|The plane ride seemed to go on forever... It was a B747 from the 1970s. Seats were good but entertainment wasn't. We finally arrived in Beijing at about 4:30 PM. Noticed that the city looked foggy ten realized – pollution. Apparently worse than Los Angeles.
Going through immigration and customs was a breeze – no problems at all. As we headed out of the airport we met our China Spree tour group of 32 – including Ash and Steve and their kids – nice to see them!
The bus ride to the Marriott was accompanied by Victor (our guide's “English” name – makes it easier for the tourists – and me!) giving us the run down on the particulars of the trip – the next day's activities, hotels, customs, and so on. Informative but WAY too much information to absorb, especially after having been up for 26 hours straight – and all in daylight!
We eventually made it to our hotel in the heart of the city and went in to a room to get even more instructions and our hotel rooms. That took another hour or so, but finally we had everything straight.
Steve, Ash, me, Alice and the kids all went to the hotel's “bistro” for a snack – Alice and I ordered pizza and drinks, but they never brought the pizza! After a bit of misunderstanding and language difficulties we canceled the pizza and, with many apologies on their part, they brought us a plate of free desserts. They weren't great. Good conversation though. Two drinks – 135 yuan, or about $22.00.
After that back to the hotel rooms – and the bags were not delivered yet! The room was nice with a view of downtown Beijing from the 20th floor. The bags eventually arrived and we did a bit of unpacking, tried to figure out how the room's AC worked, and how to hook up to the internet. Once all of that was done it was 10:30 local time and we fell into bed – 30 hours awake!