Noisebridge China Trip
My contract manufacturer for TV-B-Gone and TripGlasses and Trippy RGB Waves kits (and a few other things) has a plant in Shanghai and a plant in Ji Ning (about half way between Shanghai and Beijing) (both are SEZs -- Special Economic Zones).
Mike Zhao, an American who lives in San Rafael, but born in Shanghai, is the head of the contract manufacturer, called Etonnet. He's also a total geek, and goes to Maker Faire, and has been to Noisebridge. He's going to Shanghai and Ji Ning starting 20-October-2009, and asked me if I'd like to go, and asked if other NB people (and/or others) would like to go check out the manufacturing scene and China. Mike will return on the 27th, but I think it would be cool if the rest of us go to Beijing for a few days and check out a bit of China-ness there, as well as visit with some hacker-types at Beijing university. We will return on 3-November-2009.
To give a little taste of what it might be like:
A few months ago, Bunny, who manufactures Chumby in China, organized a trip to China to show interested people the manufacturing scene (and China). Evil Mad Scientist went along: Evil Mad Scientist Schenzhen trip
The cost will be very reasonable, as these things go, and the bulk of the cost would be the plane tickets to and from China. At the moment, a round trip ticket costs $694 (SFO to Shanghai, and then Beijing to SFO). When I went last time, nice hotel rooms were about $15 per night in the part of Shanghai I stayed in, and the total cost for me besides the plane ticket was about $350.
Note: We will need to limit the trip to the first 5 people other than me and Mike to buy their tickets, since we only have one large van to take us around once we get to China.
If you are interested, please add your name, below.
People interested in going to China from 20-October-2009 through 3-November-2009:
You do not need to be a member of Noisebridge to go on this trip.
The trip is limited to 5 people other than Mitch, so the first 5 people on this list (after Mitch) who buy their plane tickets will be able to join us:
please add your name here
How to purchase an airplane ticket for $694 (if there are any of these remaining)
If you want to go on this trip, I would recommend buying your airplane ticket ASAP, since these cheap seats might not be available after today. Other seats may be available for $900 on other Airlines, such as Northwest Airlines. But it would be nicer if we all flew in together to Shanghai on the same plane.
Here's how Mitch got his plane tickets for $693.50:
- go to Kayak.com
- Click on the "Multi-city" radio-button.
- Fill in the first two lines like this:
- From: SFO To: PVG Leave: 10/20/09 Time: Anytime
- From: PEK To: SFO Leave: 11/03/09 Time: Anytime
- Click the "Search" button.
- If cheap seats are still available, the first item on the resulting screen (after a few false screens are possibly displayed first) will be the flight from Asiana Airlines for $694.
- Click on "select", which is underneath "$694". You can use Orbitz or CheapTickets or Expedia to purchase the tickets (Kayak does not charge anything). I used CheapTickets. Click the "Go" button.
- You are redirected to the site of your choice, where you can purchase the ticket.
How to get a visa for going to China
This info is really rough, for the time being -- I'll make it better after I get back from traveling next week.
To go to China, you need to have a visa!
I'm going to deal with my visa after I get back from Providence, next week. As I remember, you download a form from the Chinese consulate general website (make sure you say that you are going as a tourist, otherwise it is a pain!), and bring it in to their consulate office (somewhat near to Geary and Masonic, in San Francisco). When you walk in you need to take a number (which isn't totally obvious), and when they call you, you walk up to the displayed teller window and give them your filled out paperwork (what you downloaded from their website), the fee (can't remember how much -- and I can't remember, but it may need to be in cash), and your passport (which they keep for a day), and you may also need to bring a printout for your plane ticket (I can't remember, though this might just be filled in on the downloaded form). You go back the next day, pick a number, and they give you your passport with the visa pasted in. Your passport needs to have at least 6 months before expiration.
They're hours are limited, so check them out on the website. Also, there are several kinds of visas -- we only need single-entry. And, again, be sure to get a Tourist visa (since we are tourists, and not going for work).
Here is the official website for the [Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in San Francisco]