Hello from Beijing (literally, 'North (bei) Capitol (jing)). We had a reasonably uneventful trip in--though we were delayed out of Madison by about 1 hr 45 mins--there was a hole in the third runway in Detroit, which meant the usual traffic had to use 1/3 fewer runways. We got on the plane and were ready to go, and just before we pushed back, the pilot announced the delay. We sat on the tarmac for a while, then finally de-planed. We were watching our connection carefully, but we had some time to spare. Eventually we re-boarded and took off. Had a quick flight to Detroit, and no problem making our connection. The flight was no problem, K didn't even have to take her meds! G was very enamored of her business class 'pod' which had a fully-flat reclining seat. She spent most of the flight with it reclined flat, and snuggled up like she was on a couch at home. She spent the first hour or so exploring her pod, and determining what all the buttons do, what she could watch, what games she could play, etc, as well as going through her goody bag of toiletries, sleep mask, ear plugs and slippers. We got into Beijing about 11 pm local time, got through customs etc, and then to the hotel. Finally in bed a little after 1:30 AM.
Hotel is at the edge of the '3rd ring' of Beijing. There are five I think. The 3rd is still considered the city proper. We are about 50 minutes from the airport, but close to the train station where we will pick up the train to Xi'an (she-on).
The next morning, we slept in a bit and got down to the breakfast buffet a little after 9 AM. Food not as edible to me as last time, but I'm making due. Have managed to get scrambled eggs each morning, toast, and water (bottled). K is having an easier time than me of course, but G--well, we knew it would be challenging. She is partaking of her fair share of noodles in the morning, and has discovered that she (still) likes congee (cone-jee), which is a very thin rice porridge, which essentially tastes like mild chicken soup. She also has a yogurt every morning.
We then took care of a couple of administrative items, like exchanging a little bit of money, and organizing our luggage and room. Two blocks away is what is purported to be the largest shopping mall in China--not sure about that claim but it's pretty big. Five floors, and a full city block. We spent our afternoon kicking around the mall, and bought a few things in the grocery store in the basement, including a supply of bottled water. We also found a McDonalds, and had an interesting experience trying to order chicken mcnuggets. Even though there were pictures of the items we wanted, the clerk had a tough time understanding what we wanted. She finally got some help, and with a little bit of Chinese that I pulled out of the back of my brain, we managed to get what we needed the first time (mostly--we had to go back for a third serving that we had ordered, but hadn't received. They hadn't charged us, though, so at least we had that going for us). By the way, Ask K to tell you the story of the difference between a chicken, and an egg--in Chinese.
Back at the hotel later, we finally decided on a pizza (there is an Italian restaurant in the lobby), but since it was a true 'marguerite' (sp?) pizza, it didn't go over too well with the true pizza fans in the group. Did a little more organizing in the room and got to bed.
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