Field Trip Duration: SEE ITINERARY BELOW
DEPART June 23rd (LAX, 12:20 AM); ARRIVE July 7th (LAX, 3:30 PM).
Personal Items to Bring on this Field Trip:
- ADVICE from YING WANG:
- CASH: You can exchange US dollars for RMB at the airports in big cities at a rate (~7.x) lower than the current exchange rate (~8.x). Then when you get into these cities, you can exchange at almost any bank at the current exchange rate.
- CREDIT CARD (most debit cards will not work!): You can use your credit card to withdraw RMB at ATMs in most Chinese cities, but have to watch out for big service fees. The conversion rate will be the same as the current bank exchange rate. But if you have a credit card from CITIBANK or BOA, you can withdraw cash without service fee at their ATMs. They have branches in Beijing and Shanghai, but Ying is not sure if they have one in Urumchi.
- TRAVELERS' CHECKS: You can exchange Traveller checks in most banks in Chinese cities. In spite of the U.S. service fees, this is probably much cheaper than what you will pay for ATM service fees in China. You can obtain Travelers Checks from most banks in the U.S. for fees ranging from 0-2% of the total value of the checks. Caltech FCU can issue Travelers Checks for FREE if you have an account with them (courtesy, Andrew Kositsky).
- It is recommended that everyone carry at least $500 in "cash" equivalent: $250 for emergency air-fare from Urumqi-Beijing, if you need to get out fast (this amount can be in Travelers Checks); $50 cash for phone cards &/ internet cafes + miscellaneous food/water/beverages (Lunches & Dinners WILL be provided by the field-trip fund); and $200 cash for souvenirs/gifts as well as unexpected medical/travel expenses. Apparently, U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere in China, but you'll get change back in RMB. So, make sure to carry small ($10/$20) denominations for upto $250 or so. Otherwise, you'll be left with a lot of "change" at the end.
Clothes & Bedding:
- It is expected to be hot and dry with chances for a few sprinkles - no heavy winter clothes are needed.
- It is recommended that you carry soap (& a brush/scrubber) to wash your clothes unless you want to carry
fresh clothes for 2-weeks. Also, any material, numbers or colors indicated below are merely suggestions, not requirements.
- No sleeping bag/bedding is required to be carried. We'll be staying at hotels along the way]
Toiletries & First-Aid:
- Long sleeved shirts (2 pairs, light colored, thin material)
- Long travel pants (2 pairs, light colored, thin material)
- Sun Hat
- Goggles/Sun Glasses
- Prescription Glasses and/or Contact lens kit
- Undergarments (preferably wicking)
- Light Rain shell (goretex might get too hot)
- A fleece vest or thin fleece anorak
- Hiking shoes with good grip (trail hiking or backpacking)
- Socks (preferably wicking)
- Sandals or tevas
- All public restrooms (pit-toilets) in China are communal - i.e., v. little privacy!
- Also, carry some toilet paper on your person when you leave your hotel everyday. Optionally, you may carry a roll of
toilet paper from here for daytime use during the entire trip.
- Hotels we will be staying at will have toilet paper.]
- Soap & shampoo
- Toothbrush, paste, & floss
- Shaving kit
- Moist wipes/towlettes: For all purpose use - e.g., Wet Ones.
- Prescription medications - 2 week supply
- Adhesive bandages & neosporin
- Medication for: headache, allergies, cold & sinus problems, diarrhoea, motion sickness, and acidity
- Personal hygiene kit
- A roll of toilet paper
- Read the information on power conversion and adapters (below) very carefully before taking any electronic/electrical
equipment on this trip!]
- Phone card + Emergency/Contact phone numbers in the U.S.
- Camera (Extra battery, flash-card/film, charger)
- Music Player (charger and/or extra battery)
- Power conversion: 220-110 V, 60-50 Hz step-down transformer (ONLY IF YOUR CHARGER OR APPLIANCE IS NOT DUAL (110-240 V) VOLTAGE).
- US-China power socket adapter. You need this to plug into a wall socket, even if your appliance or charger is dual voltage!
- Binoculars (if you are interested in birding/wildlife)
- Flashlight/Headlamp (extra batteries/bulb)
- Money Belt or other secret pouch: for cash, tickets, & credit cards
- Waist pack
- Day pack
- Water bottles (total of at least 2 liters)
- Water purifier: If you are concerned about the quality of bottled water you may buy, then the best solution is the Katadyn Ultra-light bottle purifier. You can also try Chemical treatment (Potable Aqua, Iodine crystals, etc.). Since we are not backpacking, pump systems may be too cumbersome to use.
- Swiss army knife
- Pocket notebook/white paper/post-it notes
- Geology field notebook
- Geology field guide & relevant notes
- Sedimentary rock hammer
- Compass & level
- Dilute HCl for carbonate test
- Hand lens, scratch-pad & magnet for mineral identification
- Pre-packaged compact emergency food: granola bars, chocolate bars, gorp, etc.
- Chewing gum (?)
I may have forgotten something from the above list. In that case, please e-mail me, and I will update it promptly.
Field Trip Itinerary:
ONWARD JOURNEY: (All times are given in LOCAL TIME)
Friday, June 23rd: Asiana 263, departing LAX at 12:20 AM; Arriving Seoul at 5:10 AM on June 24th.
Saturday, June 24th: Asiana 331, departing Seoul at 10:00 AM; Arriving Beijing at 10:45 AM.
RETURN JOURNEY: (All times are given in LOCAL TIME)
Friday, July 7th: Asiana 334, departing Beijing at 3:50 PM; Arriving Seoul at 6:30 PM.
Friday, July 7th: Asiana 204, departing Seoul at 8:00 PM; Arriving LAX at 3:30 PM.
Trip Route on Color Digital Elevation Map
Trip Route on Road & Field-Stops Map
PROPOSED TRIP SCHEDULE
Visa & Travel Information:
U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheet for China (U.S. Department of State)
Chinese Visa FAQ (Chinese Embassy)
Chinese Tourist (L-) Visa Page (Chinese Embassy)
Chinese Consulate Locations and Obtaining a Chinese Visa (VisaRite.COM)
Immunization & Preventive Medications:
Vaccines for Your Protection: East Asia (Centers for Disease Control)
What You Need To Bring With You (Centers for Disease Control)
Staying Healthy During Your Trip (Centers for Disease Control)
A Summary of Health Recommendations for visiting China (China Adviser)
Immunization Recommendations for Travel to China (MDTravelHealth.COM)
News by Country (Back to Main Field Trip Page)
Central Asia News (EurasiaNet.ORG)
Xinjiang News (ChinaNews.ORG)
East Asia News- World News Network (Breaking News, Lots of Local News Links)
BBC Asia Pacific Section (SummitPost.ORG)