge are last. On van at 3:23. Tomorrow: our bags out at 8AM and leave at 9:15AM. Room 1107 is smoky and Fred immediately gets on the phone, does a number, waits for two managers, and then we go downstairs to get keys to 1046, which has separable beds if my bed-table is moved into the closet. Settle in to 4:56, having paid $2 to Bell Captain to pick up our stored bag, putting it on the dolly with ALL our bags which happens by just then, and then pay $1 to the bellboy who's waiting at 1107 when we return to check what we're turning down, and Fred puts his stuff on the trolley and I lead him back up, phoning to get Wanda's room number because her bag was left on the trolley. Start typing at 4:56 and finish at 5:10, Fred having heard that the Chinese dinner was good and authentic at the Hong Kong Cultural Center which Fred and I will check out after he finishes fussing with his luggage. Out at 5:25 and check out Serenade, upstairs at the Hong Kong Cultural Center, and we like the menu and the idea that Rick says it's "the most authentic Chinese food in Hong Kong." VERY humid walking, though the view across the harbor is spectacular, and back to hotel at 6:10 where Fred fusses some more and I just lay weakly on the bed until 6:35 and dress and partly pack, getting ALL the books and papers and junk into the blue bag and STILL have some room for clothes at the top, and then leave at 7:05, when we meet Wanda and Marge on the street: I sail past, not wanting to even SEE them, and they ignore me too, Fred says, not even saying ONE WORD about me, and they chat so long that I sit and wait for him and then get our table for two AWAY from the windows because all tables at windows are for eight or more, but the windows are so dripping with condensation from the extreme humidity outside that you really can't get a good view anyway. Fred looks at the ala carte menu and comes up with suckling pig, roast goose, shrimp in orange sauce, and a green vegetable with garlic. Order a bottle of wine for 135HK that's VERY intense, possibly even off, but we drink it all down anyway with the tea that grows increasingly stronger as we get to the bottom of the pot. Food is very good (if I scrape the inner fat off the pork-skin cracklings, and finger-manipulate the pieces of tender goose-flesh away from the bones of the pieces, and I use my spoon on the sweet-tart orange sauce that Fred merely dismisses as "gloppy" on the shrimp. We manage to finish everything. Out and wander to the top of the one-story-up promenade at the right-side of the Kowloon shorefront, seeming to find the single-male-cruising section to the extreme right, mixed in with all the Indians, and then back to hotel at 9:15 to look at the 18th floor In-V nightclub, whose ads have defaced our bathroom mirrors from the beginning, which is tacky and empty, not starting til 10PM (and probably not very successfully even after that), and down to the Lobby Lounge where Fred finesses our four free drinks on 18 to four free drinks there, and I have two red wines while he has two beers, and we look at the old, probably GCT, couple dancing the Texas two-step to the caterwauling guitar-player and one-finger rhythm section player. I'm very tired, so I'm up to bed at 10:35, where I fuss some more and get to bed at 10:53, having taken two diphenhydramines to let me sleep quickly. And they really WORK!

THU, 6/21: Wake at 3:30, feeling no pill-hangover at all, and pee, then again wake at 5, must doze because suddenly it's 5:30 and I shit a reasonable amount, but then I look at 6:10 and 6:20, and at 6:50 decide to get up and shower. Wakeup call comes in just as I start the shower, and sure enough, just as I'm finishing about 6:15 there's Fred pleading to be left in to take his morning shit. I sit down at the laptop after looking out and seeing a bright sunrise on distant buildings and cloudy-blue sky and finish this at 7:31, counting down the twenty-four hours left before being in my own wonderful apartment! Finish packing with a helping final hand from Fred and put the bag outside at 7:55, and then finish putting on my shoes and go down to breakfast at 8AM, where Fred is again floored by the hunk (only on his terms) that cradled his crotch at him from the elevator door last night, traveling with an older "gay-looking" man. Fabulous ham-bacon-cheese-mushroom omelet and juice and toast, the "perfect final breakfast" as I say to Fred. Finish at 8:35, looking with distaste at the GCT group who'll be traveling to San Francisco with us, and upstairs at 8:45 to pee and pack my three plastic boxes of final pills and get ready to brush my teeth now at 8:54. Brush teeth and watch TV-changing and Fred does his last smelly thing in the bathroom and I pack my A&K bag with this and last things at 9:05AM, ready to meet for the bus at 9:15. Down at 9:15, busy, board bus at 9:19. Check bags IN bus. Bus goes 9:25. NOVEMBER is the best time for visiting Hong Kong. Bridge is 2.2km span, longer than San Francisco's bridge. Disneyland will be landfill on Lantao by 2005. To airport at 10AM. "Only middle seats left" at 10:11. To immigration 10:20. Through immigration 10:35. On train 10:41. To gate 63 at 10:50, still only middle seats. Board 11:24, THOUGHT I could move to a window, but ousted at 11:55. Back out at noon. Off at 12:10. 4:50 try to sleep. Watch "Chocolat." TOTAL misery: Fred HOGS window, shade down! LARGE guy on my right, who at least stands in the back for a while. Land 11:20, 8:20AM their time. Into LONG immigration line at 11:39. Off at 11:48. Recheck luggage 12:12. Xray carryon at 12:28. Sit, numb, at gate til 2:15 boarding. Back out 2:35. Takeoff 3PM. #21 & #22 San Francisco at 3:02. #23 Berkeley at 3:03. #24 Tetons and south 4:23. #25 Rockies at 4:25. #26 red and green cliffs at Wind River Indian Reservation (LOVE this FIRST map-over-US flight!) at 4:33. Devil's Tower a noticeable pimple. They TOLD me "Rapid City, South Dakota" after I passed it, but then remembered that my stop on the bus trip had been Souix FALLS. #27 Missouri River in South Dakota at 5:19. Clouds up and goes bumpy over Wisconsin at 6:10. High, BUMPIER clouds at 6:32. Land at 8:07, in CLOUDS. Gotta pee at 8:28, get bag quick at 8:30, wait for Fred's complaint to 8:40. Long taxi-dispatch line to board taxi at 8:56. Fred leaves at $23.50 bill. He's off at 9:30. I'm off at 9:42, for $33. Put on air conditioner because it's so STUFFY inside. 9:50 leave word with John. 9:55 get five telephone messages: 1) odd recording, 2) Stephanie Sweda on "day trip OK for Bratislava," 3) Carolyn for two meals on Smith Street, 4) Shelley welcome back, and 5) Stephanie Lentz at Tech Books (York) with an index. Bed at 10:05, having pills and 3mg melitonin. Up at 10:08 to j/o wetly to 10:43. 11:55 wake with dream which I record on laptop: I'm touring (or a guide for) a collection of art that has extraordinary pieces I want to show off to a special group, so I point out two Poe drawings (gouache, I insist, which someone insists in turn should be called paintings) and say there are two others elsewhere in the collection. Here's a special OTHER one here, and it's matched HERE. They're all VERY impressed, and I feel pleasantly important. Pee again, body tingly, and try unsuccessfully to shit.

FRI, 6/22: 2:34 pee, 3:03 take 2 diphenhydramine. Pee and shit at 3:55 and decide to j/o AGAIN to SLEEP. J/o and pee to 5:01. At 7:09 dream about Mark Hennessy and twins, one Sister and one Yvonne. "Eat dinner in White House." Missed bus for "frontyard sale" which is closed. Truce's prospect-house play. Whatever those mean. Pee and shit at 7:16. Do FULL Actualism before that and finally up at 7:41. Breakfast 8AM, leave word with John again at 8:15. Leave word with Tech Books at 8:20, and at 8:25 with Steve Pisano, who calls at 11:50 to say he'll call back on Monday as "Nothing looked at yet." Proofread trip pages 8:30-10:50, John over 10:50-11:50, and I have 8 questions for him: 1) He said his Turkey trip was GREAT, 2) I'd LEFT my bedroom shade drawn, 3) He didn't watch porno, so I must have left my tapes at odd spots, 4) tell him highlights of my trip, 5) nothing happened in Brooklyn or NYC, 6) the smoke detector just fell off the wall, 7) he doesn't know how many leaks filled my catch-pot in the bathroom, and 8) my plants are pretty dry, ready to be watered. Arnold calls for a minute. Talk to Sherryl 11:55-12:40. Leave word again for Tech Books, but it's FINISHED. Talk to Carolyn 12:40-12:50, Shelley 12:50-1:25, Fred will call back, leave word with Mildred, Charles doesn't answer at 1:44. Continue with corrections to journal to 4:15. Talk to Mildred 4:16-5:05, and Vicki doesn't answer at 5:05. Sort mail to 9:40. Piss and shit and bed at 9:55 with 3mg melitonin. Up at 10:55: two diphenhydramine and pee.

SAT, 6/23: 4AM pee, VERY complete Actualism to 5:40. Pee and up at 5:45. 9:13PM start j/o and bed at 9:55.
SUN, 6/24: 1:13 pee and shit and 2 diphenhydramine. Up 5:47 and bed 9:35 after melitonin and 2 Nyquil, no MORE diphenhydramine! Wake many (3-4) times.
MON, 6/25: Pee 3:40 and up 4:25!! Eyes SORE during long day! Bed 9:20PM.
TUE, 6/26: 2:29 pee and shit. Up 6:55: 9:35 hours in bed! Bed 11:45PM!!
WED, 6/27: Pee 4:17. Up 6:30AM for 6:45 hours in bed. 16:20/2 = 8:10/night. Bed 10:20PM, FAN on, 80° outside. Having trouble getting back into time.
THU, 6/28: Shit at 5:30, up at 6:20. Bed 9:35PM, TIRED!
FRI, 6/29: Up 5:40AM, bed at midnight.
SAT, 6/30: Shit at 7:04, up 8:08AM.
SUN, 7/1: Bed 12:50AM, up 8:45; figure that's back to normal:no more records.

MONEY NOTE: Started with $315 cash, noting to keep $40 for taxi. Down to $73 finally, which I figure isn't worth keeping separately, so I put all $102 left into wallet 6/21AM. Managed to get rid of most China/HongKong/Vietnam $.

BEFORE TRIP DO-LIST: 1) check melitonin-taking, 2) window seat in flights?, 3) call Stephanie Sweda, 4) water John's plants, 5) John's mailbox-key back on his ring, 6) VISA amount for check to John, 7) write Frank on Juno, 8) get haircut, 9) return stamp catalogs (unused), 10) wash dishes, 11) Ken on Vienna: he CALLED Patricia, 12) get $300 cash, 13) water my plants, 14) set up VCRs, 15) Arrange car (Fred does), 16) pack, 17) distribute pills, 18) record phone message, 19) get NY Times. Add for Sunday AM: 1) change VCR tape and add last show, 2) Alt-phone-message on, 3) take melitonin.

LAST PHONE-LIST: 1) Ken, send him $2377.77 check for Vienna, 2) Pope for a talk 3:30-3:45 Sunday, 3) Vicki leave word 3:30 Sunday, she calls 5:35-5:50. 4) Charles, finally meeting him at China Grill on Friday, 5) Mildred gives me list of restaurants she's reserved at.

EXPENSES: Got my Visa bill for June, but still two items not included: one from GCT is SAID to be very late-in-billing, but does that apply to Yangtze-boat bill? Fred says Ruth's Chris was about $150 for both of us and will bring information to the Turkey slides tonight (TUE, 7/3). I tallied five bills: 1) Jin Mao drinks for $12.67, 2) Suzhou Renaissance Hotel wine with dinner at $13.84, 3) Jimmy's Kitchen for $94.54, 4) Serenade Restaurant for $73.21, and 5) taxi home for $33, for a total of $227.26. Even WITHOUT July Visa bill and Fred's reckoning, my total is $5358.08, OVER $200/day! I took $434.27 cash and returned with $69.27, spending $365 in cash. My blue bag was 11# and A&K bag 11# for 22# on departure; blue bag was 36#! and A&K 10# for a total of 46 pounds on return, MORE THAN TWICE WHAT I LEFT WITH! Must remember NOT to buy so many books in Vienna!

WHERE AM I NOW? TUE, 7/3, 12:45PM: STILL not unpacked: dining-room table LOADED with toiletries and souvenirs I haven't put away yet. Floor covered with airing-out plastic bags and inverted blue bag to be cleaned before Vienna on Monday. Still stuff to CATCH UP WITH: 1) about 10 hours of VCR tapes, 2) return American Airlines complaint-letter, 3) GCT Yangtze-trip evaluation, 4) tooth-cleaning to be arranged through HIP VIP, 5) film and Pravachol and Springer-Verlag checks to get in mail, 6) Turkey and Copper Canyon slides to show tonight, after filling up on Cote Basque lunch with Mildred at 2:15 and THEN meeting Fred and Shelley at Fortune House at 7PM for DINNER! Toilet bowl to clean and kitchen floor is a mess. Try to normalize camera-buying purchases, but they're all over the place. STILL have to 1) sort out photo-numbers, 2) sort out dreams, 3) make a summary page, and 4) fill out year-by-week book slots. No CHANCE of going to Marty's for tapes, let alone getting stuff from the past from Spartacus. GOT to get milk for breakfast so I won't be throwing so much out when I leave on Monday. Ken says we'll be leaving by subway and bus for JFK, not bad with my lightweight bags, but we'll surely take a bus and taxi back from Newark. Now 12:55PM and not QUITE time to get dressed for lunch, so start on summary page next following!


SUN,5/27: Wake 4:55AM.Fly JFK-SF 7:38-1:14, 5:36 flight.Fly SF-Shanghai 5:29-
MON,5/28: (crossing dateline,up 27.5 hours!)5:31PM, 12:02 flight. Bed 8:25PM.
TUE,5/29: Wake 4:48AM for Bund walk 6-7AM. Tour of Bund, Chinatown, Yu Gardens. Lunch at Shanghai Old Restaurant. Subway to Jin Mai Tower. Dine at Yung Cheng Sichuan Restaurant. Shanghai Acrobat program. Bed 9:50PM
WED,5/30: Up 5:55. Bus to Suzhou 8:08-9:55: Grand Canal boat, Silk factory. Lunch at China Suzhou Wu Music Palace Theater Restaurant. Nets Garden. Peace Hotel dinner and walk brilliant Mall 8:15-9:45, back to Bund, Jazz Club.
THU,5/31: Bund walk 7-7:45. Shanghai Museum for Tibet. Mongolian Barbecue lunch.Train 2-3:45 to Hangzhou.Dine at East Hotel rooftop.Overlook West Lake.
FRI,6/1: Market walking-tour. West Lake cruise in fog. Lingyin Temple with old carvings on riverside. Wanghu Hotel lunch. Tea tour. Happy Baby show and Exhibition Hall for Mao parade models. Dinner and wine at our Radisson Hotel.
SAT,6/2: Six Harmonies Pagoda and 100 miniatures! Fly to Beijing 12:15-1:59. Dine at hotel Chinese Restaurant. Watch end of "The FuryWithin"(HilarySwank).
SUN,6/3: Quick Tienanman Square tour and STAY in Forbidden City for jewelry and clocks and Tibet. Sichuan Restaurant dinner and poor General Gong Opera.
MON,6/4: Hutong tour to Drum and Bell Towers and kindergarten. Summer Palace Hall of Benevolence and Longevity and speedy tour. Zoo pandas & hotel dinner.
TUE,6/5: Great Wall via cablecars. Nine Dragon Pagoda Restaurant lunch near Changling tomb and Stone Animal Avenue. Bus for cloissone. Chinese 4-dinner.
WED,6/6: Taxi to Buddhist Yonghe Gong Temple and Confucius Hall and museums. Folk dances at lunch. Fly to Xian 4:43-6:07. Hotel dinner with Fred's wine.
THU,6/7: Lacquer factory in AM! Poor lunch near Warriors. Terra cotta pits #1, 2, and 3. I walk to Lanhua Park. Xian corner dinner; Tang Show at BARN!
FRI,6/8: Fly to Chungching 9:58-11AM. Dragon and Phoenix Restaurant lunch. Stillwell Museum and Great Hall & Town Square. Friendship Hotel dinner. Boat.
SAT,6/9: Great breakfast on rear deck. Pass Jade Emperor and tour Ghost City of Fengdu. Captain's Welcoming party and Talent Show, "Three Gorges" on TV.
SUN,6/10: Wushan City and fabulous Three Gorges, with incredible peapod boat-ride up narrow gorge. Pass dam site and Xiling Bridge, watch "Mummy Returns."
MON,6/11: Three Gorges Project tour. Watch "Quills." Gezhouba dam and lock-passage. Sit outside after dinner, alone, watching Yangtze River passing me.
TUE,6/12: Check off boat at Wuhan for Holiday Inn 27th floor rotating restaurant lunch. To Bonsai Garden and fantastic Bronze Museum. Fly with lightning to Guangzhou 6:25-7:48. Dinner at Landmark Hotel Restaurant/drinks.
WED,6/13: Sun Yat-Sen Memorial and Chen Clan Temple, incredible. Panxi Restaurant lunch. Train to Hong Kong 2:28-4:10. Dine at Ruth's Chris Steaks.
THU,6/14: Jewelry Manufactury before Ocean Park dropoff at 10:05. Great day for rides and goldfish and coral reef and "Meteor Attack." Jimmy's Kitchen for dinner and great Felix bar for drinks atop Peninsula Hotel: urinal NORTH!
FRI,6/15: Shenzhen tour alone: kindergarten, Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, Shenzhen Bay Hotel lunch, Windows on the World entrance-photos, fresh-water pearl factory, Splendid China miniatures, China Folk enclaves,goodbye dinner.
SAT,6/16: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City 7:21-9:25. Blue Ginger Vietnamese Restaurant lunch. Historical Museum and water-puppets. Cyclo, write, and barbecue dinner transferred from roof pool to Riverside Cafe in Renaissance.
SUN,6/17: Mekong tour: Can Be Town for poprice factory, fruit from Tiger and lunch from Moi, or vice versa, or lunch with Sau Giao, past An Binh and Binh Hoa Phuoc Islands to Co Chien River, dinner at Renaissance Riverside buffet.
MON,6/18: Ho Chi Minh City tour of Presidential Palace, War Remnants Museum, Cathedral and Post Office. Art Museum closed. Jade Emperor Pagoda empty. Caravelle Hotel lobby lunch. Watch "Mother Night." "UPI photog-home" dinner.
TUE,6/19: Cu Chi tunnels tour and Cao Dai temple ceremony. "Cool" restaurant for final group dinner with horrible Wanda and Shirley and Margaret (& Fred).
WED,6/20: Fly to Hong Kong 11:54-2:21. Walk and dine at Serenade Restaurant.

THU,6/21: Fly to SF 12:10-"Chocolat"-11:20. Fly to NYC 3-8:07. HOME 9:42PM! (RETURN TO JOURNALS 5/26/01).