My first "tool" for the trip arrived yesterday - a new digital camera. A Nikon Coolpix 4300 to be exact. It's sweet. 4 megapixels, nice big LCD, etc.I played around with it last night when I got it and it has some impressive features. I think coolest of which are the 12 scene modes; you select the appropriate "scene" e.g. portrait, night landscape, beach, fireworks display etc and the camera automatically sets everything up perfectly for the shot. I tested it last night and WOW. It's going to be great for Hong Kong where we'll encounter a lot of differences in lighting.It also has a 3x zoom lens on it, so it actually zooms instead of just enlarging the image. But one of the reasons why I chose this camera is the fact that you can use standard zoom lenses on it. So I can slap on a giganto-lens and get some great close ups. Should be good for the Safari Parks in South Africa. Though I will still be taking some lessons from Mike after seeing the unbelievable photos he snapped during his recent trip to Europe. I also had a pretty good experience buying it as well. I, believe it or not, am not the kind of person that jumps into buying something like that willy nilly. I research it until my eyes hurt from reading the interweb review sites. My primary source of tech reviews is cnet.com. Their reviews, coupled with the user opinions they have, can often make or break a deal for me. Their review of the 4300 was positive as were the user opinions. So now all I had to do was find a place to buy it. Cue resellerratings.com - if you EVER buy anything online, be it on ebay or direct from the site, run the vendor through resellerratings.com, I promise it will save you a lot of potential pain and suffering. Anyway, I eventually found a vendor that had the camera for a good price ($100 below retail) and they had a GREAT rating on resellerratings.com so I placed my order with eWiz. I ordered my camera on Friday afternoon; I didn't expect them to even look at the order until Monday. However when I realized that they were a fairly local company, I called them on Monday to see if I could pick up my camera to save the shipping cost. Granted it did take a while to get through, but when I asked if I could come pick up the camera they said "Uhhh sir, the camera is already at your house." And it was. The camera was on my doorstep by noon on Monday. Sweet. So I was pleased with that online buying experience. I think the camera will be very useful on our trip, so you may be overwhelmed by the number of pics I post!