“Please do not thank me or contact me or put me on your sponsor list. You have a super blog. I look forward to reading it each day.” I hope it’s OK if I thank you anonymously … because, here it comes … Thanks!
It actually took me more than a month to notice this donation — the flow of money has, understandably, slowed since The Trip, so I rarely check my PayPal account — so I was rather late in thanking Steve, and even later in posting his name on this list. Steve went to high school with Big Daddy and had the misfortune of inheriting two fantasy baseball teams I used to run in a rather fanatically in-depth league run by baseball genius Scott Rex. Thanks, Steve!
Lani, Dave and Sam
This fine family housed, fed and funded me while I hammered out a 50-page book proposal in Hawaii. They even let me babysit!
Sodium and Mark
From two very nice Shanghai residents: “We know your story through the newspaper Shanghai Shen Jiang Dao Bao. We admire your spirit and I’m glad that you love China. So we’d like to support your trip.” Thanks guys! Now, how can I get a copy of this newspaper story?
In addition to taking pity on poor traveling writers, James, Cory and Kevin run a pretty slick art reproduction company in Xiamen. Please, please, please do some Christmas shopping at their site … so I don’t feel so bad for freeloading at their home and office for five days in Xiamen. Now you can own famous paintings like The Scream without having to steal them. Visit oceansbridge.com now! (Thanks to Andrea See for introducing me to these guys. Check out Andrea at serialdeviant.org and whatsonxiamen.com.)
This Guangdong native is a recent college grad and works as both a life insurance salesman and an interpreter for an Israeli import/export company. He and his family live above a curtain shop they run in Guangzhou. They invited me over for dinner and introduced me to kong-fu tea. (Thanks to hospitailtyclub.com for hooking me up with Lin Xiao.)
Longtime reader, first-time sponsor. Since he was so generous, I will let the fact that he refers to the New York Yankees as the “Evil Empire” slide. Thanks Doug!
This old friend from Shanghai took me out for a big, expensive dinner in Guangzhou — and he treated me to cockroaches, turtles and scorpions. What a thoughtful friend!
Percussionist for the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Tony hooked me up with all the essentials: a place to sleep, a place to get a massage, satellite television and an ADSL internet connection. He also let me eat his Oreo cookies. Oh yeah, he went to some music school named Juilliard. I know — I’ve never heard of it, either. (Special thanks to Frances for introducing me to Tony!)
Le Quang Tuan
The bubbly Vietnamese trumpet player for the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra gave me one of the bedrooms in his three-bedroom apartment. He also did my laundry — and saw me off at the train station when I left. And I’m still not sure if he knows exactly who the hell I am. Tuan said he believes in karma: If he does something nice for a stranger, a stranger will do something nice for him. You had better be nice to Tuan — he almost became a professional martial artist.
The Barnds Family
The most powerful couple at Elizabethtown College sent me a little love from Lancaster County. They told me to use the money to get a shower. Guys, I swear: It’s the local cows that you smell, not me. Thanks Jennie, Kent and Martha!
A great man in Guizhou. Henry, a CITS tour guide, made sure my five days in his province were full of fun. And he made me — pretty much a total stranger — the first friend invited to live in his parents’ home. Henry’s a man with a big heart. (Special thanks to the fine people at wildchina.com for hooking me up with Henry.)
Guo Sha and Jiang Nan
This married couple let me live along with their rather large family in their home-on-stilts in Bayi Village in Yunnan Province’s tropical Xishuangbanna region. Members of the hani (or ahka) minority, they showed me first-hand how to milk rubber sap from rubber trees … and they fed me some of the best food I’ve had on this trip.
Jenny (aka Mi Ge)
“When Jenny is happy, Jenny laughs.” The friendliest girl in Yunnan, Jenny let me live with her family — rubber tree farmers — down in Xishuangbanna.
Shannon Shue and Bryan Johnson
The best damn English teachers in China have taken their skillz to the west side. I lived with these two in Shanghai. And now they let me live with them in Kunming. Great friends. Great floor to sleep on. (And they took great care of me when I was laid up with food poisoning.)
Kathy Woods and Gordon Peerman
These fine Tennesseeans took pity on me and let me crash in a five-star hotel room in Lijiang. The room was also occupied by some guy named Cecil.
This reader sent in a generous donation and some words of wisdom: “One must enjoy life like a tall fresh cup of yak butter tea.” Obviously he has never tried the stuff. But thanks, Curtis. This helps soften the sting of Boston’s World Series victory.
My man in Chengdu took time out of his busy medical school schedule to help me avoid getting arrested in Sichuan’s capital. His mom was great — we enjoyed many home-cooked meals together. And Bo’s dog learned to like me. Table scraps will do that. P.S. Bo now knows what root beer tastes like … and that it contains no alcohol.
Emily Stukes and Brandon Main
This young American couple teaching in Mianyang, a small city in Sichuan Province, was kind enough to offer up their couch to a complete stranger. Well, Emily did the inviting. All the other foreign teachers here think she is crazy. I agree. I mean, what if this Washburn guy turns out to be a psycho killer … or, even worse, some unemployed hack who eats all of their fake Chinese Starburst candies! Scary, indeed.
Cai Lanzhen and Du Fan
And the little dog Dou Dou, too! This incredibly hospitable mother and son duo in Lanzhou gave me the top bunk in Du Fan’s bedroom and unlimited access to the family computer. They also treated me to many meals, squashing my repeated attempts to pay for something, anything! Cai studied under my father at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.
Someone gave me “a little Aloha from Hawaii.” (I’ll be able to thank this person in person when I head to Hawaii in mid-January!)
Benjamin (aka Lan Yong)
I met Benjamin at an internet bar in Yinchuan. We talked for a few minutes … and he invited me to his hometown of Guyuan, in southern Ningxia, for part of the National Day holiday. Benjamin would eventually like to be a tour guide — Bliss and I believe he is one already, and a damn good one too.
This amazingly nice Ningxia University student was my friend during my stay in Yinchuan. His uncle’s family even had me over for Mid-Autumn Festival dinner. By the way, during my visit Allen purchased two CDs — by Bjork and Radiohead.
In addition to having the coolest name of any of my hosts, this well-read ponytailed former plumber from Australia even had a key to his Harbin apartment made for me. Good thing I’m not a serial killer.
Muhetaer Mubarak and Sophia Azhati
These very generous Jilin University journalism students showed me all Changchun had to offer, which amounted to dozens of statues and several Xinjiang restaurants.
A nice gift … from one freelancer to another!
Good friend Bryan Johnson gave me his old mobile phone when he left Shanghai in June to take a job in the glamorous boat insurance industry of the Pacific Northwest. Now I have the pleasure of using that phone and his old phone number — because my phone was stolen (or lost). Oh, the boat insurance industry was less glamorous than we all thought. Bryan is back in China now, teaching in Kunming. And I will see him when I swing through Yunnan! (He’s not getting his phone back, though.)
A verrrrrrrrrry generous donation just floated my way from an anonymous Bay Area beer drinker. This should keep me afloat — with both oars in the water — for more than a month. First several rounds are on me!
A couch to sleep on, a DSL connection to use and Mr. Show on DVD to procrastinate with. What more could a guy want? Much thanks to my new friend in Changchun, John. Check out his blog.
Shenyang Normal University
Watch out Gainesville, Georgia, the fine people in this northeastern city are strong, strong contenders to take over the title of “Hospitality Capital of the World.” Thanks to everyone at SNU who made my stay a great one!
One of my bestest friends in the whole world gave me a whole bunch of beer money … but I just hope she makes it to Shanghai as promised. (You see, she never came to Georgia — and I was there for four years.)
Former Shanghai University teacher Helen gave up a week’s worth of cigarette money in honor of me … and cigarettes mean a lot to Helen. I thank you Helen (and so do your lungs).
CNN’s Beijing producer has let me take over his apartment for the week, sleeping on his couch and dominating the use of his laptop.
Chen Wen Yi and Zhao Yu Qin
My former student Chen Wen Yi (Diamond) and her mother Zhao Yu Qin really took care of us. A bed to sleep on, meals to eat, plenty of advice … and lots of Mongolian cheese.
All I know about Sherry is that she is originally from Shanghai, she has lived in the US for the past decade — and she enjoys surprising strangers with generous PayPal donations. Thank you, Sherry!
The Liu Family
My good friend Peter (Liu Yi) and his family housed and fed Johnson and me in their hometown of Haoyi, a tiny and peculiar village in southern Shanxi Province. Major exports of Haoyi: coal, corn and kindness.
Great friend in Xi’an. If you like eating meat on a stick, this guy can help you find it!
Fourteen years after the 1989-1990 season, Cole tosses me another assist. We Bloomsburg boys stick together. Next round at the Paddock is on me, buddy. Or will I see you in China first?
It’s really hard to be pessimistic about humanity when people you’ve never met — like Tony — do something unbelievably nice for you. Month No. 2 of this journey will be brought to you by Mr. Tang. Thanks!
The Huang Family
The friendliest family in Hunan, the Huangs have a wonderfully comfortable floor, air conditioning and an ADSL connection in their Changsha apartment. Dana, the youngest of the bunch, was my traveling companion for several days. Let her be your travel guide!
The Miao Family
A cool family with a cool home in Hengshui, a village with a population of 4,000 in western Jiangxi Province. Provided great food and shelter … and wouldn’t let me pay for anything.
The Hong Family
Provided me with much friendliness and food — not to mention beer and a bed to sleep on — during my stay in Hengfeng, Jiangxi Province.
If there was a Platinum Level donors list, this guy would occupy it all by himself. Thanks, Melvin!
This kind soul made a very generous gesture to a total stranger. I owe her a hug.
The Hu Family
My former student Arthur (Xiao Wei) and his family were great hosts in Hangzhou.
David E. Washburn
This man has been funneling me money since the 1970s.
Henry, my new landlord’s son, is bringing me a Pocket PC and related accessories from Atlanta for use during The Trip. Electronics are too expensive in China.
Jian Shuo Wang
Jian Shuo, using his blog’s vast China readership, has offered to be “China PR Director” for The Trip.
Robin allowed tons of my iPod gear to be delivered to her Atlanta home. The 40GB iPod and its various peripherals will serve a variety of useful purposes on The Trip.