78. Beijing – China

78.  Beijing – China

When the Chinese government would not let Sunders come to the United States for the annual International convention, Oi Lin Chen said, “If they cannot come here, we will go to them.”

Betty and I did our rest stop in Hawaii again, where we connected with the Hawaii Sunriders.  Being part of the Hawaii group later proved to be a serendipitous bonus!  Then on to Beijing, a city of eleven million people and eight million bicycles!

We stayed at the CHINA WORLD HOTEL, a new luxury hotel with a touch of old world elegance.  The checkin desk in the lobby was up a flight a stairs, which I could not navigate with my walker.  So the porter led us through a service entrance and through a maze of storage areas and the kitchen to an elevator.

We arrived in the lobby while a full symphony orchestra was playing Viennese waltzes in the lounging area.  We discovered we could get to a balcony overlooking the lounging area to enjoy the string quintet that played in the lobby weekday afternoons before dinner.  The food at the hotel was fantastic!   The food was served family style on a turntable in seven courses.  I never knew there were so many different kinds of mushrooms!

Betty and I luxuriated in the huge spa, heated pool, and exercise room.  In the exercise room, an attendant came up and struck up a conversation in her limited English.  “You must be very wealthy,” she said. Hmmmm — I felt rich, but I told her I was just “average” in the United States.

Doing a bit of exploring, we found an escalator at the end of the lobby that gave access to a huge underground shopping mall.  I thought I’d give it a try, but at the top of the escalator, I let go of the walker, and it went bouncing down by itself. Fortunately, no one was on the escalator or at the bottom, so no one got hurt.  A passerby helped me down the stairs to reunite with my walker.

Traveling with Sunrider gave us the opportunity to experience a taste of luxury!

77. Hong Kong

77.  Hong Kong

In Hong Kong — Kowloon actually, we stayed at the luxurious Shanga La Hotel overlooking Hong Kong harbor.  There was a huge gold tapestry at the end of the lobby, and huge floral displays.

Hong Kong is actually an island, across the harbor.  There was a choice of crossing by ferry boat, underneath in a tunnel, or by bridge.  Somehow, we managed to go all three.  One trip was to see the smiling Budda, a huge statue of a sitting Budda where Buddhists come to burn incense.

Jan took us on a walk from the hotel to shop in the shops in Kowloon.  I was a little intimidated by the crowded narrow streets with tiny alleyways branching off between buildings.  I walked near the curb to be as far as possible from the alleyways so no one could grab me and pull me into the dark ally.  It was incredible to see the bamboo scaffolding up the sides of high-rise buildings.

Lunch at the restaurant at the top of Victoria Peak was fantastic.  The view of Hong
Kong harbor and Kowloon was stunning.  The salads and desserts were on buffet tables, and I discovered they had milk custard like my mother used to make.  I ate a lot of milk custard!

The man in the rooster suit “flew” above the stage as below him the dragon twisted and weaved, and two “monkeys” tumbled onstage.  It was the Year of the Monkey in China!   The crowd of 6,000 + Sunders from all over the world roared its approval!   The air at the Hong Kong Convention Center was charged with excitement as Sunrider Directors from the United States & Canada, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Tailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Holland, etc. listened to inspiring speakers, and watched elaborately staged presentations.

The audience itself was a rainbow of colorful jackets.  Distributors from each country were seated together in their section – America and Canada in red, Australia in green, Japan in purple, Europe in yellow, etc.

Each speaker was translated into English or Chinese, and simultaneously in five other languages through headsets.

The high point of the evening, was the heartfelt talks by OI Lin and Tei Fu Chen, owners of Sunrider.  Oi Lin, born and raised in Hong Kong, whose parents were street peddlers; was full of emotion at her home-coming.

We were touched to tears by Tei Fu when he spoke words I will never forget!  “You have seen the roots of Sunrider (the gardens in the mountains of Taiwan.)  but without America there would be no Sunrider.  The free enterprise system has allowed Sunrider to prosper.  Free enterprise is the hope of the world!”  There was a pause of silence as his words were translated into the many languages.  Then the whole place erupted in a roar of applause and wild cheerIng as they stood to their feet to “honor” the US & Canada Distributors seated together on the main floor.

76. Taiwan

76.   Taiwan

We arrived at the Taipei,Taiwan airport late at night, and were surprised to be met by a few Sunrider leaders and  Tei Fu and Oi Lin Chen, owners of Sunrider.   They informed us that we would stay in Taipei that night, and our luggage would be sent on ahead for tomorrow night, and to take out only what we needed for the night.

Next day, for three hours, our tour bus crept up narrow hairpin curves into the mountains of Taiwan.  We passed through a tiny village with waving shouting people, and fireworks exploding.  We later learned that it was Dr. Chen’s home town.  (Local boy makes good, huh!)  At the top, we walked down a long “avenue” of flags to the Sunrider pavilion where we were treated to displays by the villagers of crafts and games and tea making.  While the Chens led the group on a walking tour of the gardens, I watched two men in the pavilion processing mountain tea by hand.

The view of the valley below was magnificent, with a focus point of the elaborate village Buddhist temple standing grand against the sky.  Someone asked Dr. Chen what they would do if bugs got on the plants.  His response, “I guess we’d pick ‘em off.  Healthy plants do not attract bugs, just as healthy bodies do not attract disease.”

That night, back in Taipei, we had the first conference meeting at the huge Taipei multiple “gymnasium” — 5:00 to 10:30 PM.  It was February 22, the same day we left Hawaii on the trip.  We had crossed the International Date Line.

The biggest impression of our time in Taiwan, was the people we met and shared food with.  Everyone had a different story, but overlapping, because Sunrider whole food botanicals had changed their lives!  Some stories were heart warming, some were miraculous!  And, we certainly got a chance to “check out” the Chens up close, and see where they came from.

I think the tour packager forgot to schedule much sleep time, because we were up early and off to Hong Kong for the second part of the conference.  All I knew about Hong Kong was that it was a British Protectorate, on the edge of China, and was a global shopping destination.

75. Discovering “Why” Florida

75 Discovering “Why” Florida

Betty and I were looking for help for her mother, and went to a health food store named “Scriptural Nutrition” for a free consultation with the nutritionist.  We were impressed enough to go back for a consult ourselves.  The nutritionist was Dale Boyll, who ran the store with his wife Deb.  Dale introduced us to whole food, and specifically, whole food concentrates from Sunrider International.  Dale also taught what the Bible had to say about food and being healthy.

It was the whole foods that turned me around.  I was going “down hill,” but the new nutrition got us off “chemical cuisine,” and I noticed new energy and mental acuity.  We signed up to be distributors of Sunrider, a network marketing company, to buy the products at wholesale.

In the Sunrider magazine, there was an announcement of a trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong for Directors and above in February.  I put the page on our dream board.

My sister Jan was impressed by my improvement, and started eating Sunrider foods.  We shared with our families and some friends, and to our surprise, two months later, we made Director rank and qualified for the trip.  Our Amway business in Hawaii had dried up, so we decided to take the trip to Taiwan to meet the Chens, owners of Sunrider, and check out the company before committing to Sunrider, and giving up Amway.

We were delighted that Jan, and a friend of hers, would go along on their own to share the experience!  We left early to stop and rest and visit friends in Hawaii, and Jan would meet us in Taiwan, when the Sunrider groups were to arrive.

Being “home” in Hawaii again after three years was fantastic!  We stayed with friends, and visited as many as possible in the ten busy days there.  Sunday service at Kalihi Union church was special.  The pastor called attention to our being there.  Attending a Christian Vision meeting with the Hongos was nostalgic.

Then, it was time to go on to Taiwan.  The Chens had given everyone going to the conference a beautiful red jacket, with the message to wear them for the trip so we would be recognized at the Taipei airport, and assisted through customs.

On the way to the Honolulu airport, Betty expressed our feeling of apprehension.  Here we were, going alone to a foreign county; we did not speak the language, and the flight arrived late at night.  Would there be anyone to meet us?

When we arrived at the gate at the Honolulu airport, Betty gave a big sigh of relief.  The waiting area was full of people wearing red jackets!  We had connected with the Hawaii Sunrider group!  We were greeted like part of the family.  We settled in for the 5000 mile, fourteen hour flight to Taiwan.

Join us next for our Taiwan adventure.