Thank you for the note and the pictures--what a nice memory! It was delightful to meet you and your colleagues in Guilin. Thank you, too, for putting together a very good trip. Some details:
The overall trip was great. All the guides were good, but I'd like especially to acknowledge Kevin in Xian and Jasmine in Guilin for their knowledge and helpfulness. I also found it very appealing that the guides learned our names. My name (at least in
America) is very difficult, and I'm used to people avoiding it because it's so difficult, but your guides all made an effort to use all our names, and that made things all the more pleasant. I was impressed, too, that all the guides and drivers were punctual and well organized. So too were all of our connections--a near miracle!
As Pat mentioned in her earlier e-mails, we didn't want to do absolutely everything, and I think we would have been happy with even fewer sights to see. I think we all enjoyed the silk factory and tea plantation in Guilin far more than we would have enjoyed Elephant Trunk Park. It would probably be helpful to give future clients a full list of possible activities and let them choose which ones they prefer.
Language issues are of special concern to me because that's what I do: as a copyeditor, I deal with language all the time. I think it would be very helpful for the guides if they could have some exposure to an English-speaking environment so that they could hear the spoken language and be more able to understand it. It would be lovely if they could be sent to (say) Australia (if that's the nearest English-speaking country) for even a short time. (Please understand that I don't mean that everyone needs to know English. But if guides are hired to work with English speakers, they need to develop a little more facility with the language.)
You did a tremendous job in putting all this together. The many different reservations, connections, contacts, etc. are quite boggling, and it is quite amazing that everything went so well. You are to be congratulated. Now that the various problems have been thrashed out, I'd be glad to recommend you to potential China travelers.
Thank you again.