MONDAY, OCTOBER 18TH – KUMAMOTO, JAPAN TO SHENZHEN, CHINA:
Got up at 4 am, showered and took my bags downstairs for the bus ride to Fukuoka. I walked over to McDonald’s to try and buy everyone something to eat on the ride to the airport. McDonald’s wasn’t open at 5:30 am, so had to settle for 7-11. Purchased some yogurt, donuts, and hot canned coffee. Charlie and Toshiko and several staff members and Hiromi came to the hotel to see us off. Seiya and Shoji rode with us to the airport to assist if we had any problems. We arrived about 20 minutes before the gate opened for check-in but glad we did because there was a long line behind us. I was concerned that they might charge us for excess since within Asia we’re only allowed to check one bag weighing 44 pounds. But, no one said anything. At least not until we got to the very end of my group. Then they decided that they were not going to allow us to carry on the guitars! They wanted to put them in a little cardboard box and since they were in soft cases, there was no way I was going to agree to that! I finally talked them into letting me carry them on and put them in the business class cabin IF we had any trouble at the gate. They told us to arrive at the gate at 10 and they would try to get my group on first. Once we cleared security, we were going to change money and eat something. Wrong. There was no money exchange after going through passport control and the only “restaurant” was a little stand that sold hot dogs and snacks. We boarded on time and Cathay Pacific did put my guys on first with their guitars. It was a full flight again and about 2 ½ hours to Taipai. We were told that when we stopped in Taipai, we could stay on the plane or get off for the hour that we would be on the ground. I was in a different compartment entirely and couldn’t tell if any of my group had gotten off. Figured I’d better get off to make sure I didn’t “lose” anyone. Of course, no one got off but me. Meant I had to go through security again – which mean throwing away my water – and then purchase another bottle of water and go right back around to the gate! Flight from Taipai to Hong Kong was short – about 1 hour 20 minutes. Landed on time and didn’t have any problem with immigration or customs other than the very long lines. Our escort – Ivan – was waiting for us with a nice bus to Shenzhen. It was about a 45 minute drive from the airport to the border crossing. It’s a beautiful drive but I wish the group had gotten to see Hong Kong! I remembered the process at the Border Crossing once we arrived. I was here a few years ago with an Elvis impersonator for a private event. We had to take all out luggage off the bus and inside a building. Went through one security check and then had to get in line to have our passport stamped. As we walked towards the counter, there were “sensors” in the ceiling that glowed either green or red. We all walked through except Buddy got pulled aside and taken into a “back room. I sent Ivan to find out what was going on and evidently the sensor picked up the fact that he has a fever. They brought in a doctor and determined that he was okay and released him. Guess they are very careful about people coming in with infectious diseases. We got in line for Passport Control and I realized that we needed to fill out some paperwork. Evidently Ivan has never escorted a group through the border before because he had no idea we needed anything. Finally got that approved and then had to scan our personal luggage. We were on our way again about 5:30 pm and reached the hotel at 6:00 pm. The Hotel is the Pavilion Century Tower and is a 5 star accommodation. Really beautiful hotel. Our host – Vivian – and her assistant were waiting for us and had our room keys ready. The bellmen took our bags to our rooms and we left our passports with Vivian so the front desk could scan these. You should see the bathroom. It is totally made of glass so you can see inside it from the bedroom. The shower stall is huge and right next to the bed! Everyone met back down in the lobby and my friend Anders and his assistant met us. Anders was kind enough to find a “pick-up” for Clinton’s fiddle and purchased it for us. He agreed to take us shopping at this fabulous shopping center right by the border. There were 9 of us total going shopping and we split into 3 taxis. Anders, his assistant and I each went in separate taxis to handle any problems. Taxi drivers are crazy in China and I’m sort of accustomed to it. But this one went the WRONG way down a very long ONE WAY STREET! I really thought we were going to crash head-on into another car. Several times he tried to turn around in the middle of the street but wasn’t able too because of traffic. It was pretty nerve wracking, especially since he didn’t speak any English. Everyone was starving so Anders took into a really night little café for dinner. I had stir-fried vermicelli noodles with vegetables and it was terrific. It cost 25 RMB which is about $4.00 U.S.!!!! Of course, I had a latte and it was the same price though. We didn’t have much time to shop because the service was so slow in the restaurant. Everyone split up and I stayed with Julie to help her. Anders has one guy in this huge multi-story department store that takes care of him. They have everything from high quality knock off watches, bags, shoes to electronics, clothes, you name it! I wasn’t going to buy anything tonight because I’m coming back over with Iris later in the week. But I found the watch Hazel Daniels wanted and was able to buy it for $30 U.S. A really great ceramic Channel watch. I also saw a Jimmy Choo bag that I want and lots of other things. Problem is, we can’t buy but one of each item because Customs will bust you when you go back through to the U.S. Years ago, I would buys bags and watches for myself and all my friends. Can’t do that anymore unfortunately. Julie purchased a watch and a couple of wallets. We left the shopping area at about 10:45 pm and took taxis back to the hotel. I’ve been working on email since I returned. Going to bed in a few minutes. NOT going shopping tomorrow morning because we have to leave for sound check at 1:30 pm. Jude
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19TH – 1ST COUNTRY MUSIC CONCERT IN SHENZHEN, CHINA:
Forgot to tell about my strange experience at the border crossing yesterday. When I went through Passport control, I forgot that I had my Bluetooth on my ear. The agent motioned towards my ear. I knew he couldn’t see it because of my hair, but I figured maybe he saw the blinking light. I took it off but he motioned again. I had no idea what he wanted but he made a motion of moving his hair behind his ear. I did that and he was happy and let me through. I looked at my passport and sure enough, my hair was worn so that part of my right ear was showing! Hmm….wonder if I would have been detained if my ear didn’t “match” the passport? LOL Got up at 7:00 am and went to the hotel health club. Very limited facility but I still got in a great 1 hour work out. Felt good after having to jog every day in Japan. The breakfast buffet was fabulous. I had an omelet and some yogurt and even tried the “Mango Milk”…which was really good! Took a shower and worked on some emails. Was supposed to meet Anders for lunch but he has a schedule conflict and I won’t see him until this afternoon at the venue. The shower is really interesting. As I told you, the entire wall is glass and you can see the bedroom. There is a “shade” inside the shower that can be lowered though. There’s a HUGE shower head right in the middle of the shower and a slim little “wand” mounted on the wall that I did not notice. I was trying to position myself so that I could turn on the water and not get wet until I got it to the right temperature. Unfortunately, since I didn’t notice the wand, it came on first, sprayed water right in my eye and out into the bathroom and entry way! I could write a long book on my experience with showers around the world! Ran to the cafe downstairs to grab lunch before going to the venue. Ordered a caprese salad but even though the menu said mozerella, it wasn’t. No idea what it was but don’t want it again. Rode over to the venue with the musicians and it is beautiful. Very big and very modern. But as is the case usually in China, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors. None of the equipment had been set up so that took quite a long time. Drum set had several problems. I rode back over to the venue and picked up the artists. We are running seriously late with sound check. Sound check didn’t exactly go that great. Not sure if it’s because our tech has to start from scratch and didn’t have the help he needed or what. Hoping it sounds much better during the actual concert. Anders and his assistant came to the venue as we were finishing sound check and we all walked across the street to a “Noodle Shop” for dinner. Anders encouraged everyone to eat “cooked” food, not sushi in Shenzhen and he didn’t have to tell me twice! Food was good and we walked back to the venue for the concert. Vivian said it was about 80% sold out. Concert started on time and had a very “shaky” beginning with the sound. We sat backstage and watched on a video monitor and hoped it was better out front. Anders and I finally went to the front of the house and it honestly didn’t sound any better there to me. Anders stayed and I went backstage until about the last 20 minutes of the concert. When I went back to find him, he said that the sound had gotten progressively worse. The good news is the audience didn’t seem to mind and loved all three of the entertainers. Julie went out into the audience and sang and truly won them over with that interaction. They signed autographs after the concert and I had forgotten how impossible it is to get the Chinese to stand in a single file line and wait their turn. I finally had to block the entrance to the line and let them in one person at a time. I sure didn’t win any new friends that way but the line moved relatively quickly and we were out of there by about midnight. All our Shenzhen hosts seemed to really be happy with our visit and of course, Buddy, Julie and Clinton and all the musicians/crew loved it. We had a 3:45 am lobby call to drive to the airport, so most of the guys stayed up and drank beer. I went to my room, answsered a few emails, took a shower and packed for the trip. I did sleep for one glorious hour. J
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20TH – SHENZHEN TO HONG KONG – MY FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD!
Everyone was in the lobby on time and we left for the border crossing. I was hoping it would be much simpler this time since we were leaving a communist country and going into Hong Kong. Ha! Not so. We drove for about 10 minutes and were already at the border. When we came in, the border was about 30 minutes from the hotel, so I thought it was very strange that we arrived so quickly. Had to take all our luggage and gear off the bus and go through passport control and security scanning, then back on the bus. They took our little departure slips out of our passports. When we got back on the bus – Ivan (our escort) told us that we had to go through two border crossings. Supposedly the border where we came into Shenzhen was not open until 6:30 am, so that’s the reason we had to go through 2 different border crossings. We drove for about 5 minutes and had to do the whole process again….only this time we had to fill out arrival cards again. Arrive exactly on time at the airport and Delta would not allow them to check in as a group. I stayed until everyone was checked in and went through the security line. The drummer had to come back out because they would not allow him to carry on his bag with all his drum sticks in it! Amazing. Guess he was going to terrorize the plane by poking the pilot in the eye with of the sticks. Or maybe they were just afraid he might decide to “play” something. LOL. Anyway, he went back to the counter and checked it. I had about 30 minutes to wait for my car from the hotel. Got some coffee and changed money while I waited. I was very apprehensive about the hotel because Iris said the rooms were really “old”. I didn’t remember that as the case. I was glad I had upgraded to a premium room for my stay and was hoping it would be nice. When the driver pulled up to the front door, I realized it was NOT a hotel I had stayed at in the past. It looked nice but it’s inside a shopping mall and very inconvenient to access. The hotel where I have stayed is just a couple of blocks down the same street. My room wasn’t ready so Iris met me and had breakfast while we waited. The person from the travel agency who was going to try and get me another Visa came and picked up my passport and paperwork. He promised to have it back to me by 6 pm that same evening. Sure hope it works out or I won’t be shopping in Shenzhen with Iris. Iris went up to my room with me so she could see if it was worth her paying the extra money to upgrade. She said mine was ten times nicer than hers. We checked at the front desk and she was able to pay a little more per night and upgrade. Went to her room and packed up her things and left them for the bellman to move once her room opened up. We also stopped by and checked out the Health Club and found it to be very nice. My room is HUGE with a fantastic view of the harbor. I have a big king-size bed that is the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in, a desk with wireless that is slamming and a huge bathroom with a separate shower and tub and double sinks. We walked down Nathan Road (the Golden Mile) so I could show her all the shops. The only purchase I made was several watches. The cost was 3 for 159 HKD which is less than $21 U.S. ($7 each). They are just “costume” watches but really cool. Iris purchased some sparkly bracelets. I told her to wait until AFTER she sees what we can buy in China before spending her money here. I did take her by my tailor (the one Charlie Daniels uses) – Peter Ng – and introduced them. I think she’s going to come back and have a suit made while she’s here since she doesn’t leave until Monday night. I had told her about the “spitting” problem in Hong Kong. Evidently it’s getting better because I’m not seeing as many signs warning of a fine for spitting. FYI, there is so much pollution that everyone’s lungs are “clogged” and they constantly spit – even out the windows of the high rise buildings. When we were walking down the street, she felt something hit her head and totally freaked out. Since we weren’t near any tall buildings and were actually under a tree, I figured a bird got her. Never saw anything in her hair though. We took the Star Ferry over to the Hong Kong side. Lots of waves because there is a MAJOR typhoon headed this way! More on that a little later in this report. Hong Kong keeps “reclaiming” land so the landscape is constantly changing. I made one wrong turn when we got off the ferry and we never found Exchange Square where all the buses are located. We walked for a couple of miles! Finally grabbed a taxi and said “Stanley Market” please! The first thing we did upon arriving there was eat lunch. Really great pizza restaurant where we had a healthy salad and light pizza and a portion of the price when to support breast cancer through the Pink Ribbon program. Walked around the market for about an hour but didn’t purchase anything. Waiting for China trip, of course. Took a taxi back to the hotel and I was going to try and sleep for an hour before we went out to dinner. THAT didn’t happen. First I had a coughing attack (still haven’t figured out if I have a cold or it’s just allergies!). Then when I dozed off, my friend Anders called. I gave up and worked for about an hour and then met Iris. The concierge recommended a Thai restaurant for us that turned out to be awesome. We both had the green curry and it almost set my hair on fire. Iris didn’t think it was hot at all. After dinner we took a taxi to the Night Market on Temple Street. She was going crazy for all the copy bags, especially the Jimmy Choo’s. I warned her that the quality isn’t as good as in China but she bargained on a couple anyway. They wouldn’t come down to her price, so I was able to save her from herself and come away empty-handed. We went back to the hotel and she was going to work out in the gym and I was going to jog before meeting at 10 am for breakfast. We take the train to Shenzhen tomorrow to shop, shop, shop. Before going to bed, I checked on Typhoon Megi. It has now been upgraded from “severe” to “super”. It is the strongest typhoon in the South China Sea in 20 years and is expected to hit Hong Kong on Saturday – the day I am supposed to fly back to Nashville! Not sure what I’m going to do about that… J
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21ST – SHOPPING IN SHENZHEN:
Decided to work out in the gym instead of jogging this morning. Health club is pretty good and I was able to get a decent work out. I emailed Iris to tell her we could eat a “free” breakfast in the Executive Lounge by my room is we went at 9:30 am instead of going to the hotel restaurant at 10 am. I never heard back from her, so I called her at around 9 am. She was “dead to the world”. Jet lag definitely caught up with her. We did eat at the Lounge but most of the food was gone and they were not bringing out any more. Think we’ll pay and eat in the hotel restaurant tomorrow. I was able to answer a few emails before we grabbed a taxi to the train station. It was surprisingly easy to purchase our ticket and get on the correct train to Shenzhen. We had to go through the same process crossing the border of going through multiple counters to process out of Hong Kong and into Shenzhen. Anders wife – Loretta – was meeting us outside Immigration. We arrived a few minutes before her but had no problem meeting up. We went to “Allan’s” shop to begin her shopping experience. I told her she reminded me of “me” the first time I shopped here. It is overwhelming. I don’t even know how many bags and watches and sunglasses she purchased or how in the world she plans to get them back into the country. Fortunately, Switzerland is much easier on “entry” than the U.S. We were in the shop from 1 pm until almost 4 pm and I was starving. Loretta said she would wait for the links to be taken out of the bracelet and meet us at the Railway Hotel Restaurant where Anders told us to eat and use the toilets. The toilets in the shopping center are NOT something I’d ever want to venture into. Allan’s little sister who is 15 but looks like she’s 8, agreed to walk us over to the Railway Hotel. Once inside, I gave her a tip that is probably more than she makes in a month and told her we’d be fine to go to the restaurant without her. She ran back to the “shop” and they asked her if she took us to the restaurant. When she told them she only “pointed” the way, everyone freaked out. She ran back over and was waiting at the elevator for Loretta when she arrived. Loretta figured out that we were upstairs in the restaurant and invited the little girl to have lunch with us. Loretta said that Anders told her this is the restaurant where we had dinner a couple of night ago but it isn’t. I’ve never been in this restaurant and it doesn’t look very “nice”. Iris and I both ordered fried noodles with vegetables and it was almost inedible! Loretta and I “quizzed” the little girl and decided to give her the American name of “Donna” because her Chinese name is too difficult to pronounce. Seems Donna has dropped out of school because she hates it and at 15, it’s her choice. She wants to open her own shop when she’s old enough. Her brothers do not pay her for working there. She’s just practicing her English and they do give her “spending money” when she needs it. She moved to Shenzhen about 6 months ago from Canton. We encouraged her to go back to school! Loretta and Donna ordered several dishes and shared them but Iris and I didn’t like any of them. The menu contained items like “Bowl of Pig’s Stomach” and “Fish Head Soup” (all with PHOTOS! YUCK!). After lunch, we went back to the shopping area and shopped some more. I found the shoes that Karri Turner wants but they didn’t have her size. I emailed her photos of several options and hope to hear from her before I come back tomorrow. Iris went crazy buying several more bags and sunglasses. We left the shopping area at around 6 pm and took the train back to Hong Kong. Loretta rode one stop with us and had already purchased our tickets when we arrive at the train. That was very sweet of her but she purchased coach tickets and we had to sit on a bench seat for an hour, crammed in with hundreds of Chinese. Not the way we wanted to end the day but we made it. Anders met us at 8 pm and we went to an area that is near where his office used to be. There were several streets of restaurants and we chose an Italian one. Both of us ordered a caprese salad and it was not good. The tomatoes didn’t even taste like tomatoes. I had pasta with tomatoes, mushrooms and grilled shrimp and it was pretty good but very bland. The only really good item was the bread. We walked to another restaurant for dessert and all ordered different items so we could share. My molten chocolate cake with ice cream was the winner. J Took a taxi back to the hotel and answered emails that were urgent. I was SOO tired again. Got in bed by 1:30 am and didn’t get up until 6:30 am. J
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22ND – MORE SHOPPING IN SHENZHEN:
Decided to jog along the Harbor this morning since this will be my last opportunity. Weather was really nice – around 70 degrees and cloudy. It started drizzling a little before I finished the run, but felt good and cooled me off. Showered, answered email and met Iris for breakfast. She is still surprised by the “service” in some of the places. First thing they told us is “Breakfast is over at 10:30 am”. It was only 10:00 am. We asked for coffee and left the table to go to the buffet and order an egg white omelet – which isn’t a “quick” process. When we returned, there was still no coffee but the check was there for us to sign. I asked for coffee again and ignored the check. They brought the coffee and pointed to the check. I decided not to sign it until after we ate…just to stress them out. We took a taxi back to Hung Ho Railway station and this time managed to buy roundtrip tickets. I asked for roundtrip yesterday but she didn’t understand. Seemed like a shorter trip today but it had to be the same. We found our way back to the shopping arcade and decided to start at the very top and work our way down. Yeah, right. The shops are in a square with five or six rows of “squares” on each level. We got so confused. Shop owners started saying, “Hello again”! I was looking for shoes for Karri and baby clothes and Iris was looking for any and everything – including a new suitcase to put all her purchases in. The hardest part was finding the shoes in the right size and style and getting a bargain on her suitcase. We walked around from noon until 4 pm and never even thought about eating anything…but by 4 pm we were thinking about the nearest toilet! Iris finally got the deal she wanted on her suitcase. Then every time we’d go in a store, a tourist would come up to her and ask her what she paid. I guess word spread quickly about her bargaining for the luggage and all the shop owners knew she wasn’t going to budge on her price. Iris ordered about 6 pair of prescription glasses and several more pairs of sunglasses! I ordered one pair of bi-focal sunglasses (the kind without the “line”) but they are going to have to ship them to me because it takes longer to make those. They made her 6 pair of regular prescription glasses in 20 minutes. She tried them on, and they were all the correct prescription! They never even had to give her an eye test – just put her current glasses in a little machine and it duplicated the prescription. Pretty cool! She also purchased a couple of pair of jeans and had her first experience at trying on clothes without the benefit of a dressing room. Basically, you stand in a corner of the shop and the shopkeeper holds a large blanket in front of you! I took a picture of her peaking over the top of the blanket. We ended at Allan’s shop and purchased some more watches. Donna was there and she insisted on taking Iris’s luggage to the train station for her…possibly for another tip, you think? Actually, I think she really liked us. I told Allan she needs to finish school and he agreed. He said she really hates school and got in a fight with a boy at school. He pointed to a large scar on her cheek! We knew that we should not use the toilet in the train station but there was really no other option since we hadn’t seen a toilet in about 6 hours! It was pretty clean but was definitely the kind you have to “squat” over. I’m just really not good with those unless I can take off clothes! Train was packed on the way back and even though we had first class, there wasn’t a seat. We had to stand for one stop and then it cleared out and we were able to sit down. We tried to make reservations at a nice steak house where Iris had eaten the first night but couldn’t get in until 9:30 pm. The concierge said, “oh just go to the bar and have a couple of drinks and then have dinner”. It was only 7:30 pm, so we were supposed to drink until 9:30 pm. Sounded like a good idea except I had to get up at 4:30 am. So we made reservations at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I usually don’t like to go to restaurants that we have in America but Switzerland doesn’t have these and Iris loves them. We had a great spinach salad and steak and an unbelievable banana concoction for dessert. We were back at the hotel by 10 am and I had to check one of her watches for her. It is a Rolex and I knew it wouldn’t work unless she was wearing it and there was moving. It’s one of those self-winding watches. She never could get it to work, so she called Allan. He said, “Put it on and move, move, move”. I left her dancing around her room to go pack and get ready for my departure to the USA. Really hate to be leaving Hong Kong. Iris stays until Monday night! Jude
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2010 – LEAVING HONG KONG.
Up at 4:30 am and ready to go at 5:30 am. Car was waiting for me and I arrived earlier than I expected. No problem checking in and all looks good to fly. Guess Typhoon is hitting land somewhere else. No news at all on it. Went to the Lounge to answer emails. I can sign on to Internet Explorer but can’t sign on to my AOL account! Very frustrating. Had an email from Michelle who was on the tour with us. She took over my responsibilities of “getting everyone back to Nashville” when I bailed. Evidently when they landed in Salt Lake City, Clinton’s blood pressure was through the roof…something like 220 over 180! They had a 5 hour layover so Michelle took him to the emergency room. They gave him medicine to lower it and he felt good enough to fly to Nashville. Have Penny checking on him today! We boarded on time but left a little late because of the typhoon in the area. It was turbulent as we flew out but not nearly as bad as I expected. The plane is one of the newly reconfigured aircraft with the seats that lay flat which is nice….I thought. Whoever designed the old aircraft must have also planned this one as it is pretty non-functional. There’s nowhere to store any items except in the overhead. The trays are located in a bin inside a panel and even the flight attendants were unable to pull them out. It was about a 10 minute process to get it open. The seat is the most uncomfortable I’ve ever had in first class. When it does recline to a flat position, there are two gaps – one right along the hip line and one at the bottom. No way to ever get comfortable unless you had several pillows to put underneath your body. As we boarded the flight, there was a final security check and they took all our water away from us! I wasn’t’ too concerned since I’m thinking, “Hey, it’ Delta business class and they’ll take care of us”. Forgot what had happened on the flight over. Not ONCE did the flight attendants voluntarily offer to bring me water. I always had to chase them down. I did watch a really fun movie with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker. I think the title was “Do you know the Morgans”. Worked for several hours and then slept for several hours. Feeling a little stressed about going through Customs in Detroit. I watched almost all of another movie “Julia/Julie” about Julia Child. It was great! I got to meet her at the David Letterman Show years ago when I was up there with Waylon Jennings. I remember how funny she was even back then. And she was sitting in a chair in the dressing room with her knees apart and you could see all the way up her skirt. Funny, the things we remember about these chance “celebrity” encounters! LOL. Unfortunately, the flight attendant had to pry the headset off my ears for landing and I didn’t get to see the end of the movie, darn it! Landed early in Detroit so we must have made up quite a bit of time in the air. My bag came out (I had stuffed EVERYTHING into one very heavy bag thinking I would be less “suspicious” if I only had one piece of luggage!”) and I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest when I went through Customs. I was sure the guy would take one look at me and send me to be searched. Fortunately, he didn’t ask any questions and I raced to the bag re-check area. Whew. Now I wish I had bought lots more knock-offs. Would have made great gifts! LOL Our plane was sitting at the gate for two hours before we ever boarded. But we boarded on time and then the pilot came on to say that there was a mechanical problem with something on the plane that they use to “start the engines”. He did not think it was something that could be repaired but maintenance had been called. He said they were “looking for another aircraft” for our flight. An hour later, they were able to repair the plane and we departed. Landed an hour late in Nashville and guess what…..my bag was the ONLY one not on the plane. They only had FOUR hours to load it so I can see how it was “misplaced”. According to Delta, they would deliver it to me sometime after 8 am. If it was going to get lost, I wish it had been lost between Hong Kong and Detroit. Then I wouldn’t have had to take it through Customs. LOL. Had a text from Iris and she took went sightseeing at the Peak and in Hong Kong today. She also went to the Ladies Market in Mong Kok and bought more designer shoes. She was concerned that her watches were not working, so she went back to Shenzhen. I reminded her that the watches won’t work unless they are being “worn” if they are the self-winding Rolexes. Last I heard from her, she was buying MORE stuff from Allan! Anyway, at around 10:30 pm, they FINALLY delivered the bag. Glad to be home and love on the “Z’s”. They are like different children entirely now that they have the tubes in their ears. Much more “playful, talkative” and eating all the time. Hope to be home for several weeks before heading back to Iraq with Aaron Tippin. Jude