Arriving in China
We arrived at the Edmonton airport early on Thursday morning, excited and ready to take on this new adventure. It was a short flight to Vancouver before we boarded our 10 ½ hour flight to Beijing. Despite not being seated together, it actually was not too bad of a flight. Some of us even managed to get a few hours of sleep along the way.
When we arrived in Beijing it was immediately clear that we were somewhere completely different. First of all, the heat and humidity hit us like a brick wall as soon as we stepped outside. The wait for the taxi to the hotel was another experience. Instead of one person standing at the curb and waiting for one taxi to drive up, there was a line up of 200+ people waiting. About 20 taxis would drive up take passengers, then the next round of taxis filled their places. Since there are 5 of us we had to take two taxis back to the hotel. It was a little unnerving being in the taxi without Jiulin but we made it to the hotel safely.
The drive in was an experience in itself. It seems as though the lanes are mealy a suggestion. There were times that what should have been only 3 across had 5 cars filling the road plus a bike or two somewhere in there. Signal lights are used some of the time and horns are used a lot of the time. The drive was about 45 minutes and cost less than $20 CDN.
We were all still very awake so we just dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed out to find dinner. While we were out for dinner we had our first lesson in Mandrin. We wanted to know how to thank to our servers, so we asked Jiulin how to say “thank you”, which is “Xie xie” — pronounced with slightly more emphasis on the “ie”. Now that part is important, because if you put the emphasis slightly more on “x” you are saying diarrhea. Good to know.
After dinner we returned to the hotel completely and utterly exhausted. Being awake for over 24 hrs was being to hit us and it was time to retire to our ‘mini’ beds for the night.