Beijing…got here!

We're here!

After an 11 1/2 hour uneventful flight on Air China. The price was good, and we thought what fun to go native right from the start. Better get used to it. The service was good, very friendly, and although we didn't really sleep the seats weren't bad. It actually seemed to go by quickly.

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Beverley kindly offers to drive us to the airport and is  amazed that her car could swallow  all our luggage

Arriving in Beijing or landing is surreal. The pollution hits you first, you can't see the ground till you are almost down and the sun looks like a hazy rainy day, but then you realize there are no rain clouds. The airport seemed empty but flights were arriving regularly. Clearly the Olympics had an impact here. I imagined tons of people everywhere but the feeling is opposite. The countryside seems empty the airport seems empty. No workers on the Tarmac and nobody when you walk through the long corridors towards baggage and immigration, a little odd. It is so different from Canada US and Europe. There is nobody here. Maybe they all moved to Vancouver.

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Cleared immigration quickly, picked up  sacs. Too much too heavy. 

Searched out a taxi, oh no, can't understand a word anyone says and they actually speak English. Kinda of funny. I guess our ears will have to acclimatize, certainly our breathing will. Everyone smiles, things run smoothly and there is surprisingly no traffic, almost weird. We drive quickly although all over the road and seem to get into the outskirts of Beijing. Our driver doesnt know the hotel so proceeds to call people for directions. BUT Then all changes, we come to a screeching halt and do not move. Traffic appears out of the ground it is everywhere, cars roam all over the road. From the outskirts of town to the hotel is done at a snails pace and probably took over an hour. Most popular car I could see was the Volkswagen, Passat style not the beetle. Clearly Germany has done well here. Nostrils are burning.

Arrived at the Shangri La, now need to stay awake.

One small glitch, used our cash card at bank machine and ATM tells us we are using the wrong number. Mmmmm...  So now no interact card.

Getting online is also interesting, Facebook, so far doesn't want to connect, Google is not really accessible, I think they left China and Bing search engine  works, but I notice we get redirected and redirected. Feels funny. Are we being watched haha!  Maybe I haven't had enough sleep. 

We keep a zombie like  march or we will fall asleep. Head down to garden tea house for a special tea Tony commands Jasmine and me chrysanthemum tea ask for a cookie or biscuit and get a blank stare. OH well we are in China!  We walk around searching for the gym and pool. There are people in uniforms, not traditional style but matching fancy dress everywhere. Everyone smiles and speaks to you, but they just stand there. I guess they are the left over greeters from the Olympics.

It's 9pm we made it, crash into bed. 

Up early and to gym then lets see Beijing.

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Sunlight breaks through the smog by midmorning

© Anthony Strelzow 2013