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Old March 23rd, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Shanghai:

What a day we had. Our 2 days in Shanghai has turned into 23 hours because of government officials and the tides. The Chinese government once again has decided that they were once again going to take forever to clear the ship for immigration and the process took over four hours. We didn’t get off the ship until 1:00 p.m. The other negative was that the ship is now leaving Shanghai at 10:30 a.m. today. This basically leaves us with no second day to explore the city.

On the positive side; yesterday after we got off the ship we stopped to have some tea and of course, Betty began conversing with a man. We told him about our plans for the day and he offered to be our guide and interpreter for the day. After about 20 more minutes of Mike interrogation I agreed. It was the best decision. Hom was wonderful he took us to the Jade Buddah and all the main sites but also to some of the real back street sites plus a place that Trip would have loved. Betty initially was worried because he called first and a young lady met us at the front of the alley. I walked with Hom and entered the back of building and up some stairs to knock off and real product heaven. Once I had scoped out the place I went back and got Betty. Ray, I got the Mont Blanc pens, a Prada purse, a Baume Mercier watch (real or so dam good I couldn’t tell and that was with popping the back) plus a Dunhill briefcase. All for $215. I don’t recommend doing this for people because things could have turned out different and you really have to watch yourself. I also would not have done it if I had been dressed in anything other than the slob mode that I was. After that it was a trip to another local market. I picked up a couple of Polo cashmere sweaters and golf shirts for around $25. Then it was off to the New Market and the Tea House and a wonderful dinner. We could have seen much more but the old brain was getting weary and we had to call it a day at 9:00 p.m. We loaded our loot back into a cab and headed to the ship. We gave Hom the $30 we agreed to plus $30 more because of all his help and knowledge (he was a wealth of historical knowledge) but he returned it but I insisted he take it or I would be insulted because he had carried all of our purchases all day.

It was a good day.

Take care,
Mike
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 06:11 PM
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Just some quick answers to the previous questions;

Yes I have my own laptop. Connection speed is great. Better than the ones in Internet Cafe.

Ship condition is very good. Pinnacle Grill food is VERY good: Service mediocre. (I'll talk about that in official report)

Overall I do love the ship. Perfect size.

Take care,
Mike (Burning minutes)
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 07:18 PM
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Mike & Betty, sounds like you are having a super time!! It's just a real
pleasure reading your daily reports. Wonderful to hear of all your bargain
purchases. Keep having a great trip kids!! John & Priscilla
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 08:25 PM
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Wow Mike,
Sounds like this is some cruise for both you and Betty, lots of shopping and seeing the sights, how wonderful. Take care,
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 08:51 PM
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Mike... great to hear the trip is going so fabulously! Even though it was a beautiful sunny day in Phoenix, and I got to golf. Things went beserk enough that I'd rather be with you
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 08:55 PM
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Sounds like another interesting experience. Both Keith and I enjoy your reports.

Judy
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 09:20 PM
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Oh Mikey...had I known....I would have given you my shopping list, .
Seriously, I'm so glad you and Betty are having such a great time. Betty is one lucky lady to have a hubby who likes (or at least tolerates) shopping.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 09:37 PM
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Way to go you two ... keep up the good work in getting bargains galore!
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 10:02 PM
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Too cool!
Angela Z.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 10:44 PM
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Mike, it's strange that you visited and described all the places my daughter recently visited in Shanghai! Glad to hear you and Betty are having such a great time!

donna
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Old March 24th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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It sounds like you had a really interesting day in Shanghai, Mike. A word of caution: I hope that you got sales receipts/invoices for the stuff you've purchased in China.

I'm curious to know if the merchants have been offering you multiple invoices (an old Chinese trick), one for what you actually paid and another indicating lesser value which they suggest that you show to the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) people.

I used to see this every time I shopped in Hong Kong and other Asian cities. I'm sure that you wouldn't be a party to that, but I thought I'd mention it anyway so that you could pass it on to your CM companions.

Each returning U.S. resident is entitled to an $800 duty-free exemption clearing customs in the U.S. If you go over, the duty is only 10% of the excess retail cost. Be sure that everybody declares the actual price they paid for their acquisitions, and that they don't try to get "cute" or fall for that false-invoice trick. The CBP people know the true value of most items, believe me, but they will still frequently ask to see invoices.

Sorry to get morbid with you, Mike, but I wouldn't want any of your people having their cruise vacation spoiled when the CBP officers find any of their declarations to be fraudulent. It happens a lot with travelers to the Orient. It's not pretty to see anyone hauled out of line, have their purchases seized and then have to pay a hefty fine in order to get them back.

Jack
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