BEIJING – AIR YOU CAN TASTE, SEE AND SMELL
If you have to fly 13 hrs and 43 minutes Cathay Pacific is the airline for you. Their service is above and beyond all the way. By the time I walked to a gate that was changed, and to the new gate in Hong Kong airport I had enough exercise to face the short flight to Beijing. Landing here it looked like it was foggy – not so, its smog! Beijing airport is huge, and unlike Japan where large numbers of people are handled with great organization and efficiency, Immigration was chaos to the max. Everyone enters a huge area, and you can see the signs for Foreigners, and Chinese Nationals – but between you and those signs are thousands of people, no lines. You simply just push and shove and inch your way in that direction. My pack is small enough to be a carry on but I always check it. Why should I carry it any farther than I have to? This was one time I was glad I did not have it with me. People with carry on luggage had to get themselves, and their luggage through the crowd, not easy – I have the bruises to prove it. The worst part of all of this is the fact that everyone is crammed as close together as can be, and the locals all cough, hack and SPIT. I was afraid to look at the back of my coat….. Finally after 1 1/2 hours I made it to the magic yellow line. You stand there until one of the Immigration officers indicates its your turn – then it takes about 30 seconds for them to stamp your passport, and tear your arrivals/departure card in half, and put the departure part back in your passport. Baggage pickup was a long walk, and a train ride away. I managed to take a bus from the airport to the main train station, then a taxi to my hotel. My room is about one half the size of “Cosy”. Double bed is length of the room, and there is a desk, then a bathroom. Its clean and the bed is comfy. To make the lights work in my room I have to insert my key card in the slot in my room. No leaving the lights on when you leave your room here. Vancouver weather – cold and raining. Here is a pic of the smog when I landed, and the beautiful Railway Station, in the rain, so the air is cleaner. Let the sightseeing begin!!