Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Suitable gifts for China

As I believe I've mentioned I am going to China in a few days time, and thought I'd buy a few presents for people kind enough to talk to me. But what to buy? Virtually everything I pick up at the moment seems to have 'made in China' on the back, so what could I find that was British, didn't weigh much, and might be gratefully received.

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!


Blogger Debra Hamel said...

Oh my God, this gets ever more complicated!

Wed Oct 07, 12:20:00 am  
Blogger Susan said...

She's incredible, isn't she, Debra?! Your attention to detail is absolutely awe-inspiring, Clare. I can't even bring myself to make a hotel reservation, always flying by the seat of my pants :-)

Wed Oct 07, 12:39:00 am  
Blogger Debra Hamel said...

It's amazing and scary. I can't imagine having the energy to do all this. Apart from all the detail and preparation and expense, I don't like being away from home for more than a couple hours at a time.

Wed Oct 07, 01:02:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

To be honest, Susan I think yours is the better approach - 'seat of the pants' usually does the trick without all this slightly ridiculous worry.

I am mostly like you Debra, hating to stray from home most of the time - but then something happens. At first it seems an unlikely dream, but as it comes closer it takes a kind of frightening reality - making me anxious and I wonder why I'm doing this. But then I do do it, and afterwards I am glad.

Wed Oct 07, 01:18:00 am  
Blogger SueG said...

Great ideas. And I'm so excited for you (and jealous). This sounds like it will be an amazing trip.

Wed Oct 07, 10:53:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thank you Sue! I'm getting more and more worried as the days approach - but will be worth it in the end, I hope!

Wed Oct 07, 09:10:00 pm  

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