On the Road Again to Salt Lake City and Beyond

If you have been reading this newsletter for some time, you already know that I travel often. That will continue to hold true for the next two weeks.

Right now I am in Salt Lake City, Utah. I will be attending the annual RootsTech conference and hope to write in this newsletter about what I see and experience through next Saturday. Stay tuned!

On Sunday, I will fly home but will be there just over 24 hours before leaving again. I think that will be just about enough time to do my laundry. Then I leave for Shanghai, China.

Unlike most of my travels, the trip to Shanghai is not a genealogy-related trip. I have some “downtime” in my calendar and decided to take a vacation… by traveling again!

Many years ago, I spent a year in mainland China, back when the country was still a backwater third-world country. I managed a team effort for my employer when we installed multi-million dollar mainframe computers at 13 major Chinese engineering universities in 11 different cities. (This was before the invention of the desktop PC.) It was a great experience.

China has advanced radically since I left. For years, I have said to myself, “I would love to go back and see all the changes.” In fact, I did just that in September when I went to Beijing and retraced many of the steps I had taken many years earlier. I can report that Beijing was nearly unrecognizable to anyone who had not been there for 32 years!

I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Beijing so when United Airlines sent me another advertisement a few weeks ago promoting cheap airfares to the Orient, I signed up for another trip! This time I am going to Shanghai, another city where I spent many weeks on business and pleasure.

During these travels I do expect to be online frequently and posting new articles to the newsletter. However, there are two caveats: (1.) at the RootsTech conference, I expect to be busy from morning to night so my available time to write or to answer email messages will be limited and (2.) while in China I will have to deal with the “Great Firewall of China” which blocks access to many sites, including everything on Google as well as to many other web sites and online services.

Most email servers outside of China are already blocked. When I was in Beijing last year, I couldn’t access my email or many of the other web services when I first tried to use on a normal Internet connection. However, I when I enabled the VPN software that I use on all my computers, I was able to successfully bypass the Chinese firewall and everything worked normally. (For security reasons, I always use a VPN on my laptop wherever I am traveling, even within the U.S.) However, I have read that the Chinese government has asked all Chinese Internet providers to block VPNs. I do not know the latest status of implementation of the new rules. It is possible I will be incommunicado when in China. If so, you may not “see” me online next week.



I know you will enjoy the RootsTech conference and we will no doubt hear more about that when you have time.
As for China – have a super time there. My mother [aged 6], grandmother and aunt joined her father in China in 1907/8 and never left until 1927 when they immigrated to Canada. I’ve always wanted to see where they lived and he worked – he was with the Railways then. I have many things from China in my house and will always regret never getting to visit there. Do enjoy all the ‘improvements’ since you were there before and I’ll look forward to hearing all the comments about your trip.


Have a great time, Dick! You sure earn it.


Enjoy your trip. The one trip I regret not having taken was a three week guided tour of China organized by my alumni association just as relations between the China and the USA were beginning to thaw. I so much wanted to see what was left of the ancient culture and architecture of this unique country before it began to change, but as a brand new grad on the lowest rung of a professional career, with little money, who hadn’t yet earned even one day of vacation time, it was not to be. And now, as you say, that country has largely vanished — something lost and something gained — a bittersweet memory.


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