UNICON X China- what to expect

This are my personal observations from my trip to China. They are my impressions
of the country and are meant only as a guideline. I am looking forward to going
back. You know yourself better and should make your own conclusions. This report
is not about the competitive part of it.

People. Their eyes may look different, but they are very much like all of us. I
was expecting the Chinese Communist stereotype I had been fed with. Instead I
found friendly respectful people with a good sense of humor. Treat them with
dignity and they will be great with you. They will not appreciate a “superior
than thou” “look what you are missing” type of attitude. It is their country and
they are great hosts. Let them impress us and we will all benefits.

Hotel Rooms. Very much like you expect in the USA or Europe in the layout. They
are smaller. The beds are twin and hard. If that is important to you, bring some
padding or you can buy a quilt in China at a very low price. Each room will have
a private bathroom, with or without a tub. If no tub, the water will drain in
the floor of all the bathroom. Every room provides a cheap Chinese sandal or you
may bring your own.

Health Care. Their registration fee includes accident insurance. They will be
ready for real life care. As for non accidental care, we actually did a
simulation. It included ambulance, blood and urine samples, sonogram, X-Ray,
anal wash (don’t ask), one day private room, and lots of IV solutions, and
antibiotics for the next two weeks. The service, equipment and facilities better
than I can get in Puerto Rico and as good as any in the USA or Europe. Total
cost, not quite $200 for all. And your insurance policy might reimburse you
(check with them).

Shopping. One of the lowest priced places in the world as long as you buy things
made in China, which is just about everything. If you can bring some extra cash
you may finance part of your trips from your Christmas shopping savings. You can
buy in shaggy towns or in very modern malls, always at extremely low prices.
They will negotiate prices.

Food. You will not starve. I strongly reccomend that you try the chinese food.
Lots of it is not “weird”. They use lots of chicken, pork, beef and fish. Also
many vegetables. If you like “weird” you may get it. I don’t care for it. And
they do have American franchises you can fall back to.

Cameras. You sure want to have one. Bring yours or buy one cheap in China if you
don’t want a special brand name. If you are from the USA or Japan, camcorders
should have their LCD monitor because they use PAL and not ESTM. If you have a
plug adapter, bring it. You may need it to recharge the batteries.

Passport and Visa. You will need both. They are very easy to obtain, as long as
you allow time. If you don’t have a passport, you should get one now. The
tourist visa is, I believe, good for 6 months. So we should apply for it at the
end of February and it will be good up to the end of August. You must have your
pass port before you apply for the Visa.

For me the decission to go to China is a no-brainer. It is an opportunity to
learn about one of the great civilizations of the world in a safer and less
expensive way. You will have personal orientation from local people. You (and/or
your kids) will learn what you will never learn in school.

And remember, all of this is the fringe benefit. You are going there to attend
the greatest UNICON ever.

Alberto Ruiz