Dave's Travel Journal

A vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking. - Earl Wilson


Custom Coat

custom winter coat

As promised I'm posting the custom coat Eric had made for me while I was in China. After getting home and unpacking I pulled it out and wore it on my first winter day here in Atlanta. It is wonderful. It fits like the leather seat in a Mercedes AMG.

I'm posting a few details in the event you'd like to buy one for yourself or a friend.

custom winter coat

custom winter coat
Eric has three styles to select from. This one is called "The Strapper." You can customize the the coat material, thread, lining, pockets, vents, buttons, and really just about anything. One guy had Eric make a coat with hidden pockets in the sleeves for sketch pens. Another guy had one designed after a video game he liked.

This one is made from chocolate brown wool and has cream and brown striped silk lining with edge piping. The double breasted design keeps the wind out. I love the top loading front pockets. (But you can get side loading.) They are easy to access and are deep enough for small books, sketch pens, and phones.

There are also two inside pockets on either side. They are easy to access and I can place wallets, passports, or travel documents in them. They are also reinforced around the opening to maintain shape. The silk interior lining is buttery soft, smooth, and elegant.

I love putting the coat on. My arms slide into the sleeves without effort and the thick material wraps around me and almost closes by itself.

Tonight while filing the car with gas, I turned up the collar and stood in the wind. Just because I could. The wind didn't faze me. I felt no chill.

Some have asked about quality, availability, and cost. So I asked Eric if he could supply some details. It's a simple three step process.

Eric's coat samples
Here's what he sent me:
  1. Choose a basic coat style from the picture (or you can provide your own).
  2. Eric makes a custom order form so that you can choose additional options.
  3. Complete the form, send it back to him with payment.
That's it.  The coat gets made and shipped within 2-3 weeks. Cost depends on the length of the coat and the materials you choose. Generally they are around $120 or so.

If you have questions (or just want to say you sent an email to China), you can contact him at: chinadoesitcheaper@gmail.com

He's very responsive and he'll customize it to just about anything you want.

(Disclaimer: I don't receive any royalties or income from his sales. However, if you do order it might mean I will not need to send him any money that month. I'm just saying.)

...dave
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society. - Mark Twain

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Time Travels

I want a Pepsi
Fantastic! comes as close as possible to describe our last week in China with Eric and friends.

Eric's friends invited us over for lunches and dinners every day this week. One of them had us wear "mop slippers." We sort of buffed the floor as we walked around the apartment. What a great idea. This is how you can get someone else to clean the floors for you.

Geisha girls
We did nothing but eat and talk and laugh. And the meals included Chinese, Korean, Japanese, American, Greek, and African cuisine.

We rode buses all over Shandong. We visited jewelry stores and stationary stores and clothing stores. We even visited a video store with a secret door to a back room with shelves and tables stuffed with classic movies and the latest releases.

We ate out at a Korean BBQ restaurant where the food was cooked on burning coals in the center of the table.

At a special coffee shop we sat on plush chocolate colored velvet couches and drank four dollar and fifty cent coffee and ate cheese cake slices. (I didn't complain, someone else was buying.) We visited with friends as if time didn't exist.

Steampunk China Coffee Shop
But it does exist. It's a one way ticket forward, never back. There is little wonder the Greeks pictured Father Time with long forelocks and a bald head. You can only use him as he approaches by grabbing the forelocks of opportunity. Once he passes, you can never pull him back.

And so the time is spent. It's over. We return.

How will life ever be the same?

...dave
A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in. - Robert Orben


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The Last Full Day

Lock
It was bound to happen. The end of a two month journey. Seems a shame it has to end so quickly. It's been fun, but there are many things we'll need to do when we get back.

Yesterday I went out with a friend shooting images. His major was photography. It was an overcast day so we kept the horizon out of the picture (That's a photographer's secret. On an overcast day the colors are vibrant but you have to avoid the horizon.)

We tromped around the hills and local village and found this old abandoned building. We shot it with a wide angle lens (15mm) and then a telephoto lens (120mm) but nothing was gelling for me. Finally I got the best image from my iPhone. The lock picture is the result.

We got the custom coats back from the tailor. They are beautiful. I'll post a picture soon.

Got to dash off. I'm not sure what is planned but I know that it's the last day and we have a full day ahead.

...dave
The world is a playground, and life is pushing my swing. - Natalie Kocsis


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Shandong for a week

Internet down?
No, the Internet has not been down and yes, we are still alive. I received an email from a reader: "What's happening? Where have you been?" I guess they've been reading the blog and haven't seen a post in a while.

(By the way, the picture you see here was taken in the main stairway to a friend's apartment. They were the ones I mentioned that paid two years in advance for their 6th floor pad. But after moving in, they were told that an Internet connection was not available. He was told "all the connections are in use." Maybe it has something to do with this box? I told him: "Give me a wire and I'll fix it for you." I'll do whatever it takes to keep my blog readers connected!)

We were in transit and it has been crazy busy resettling in the new city. When we were traveling through China in '06 and '08 we moved every week. I don't know how I was able to keep my promise of daily posts. There is a difference between touring and living in a foreign country for sure. As it is Ruth says, I spend too much time on the blog. What does she know? "Hey Ruth, can you bring me another cup of java?" Where is she when I need her? Oh, that's right, she went out sight seeing.

China apartment
We have left Yunnan province and the beautiful apartment we were staying in. We are now in the Shandong province. It's a strange place to us. We don't know any of the streets. After living in Yunnan for about six weeks we started to feel very comfortable with our bus and moped wanderings. But now in the new place, we have no idea where we are half the time. It's great to have Eric, our son, along with us. His Chinese is incredible. He can talk to anyone on just about any subject.

China apartment
Without Eric, I joked to Ruth last night on the crowded bus, we wouldn't know how to get back to our place. We'd be wandering the streets aimlessly looking for someone to guide us back. We can read the signs well enough to find the right bus. But we don't know the street names well enough. At night we don't even have a clue which way is north. I did get Eric to write our address in my little Moleskine book in Chinese characters, just in case.

Josh S' 2nd Coat
We've had a great time so far. Last night we ordered our winter coats. Eric's latest business is getting custom coats made and shipped internationally. I ordered a chocolate brown cashmere three-quarter length winter coat with cream and brown striped silk lining. It will have three inner pockets (one for the iPhone), a breast pocket, and two outer side  pockets. (If you are interested he now has an order form and email address: chinadoesitcheaper[at]gmail.com. You can have extra pockets added, custom buttons, stitches, whatever.)

The picture in this post is just a sample of some of the coats he's had made so far.  When mine is done, I'll post a picture. Stay tuned.

...dave
The only completely consistent people are dead. - Aldous Huxley

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