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Impulse 8-day trip to China - questions

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China isn't really on my to-do list, but I stumbled across an unbelievable deal for an 8-day (on the ground) tour to China - $649 from San Francisco, including air, 5-star hotels, English-speaking guide, 16 meals, and some sightseeing entrances. Like I said, unbelievable. The catch is that it's a shopping tour and you're required to go to a handful of shopping stops - jade exhibition, silk mill, tea plantation, cloisonne factory, fresh water pearl farm - but don't have to buy. I figure those might be interesting anyway. So I figured, what the hell! Otherwise, I'll probably never go to China in this lifetime, and if I love it, I can always go back. So I bought the trip before it filled up, without doing any advance research. So, a few questions:

How is Hainan Airlines? I'm 5'8" and have long legs, so I usually pay for economy plus on transoceanic flights. Should I expect to have to wedge myself into the seat? I picked an aisle seat with this possibility in mind.

I'm not sure exactly which meals are included, but what should I expect to pay for lunch and dinner when on my own?

I went ahead an bought all the offered excursions, as I had to decide at the time of bookin. They weren't that expensive. Most of them I am sure I want to do, but will I want to do any of these rather than just going off on my own? I take lots of photos, so always looking for good photo ops.

- Shanghai, Huangpu River Night Cruise
- Suzhou, Grand Canal Cruise - I think otherwise my only free time in Suzhou (we already visit the Lingering Garden)
- Huangzhou, boat ride on West Lake, otherwise my only free time in Huangzhou

I will have a free afternoon in Shanghai. Anything I should be sure to see/do?

The trip is obviously whirlwind, including Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Hangzhou. I'm going in late October (will be home in time for the election).

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