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Town ready to welcome return of special guest

By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)

08:27, February 13, 2012

(China Daily / Guillermo Munro)

Great expectations in Iowa ahead of vice-president's reunion with friends

MUSCATINE, Iowa - The small town on the banks of the Mississippi River is "Feeling Great", abuzz with excitement and recalling happy memories as it looks forward to the return of an old friend - Vice-President Xi Jinping.

It was 27 years ago that Xi visited Muscatine, an agricultural center in the US heartland, when he led a delegation to learn about farming technology. The delegates were all given badges to wear sporting the town's slogan: "Feeling Great".

Sarah Lande, a resident of the town, had the same feeling early last month when she got a call from Iowa State Governor Terry Branstad.

"Sarah, guess what, I think Xi is coming to our state," Branstad said.

"I was really surprised and excited. I also felt humble, honored and, of course, a little proud," Lande said.

Lande, 73, and her husband Roger, 74, were among several families in Muscatine to host Xi in April, 1985.

Xi, then a local official in North China's Hebei province and director of Shijiazhuang Feed Association, led a five-member delegation to learn about agricultural technology in Iowa, the state that calls itself the Food Capital of the World.

They were visiting as part of an Iowa Sister State program after Hebei and Iowa cemented the relationship in 1983.

The delegation spent two weeks in Iowa, visiting farms, feed suppliers, and grain processing and food biotechnology companies.

The three days Xi spent in the small, charming town of 23,000 left him with fond memories.

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US Marine at 2012-02-13124.207.194.*
Did he bring them all lolly pops in "85 or something? Are they really all that excited?

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