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Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Sharon and I had fantasized for years about attending the famous Weifang Kite Festival in coastal Shandong Province. Flying kites is one of my favorite hobbies, so for me the Festival always shimmered in the distance as some sort of mecca. So I was thrilled when we finally had the chance to visit the 22nd annual Festival in April 2005. Best of all, we took along the girls, and my mom, who was visiting with us at the time.

We took an overnight train from Beijing. By this point, the girls were seasoned pros, and had fun explaining the ins and outs of Chinese trains to my mother. Luckily, we got "soft sleeper" berths on this train, which are the most-luxurious class of service.

We all thought that was pretty fine, but our eyes were opened as my mother explained what American trains were like when she travelling from NYC to California in the 1940s, when she was Miranda's age -- fine china, your own bathroom, and connecting suites. Wow!

The ride was smooth and fast, and we arrived in Weifang early the next morning. After checking into the hotel and freshening up, we headed off for the famous festival. Over the next few days, we not only took in the festival, but also had a great visit to Weifang's Kite Museum, a cool working kite factory, and (since it was located on the grounds of the kite factory), a famous workshopthat prints Chinese New Year calendars by hand.

So sit back, get comfortable, and get ready to go fly a kite with us!

(or, if you're impatient, use the links below to skip to the major chapters)

Weifang chapter shortcuts: Intro Kite Festival Kite Factory Kite Museum Calendar Factory

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