Friday, February 24, 2012

Day One (a day late)

So it's Friday now (I think), and this post is about Wednesday.  Or Thursday.  Or both, since they kind of merged into one another in the a haze of time zone changes and LONG international flights.  The headline first -- WE MADE IT TO BEIJING!

Below are a few details, in pictures!  I'm having a little difficulty getting blogger and the netbook to cooperate, so bear with me if the layout is a little lacking!
Drat, blogger won't let me rotate photos 

We left bright and early and made it around the Beltway in record time -- no traffic!  My wonderful friend Katherine and her able assistant got us to Dulles with plenty of time to spare!  We checked in quickly, and our luggage wasn't even over weight!
What I really wanted to capture was the screen that showed how many miles to go, which was some close to 7000!  Watching the flight path on the seat-back screens was a major diversion during the 14 hours.  We flew north, almost to the pole, and west.
The flight (United direct from Dulles to Beijing) was less than half full.  Joy and I had a whole row (5 seats) to ourselves, along with the extra leg room of "Economy Plus" (TOTALLY worth the extra $125 each way, for anyone planning on making this trip soon), so we were quite comfortable. We passed the time chatting, reading, watching movies/TV, and resting.

Joy is amazing - she can sleep anywere, at the drop of a hat!  I don't do as well , especially at sleeping sitting up, so I got some sleep, but not a lot.

Flights with food, remember those?  We got lunch shortly after take off, a midnight snack, and a second lunch shortly before landing.  The second one reminded us that we were almost in China (and was actually pretty tasty).

First view of China.  Well, I think it was China.  It might have been Mongolia.  Brown mountains with snow.

Our guide Vanessa was a few minutes late, but arrived with her sign in hand before we started to panic.  She and our driver (who hasn't told us his name and may or may not speak any English) conveyed us safely through the heavy Beijing traffic to the Jianguo hotel, our "home" for the next few days.  I realize now I didn't take any photos of the hotel yet, but it's very nice.  It has a few quirky features, such as a slot inside the door into which you have to put the room key to make the lights turn on and beds that are not quite as hard as park benches, but close.

We were deternined to try to get on China time, so we resisted the urge to go straight to bed upon arriving at the hotel.  We cleaned up a bit and then ventured out to explore the neighborhood.  We passed by the McDonalds and Starbucks in favor of a local place calling itself "Dollar Soup," where we ordered by pointing at a picture menu!  We got Joy's bowl of rice, meat, veggies and sauce, dish of pickled sea weed and hot tea, plus my large bowl of noodle soup (which I found too spicy to eat, but Joy liked) and order of steamed dumplings (which may have been from Costco :)) for 36 rmb  (about 6 dollars).

So that was Thursday!  Now it's Friday evening and we are off to meet up with an on-line adoption friend of mine and her family for dinner.  Wish us luck, we're going to take a taxi!!  I'll post about our first full day in Beijing (including pictures with me in them, I promise) when we get back.


  1. Hurrah! A post! The VPN is obviously working! And you've had Costco dumplings and I forgot about the room card to turn on the lights! Have a wonderful trip!

  2. I'm holding my breath! I just can't wait!

  3. I found in some of the hotels, at least, any old card or even a piece of paper, would keep the room power on. Unfortunately, the floor hostess usually undid my jury rigging and turned the heat or A/C off for me! Aw, shucks, foiled again!