Published: June 14th 2010June 10th 2010
So... Anh's cousin (another one) picked me up yesterday morning from my hotel and we drove to the airport together. After getting all checked in, we wandered around the airport shops killing some time, and me looking for a way to blow my last 55,000 dong (less than $3). I was thinking to buy gifts for my teachers to be, but $3 wasn't quite enough for anything of substance. It did, however, buy a bracelet and a magnet at the overpriced airport shops.
Shortly after, it was time to board my flight to Beijing :) I said goodbye to Anh at the terminal coffee shop and boarded my flight. I was very sad to find the window seat I had asked for in the emergency exit row I volunteered for, was not actually a window seat. Can't remember what kind of plane it was, but the emergency exit row was huge (plenty of legroom) but had no windows, just a very large door. Twas especially upsetting as being able to look out the window keeps me from getting ill, especially during takeoffs, landings, and turbulence. I must have looked a little green by the time we landed, cause the stewardesses kept looking at me sympathetically while the guy next to me was trying to keep his shoes as far from the would-be splash radius as possible... But hey, I made it.
So I flew into terminal 2 about the same time the group flight most the others were on was supposed to be arriving at terminal 3. Turns out the two are very far apart (the shuttle bus hit traffic, making it about a 20 minute drive). Fortunately, some kids hadn't shown up or flight was delayed, so the group was still waiting when I arrived. However, we ended up waiting another 2 hours before finally calling the others no-shows and getting on our bus to head to campus.
Our program director, Han Bing, had received us at the airport, and entertained and informed us of some stuff on the ride to campus. It's too soon to form any meaningful opinions, but so far, I really like him. He talks a lot, but everything he says is informative or funny, so it's quite nice :)
We were all pretty tired by the time we got to campus (my flight got in before 3pm and we got to campus around 7pm). Everyone but a few of us who had been in other parts of Asia were also pretty jet-lagged.
We dropped our bags in our dorm rooms, where we all have a roommate from the program, and went to dinner at a nearby restaurant that serves Peking duck.
Another part of the group had left the airport before us, so by the time we got to dinner, the duck was mostly gone. There was other food that followed though, so we still got to eat something.
Then some of us ran to the store to do some shopping (laundry soap, replacement bath poufy, clothes hangers, and toilet paper for me) before heading back to campus to crash out. Bing is now considered a 'nap nazi' by a few of us, as he is so adamantly opposed to them in the fight against jet-lag. lol. Anyways... I wasn't jet lagged, having only crossed one time zone, so I went to sleep as soon as I finished unpacking.
Our beds are.. not really beds. Me and my roommate Grace both laughed when I flopped down onto my bed expecting a welcoming mattress, only to find (rather painfully) hard wood covered with 2 pads that are MAYBE 1/4" thick. It's supposed to be good for your back in traditional Chinese medicine, but it sure does suck for the stomach and side sleepers in the group, who have all woken to find there hips, legs, spines, and whatnot in various degrees of discomfort.
Anyways, today is just more orientation, campus tours, etc. We're in Wudaokou District of Beijing, where many universities are. I'm at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), which is about 50/50 international students and Chinese ones.
We have our Chinese placement tests tomorrow *eck* and a trip to Tiananmen with an acrobatic show in the afternoon and evening tomorrow. Everyone is still pretty tired but otherwise adjusting well.
More to come as the story unfolds...