Suitable gifts for China
As I normally do these days I consulted the great lord Google and came across other people who has asked the same question. And the answer seemed to be: vitamin pills.
Apparently vitamin pills are expensive and notoriously fake in China, so western-branded pills are very much valued. However vitamin pills seemed an odd sort of gift to me. Other suggestions were chocolate, coffee, preserves - all of which I considered but then dismissed: too perishable, or too heavy, or both.
In the end I found some suitable little things in the tourist shop: calendars with pictures of my city, old British coins in presentation packs and tea-cloths printed with pictures of the country. None of them show four things which is good because 4 is an unlucky number in China, according to another website.
I also had to be careful with the wrapping paper. Plain red is a safe bet, one website said, but the nearest I could find was cerise (which is close to pink, which fortunately is another lucky colour too). I'm taking that with some sellotape and ribbon because there's no point in wrapping things, since some customs official might like to see what's inside...
So I'm hoping I've not made any faux pas with what I have here, but surely the scientists I'm intending to interview would not believe in such things anyway. At least I would expect so...Maybe I'll keep my fingers crossed anyway!