Preparing For China

If I’m a little slow in responding to email the next few days it’s because I’m putting all the final details in place to leave for Beijing, China on Wednesday. I travel often enough that I typically pack the night before and count on having Internet access wherever I arrive. Leaving for China for two weeks is a little more complicated because I need to have a number of things in place and I don’t have the comfort of knowing where to get almost anything in the cities I frequent here in the U.S. so I need to plan ahead more carefully.
I started learning Mandarin in December of 2005. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages. This time I got serious, hired a private tutor, and have barely scratched the surface of one of a very challenging language. I know enough Mandarin at this point to ask for directions, order food, haggle with street vendors and comprehend bits and pieces of dialogue in movies like House of Flying Daggers and Hero. We’ll see how much I really know when I get to Beijing.
Part of the trip will be for fun. I hope to see the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the White Cloud Taoist Temple, and possible take in a Chinese Opera. I’m keeping my options open. If you’ve been to Beijing and have suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I just found out that two friends from Seattle, Lee and Sachi, will be in Beijing at the same time I am. They have been touring the world since December and I’ve been following along on their journey through The World is not Flat. We spoke with them for the show a few days before they left, so it will be fun to hear about their adventures in person.
The primary reason for going is to attend DEMO China from September 6-8, where I’ll be blogging about every company presenting. In the U.S. DEMO is known as a place where companies attempt to make a big splash by announcing something new, potentially unique and always with tons of buzz. DEMO China is the first time there’s ever been a DEMO outside the U.S., which should make for some exciting product launches. You can follow along either through the newsletter and RSS feed or checking in regularly online in my official DEMO China coverage.
I need to thank a number of companies for helping make the DEMO China coverage possible. SnagIt, my favorite screen capture tool, will be making screen captures of all the companies possible. The WebEx MeetMeNow service is providing sponsorship assistance as well. T-Mobile is hooking me up with both Internet access via hotspots and a T-Mobile MDA phone for making calls from China. Tom Bihn outfitted me with some awesome bags (and I’ll be announcing a bag giveaway shortly).